Pop. 416

Pronounced “wee-ipe,” this town draws its name from a Native American term meaning “gathering place.” Indeed, Weippe and the surrounding prairie have always been a gathering place for Native Americans as well as white settlers. The site was the end point for travelers on the Lolo Trail, and Indians used the area for annual camas bulb diggings, tribal councils, and as a camping spot on the way to buffalo hunts. On September 20, 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived on the prairie and spent a hospitable night in a Nez Perce village located just two miles east of the present day town. Times changed, however, and by 1877, relations between Native Americans and the white American government were strained. During this time, the Weippe Prairie was the scene for the famous Nez Perce retreat to Montana after a bitter battle with General Oliver O. Howard’s troops on the Clearwater. Although the town retains its place as an important and sometimes chaotic site in history, Weippe is now a sleepy place on the Idaho prairie.

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