Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Coeur d'Alene
Coeur d'Alene
Nickname(s): Lake City
Location in Kootenai County and the state of Idaho
Location in Kootenai County and the state of Idaho
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is located in USA
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Location in the United States
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Country United States
State Idaho
County Kootenai
Founded 1878
Incorporated 1887
 • Mayor Steven Widmyer
 • City 16.08 sq mi (41.65 km2)
 • Land 15.57 sq mi (40.33 km2)
 • Water 0.51 sq mi (1.32 km2)
Elevation 2,188 ft (667 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 44,137
 • Estimate (2013[3]) 46,402
 • Density 2,834.7/sq mi (1,094.5/km2)
 • Urban 98,378 (US: 304th)
 • Metro 144,265 (US: 283rd)
 • CSA 679,989 (US: 71st)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC−7)
Area code(s) 208
FIPS code 16-16750
GNIS feature ID 0379485

Coeur d'Alene (Listeni/ˈkɒr dəˈln/ KORR də-LAYN) is the largest city and county seat of Kootenai County, Idaho, United States.[4] It is the principal city of the Coeur d'Alene Metropolitan Statistical Area. Coeur d'Alene has the second largest metropolitan area in the state of Idaho. As of the 2010 census the population of Coeur d'Alene was 44,137.[5] The city is located about 30 mi (48 km) east of the larger Spokane, Washington. After the 2010 Census the two metropolitan areas were merged into a single Combined Statistical Area with a population of 679,989.[6] Coeur d'Alene is the largest city in northern Idaho Panhandle. The city is situated on the north shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, 25-mile (40 km) in length. Locally, Coeur d'Alene is known as the "Lake City," or simply called by its initials: "CDA".

The city of Coeur d'Alene has grown significantly in recent years, in part because of a substantial increase in tourism, encouraged by several resorts in the area. Barbara Walters called the city "a little slice of Heaven" and included it in her list of most fascinating places to visit. On November 28, 2007, Good Morning America broadcast the city's Christmas lighting ceremony because its display is among the largest in the United States. Coeur d'Alene is a resort town, with the Coeur d'Alene Resort taking up a prominent portion of the city's downtown. It is also located near two major ski resorts, with Silver Mountain Resort to the east in Kellogg, and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort to the north in Sandpoint.

The city is named after the Coeur d'Alene People, a tribe of Native Americans who live along the rivers and lakes of the region and were first encountered by French fur traders in the late 18th and early 19th century. The name Cœur d'Alène translated into English means Heart of an Awl, a reflection of the perception of the tribe's traders as very tough businessmen.


French fur traders allegedly named the local Indian tribe the Coeur d'Alene out of respect for their tough trading practices.[7] Translated from French Cœur d'Alène or Alêne literally means "heart of the awl" which might mean "sharp-hearted" or "shrewd".

The area was extensively explored by David Thompson of the North West Company starting in 1807. The Oregon boundary dispute (or Oregon question) arose as a result of competing British and American claims to the Pacific Northwest of North America in the first half of the 19th century.

File:Coeur d'Alene.JPG
Sunset in Coeur d'Alene

The Oregon Treaty ended disputed joint occupation of the area when Britain ceded all rights to land south of the 49th parallel in 1846. When General William T. Sherman ordered a fort constructed on the lake in the 1870s, he gave it the name Fort Coeur d'Alene; hence the name of the city that grew around it. The name of the fort was later changed to Fort Sherman to honor the general.[8] North Idaho College, a community college, now occupies the site.

In the 1890s, the Coeur d'Alene Mining District experienced two significant miners' uprisings.[9] In 1892, the union's discovery of a labor spy in their midst, in the person of sometime cowboy and Pinkerton agent Charlie Siringo, resulted in a shooting war between miners and the company. Years later Harry Orchard, who owned a share of the Hercules Mine in the nearby mountains before it began producing, and who later confessed to dynamiting a $250,000 mill belonging to the Bunker Hill Mining Company near Wardner during another miners' uprising in 1899, would also confess to a secret, brutal and little understood role in the Colorado Labor Wars before returning to Idaho to assassinate former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg.[10]


Spokane River drainage

Coeur d'Alene is located at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. (47.692845, −116.779910),[11] at an elevation of 2,180 ft (660 m) above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.08 square miles (41.65 km2), of which, 15.57 square miles (40.33 km2) is land and 0.51 square miles (1.32 km2) is water.[1]

Coeur d'Alene sits on the western edge of the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. The city is surrounded by forest, which contains several lakes and campgrounds.

