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Kay Mathews DeFrances, Rathdrum; Rosalie Oxford, IL; and Harriet Reece, Cavendish and Lewiston are the winners!

Weippe is the answer for Week 317 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: Nez Perce frequented the area.

Tuesday: It became a crossroads.

Wednesday: Origin of name still debated

Wednesday: William H. 'Benny' Durant

Long before the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, Nez Perce Indians frequented the area around Weippe where they hunted, dug camas root and enjoyed the summer climate. The Lewis and Clark party had their first encounter with the Nez Perce on the prairie not far from the present town.

According to the name Weippe was first spelled "Oy-ipe", as well as other ways, by General Oliver Otis Howard in his journals during the conflict with the Nez Perce and negotiations with Chief Joseph in 1877. The meaning of the word is still greatly debated and may have to do with "very old place", the camas ground or a spring of water.

The discovery of gold near Pierce brought many more people to the area in 1860 and 1861. The Homestead Act brought many families and Weippe grew and thrived with its economy primarily dependant on agriculture and the timber industry.

The town was incorporated in 1964 and William H. 'Benny' Durant was the first mayor, one of only three the town has had. Durant also had a general store on the crossroads in the middle of town.

This weekend, May 20-22, 2011, they celebrate their annual Camas Festival. The event is a celebration of history and heritage that gives those in attendance a look at pieces of the past.

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140