Idaho City, Idaho

Idaho City, Idaho
Idaho City

Idaho City was founded as "Bannock" in 1862 during the great Boise Basin gold rush. Even though there was a gold rush happening to the east in the area of Bannack, Montana, the Boise Basin gold rush was the biggest since the California gold rush of 1849. As the town population exploded, the Idaho Territory legislature changed the name from Bannock to Idaho City so the postal service, freight companies and stagecoach riders wouldn't get confused.

Construction was fast and furious, mostly in wood. That meant Idaho City would burn four times: 1865, 1867, 1868 and 1871. It was rebuilt each time but the population peaked at around 7,000 in the mid-1860's and then started dropping as the gold ore played out. At the peak, there were three dozen saloons and two dozen law offices counted among the more than 200 businesses in town. During that time, the greater Boise Basin population numbered in the tens of thousands but the boom was over almost as quickly as it began. By 1870, the population of Idaho City was below 900. By 1920, it was down to 120. Today, Idaho City lives on hunting, fishing and "heritage tourism": the countryside is still full of open mine shafts, decaying buildings and mechanical works and piles of mine tailings. Idaho City itself isn't all that modern but a lot of the buildings have some amount of historical significance. Idaho City is growing again but is still only the second largest town in the county and is now locked in a legislative battle to keep the county seat from being moved to Horseshoe Bend.

The main road through town is State Highway 21, also known as the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway.

Fast Facts about Idaho City, Idaho
Idaho City, Boise County, ID 83631
Founded: 1862
Elevation: 3,907'
Latitude: 43.8285°N
Longitude: 115.8321°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 89.7%
Native American: 1.2%
Hispanic: 8.1%
Two or More Races: 1.0%
High School or Higher: 85.5%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 11.4%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 3.4%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 475
Males: 234
Females: 241
Median Resident Age: 37.4 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $35,500
Estimated Median Home Value: $115,350
Population Density: 677 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Idaho City: 84.6
Major Industries:
Government, Lodging & Food Services, Construction, Educational Services, Fishing & Hunting, Computers & Electronic Products, Professional Services, Waste Management Services, Social Services
Unemployed (March 2011): 13.1%
Photo of Idaho City is courtesy of Chlämens.
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