Settled in 1861, the City of Rathdrum is located in the Pandhandle of Northern Idaho, 12 miles northwest of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and 25 miles east of Spokane, Washington. In the late 1860s, a pony express relay station was established in Rathdrum, and in 1882, the first Northern Pacific rail line was laid allowing ore from the Silver Valley to be shipped by rail to the mills.
Rathdrum is one of the oldest towns in North Idaho. From the beginning, Rathdrum has been an important crossroads, the local Native Americans referred to the area as the “Great Road of the Flatheads.” Hudson Bay and Pacific Fur trading companies traversed the Rathdrum Prairie in the early 1800s, followed by the Jesuit missionaries in the 1840s. Originally named “Westwood” after Charles Wesley Wood, local pony express rider, rancher, and land developer, the city became the County seat for Kootenai County in 1881. In 1908, electors voted the County seat to Coeur d’Alene. In the late 1800s, the city’s name was changed from Westwood to Rathdrum after Rathdroma, Ireland, the birthplace of a local businessman.
Present-day Rathdrum is a thriving community of 8,300. In spite of three major fires, the earliest in 1884 and the last in 1924, many historical buildings still stand including Saint Stanislaus Church, the oldest brick church in the state of Idaho. Today, Rathdrum is the crossroads for State Highways 41 and 53, linking the Rathdrum area with Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.