Oldtown, Idaho

The Pend Oreille River at Oldtown, Idaho

Oldtown is located along US Highway 2 beside the Pend Oreille River just off the Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage. This location west of Priest River and against the Washington state line is also next to the International Selkirk Loop, a scenic byway that passes through northern Idaho, northeastern Washington and southeastern British Columbia. Oldtown is directly across the state line from the considerably larger Newport, Washington.

The original settlement in the area was at Oldtown (which had been surveyed and platted as Newport, Idaho in 1893). Back in those days, the town was a port for river steamers plying the Pend Oreille River between Albeni Falls and Z Canyon. The Northern Pacific Railroad arrived in the area in 1888 and set up a train depot in a boxcar. The boxcar burned in 1894 and the train depot was moved to railroad land on the Washington side of the state line. A ferry connected the two settlements with the rest of Idaho until a non-railroad bridge was finally built in 1927. Slowly, businesses migrated across the state line to be nearer the train depot. Oldtown was left with the saloons, gambling halls and bordellos as Idaho laws were much less restrictive than Washington laws. Idaho changed the liquor laws in 1946, an action which led to Oldtown becoming an incorporated village so that they could control their own destiny a bit more. In 1967, the Idaho Legislature mandated that all incorporated villages become incorporated cities. For many years the timber industry was king around here but that business started to fall off in the late 1980's and nothing has moved in to really replace it in the local economy.

Fast Facts about Oldtown, Idaho
Oldtown, Bonner County, ID 83822
Incorporated: 1947
Elevation: 2,173'
Latitude: 48.1856°N
Longitude: 117.0302°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 91.6%
Hispanic: 2.1%
Native American: 6.3%
Two or More Races: 3.2%
High School or Higher: 74.8%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 198
Males: 94
Females: 104
Median Resident Age: 37.5 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $22,200
Estimated Median Home Value: $73,100
Population Density: 854 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Oldtown: 85.3
Major Industries:
Wood Products, Furniture Manufacturing, Construction, Food Stores, Lodging & Food Services, Forestry & Timber Products, Transportation Services, Machinery Wholesalers, Finance & Insurance Services, Health Care, Educational Services
Unemployed (March 2011): 16.1%
Photo of the Pend Oreille River at Oldtown courtesy of the Newport-Oldtown Chamber of Commerce.
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