The first people of European ancestry to visit the Lewiston area were members of an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in October 1805. At the future town site the Lewis and Clark Expedition encountered settlements of the native Nez Perce. Named after Lewis, the town was founded in 1861 in the wake of a gold rush which began in the area the previous year. The first newspaper in present-day Idaho began publication in Lewiston in 1862. In 1863 Lewiston became the capital of the newly-created Idaho Territory.
Lewiston's stint as a seat of government was short-lived. A resolution to have the capital moved from Lewiston to Boise was passed by the Idaho Territorial Legislature on December 7, 1864. The move was made in 1865. According to legend the move was very unpopular in northern Idaho, so government officials secretly took the territorial seal from Lewiston and immediately departed for Boise to avoid the public outrage that was sure to erupt. North Idahoans were somewhat placated in 1883 when the University of Idaho was awarded to nearby Moscow.
Lewiston had a popular Northwest League professional baseball franchise from 1952 until 1974. The Lewiston Broncs were affiliated with various Major League Baseball parent clubs including the Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics. Reggie Jackson was perhaps the most famous Lewiston Bronc of all-time. Mr. October played for Lewiston in 1966. Lewiston Idaho is home to Lewis-Clark State College. The city hosts the NAIA Baseball World Series annually.
Immediately across the Snake River from Lewiston is the town of Clarkston, Washington. Along 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 at the same elevation as the river. 745 ' above sea level. Away from downtown in either a northerly or southerly direction, the terrain gains elevation quickly. The south half of town is 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 any orchards today, although there is a wide proliferation of fruit trees in the backyards of many residences in this area of town.
The older grade, now mostly out of use, is a very windy road joining US95/US195 to the Lewiston City Limits. The newer grade, constructed in the late 1970s, yields a more sweeping descent to the East, and is approximately 7 miles long. Both grades provide an excellent view of Lewiston and neighboring Clarkston and the surrounding landscape.
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 release cotton-like clouds of seeds that blow through the air and streets, blanketing the streets with a snow-like cover. Also during August, Hot August Nights takes place. This celebration includes concerts by classic '50s to '80s musicians such as .38 Special and Loverboy. There's also a show and shine for classic cars, and at night these cars drive along Main Street in a parade fashion.
The town has a large Christmas festival that includes a number of large displays in the downtown area, sponsored by Winter Spirit and the Chamber of Commerce. These displays are typically quite impressive and often attract many visitors.
Lewiston is the county seat and largest city in Nez Perce County, Idaho. It is the second largest city in the Idaho Panhandle region behind Coeur d'Alene. Lewiston is the principal city of the Lewiston, ID-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of both Nez Perce County in Idaho and Asotin County in Washington. As of the 2007 Census the population of Lewiston was 31,293. population of Clarkston 7,244, As of 2007, Lewiston Metro Area's population is 59,571 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 2.78 percent. See all Lewiston Metro Area demographic data. The median home cost in Lewiston Metro Area is $194,300. Home appreciation the last year has been 3.20 percent. Find more data on Lewiston Metro Area Real Estate. Compared to the rest of the country, Lewiston Metro Area's cost of living is 13.15% Lower than the U.S. average. See full report on Lewiston Metro Area Cost of Living. Lewiston Metro Area public schools spend $5,916 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $6,058. There are about 16 students per teacher in Lewiston Metro Area. Learn about Lewiston Metro Area Schools and Education. The unemployment rate in Lewiston Metro Area is 2.60 percent(U.S. avg. is 4.60%). Recent job growth is Positive. Lewiston Metro Area jobs have Increased by 2.44 percent. See full report on Lewiston Metro Area Economy.
Lewiston was also the very first state capitol of the state of Idaho.
Lewiston is located at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. Its main industry is paper and timber products production at the mill owned and operated by the Potlatch Corporation.
Because the portion of the Snake River between its confluence with the Columbia River near Pasco, Washington, and Lewiston is navigable by some oceangoing vessels, Lewiston has the distinction of being Idaho's only seaport and the western United States' farthest inland seaport. Barges of timber products, grain and other goods are shipped via the Snake-Columbia system to the Pacific Ocean.