Arco, Idaho

Arco, Idaho
A view from Arco, Idaho

Arco was named for Georg von Arco, an inventor who later became the chief engineer of Telefunken (a major German manufacturer of radio vacuum tubes). Originally the settlement was named Root Hog but when the town fathers changed the boundaries to include the crossroads of two stagecoach routes, they applied to the US Post Office to change the name to "Junction." The Postmaster General didn't approve and he suggested "Arco" because the German engineer was visiting Washington DC at the time...

Arco is located between the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve and the Idaho National Laboratory reservation. On July 17, 1955, Arco became the world's first nuclear powered city. There are more than 50 nuclear reactors built on the land of the Idaho National Laboratory. The economy of Arco is still based mostly on the INL but agricultural products and the recreational possibilities of the Lost River Valley have gotten more important in recent years. The population of Arco peaked in the 1960's, then started dropping as research efforts and construction at the INL were cut back.

An interesting landmark in Arco is the sail/conning tower of the USS Hawkbill, a nuclear submarine that was decommissioned in 2001. The conning tower was placed in Arco in commemoration of the 40,000 sailors who were trained in nuclear operations at the Idaho National Laboratory. Another landmark just outside of town is "Number Hill." Since 1920, most graduating classes from Arco High School have ventured onto the hill to paint their year's number on the rock somewhere. Now there's a pretty extensive collection of "number graffiti."

Arco City Hall
Arco City Hall and Recreation Center
Fast Facts about Arco, Idaho
Arco, Butte County, ID 83213
Founded: 1901
Elevation: 5,325'
Latitude: 43.6346°N
Longitude: 113.3013°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 95.6%
Hispanic: 3.6%
Two or More Races: 0.9%
High School or Higher: 76.4%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 12.7%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 4.5%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 989
Males: 473
Females: 516
Median Resident Age: 40.2 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $23,500
Estimated Median Home Value: $70,600
Population Density: 1,122 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Arco: 83.8
Major Industries:
Health Care, Construction, Government, Educational Services, Professional Services, Lodging & Food Services, Agriculture, Transportation Services, Finance & Insurance Services, Social Services
Unemployed (March 2011): 8.4%
Upper photo is courtesy of Daniel Mayer, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Lower photo courtesy of Squelle, CCA ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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