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Lewiston, Idaho

Lewiston, Idaho is a city in northern Idaho, at the confluence of the Snake River and the Clearwater River. Its main industry is paper and timber products production at the mill owned and operated by the Potlatch Corporation. Because of its position on the Snake River, Lewiston has the distinction of being Idaho's only seaport, from which barges with timber products and grain are shipped down the river to the Pacific Ocean. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 30,904.

Lewiston is home to Lewis-Clark State College, and is the county seat for Nez Perce County, Idaho.

Immediately across the Snake River is the town of Clarkston, Washington. Along the much of the Snake River is a system of levees to protect against flooding. Most of the levees are in parks that are maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Downtown Lewiston is right on the level of the river. As soon as you travel out of downtown in either a northerly or southerly direction you gain altitude quickly with steep roads and many switchbacks. In the south part of town there are a large number of houses in an area referred to as the Orchards. This area is much higher in elevation than downtown (one of the higher areas in town) and is named for the fruit orchards that previously covered the area. There is little sign of these orchards today.

The odor from the Potlatch paper mill covers most of the downtown area. This odor is mainly contained in the lowest part of the valley; in the Lewiston Orchards area, it is mostly unnoticeable except for the worst days (e.g. when Potlatch is manufacturing cardboard).

In the springtime there is a celebration named the Dogwood Festival. This celebration is named for the abundant dogwood trees that are in fragrant bloom during the festival. During and shortly after the festival these pink blossoms blow through the yards and the streets like drifts of snow.

During the fall there are a number of cottonwood trees that go to seed releasing large amounts of cotton-like clouds of seeds that blow through the air and streets. It almost looks like winter came early.

Wintertime, around Christmas, the town has a large Christmas festival that includes a number of large displays in the downtown area that are sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. These displays are typically quite impressive and have attracted people from crossed the country from time to time.

Lewiston was the original state capitol of Idaho. In 1865 it was moved to Boise against the will of the people of Lewiston. Many people in Lewiston believe it should still be the capitol.


Lewiston is located at 46°24'1" North, 117°0'4" West (46.400245, -117.001030)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 44.5 km² (17.2 mi²). 42.7 km² (16.5 mi²) of it is land and 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 4.01% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 30,904 people, 12,795 households, and 8,278 families residing in the city. The population density is 723.2/km² (1,873.0/mi²). There are 13,394 housing units at an average density of 313.4/km² (811.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 95.14% White, 0.30% African American, 1.59% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. 1.91% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 12,795 households out of which 28.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.3% are married couples living together, 9.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% are non-families. 27.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.36 and the average family size is 2.88.

In the city the population is spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $36,606, and the median income for a family is $45,410. Males have a median income of $35,121 versus $22,805 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,091. 12.0% of the population and 8.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 15.2% are under the age of 18 and 6.5% are 65 or older.