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Dig Hunts for Clues to City's Past

That includeslocal accounts of the Chinese and Japanese workers who built the area's railroads and the women who lived in the "Restricted District" alongthe eastern bank of Sand Creek.

Without newspaper accounts to guide them, historical researchers must turn to other methods to learn about their lives -- a physical record extracted from just below the surface of dirt above thecreek, and asdeep as 10 to 12 feet into the earth, said chief archaeologist Bob Weaver.

It also is possible data recovery will take them into the mucky soilsof Sand Creek once the water recedes following the drawdown of Lake Pend Oreille, he added.

Piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of those forgotten lives are 16 archaeologists employed by CH2M Hill as part of the cultural resources aspect of the proposed U.S.95 bypass.

The focus ison three sites believed be historically significant to Sandpoint.

All are located on the westside of the railroad along Sand Creek and encompass about a mile of the byway area, said Barbara Babic, Idaho Transportation Department information officer.

One of those sites include the formerLakeside Inn location, once a seedypart of town inhabited by gambling halls, saloons and bordellos at the end of the 19th century. By all accounts, the town was quite wild, especially during the 1880s and 1890s, Weaver said.

Famousvisitor Teddy Roosevelt stayed in the much largertown of Kootenai whenhe cameto visit. "He walkeddown the tracks to party in Sandpoint," Weaver said.

When L.D. Farmin platted the current Sandpoint townsite on the west side of Sand Creek, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting houses of prostitution in the new area, creating the "Restricted District."