Brief Historical Outline of Idaho Villages & Towns
Lewis and Clearwater Counties
By Louise Stockard Ells-Hodge
Municipal government of Idaho is devided by population: cities of the first class, 15,000 population or more, cities ( or towns) of second class: 1000 population or over and Villages have 200 population or over. Actually Idaho consists of many villages with less then 200 inhabinets.
Idaho also has many ghost towns some with a building or two partly standing but many with just memories. Many towns were started in the days of the mining booms and as the mines, people moved on.
Other towns and villages were started near farming communities and as the railroad came and by passed the towns by several miles, people moved away to make new lives closer to the railroads.
Some of the towns and villages of Idaho, Lewis and Clearwater counties still in existance are:
A post office was established in 1898 at this site three miles down the Clearwater River from Orofino, in Clearwater county. The alt. is 1,005 feet.
It was named for the Indian arrowheads found there or so the story goes. Alt. 840 feet and is situated on the banks of the Clearwater River 14 miles northeast of Lewiston.
In northwest Idaho County, 30 miles west of Grangeville. The post office was opened in 1911.
The town was located 60 miles southeast of Grangeville in Idaho county.The mining camp was started in August of 1898.
It is situated between the Clearwater and Salmon RiversMiners came from far and wide to "strike it rich"Two of the first mines were The Big Buffalo and the Merrimack Quartz mines. Hundreds of locations were staked out and trails,roads and towns were built.
In Idaho county,17 miles southwest of Elk City.A bank was established and served the mines in Buffalo Hump and Orogrande. The bank was very important to the nearby mines. The two mines mentioned had a payroll of over 500 men in it's 'hayday".
Caribel is in Idaho county,about 16 miles northeast of Kamiah.
This location was 8 miles south of Rubens in Lewis county. It started as a sawmill town but like many towns when the railroad passed them by, people moved on.
60 miles southeast of Grangeville,in Idaho county, a town was built near the old Atlas Mine and was named Concord. It was as important as Buffalo Hump and Calender.
Situated in northwest Idaho county, 16 miles northwest of Grangeville. The post office was established in 1869 and the town incorporated in 1901 during the Florence gold rush. Altitude is 3,687.
1,500 feet altitude. It's located 15 miles northeast of Ahsahka and was founded in 1896 and named for Charles Dent. At that time it was a stopping place for people going up the river.
This site was bought by the Denver Townsite Co. in 1892 and was situtated in the northwest part of Idaho County,halfway between Cottonwood and Grangeville. Several stores were built and stocked in hopes of good times.When the railread came in 1908,the tracks missed the town by 3 miles and a new town,Fenn soon took over the business in the area ,leaving Denver to die.
Dixie is located in south central Idaho county, 26 miles south of Elk City. It was founded in 1867 as a mining camp and named for an early settler. Unlike most mining area's, chinese were not alowed to mine there.
Is located in a beautiful meadow in Idaho county, 53 miles east of Grangeville. Thousands of miners came to the region in 1861.The altitude is 4,200 feet.
Fenn is at 3,283 feet altitude and is eight miles northwest of Grangeville in Idaho county. Fenn was built because of the building of the rairoad. It was named for Major Fenn.
3,728 altitude in northwestern Idaho county, 24 miles northwest of Grangeville. The town was named by the founder F.M. Bicker who named it for his home town in Indiana. He homesteaded and built a store in 1884 and a post office was established in 1898. The railroad came in 1908. It's situated 2 miles north of Lawyers Canyon bridge.
About 40 miles southeast of Grangeville, in Idaho county, this town was started when five miners from Orofino mines discovered gold in the area in August of 1861. One of the largest mining stampedes of Idaho followed and a town was laid out at the head of Baboon Guitch.The rich deposits covered an area of only 25 square miles. The population rose to 10,000 .As the gold ran out the town dwindled. Numerous loads of freight were hauled in during the boom but always there was shortages. Prices were out of site. Flour sold for $75.00 a bag and bacon at $3.00 a pound. In 1862 a new town was started about a mile from the orignal townsite.This was done to permit mining beneath the orginal camp.The town had dozens of saloons and stores.The town was a bonaza until 1864 and active until 1869.As white towns people moved on the chinese moved in and mined until 1880.
In western Lewis County, it is 8 miles west if West Lake. A post office was established in 1892 and later a store was opened. Many miners traveling from Lewiston to the mines in the Pierce area traveled through this community. It is said that the town was named for the timber in the vacinity.
The Gifford post office was started seven miles south of the Clearwater Rriver and twenty two miles east ofLewiston. It was named for a German settler.
A waystation was opened in Idaho county 12 miles east of Kamiah in 1916 by settlers that took up timber claims,farmington and stock raising.The postoffice and store were abandoned in 1933.
Glover was about 9 miles east of Kamiah in northern Idaho county. The post office was established about 1905 and then a store.
In 1899 a mining claim was staked on the site of Golden, the name was from the valley south of the South Fork of the Clearwater River. Later a road was built to Elk City and the original village of Golden was moved to it's present site. Golden is in central Idaho county on State highway 14 southeast of Grangeville. Alt. is 3,460 ft.
