Shoshone County, Idaho

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This article is about the county. For the Southern Idaho city, see Shoshone, Idaho.
Shoshone County, Idaho
Seal of Shoshone County, Idaho
Map of Idaho highlighting Shoshone County
Location in the state of Idaho
Map of the United States highlighting Idaho
Idaho's location in the U.S.
Founded February 4, 1864
Named for Shoshone tribe
Seat Wallace
Largest city Kellogg
 • Total 2,635 sq mi (6,825 km2)
 • Land 2,634 sq mi (6,822 km2)
 • Water 5.5 sq mi (14 km2), 0.2%
 • (2010) 12,765
 • Density 4.9/sq mi (2/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7

Shoshone County is a county located in the U.S. state of Idaho. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,765.[1] The county seat is Wallace,[2] and the largest city is Kellogg. The county was established in 1864, named for the Native American Shoshone tribe.

Shoshone County is commonly referred to as the Silver Valley, due to its century-old mining history. The Silver Valley is famous nationwide for the vast amounts of silver, lead, and zinc mined from it.


Hard rock miners in Shoshone County protested wage cuts with a strike in 1892. After several lost their lives in a shooting war provoked by discovery of a company spy, the U.S. army forced an end to the strike. Hostilities erupted once again in 1899 when, in response to the company firing seventeen men for joining the union, the miners dynamited the Bunker Hill & Sullivan mill. Again, lives were lost, and the U.S. Army intervened, requested by Governor Frank Steunenberg, as the Idaho National Guard troops were still stationed in the Philippines following the Spanish–American War. Steunenberg was assassinated outside his residence in Caldwell in 1905, nearly five years after leaving office, and the subsequent trials in Boise in 1907 made national headlines.

Much of the county was burned in the Great Fire of 1910, including part of the town of Wallace.[3]

Until 1904, Shoshone County included present-day Clearwater County to the south. That portion was annexed by Nez Perce County for several years and then was established as a new county in 1911.[4] The original county seat of Shoshone County was Pierce, in today's Clearwater County. It was the first gold rush area of present-day Idaho (then Washington Territory) in 1860 and was made the county seat of a vast Shoshone County in 1861, two years prior to the establishment of the Idaho Territory. When the Silver Valley population rose dramatically in the 1880s, the seat was moved to Murray in 1884 (and to Wallace in 1898) to better serve the majority of the county's population. The population of the southern area increased with homesteading in the Weippe area in the late 1890s. The vast distance and time required for travel to Wallace from the Clearwater River area prompted the move of the southern portion to Nez Perce County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,635 square miles (6,820 km2), of which 2,630 square miles (6,800 km2) is land and 5.5 square miles (14 km2) (0.2%) is water.[5]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highway[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 722
1880 469 −35.0%
1890 5,382 1,047.5%
1900 11,950 122.0%
1910 13,963 16.8%
1920 14,250 2.1%
1930 19,060 33.8%
1940 21,230 11.4%
1950 22,806 7.4%
1960 20,876 −8.5%
1970 19,718 −5.5%
1980 19,226 −2.5%
1990 13,931 −27.5%
2000 13,771 −1.1%
2010 12,765 −7.3%
Est. 2013 12,690 −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 13,771 people, 5,906 households, and 3,856 families residing in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 7,057 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.84% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 1.52% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.49% from other races, and 1.74% from two or more races. 1.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.1% were of German, 14.0% American, 11.3% English, 9.7% Irish and 5.9% Norwegian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 5,906 households out of which 26.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 8.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.70% were non-families. 29.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.90% under the age of 18, 6.70% from 18 to 24, 25.50% from 25 to 44, 27.40% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 99.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,535, and the median income for a family was $35,694. Males had a median income of $30,439 versus $18,831 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,934. About 12.40% of families and 16.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.80% of those under age 18 and 10.00% of those age 65 or over.


Shoshone County was historically a Democratic-leaning county, but in recent years has voted for Republican presidential candidates, while favoring Democratic candidates locally and state-wide. The county polled a majority for Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brady and Democratic Senatorial candidate Larry LaRocco, but Barack Obama lost in 2008 by an eight point margin.



Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost town[edit]

Ski areas[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Pyne, Stephen J. (2008). Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910. Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-87842-544-0. 
  4. ^ - about us - history - accessed 2011-12-11
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°21′N 115°53′W / 47.35°N 115.89°W / 47.35; -115.89