Nez Perce County


Named for the Nez Perce Indians, Nez Perce County was established in 1861 in what was then Washington Territory. Idaho Territory was formed in 1863, and Nez Perce County was formally created by the Idaho legislature in 1864.


Within the original boundaries lay the present day Idaho counties of Latah, Benewah, Kootenai, Bonner, Boundary, Lewis and part of Idaho County. The current boundaries were established in 1911.

For about 80 years, many small towns dotted the map of Nez Perce County. Each town had its own post office, general store, and other services. Lewiston businesses usually supplied the stores in these small towns.  As transportation improved, townspeople and rural residents could more quickly and inexpensively drive to Lewiston. Although some businesses in Culdesac, Lapwai and Peck have closed, adjustments have been made to keep these towns alive.


However, the businesses in the small villages like Gifford, Sweetwater, Melrose, Rosetta and Spalding that were passed by-passeded by main roads are gone. The only residents remaining, many of them second and third generation families, live in the scattered houses.

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© 2019 by Nez Perce County Historical Society and Museum

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