Idaho’s history as a thriving “Old West” mining state, riddled with boom towns, ghost towns, and unincorporated cities leaves our present little slice of heaven with a rich and complex history. Shootouts, range wars, vigilantes, and western lore abound as greatly as our picturesque scenery. However, as cities rose and fell with claims and county seat determination was tossed around with the popular vote, navigating Idaho’s incorporation timeline becomes a challenge that will forever remain incomplete.

For the most part, Idaho’s non-native settlement grew from the south as Mormon pioneers explored and made permanent homes on their way north from Utah. But Idaho’s population also grew seemingly all at once throughout the then-territory, inseparable from the rich ores and mining camps that still permeate the state. Today, we’ve dug up just a handful of Idaho’s oldest towns and their equally rich histories to give you a small taste of the Gem State’s unique story. While by no means a precise list of Idaho’s oldest communities, these gems feature prominently in Idaho’s past. Enjoy!

Of course, Idaho is chock full of towns that are equally full of history – and we love hearing from local residents with the inside scoop! Do you live in one of these historic towns or know someone who does? What else can you add that makes these places special to Idaho history?


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