In the early 1980s the Kootenai County Historic Preservation officer contacted individuals about donating photos or allowing copies to be made. He collected about 340 images including early homes, businesses, agricultural activities, people and other aspects of the history of the Rathdrum area.
Negatives of the collection were donated to the Westwood Historical Society and housed in the Rathdrum Library. They were moved to the City Hall and other locations, as the Society didn’t have resources to store and care for them. The collection was eventually donated to the Museum of North Idaho with the stipulation that prints are made for the Library and the Historical Society in Rathdrum. The Museum of North Idaho houses a collection of more than 20,000 images. All the photos are cataloged on a database, stored in archival sleeves and fireproof filing cabinets. The collection is accessible to the public and widely used by newspapers, magazines, public television, genealogist, students and historians.