Grangemont is located in southwest Clearwater county, 13 miles northeast of Orofino. A grange was started on the site, thus called Grangemont and a village came into being. The alt is 3,300 ft. A post office was started in 1916 and lumbering operations were started in 1920.
Grangeville is the county seat of Idaho county. It is in the central western part of the
county. Farmers and ranchers organized themselves into the first grange of Idaho, and the
organization built a grangehall and a flour and grist mill on Three Mile Creek. In 1886 the Idaho
Free Press came into existance. In 1898 during the gold rush pack trains hauled supplys from
Lewiston and Grangeville to the Buffalo Hump Mines. In 1902 the county seat was moved from
Mount Idaho to Grangeville making the town more important. By 1905 the town had three
banks, several hotels, many stores, a hospital and several banks. The alt. is 3,323 ft.
Alt 3,136 ft. Greencreek is 7 miles northeast of Cottonwood. A post office was established in 1897.
Greer is located on State highway 11 in southwest Clearwater county, 9 miles southeast of Orofino. Colonel William Craig and Jacob Schultz built a ferry across the the Clearwater River for the miners going to the Orofino and Pierce mines. This became Greer in 1861. A post office was established in 1888 and the railroad came about 1899. Alt. is 1,091.
Alt. l,600. Harpster is on the east bank of the South Fork of the Clearwater River, 13 miles northeast of Grangeville in Idaho county. This site was a toll bridge in the early 1860's and was burned in 1877. The town of Bridgeport was then built and later named Harpster for a early settler.
This town 7 miles east of Kamiah was named by it's founder in 1902. A postoffice was opened in 1905.
Headquarters is located 13 miles north of Pierce in central Clearwater County. It was built by the Potlatch Lumber Co. as a rail terminus and mill headquarters. The company houses were built in a circular arrangment to make it easier to get around in the winter, when the snow was very deep. The co store, the school and houses were owned by the Potlatch co. If you did not live in the "Circle of houses" you were not allowed to attend the school and would need to ride a bus to Pierce to attend school. ( my family lived near Headquarters in 1943 and I did not attend the first grade until we moved to Kooskie the next year because I was not allowed to attend the company school and the winter was too cold and snowey for me to go to Pierce.)
Joseph is in west central Idaho county. 17 miles west of Whitebird. It was named for Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians. The post office was established in 1906.
Anton Hendricks started this village in 1884 in northwest Idaho county 7 miles west of Cottonwood. A store and post office were built in 1888 by Joe Keuter. Alt is 3,960 ft.
In 1896 Erickson Sawmill began operation of it's vast timber reaches in Nezperce county. The town of Kippen and the mill started at that time.They were located 3 miles south of Reubens in Lewis county.The post office was established in 1898.Later the town was absorbed into Reubens.
Kooskia is situated at the junction of the Middle Fork and South Forks of the Clearwater River in northwest Idaho county. "Stuart" was settled at the opening of the NezPerce Reservation in 1895. The railroad came in 1899. The towns name was changed to Kooskia in 1901. Alt. l,140 ft.
Iio was at the present site of Craigmont in Lewis county.The first store was started in 1898 and the post office in 1902.The town was named for Iio Leggett.lt was originally 1% miles west but was moved to the tracks when the railread came. On the east side of the tracks was Volmer. The two towns were rivals until Craigmont absorbed both towns when it was incorperated in 1920.
A post office was established about 10 miles east of Kooskie in Idaho county.A short time later it was out rivaled by Lowell.
Lowell is 23 miles east of Kooskia in northern Idaho county. It's at the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway Rivers in a primative area. The towns of Syringa and Lorena in this area once perished after Lowell was founded. (Alt. 1,500 ft.)
Lucile is on US 95, in southwest Idaho County and 23 miles south of Whitebird. It was named for Lucile Ailshie in 1903. (Alt is 1,750)
( Alt 3,300 ft) A store and post office was built in1889. In 1927 the post office was moved a
mile west to it's present site.
In 1861 Mose Milner built the first cabin 4 miles east of Grangville in the eastern part of Camas Prairie.The log cabin was later used as a hotel. It was the first Way Station for the miners going to the mining area. In 1861 Milner and others cut a trail to the mines at Florence. In 1863 the first Republician Convention was held thers. Mt Idaho became the first county seat in 1876.Settlers built the stone fort that housed most of the inhabitants during the Nez Perce War. As the mines closed and the county became more settled the trade went to Grangville.The post office closed in 1922.From Mt Idaho you can see the Clearwater River,the prairie and it's northern boundary of hills and canyons.
The town was about 30 miles east of Grangeville on Newsome Creek in Idaho county.The town was named for John Newsome ,an early settler. The first building was built in 1862.The town became a mining camp and stage station which was the stopping place for travelers going to the mines at Elk City and a distributing point for supplies. In 1864 a post office was built and continued until 1929,when the Elk City Highway was completed.After Newsome was left off the mail route the post office was closed and the town abandoned.
Nezperce is the seat of Lewis County and is in the center of the county. The townsite was opened by the government for settlement in late 1895, when one lot and one residence, were issued to each applicant. The Nezperce Indian Reservation was opened about the same time and the surrounding country was quickly settled. At one time Nezperce had a population of 1000 people.
