Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Coeur d'Alene (/ˌkɔːr dəˈln, ˌkɜːr dəˈln/ (listen) KOR də-LAYN, KUR də-LAYN,[4][5][6] French: Cœur d'Alène, lit. 'Heart of an Awl', pronounced [kœʁ dalɛn]) is the largest city and county seat of Kootenai County, Idaho, United States.[7] It is the principal city of the Coeur d'Alene Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2018, the United States Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 51,303.[8] The city is a satellite city of Spokane, which is located about 30 miles (48 km) to the west, in the state of Washington. The two cities are the key components of the Spokane–Coeur d'Alene combined statistical area, of which Coeur d'Alene is the third-largest city (after Spokane and its largest suburb, Spokane Valley).[9] Coeur d'Alene is the largest city in North Idaho. The city is situated on the north shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, 25 miles (40 km) in length. Locally, Coeur d'Alene is known as the "Lake City", or simply called by its initials: "CDA".

Coeur d'Alene
City of Coeur d'Alene
Coeur d'Alene
Lake City; CDA
Location of Coeur d'Alene in Kootenai County, Idaho
Coeur d'Alene
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 47°41′34″N 116°46′48″W
CountryUnited States
  MayorSteven Widmyer
  City16.20 sq mi (41.97 km2)
  Land15.74 sq mi (40.77 km2)
  Water0.46 sq mi (1.20 km2)
2,188 ft (667 m)
  Density3,194.73/sq mi (1,233.46/km2)
144,265 (US: 283rd)
679,989 (US: 69th)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST)UTC−7 (Pacific)
ZIP code
83814, 83815
Area code(s)208
FIPS code16-16750
GNIS feature ID0379485

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. The Coeur d'Alene Resort and a 165-acre natural area called Tubbs Hill, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho take up a prominent portion of the city's downtown. There are several ski areas nearby: Silver Mountain Resort to the east in Kellogg, Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area also to the east on Lookout Pass at the Montana border, and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort to the north in Sandpoint. The largest theme and water park in the Northwest, Silverwood Theme Park, is located approximately 20 miles to the north.

The city is named after the Coeur d'Alene People, a federally recognized tribe of Native Americans who lived along the rivers and lakes of the region, in a territory of 5,500 square miles (14,000 km2) extending into Washington and Montana. They were first encountered by French fur traders in the late 18th and early 19th century, who referred to them as Cœur d'Alêne, meaning "heart of an awl", reflecting their experience of the tribal traders as tough businessmen, "sharp-hearted" or "shrewd".[10]


The Coeur d'Alene people called themselves by the autonym Schitsu'umsh in Coeur d'Alene, one of the Salishan languages, meaning "The Discovered People" or "Those Who Are Found Here."

This 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. The British had trading ties extending from Canada and had started settlements in present-day British Columbia and at Fort Astoria on the Pacific coast near the mouth of the Columbia River.

The Oregon Treaty of 1846 ended the disputed joint occupation of the area in present-day Idaho when Britain ceded all rights to land south of the 49th parallel to the United States. 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.[11] North Idaho College, a community college, now occupies the former fort site. The lake was also named for the Coeur d'Alene.

Miners and settlers came to the region after silver deposits were found. It became the second-largest silver mining district in the country, generating both great wealth and extensive environmental contamination and damages. In the 1890s, two significant miners' uprisings took place in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District, where the workers struggled with high risk and low pay.[12] In 1892, the union's discovery of a labor spy in their midst, in the person of Charlie Siringo, sometime cowboy and Pinkerton agent, resulted in a strike that developed into 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, confessed to a secret, brutal and little understood role in the Colorado Labor Wars. He later confessed to dynamiting a $250,000 mill belonging to the Bunker Hill Mining Company near Wardner during another miners' uprising in 1899. He later returned to Idaho to assassinate former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg in 1905.[13]

In 1986 Coeur d'Alene was presented the Raoul Wallenberg Award for its stand against neo-nazis.[14]


Coeur d'Alene is located at 47°41′34″N 116°46′48″W (47.692845, −116.779910),[15] 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.[16]

The wooded lands east of the city have been designated for protection and management as the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. The city is surrounded by forest, which contains several lakes and campgrounds.