It is located 30 miles (48 km) east from Spokane, Washington, and 311 miles (501 km) east from Seattle.

Panorama of Coeur d'Alene from Cougar Bay. The tall building to the right is the Coeur d'Alene Resort.


Coeur d'Alene has, depending on the definition, a dry-summer continental climate (Köppen Dsb), or a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb), characterized by a cold, moist climate in winter, and very warm, dry conditions in summer, and straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6B and 7A.[12] The monthly daily mean temperature ranges from is 29.8 °F (−1.2 °C) in December to 69.0 °F (20.6 °C) in July and August. Temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on 20 days per year, only occasionally reaching 100 °F (38 °C), while conversely, there may be several nights below 10 °F (−12 °C).[13] Snowfall averages 38 inches (97 cm) per year; precipitation is generally lowest in summer. The average first and last freeze of the season are October 12 and May 3, respectively.

Climate data for Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (1981−2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 60
Average high °F (°C) 35.5
Average low °F (°C) 25.4
Record low °F (°C) −30
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.18
Average snowfall inches (cm) 10.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 13.4 10.6 11.6 10.3 11.9 9.4 4.6 4.5 6.3 10.8 15.2 12.8 121.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 4.8 2.7 1.1 .2 0 0 0 0 0 .1 2.0 5.4 16.2
Source: NOAA (extremes 1895−present) [13]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 491
1900 508 3.5%
1910 7,291 1,335.2%
1920 6,447 −11.6%
1930 8,297 28.7%
1940 10,049 21.1%
1950 12,198 21.4%
1960 14,291 17.2%
1970 16,228 13.6%
1980 19,913 22.7%
1990 24,563 23.4%
2000 34,514 40.5%
2010 44,137 27.9%
Est. 2014 47,912 [14] 8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 44,137 people, 18,395 households, and 10,813 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,834.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,094.5/km2). There were 20,219 housing units at an average density of 1,298.6 per square mile (501.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.8% White, 0.4% African American, 1.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.3% of the population.

There were 18,395 households of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.2% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.2% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.92.

The median age in the city was 35.4 years. 22.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 24% were from 45 to 64; and 14.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 34,514 people, 13,985 households, and 8,852 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,629/sq mi (1,014.9/km2). There were 14,929 housing units at an average density of 1,137/sq mi (439.0/km2). Coeur d'Alene's racial makeup was:

Hispanic or of any race were 2.70% of the population.

There were 13,985 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with:

  • 24.9% under the age of 18,
  • 11.7% from 18 to 24
  • 27.9% from 25 to 44
  • 20.7% from 45 to 64
  • 14.8% 65 years of age or older

The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,001, and the median income for a family was $39,491. Males had a median income of $31,915 versus $21,092 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,454. About 9.3% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.5% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.


The city is the healthcare, educational, media, manufacturing, retail and recreation center for northern Idaho. Several mining firms are headquartered in the city, among them Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL). The Coeur d'Alene Resort is also a major employer. The U.S. headquarters of The Pita Pit is located in Coeur d'Alene.[16]


Coeur d'Alene's retail has expanded greatly in recent years with the opening of new stores and entertainment venues. Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone development houses a 14 theater Regal Cinemas, condominiums, a Hampton Inn, a park, restaurants, and local retailers. The North Idaho Centennial Trail bike path cuts through the Riverstone complex alongside an abandoned railroad right of way. The Citylink transit system adjoins the northwest entrance of the Riverstone complex. Giant statues of bird feathers line Northwest Boulevard celebrating the rich Native American heritage of Coeur d'Alene. Several art galleries and cafes sit along Sherman Avenue, Coeur d'Alene's main street. During summer, artists and musicians frequent Sherman Square.

In 2009, Coeur d'Alene ranked No. 12 on Newsmax magazine's list of the "Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns," a piece written by current CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. In determining his ranking, Greenberg commended the city for "embracing its natural beauty and creating a small business-friendly environment that has helped develop its thriving tourism industry."[17]


The Coeur d'Alene School District 271 serves 10,300 students with its two high schools, three middle schools, an alternative high/middle school, a dropout retrieval school and 10 elementary schools. The district has a staff of 550 teachers, 47 administrators and 552 support personnel to provide education for the Coeur d'Alene, Hayden and Dalton communities.[citation needed]

In addition to Honors and Advanced Placement courses, Coeur d'Alene and Lake City High Schools began offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, and two of the elementary schools are implementing the IB Primary Years Program. Coeur d'Alene High School no longer offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program as of the fall of 2009 because of a lack of funding.[18]

District 271 students who qualify are also eligible for dual enrollment with North Idaho College and advanced technical and specialized courses at Riverbend Professional Technical Academy in Post Falls.