At the head of the northfork of Orofino Creek in the southern part of Clearwater county and 40 miles east of the present town of Orofino ,the first town of Orofino srarted in 1862.As headquarters for the mines it shared it's importance with the old town of Pierce, only a few miles away. Many of the remaining people moved to the new Pierce.
Orofino sets on the bank of the Clearwater River in southwestern corner of Clearwater county. The original town of Orofino was 25 miles (near Pierce) from where it is at present time and was established during the gold rush days in1861. In 1898 the Clearwater Improvement Co. purchased the C.C. Fuller homestead at the mouth of Orofino Creek. A post office was started then. (Alt. 1,027)
Orogrande is 10 miles southwest of Elk City. This area was placer mined for many years before a hotel and store were established in 1899., in (Alt.2,520) central Idaho county.
The town was 10 miles southeast of Elk City. In 1870 the population was 1500 whites and several chinese. Five stores and many other buildings made up the town.The placer mines were worked out by 1871.That was a very hard winter and most of the white men left while they could get outbut about 100 chinese stayed to rework the mines. They were attacked by indians and the town burned. Two of the chinese survived by hiding in a cellar.
This post office was on the east bank of the Clearwater River, 7 miles south of Greer in Clearwater county. It was named for Alfred Pardee, a mining man from Pennsylvania. (Alt 1,139)
Pierce was named for Captain E.D. Pierce a miner that discovered gold in the area in 1860 and later helped found the town. The post office was started in 1864. It was the first county seat in what was to become Idaho and the old courthouse still stands. (Alt.3,100)
This town was located 6 miles above the junction of the Little and Big Salmon Rivers in the southwest part of Idaho county. By the 1860's mines were located about 8 miles above town.Travel was hard and the money that was made did not justify more developement. The stores were moved about 16 miles up the Little Salmon River and New Pollock was started.
RED RIVER HOT SPRINGS
The altitude is 5,000 fi. It's on the Red River in Idaho county, 24 miles east of Elk City. It's a popular camping, hiking and resort area and looks little like the old town.
Reubens is in northwestern Lewis county. It began with the comming of the Camas Prairie Railroad in 1907 and was named for a Nez Perce chief. The post office was started in 1908.Kippen and Chesley, small near by towns were absorbed into Reubens.
Russell was 12 miles north of Nezperce in Lewis county. In 1902 a post office was opened and stores were built. In the early days it was the only trading point between Nezperce and Oroflno.The railroad was built several years before the read to Nezperce and freight went from Orofino through Russell to other places on the prairie.As roads improved Russell lost business.
This town 35 miles from Pierce in Clearwater county was one of the first towns in the state. Seth Slater had set sail with captain Baughman and sailed up the Columbia,Snake and Clearwater Rivers in 1861 .Freight was unloaded at the Big Eddy. Slatter and a few others remained at the spot and discovered gold. Later Slater built a store at the confluence of the rivers at the present site of Lewiston.
Stites was named for it's founder in 1899 and is located on highway 13 in northwestern Idaho county east of Grangevi!le. The Alt. Is 1,180 ft.
This settlement was started on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River 16 miles from Kooskie in 1899 the railroad entered Idaho county and a post office and store was established in the region. Syringa was named for the native wild flowers growing there.
Alt. Is 3,300 ft. and was located in western Clearwater county,5 miles east of Cavendish in 1880.Teakean means "High Plateau"
It's on highway 11 in southern Clearwater county,18 miles east of Greer and is on the Weippe prairie. Lewis and Clark had their first meeting with the Nez Perce Indians on the prairie a few miles from the present town.
This village was named for Sarah Westlake an early settler. A store was built in 1889 and the postoffice im1893.1t is in the northwest part of Idaho county. The Alt. Is 4,604 ft.
The town was named for a chief of the Nez Perce. Samuel Benedict built the first store in 1877 in west central Idaho county.The Alt. Is 1,444.He was killed and his store distroyed.ln 1889 H.C. Brown built a store and next a post office in 1891.
The town was established in 1908 in western Lewis county.The Alt. Is 3,000 ft.
The Alt. Is 3,282 and is in northwest Idaho county,17 miles northeast of Cottonwood.The village was first known as Lowe when the post office was established in 1901.The name was changed to Winona in 1908.
The Alt.is 2,500 Ft and is in northern Idaho county and was settled by a party of people from Kansas. It is located 12 miles north of Kamiah.
This town 4 miles south of Winchester was named by a man by the name of Marr. He named it for it's location on the edge of a heavily wooded area. It was a trading point for sheep and lumber and a post office was established in 1903. Soon the railroad came and took the trade to nearby Winchester.
*A few of these towns like Weippe, Stites and a few others are still surviving and growing but most of them belong to the past. In 1979 my family visited the site of Calender and Buffalo Hump. All we could find of the past was a few boards ,tin cans and timbers. It was Labor Day weekend and because of the high altitude the spring wild flowers were just finishing blooming. As the weekend ended we drove away talking about the "cities' that once had been.
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