Idaho's First Capitol
On March 4, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Idaho Organic Act creating Idaho Territory
The original territory encompassed an area of 324,000 square miles – an area larger than Texas – and included all of present day Montana, virtually all of Wyoming, including western strips of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Lincoln appointed William H. Wallace as the first governor of Idaho Territory and Wallace selected Lewiston as the capital of the new territory before arriving on July 10, 1863.
The first two sessions of the Idaho Territorial Legislature were held in Lewiston and the original capitol building was located on 3rd Street between Beachy Street and Capital Street.
In 1864 Montana became a separate territory and most of present-day Wyoming was transferred to Dakota Territory, leaving Idaho Territory much smaller. When the second session of the territorial legislature convened in late 1864 contrary to the Organic Act, a bill purporting to relocate the capital to Boise City was approved. Despite legal efforts to retain the capital at Lewiston, the territorial seal and most of the governmental archives were removed from Lewiston by force in 1865 and transported to Boise City.
Location. 46° 25.122′ N, 117° 1.077′ W. Marker is in Lewiston, Idaho, in Nez Perce County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and 12th Street, on the right when traveling east on Main Street. Touch for map. This marker is located on north side of replica of Idaho's first territorial capitol building. Marker is in this post office area: Lewiston ID 83501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Relic of Rustic Past (within shouting distance of this marker); The Early Years in Nez Perce County (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 18th St. Bridge (approx. half a mile away); John Silcott (approx. half a mile away); Means Building (approx. 0.6 miles away); Lewis and Clark (approx. 0.6 miles away); Site of Luna House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Pacific Northwest Bell Building (Historic Name) (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lewiston.
More about this marker. This marker is made of wood, relatively new, and in excellent condition.
Also see . . .
1. The move of the capitol from Lewiston to Boise was controversial.
In 1878, 96 percent of northern Idaho voters approved a proposal that would have united the panhandle with Washington. (Submitted on August 5, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Boise was not Idaho’s first capital city.
When President Abraham Lincoln signed the law that created Idaho Territory, he left the task of choosing a temporary capital to William Wallace, a personal friend he appointed to serve as first Territorial Governor. Wallace chose Lewiston, then a booming supply point for the mines of north Idaho. (Submitted on August 5, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Capital Move or Theft?.
Depending on where you lived in Idaho, the dastardly deed or official move occurred on March 29, 1865. The newest Territorial Secretary (Secretary of State) Clinton DeWitt Smith named himself acting governor. He went to nearby Fort Lapwai, brought a contingent of soldiers to the Lewiston Capitol building, broke into the building, loaded the Territorial Seal and as many official papers that would fit in his saddlebags, and headed to Boise. (Submitted on August 5, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Politics • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 8, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 5, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 259 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 5, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.