A partnership with the City of Coeur d'Alene Police Department provides five School Resource Officers. Through an alliance with Kootenai Medical Center, the District is served by seven school nurses.

Coeur d'Alene also has a Charter school. Its teaching curriculum focuses heavily on setting higher college-preparatory standards than many other schools, with a strong emphasis on teaching Latin. The school also enforces a strict dress code policy on all enrolled students to maintain a professional academic atmosphere. Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy is a regular middle–high school publicly funded with open admission to any students residing in the state of Idaho, not just those restricted to a particular district of the county. However, public transportation is not provided to the school. The Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy is currently undergoing expanding into neighboring lots for the purpose of adding additional classrooms.[citation needed]


Aerial photo of Coeur d'Alene


Roads and highways

Coeur d'Alene is accessed from Interstate 90 at Exits 11 through 15. The greater Coeur d'Alene area is almost entirely dependent upon private automobiles for transportation. Combined with the city's rapid growth since 1990, relative congestion now occurs on a significant portion of the area highways, notably U.S. 95 between Northwest Blvd. north to Hayden, and on several under-developed arterial streets such as Atlas, Ramsey, and Government Way. Before the construction of I-90, the city was served by U.S. Route 10, which runs through downtown. This route is Northwest Boulevard and Sherman Avenue. The former US 10, between I-90 exits 11 and 15, is now designated as Interstate 90 Business.

Public transportation


Free public bus service is available to area residents, provided by Citylink. Citylink buses operate in the urbanized area of Kootenai County, leaving the Riverstone Transfer Station every sixty minutes, seven days a week, including holidays. Buses are wheelchair accessible, and can transport up to two bicycles.

The bus system comprises four separate routes:

  • Urban Route B – Serves Post Falls, Hayden and West Coeur d'Alene.
  • Urban Route C – Serves Downtown Coeur d'Alene, Fernan and Hayden.
  • Rural Route – Serves the towns of Worley, Plummer, Tensed and DeSmet.
  • Link Route – Connects the two transfer stations at Riverstone and Worley.

As of April 2012, major changes were made to the current routes, including the elimination of the "Urban Route A", which went out to Stateline, 125 new stops added to the system, the "Urban Route B" and the "Urban Route C" became two-way service instead of loop service, and the routes leaving from Riverstone more frequently from every eighty-five minutes down to sixty. Changes were made primarily due to budget cuts.[19]


The closest major airport serving Coeur d'Alene and North Idaho is the Spokane International Airport which is served by five airlines and is located 40 miles (64 km) to the west in Spokane, Washington. Coeur d'Alene also has Coeur d'Alene Airport – Pappy Boyington Field (KCOE), which is a general aviation airport located in Hayden, north of the city near U.S. 95.

A local airport is the Coeur d'Alene Airport. It is a public use general aviation airport, which is open to the public. In 1941, the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce promoted the purchase of 720 acres (290 ha) of land on the Rathdrum Prairie for the Coeur d’Alene Airport. The Coeur d’Alene Airport was built in 1942 by the Army Engineers at a cost of over $400,000. It was designated as an alternate to Weeks Field (now, Kootenai County Fairgrounds) when a war training program was in operation.


The city of Coeur d'Alene provides for municipal water, sewer & stormwater management, street lighting, garbage collection, and recycling.


Kootenai Health is the primary medical center serving the Coeur d'Alene and north Idaho area. With over 1700 employees, is also the largest employer in Kootenai County.

