St. Maries, Idaho

St. Maries, Idaho
The Memorial to Fallen Loggers in St. Maries

The town of St. Maries is located next to the Saint Joe and St. Maries Rivers, a great location for floating timber for processing in the area's sawmills. St. Maries is just off the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation and acts as the main retail center for the eastern part of Benewah County. The beauty of the area and the quality of life have conspired together to create a sizable retirement community in St. Maries, too.

About 100 years ago, Joseph Fisher decided this area would be a good place to build a sawmill. He built and the workers came and brought timber to him. Within a few years, 2 larger mills were built in town and the town became incorporated. The town boomed through World War I, then almost died during the Great Depression, only to be revitalized in the push to re-arm in the late 1930's. The lumber mills were full out from then through the late 1950's, although the 3 recessions that occurred during the Eisenhower years made for quite the economic roller coaster. Then the mill burned to the ground in 1961.

With federal assistance, the Benewah County Development Corporation built a new plywood mill on the site of the old lumber mill a couple years later. The plywood mill was so successful it was expanded several times before being bought by the Potlatch Lumber Corporation and integrated in their St. Maries Complex, which still produces plywood, wood chips and dimension lumber for construction purposes. The county development corporation also helped finance the construction of the Rayonier complex in Plummer and the Regulus Stud Mill in St. Maries (for milling smaller tree sizes and fulfilling the needs of a specific construction market).

St. Joe River, northern Idaho
The St. Joe River in St. Maries
Fast Facts about St. Maries, Idaho
St. Maries, Benewah County, ID 83861
Incorporated: 1906
Elevation: 2,192'
Latitude: 47.3148°N
Longitude: 116.5705°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 94.3%
Hispanic: 4.8%
Native American: 1.0%
High School or Higher: 82.4%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 12.8%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 3.6%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 2,609
Males: 1,321
Females: 1,288
Median Resident Age: 38.0 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $35,300
Estimated Median Home Value: $116,150
Population Density: 2,409 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for St. Maries: 83.2
Major Industries:
Timber & Wood Products, Health Care, truck transportation, Educational Services, Government, Automotive Services, Social Services, Finance & Insurance Services
Unemployed (March 2011): 19.1%
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