Winchester, Idaho


Winchester has it all… a museum, a library, a fire station and a visitor center!

Quick Facts:

Population: 308
Elevation: 3965
City Clerk / Treasurer: LeAnn Trautman,  (208) 924-5358
Fire Dept.: 12 Volunteer, QRU Response Team
Avg. Temp: 78 degrees in the Summer and 29 degrees in the Winter

Message from the Mayor: Steven Bly

Winchester, Idaho is a quiet, day camp and vacation destination located on the western edge of Camas Prairie, surrounded by ponderosa pines. This former lumber mill town, now boasts of fishing, and camping at Winchester Lake State Park, a refuel center   ( for both people and machines) for those enjoying fishing, snowmobiling, camping, four-wheeling, hunting, and exploring the scenic Craig Mountains.       Mayor Steven Bly says, “As I travel and speak all over the country, ask where I live, I tell them in a North Central Idaho town of 300 people, at 4000 feet elevation, in the pine trees, next to a scenic lake. They all nod their heads, this is the Idaho the rest of our country imagines our whole state to be. I tell them Winchester is a frontier town, and they laugh as if the western frontier vanished a hundred years ago. That is okay. “We’ll keep it our secret.”

How Did Winchester Gets it’s Name?

It seems in the late 1950’s, Winchester’s Story was on the “Death Valley Days” on TV.   As the story goes: Chief Joseph’s band of Indians, were being chased by the US Calvary.  They had just cross the Salmon River, (which as the crow flies is about 12 miles from Winchester) everyone was frighten and ran to the little out post with no name. Gathering at the Hardware store, was the best choice for it seems that hardware store got in a case of NEW WINCHESTER REPEATING RIFLES. The owner opened the case and gave everyone, a rifle.  Chief Joseph heard of the guns at Winchester, and so did not come toward the settlers, but went on down the river.  So the town was named after the GUN.

That was a Great Story.  The Real Story is not as much fun, but true The town of  Winchester,  got  it’s name, when group of residents gathered at a private home to choose a name. The rifles were counted, it  seems that there were  more  Winchester Rifles  being carried, than any other rifle. Thus the name Winchester,  after the Gun.