City Of Bovill

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Get to Know City Of Bovill

Located 34 miles northeast of Moscow at the junction of Idaho Highways 3 and 8, Bovill is in the center of the beautiful St. Joe National Forest. The Potlatch River runs along the west side of town. 

The City of Bovill was named after the Bovills of England. Hugh Bovill was the son of Lord and Lady William Bovill. His wife, Charlotte, was a direct descendent of King Edward III. They had two daughters, Dorothy and Gwen. The Bovills found the wilderness of Idaho fascinating and left their England home to seek greater opportunities in the American West.
The Bovills brought horses and cattle from Nebraska and started a ranch. Their ranching efforts continued until the need for a hotel and resort arose due to an influx of sportsmen, homesteaders and loggers.
The Bovill Hotel was built and operated by the Bovills with the help of a Japanese boy and Swedish workers. The hotel accommodated as many as fifty guests each night. There was an international charm to the atmosphere of early Bovill. As word spread, Bovill became a popular destination of eastern vacationers who wanted to visit the wilderness. Elk Creek, stocked with fish from the state, attracted local area fisherman.
Bovill was incorporated in 1907. Hugh Bovill was the first postmaster and soon thereafter Bovill was the third largest town in Latah County. Today the oldest building in town is still standing, the Bovill Hotel.
The first school is located at Third and Cedar Streets. The opera house, a two story building, still stands. This building was once the place to go to see movies, school programs, graduations, indoor golf, visits from Santa and other activities in town.
Bovill’s original jailhouse has been restored and is located next to the City Hall at 100 Railroad Avenue.
Today Bovill has a population of approximately 256 people, and there are still those vacationers who come to Bovill to enjoy the wilderness and take advantage of seeing the wildlife in this area. There are many activities to keep a person busy, such as fishing, hiking, and picking huckleberries, and seasonal hunting. The surrounding countryside also boasts many trails that are available for sightseeing from your ATV.

Amenities and Attractions


Bovill has two city parks. Caroline Park has a brick and cobblestone path named “The Billy Walk” after Billy Sanderson—a Bovill resident well-known in Latah County for his “long walks” to Elk River, Clarkia, Deary and Troy. The park also has a war memorial, gazebo and a tall swing.


Village Park, donated by the Potlatch Corporation in 1994, has a baseball field and bleachers. The park is the location of the annual “Old Timers Picnic” on the third Sunday of July.


The surrounding forest, mountains, streams and reservoirs offer fabulous opportunities for outdoor recreation and activities such as camping, hunting, fishing, hiking and biking. ATV, snowmobile and cross-country ski trails are available in almost every direction.


The closest downhill skiing is 56 miles southeast at Bald Mountain Ski Resort near Pierce.


The 54-mile-long Dworshak Reservoir on the Clearwater River lies 15 miles across the mountains southeast of Bovill. However, hard surfaced road access to this outstanding regional asset and the 650-foot-high Dworshak Dam is 60 miles away at Orofino.


White pine timber and the railroads used to transport the logs spurred the city’s early growth. Today logging trucks and automobiles have replaced freight and passenger trains. However, the historic timber heritage of the city is still visible in the rail beds of spur lines used to get the logs out of the woods.


Most of the city’s downtown historic buildings still stand but are owned privately and not maintained. Past efforts by the city and community leaders to purchase the buildings have failed.


In 1996 the City purchased the historic St. Joseph Catholic Church from the Catholic Diocese of Boise. With help from the Idaho Historical Society and grants from the White Family Heritage Library, the City has restored the church which now houses the public library.


Many logging and forest service trails near Bovill are available for hiking, ATV and snowmobile use. Some trails connect to Elk River, Avon, Clarkia, Avery and the Potlatch area.