Arden: Woods and Laughing Waters
One day in 1890 C.R. McMillan stood looking out on the wooded land through which the Little Pend Oreille River splashed its last mile to join the Colville. Something about it brought to mind the idyllic setting of Shakespeareís "As You Like It" and, after the play, he selected the perfect name for this small villageóArden.
Early Pioneer, Judge B. F. Yantis built an old-fashioned grist mill on the Little Pend Oreille River along the main pioneer roads. In the early 1860ís the Oppenheimer brothers bought the mill and ran it until 1900. The mill was an amazing operation. Michael LaFleur brought the grinding stones from Olympia. (They now sit on the lawn at the Stevens County Courthouse). "The mill was built without nails, using only wooden pins. Upon going inside the mill, the first thing that attracted oneís attention was the total absence of that creaking noise and jarring peculiar to all other mills. Not a single piece of iron shafting, no pulleys, connecting rods or gearing of any kind. Everything was made of wood." The mill pond was reportedly an acre in size and a great fishing hole.
The lumber industry was also booming and the first sawmill, a railroad tie mill, was along the Colville River. In 1909 the Fidelity Lumber Co. placed a mill at the confluence of the Colville and the Pend Oreille Rivers. It is rumored that at times there were so many logs in the Colville River you could walk from Arden to Addy without getting your feet wet. The millís success turned Arden into something of a boom town, boasting a school with over sixty students. There was the Fidelity Lumber Company store, the Arden Mercantile store, a boarding house, the black smith shop, and the Blue Front saloon. (Donna Gumm 1997).