ITD scans will help preserve Lewiston landmark

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again — probably because they didn't have ITD's scanning technology.

When community leaders and historians in Lewiston decided to relocate the city’s oldest building from Pioneer Park they were afraid of losing something in the process – an important part of its legacy. How could the 150-year-old wooden building be preserved and restored near the city hall without destroying it in the process?

Civic leader, teacher and historian Steve Branting needed help so he turned to ITD.


Branting and ITD collaborated in the past to use the pinpoint accuracy of GIS to locate graves in the city’s cemetery as part of a school project. They will join forces again next week to do a three-dimensional scan of the historic Thompson/Miranda cabin that has been a cultural icon at the city park.

ITD tentatively will begin the scan Friday.

The intent, Branting explains, is to create a digitized image of the structure that dates to before 1867 and the founding of the north-central Idaho city. The scan will capture all of the intricate details of the building’s surface and represent it as a three-dimensional “point cloud.”

Thousands of measurements will be taken to ensure the building doesn’t lose its shape or identity in the impending move.

ITD will conduct the scan at no cost as a service to the community.

The first documented owner of the building was Samuel C. Thompson (1820-1898), who traveled to Lewiston in 1862 and became one “of the chief wealth holders of the county,” according to Branting. An industrious entrepreneur, Thompson eventually acquired most of the property between 14th and 21st streets in Lewiston and south to 11th Avenue.

A year after the Spalding Mission centennial in 1936, the cabin was moved to the 5th Street Park (now Pioneer Park) where it was maintained in good repair largely through the efforts of the Pioneer Society of North Idaho.

The Idaho Heritage Trust will fund relocation and restoration of the community treasure.

Published 6-8-2012