Idaho City is a city in and the county seat of Boise County, Idaho, United States, located about northeast of Boise, Idaho, Boise. The population was 485 at the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, up from 458 in 2000. Idaho City is part of the Boise City−Nampa, Idaho, Nampa, Idaho Boise metropolitan area, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Idaho City was founded in December 1862 as “Bannock” (sometimes given as “West Bannock”), amidst the Boise Basin gold rush during the American Civil War, Civil War, the largest since the California gold rush a dozen years earlier. Near the confluence of Elk and Mores Creeks, its plentiful water supply allowed it to outgrow the other nearby camps in the basin, such as Placerville, Idaho, Placerville, Pioneerville, and Centerville. As its population swelled, the new Idaho Territory, Idaho Territorial legislature changed the town's name to “Idaho City,” to avoid confusion with Bannack, Montana, Bannack, in present-day Beaverhead County, Montana, Beaverhead County, the southwestern corner of Montana. At its peak during the mid-1860s, there were more than 200 businesses in town, including three dozen saloons and two dozen law offices. Its 1864 population of 7,000 made it the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Northwest, bigger than Portland, Oregon, Portland. Wood was the prime source of both shelter and heat, which caused Idaho City to burn four times: 1865, 1867, 1868, and 1871. Five businesses on Main Street burned again in the early hours of June 5, 2015. In 1863, St. Joseph's Catholic Church was established; it was the first Catholic Church, Catholic parish in the new Idaho Territory and the church was completed the following year. Idaho City is an important location in local Freemasonry, Masonic history. The Grand Lodge of Idaho was founded in Idaho City in 1867. Idaho Lodge No. 1 was originally located in Idaho City, but is now in Boise, Idaho, Boise. During the boom, the greater Boise Basin population numbered in the tens of thousands, but most departed the mountains once mining declined. Idaho City's population fell below 900 by 1870 and was down to 104 by 1920. The modern economy relies mainly on hunting and fishing tourism, and visits to the many historic sites, including the Boot Hill, Boot Hill Cemetery. Outside of town, the mining tailings of the era are ubiquitous. Senator Frank Church announced his candidacy for the 1976 Democratic National Convention, Democratic nomination for president from the porch of the county courthouse in Idaho City in March 1976. His grandfather had settled there in 1871 and his father was born there in 1889. Chase A. Clark, Chase Clark, Church's father-in-law, had announced his candidacy for governor in Idaho City in 1940.


Four thousand Chinese people lived in the Idaho Territory from 1869 to 1875. Like many Chinese immigrants, they came to “Gold Mountain” to work as miners, or found work as laundrymen and cooks. The store of Pon Yam, a prominent Chinese businessman Pon Yam House from 1867 is one of the only remaining buildings from Idaho City's Chinese. Although today Chinese are rarely seen except as tourists, the 1870 census reported at 1,751 Chinese who were nearly half of city residents. Annie Lee was one legendary Idaho city woman who like Polly Bemis, escaped enslavement from the “world’s oldest profession”. She escaped from a member of the Yeong Wo Company in the 1870s to Boise to marry her lover, another Chinese man. Charged by her owner with grand larceny, she told a judge that she wanted to stay in Boise City. The judge subsequently granted her freedom.

Geography and climate

Idaho City is located at (43.828513, -115.832175), at an elevation of AMSL, above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land. Idaho City experiences a fairly typical Inland Northwest continental Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification, Köppen ''Dsb'') with cold, snowy winters and warm, dry summers, typified throughout by large diurnal temperature variations. The town averages 217 nights below per year – as many as Fairbanks, Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska and 100 more than nearby Boise – 24 days which fail to top freezing, and 14 nights that fall below . Owing to its more exposed location and slightly higher altitude, it is not only noticeably cooler but also much wetter than Boise, receiving twice as much precipitation and almost four times as much snowfall, which averages with a maximum daily snow cover of in January 1982.


2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 485 people, 216 households, and 124 families residing in the city. The population density was . There were 294 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the city was 94.2% White (U.S. Census), White, 1.6% Native American (U.S. Census), Native American, 0.8% Asian (U.S. Census), Asian, 0.6% from Race (U.S. Census), other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic (U.S. Census), Hispanic or Latino (U.S. Census), Latino of any race were 4.9% of the population. There were 216 households, of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were Marriage, married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.6% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.97. The median age in the city was 42.2 years. 23.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.6% were from 25 to 44; 34.1% were from 45 to 64; and 13% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.1% male and 48.9% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 458 people, 191 households, and 119 families residing in the city. The population density was 652.5 people per square mile (252.6/km2). There were 257 housing units at an average density of 366.2 per square mile (141.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.36% White, 3.06% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.66% from Race (United States Census), other races, and 3.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.53% of the population. There were 191 households, out of which 34.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00. In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.3% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 7.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males. The median income for a household in the city was $28,068, and the median income for a family was $33,295. Males had a median income of $25,750 versus $20,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,370. About 17.3% of families and 19.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.7% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.

Political representation

Idaho City is included in Idaho's 1st congressional district and has been represented by Republican Russ Fulcher since 2019. The current mayor is Phillip J. Canody.

Population history

* 1863: 6,275 * 1864: 7,000


* - Idaho State Highway 21, SH-21 to Boise, Idaho, Boise (south) and Stanley, Idaho, Stanley (north) The city is served by Idaho State Highway 21, State Highway 21, a two-lane undivided highway that connects to Boise to the southwest. To the northeast, it continues on to Lowman, Idaho, Lowman and Stanley, Idaho, Stanley. The highway travels through the Boise National Forest and is designated as the “Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway.” The route ascends to Banner Creek Summit at and later enters the Sawtooth National Recreation Area about northwest of Stanley.


External links

Idaho City Chamber of Commerce

Idaho City Photo Essay
{{authority control Cities in Boise County, Idaho Cities in Idaho County seats in Idaho Boise metropolitan area Boot Hill cemeteries