Rathdrum Westwood Historical Museum, Old Kootenai County Jail

Old Kootenai County Jail
Rathdrum, Kootenai County

  • Grants: 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2012 (roof repairs), 2022 (shake roof replacement)

Location: 802 Second Street, Rathdrum, Idaho 83858

In 1864 during the second session of the Idaho territorial legislature, it was decided that everything north of the 48th parallel was to be designated a part of Kootenai County. In 1867, the legislature amended the boundary to include territory south of the parallel, nearly doubling the size of the county. In October 1881, the county seat was designated to be Westwood, eventually renamed Rathdrum. Rathdrum was the closest stop to the railroad in a region booming with mining. The Northern Pacific Railroad constructed a rail line to Coeur d’ALene in 1886 that would connect with steamboats on the lake.

Kootenai county first built a small jail in 1882 when Rathdrum was designated the county seat. The Old Kootenai County Jail was built in 1890; the new building served as the Sheriff’s Office and Jail until 1908. In a bitterly contested election that featured allegations of ballot box stuffing, impassioned town hall meetings and a secret midnight raid, the courthouse and jail were moved to Coeur d’Alene. The building remains a reminder of the early political history of Rathdrum.

The jail is built in a rough Romanesque style, of local brick and stone masonry. It includes a formal entry hall, two flanking offices, a double height cage room and an upper mezzanine of five private cells and a jailer’s office. The building is being renovated to serve as a local museum and archives.

For more information please contact Rathdrum Westwood Historical Society at oldkcjail@gmail.com.

Scroll to Top