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Cradled in a glacial plain, Rathdrum was settled as a fertile farming area in the 1870s. It was formerly called Westwood after mail carrier, Charles Wesley Wood, but the post office rejected the name in 1881 on grounds that too many other regional towns bore the Westwood title. Thus, the birthplace of an elderly Irish immigrant was selected.

In July of 1881, the Northern Pacific railroad came through town, and Frederick Post (1871 founder of Post Falls) boosted the area’s growing economy when he established a sawmill and flourmill. Today, the town serves as an agricultural and peaceful escape from the growing nearby cities of Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

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