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Polly Bemis House

Polly Bemis House

Riggins, Idaho

The Polly Bemis House is a fine example of the single-pen log construction on a stone foundation that is typical of construction methods used on the ranches and in the mining country of central Idaho. Located along the Salmon River, and accessible only by boat, the cabin measures about 15 by 20 feet. and consists of two rooms on the first level, a half-story sleeping loft on the second, and a gable front with an overhanging roof that functions as porch. It is the only inventoried example of its kind that is made of whipsawn lumber. It was once owned by Polly Bemis who began her adult life along the Salmon River as an indentured dance hostess in 1871, but who would later sample a wide variety of other occupations including cook, gardener, boarding house operator, goldsmith, and nurse. After Charlie Bemis “won” Polly in a card game, she became Charlie’s business partner and finally, in 1894, his wife. The house was constructed for Polly after her husband's death.

Photo: Polly Bemis House
– Courtesy Priscilla Wegars

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