Events and attractions

Coeur d'Alene from the parking garage of the Coeur d'Alene Resort
  • Coeur d'Alene is the home of Ironman Coeur d'Alene, which started in 2003. This Ironman Triathlon is held each year on the fourth Sunday in June and starts at the Coeur d'Alene resort as triathletes start their day with a 2.4-mile (3.9 km) swim in Lake Coeur d'Alene, followed by a 112-mile (180 km) bike, finishing with a 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run.[20]
  • Coeur d'Alene holds the Christian Youth Theater (CYT) North Idaho headquarters.
  • Annually in June, CdA hosts "Car d' Alene," where all the hot cars both new and old, come out to display themselves for admiration and bragging rights.[21]
  • The local college art program had a campaign called "Moose on the Loose," where local artists and college art students painted and decorated a dozen or so life size moose statues with various colors and accessories. After their beautification, they were auctioned off to local businesses as a fundraiser. Their locations range from downtown near Sherman Ave. to Government Way on the CdA/Hayden boundary. The moose have become both a town landmark and a popular scavenger hunt item.[22]
  • Coeur d'Alene has become a destination for golf enthusiasts. The Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course is considered one of the best in the United States. Its 14th hole features the world's only movable floating green.[23]
  • The North Idaho Centennial Trail passes through Coeur d'Alene.
  • Coeur d'Alene and the surrounding area also provides many outdoor recreational opportunities, such as: mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, etc.
  • Coeur d'Alene is home of Snake Pit Derby Dames; an all-female flat track roller derby league. The competitive season is March–November and Bouts (matches) draw large crowds.[24]
  • Every year in November, the Friday after Thanksgiving marks the start of Coeur d'Alene's Christmas Lighting Ceremony including a parade, fireworks and special holiday candles given out by the local downtown businesses.

In popular culture

  • Singer-songwriter Ben Arnold recorded "Coeur d'Alene", which appears on his The Best of Ben Arnold album.
  • The 12th track of Alter Bridge's third album AB III is named after the city and is inspired by lead singer Myles Kennedy's childhood, spending time in the city.
  • Coeur d'Alene is mentioned repeatedly in the "Northwest Trilogy" of novels by Harold Covington as the place where the Northwest revolt began.
  • The novel Coeur d'Alene Waters, by Ned Hayes, uses the city of Coeur d'Alene as a primary setting; the book includes a capsule summary of the history of the city.
  • In the book Walk Two Moons, Coeur d'Alene is a stop on the main character Salamanca Tree Hiddle's trip.
  • In Tom Clancy's fourth book in the Net Force series, Breaking Point (ISBN 0-425-17693-2), a character hides in the Aryan Nations compound (now destroyed) in Hayden Lake (mentioned as Coeur d'Alene).
  • Coeur d'Alene was mentioned in Sam Bourne's novel The Righteous Men as home of the Aryan Nations. However, the Aryan Nations' home was in nearby Hayden Lake, and is no longer there because of a heated lawsuit and the bankruptcy of the Aryan Nations.
  • Coeur d'Alene is the fictional home of Lisa Kimmel Fisher (character played by actress Lily Taylor) from the HBO series Six Feet Under.
  • Coeur d'Alene is mentioned in the first season episode of Bones, titled "The Woman at the Airport".
  • Coeur d'Alene is mentioned in the lyrics "Everything is frozen north of Wichita, I'm standing in this truck stop in Coeur d'Alene" in the Gary Jules song "Wichita."
  • Iris DeMent's song, "Easy's Gettin' Harder Every Day", from her 1994 album, My Life, features a protagonist who laments that she wishes she "could run away to Coeur d'Alene" and that she'll "never make it up to Coeur d'Alene".
  • Josh Ritter sings "and we rode to Coeur d’Alene" in his song "Wings"
  • Luke Redfield's song, "Coeur d'Alene," from his 2010 album, Ephemeral Eon, depicts a simple love story in Coeur d'Alene.
  • Listed as one of the places to visit in Patricia Schultz's book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.[25]
  • The main character of Neil LaBute's play Wrecks is originally from Coeur d'Alene.[26]
  • The main characters in the film "Smoke Signals", based on the Sherman Alexie story, are Indians of the Coeur d'Alene tribe.
  • The setting for the children's book "Mudgy & Millie," by Susan Nipp. Illustrated by Charles Reasoner.
  • "Coeur d'Alene" is the second track on the self-released full-length debut album of Seattle-based band The Head and the Heart (album of the same name) released January 1, 2010 on Sub Pop Records
  • Coeur d'Alene is the setting for the film Teenage Dirtbag, written and directed by Regina Crosby, who grew up in Coeur d'Alene; the movie is inspired by true events she experienced while attending high school there.
  • The documentary film Pappy Boyington Field tells the story of the grass-roots effort to honor a WWII fighter pilot in the town of his birth with a commemorative airfield name.
  • Coeur d'Alene is the setting for the Supernatural television series episode entitled "Repo Man"
  • Frank Peretti's book Illusion is set in the Coeur d'Alene and Hayden Lake area.
  • Coeur d'Alene is the setting for the film Kid Cannabis.

Notable people

Sister cities

Coeur d'Alene has one sister city:


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External links