It is 30 miles (48 km) east of Spokane, Washington, and is part of a common metropolitan area. It is 311 miles (501 km) east of Seattle, Washington.


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. It straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6B and 7A.[17] The monthly daily mean temperature ranges from 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 13 days per year, only occasionally reaching 100 °F (38 °C), while conversely, there may be several nights below 10 °F (−12 °C).[18] Snowfall averages 70 inches (178 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
Daily mean °F (°C) 30.5
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) [18]


Historical population
Est. 201851,303[3]16.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]

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 North 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.


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 heritage associated with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. Art galleries and cafes are 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."[20]


The Coeur d'Alene School District#271 serves 10,300 students with its two high schools, three middle schools, an alternative middle/high 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.

In addition to Honors and Advanced Placement courses, Coeur d'Alene and Lake City High Schools began offering the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Two of the elementary schools are implementing the IB Primary Years Program. Because of a lack of funding, the Coeur d'Alene High School dropped the IBE Diploma Program in the fall of 2009. Lake City High School also no longer offers the International Baccalaureate program.[21]

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 Health, the District is served by seven school nurses.

Coeur d'Alene also has a charter school, the Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy.

High schools

  • Coeur d'Alene High School
  • Lake City High School
  • Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy


Middle schools

  • Canfield Middle School
  • Woodland Middle School
  • Lakes Middle School
  • Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy


Elementary schools

  • Atlas Elementary School
  • Borah Elementary School
  • Bryan Elementary School
  • Dalton Elementary School
  • Fernan Stem Academy
  • Hayden Meadows Elementary School
  • Northwest Expeditionary Academy (NeXa)
  • Skyway Elementary School
  • Sorensen Elementary School
  • Winton Elementary School
  • Ramsey Elementary School


Specialty schools

  • Charter Academy
  • Kootenai Technical Education Campus – KTEC
  • Lake City Academy
  • Lakes Magnet Middle School
  • Ramsey Magnet School of Science
  • Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Humanities
  • Venture High School
  • Fernan STEM Academy
  • Kootenai Bridge Academy

[22] [23]



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 ran 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" changing to 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.[24]


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

The local Coeur d'Alene Airport is a public-use, general aviation airport. 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 facility 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 for World War II.


The city of Coeur d'Alene provides for municipal water, sewer and 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 3,400 employees, it is the largest employer in Kootenai County.[25]

Events and attractions

  • Coeur d'Alene is the former home of Ironman Coeur d'Alene, which started in 2003, with its final run in 2017. This Ironman Triathlon was held each year on the fourth Sunday in June through 2015, switching to the end of August for 2016 and 2017. It starts at the Coeur d'Alene resort, where triathletes start the competition 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.[26]
  • Coeur d'Alene is the site of 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, are brought out on display for admiration and bragging rights.[27]
  • The first weekend in August North Idaho Community College hosts Art on the Green. An arts and crafts outdoor festival sponsored by Citizens' Council for the Arts.
  • The local college art program had a public art campaign called "Moose on the Loose," when local artists and college art students painted and decorated a dozen or so life-size moose statues with various colors and accessories. After being displayed, the pieces were auctioned off to local businesses as a fundraiser. The moose were installed on sites 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.[28]
  • 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.[29]
  • The North Idaho Centennial Trail passes through Coeur d'Alene.
  • Coeur d'Alene and the surrounding area provide many outdoor recreational opportunities, such as: mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, etc.
  • The Snake Pit Derby Dames are based here; they are an all-female flat track roller derby league. The competitive season is March–November and Bouts (matches) draw large crowds.[30]
  • 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.
  • The Coeur d'Fondo, a bike race that ranges from 15–108 mi (24–174 km), is held annually in summer.
  • The Coeur d'Alene crossing is a swimming challenge, in which swimmers try to cross the lake.
  • Tubbs Hill is a 120-acre waterfront preserve located in downtown Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.[31]

Notable people

Sister cities

Coeur d'Alene has one sister city:


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