Priest Lake – See the Changes

Priest Lake – See the Changes highlights Priest Lake history through film, interviews, and historical images. Documentary film maker Scott Hill explores compelling lake stories including movie star Nell Shipman, the isolated Continental Mine, and the earlier climbers who scaled Chimney Rock.

The Last Log Drive (1948)

Dr. Edward G. Bond filmed The Last Log Drive in 1948. Bond, a Priest River doctor who cared for Diamond Match loggers, captured logging trucks unloading at the Indian Creek flume. He followed the logs as they splashed into the lake and were rounded up into booms. As the logs were released down the Priest River, Bond filmed Diamond Match river pigs as they cajoled them through the rapids. A log jam proved no match for the experienced river pigs as they sent the logs down to the Pend Oreille River. Dr. Bond narrated this historic film. The actual last log drive took place the next year in 1949 as improved roads and growing demand for a dam at the Outlet spelled the end to this remarkable era.

Nell Shipman: Silent Screen Actress and Producer at Priest Lake

Nell Shipman, a silent screen actress known for her work with animals, decided in 1922 to move her production crew and zoo to the isolated north end of Priest Lake. She spent the next three years off and on at the lake finishing the filming of The Grub Stake and creating a number of short films. They featured Shipman with her animals and captured the wild scenery. Her company struggled financially and folded in 1925. She abandoned her surviving animals and left unpaid debts to many Priest Lake businesses. Today, Shipman is remembered for her pioneering work as a female producer and her demands for humane conditions for animals in films.

Nell Shipman Awards Overview (2013) The is a short overview of Shipman’s career and her time at Priest Lake. It was written for the 2nd Annual Nell Shipman Awards in 2013.

The Grub Stake (1923), a full length film written, produced, and starring Nell Shipman.

The Light on Lookout Mountain (1924) was film on location at the northern end of Priest Lake. It was part of a series of short films Shipman envisioned titled “Little Dramas of the Big Places.”