Pierce – Weippe Prairie
Scenic Beauty, Rich History, Amazing Recreation
Year Established: 1861
Average Temp: Summer 80F
The first discovery of gold in Idaho was made by Elias D. Pierce and Wilbur F. Bassett on Orofino Creek in October 1860, a mile north of Pierce.
Pierce was the first county seat for Shoshone County, which was established in January 1861 in Washington Territory and for a most of its first year included most of present-day Idaho and Wyoming. The Pierce Courthouse, constructed in 1862, is Idaho’s oldest public building. Idaho Territory was established in 1863, and the county seat moved north to the Silver Valley in Murray in 1884 (and to Wallace in 1898). Present-day Clearwater County, formed in 1911, was part of Shoshone County until 1904, when it was annexed by Nez Perce County.
In earlier days the Weippe area was frequented by the Nez Perce Indians, who enjoyed the summer climate and profitable hunting grounds. They erected lodges, fished, hunted and dug the camas root in the surrounding area. In 1805, Lewis and Clark had their first encounter with the Nez Perce Indians on the Weippe Prairie, not far from the present townsite.
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