The first residents of the McCall area were Native American bands attracted by the plentiful game and wild foods around Payette Lake. In the early 19th century, mountain men like François Payette opened the area up for white European settlers; with the Idaho gold rush of the 1860s, miners (and soon after, loggers) began living along the shores of the lake. In the early 1890s, Thomas and Louisa McCall established a homesite, then built a school, a hotel, and a post office, and gave the place their family name. McCall grew into a roughneck logging town, with saloons, dance halls, gambling houses, and brothels. But as more and more of the region became protected forestland, logging died out and a service economy began to develop, with an infrastructure supporting ski resorts, hotels, recreational outfitters, golf, hiking and camping, and a myriad of other activities. Today McCall has evolved into one of the best places anywhere for year-round outdoor adventure.