Nezperce Today

Amenities and Attractions

Nezperce has four city parks: Nezperce Memorial Park, located along the banks of Long Hollow Creek, has a large picnic pavilion, children’s play area and a covered performance stage with storage and dressing rooms. Trees honoring departed citizens are planted in this park. The Garden Club recently redesigned and maintains a small park in the center of town with a reader board for upcoming events. Another park, which features playground equipment, is located next to the clinic on Oak Street. Another park with tennis courts, basketball courts, and more playground equipment along with picnic and BBQ facilities is located a few blocks south. 

Two baseball fields are available in Nezperce. Lions Field is located on the corner of 4th Avenue and Cedar Street. Nezperce Schools also has a baseball field.

The school also features a community pool that is open during the summer. 

The Nezperce Community Library and Community Center are located at 602 4th Ave. The library is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Call 208-937-2458 with any questions. The Community Center has one large room with a refrigerator and a sink. The center is available for rent. Call City Hall at 208-937-1021 with any questions about or to rent the Community Center. 

The Lewis County Fair is traditionally held in Nezperce every fall the last weekend in September. However, due to a building collapse, the Fair was held in Cottonwood in 2022. It is a four-day celebration with many events for young and old alike.

The annual Nezperce Prairie Day celebration is held every second Saturday in July. It was established in 1982 to honor and remember the past with a parade, BBQ and auction, music, food trucks, kid events and high school reunions.

The Nez Perce National Historical Park is a 38-site park managed by the National Park Service. The sites are in four states – Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.  Most of the sites follow the Lewis and Clark trail and the trail of the Nez Perce as they fought and fled the U.S. Army in 1877.

Many of the Idaho sites are within an hour’s drive of Nezperce.  One of the sites is the park visitor center near Spaulding, 44 miles northwest on Nezperce on U.S. 95.  About 16 miles east near Kamiah, is Heart of the Monster National Monument; a rock formation that, according to Nez Perce legend, represents the source from which the Nez Perce sprang.

Two Idaho State Parks are near Nezperce.  The 418-acre Winchester Lake State Park has a 103-acre Lake.  It is 20 miles west near Winchester. The 850-acre Dworshak State Park lies about 30 miles north on the western shores of Dworshak Reservoir. The Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests nearby offer camping, hiking and backpacking trails, hunting and fishing opportunities.

Downhill skiing is available at Cottonwood Butte Ski Area located 25 miles southwest. Grangeville’s Snowhaven is 35 miles south.

Economy and Major Employers

The Nezperce School District is the largest public employer with about 50 employeesLewis County has 45 employees.  The largest private employer, a light-equipment manufacturing company, has 30 employees. Other companies with fewer than 20 employees each are a grain warehouse, three fertilizer/chemical companies, a grass-seed company and two farm equipment dealer/hardware stores.

The city’s commercial area consists of a grocery store, a thrift store, an insurance company, a title company, a restaurant/bar, a hotel with a bar, a weekly newspaper, two crop dusters and a credit union. Nezperce also has five churches, a public library and a visitor’s center and museum, a senior center and a teen center. Two real estate agents call Nezperce home as well. A fitness center is preparing to open.

Education

The Nezperce School District provides elementary and secondary education.  Nezperce Elementary and Nezperce High School are both located in the city.

The nearest institution of higher learning is Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston. Also, both the University of Idaho at Moscow and Washington State University at Pullman, Wash. are approximately 85-90 miles away.

Health Care

Nezperce has a small general medical clinic on the town’s main thoroughfare, Oak Street. The nearest hospital is St. Mary’s Hospital, located 18 miles southwest in Cottonwood. Other regional hospitals are Syringa Hospital and Clinic in Grangeville, Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino and St Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston.

Transportation

The north-south Idaho Highway 162 intersects the city. The 16-mile-long Idaho Highway 64 to Kamiah and U.S. Highway 12 also run through the city. U.S. Highway 95 lies just 16 miles west at Craigmont.

Airport service for light private and charter aircraft is available at the 2,000-foot runway at Nezperce Municipal Airport.  The airport is located two blocks from downtown Nezperce. The closest commercial carrier airport is Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport, located 56 miles west in Lewiston, Idaho.

Utilities and Services

Private companies provide electricity, telephone, satellite and internet services. The City provides water and sewer services and fire protection. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office provides police protection under contract with the City. There is a modern well-equipped volunteer fire department and a volunteer EMT-staffed ambulance crew available. 2018 saw the new fire department/EMT and city hall building, located at 606 Maple Street, completed.

The Nezperce Prairie continues to have rich, fertile black soil farmland, with its capacity to produce many crops such as; wheat, barley, dry peas, grass, canola, garbanzos and others.

Vision for Nezperce

The objective of the leaders of the community is to protect the city’s heritage, peaceful hometown character and environment; to ensure Nezperce continues as a wonderful place to work, live and raise a family. In the next decade, Nezperce will be a growing, economically vibrant crossroads community at the heart of the Nezperce Prairie.  It will be a refuge that preserves and builds upon its agricultural and family heritage with a revitalized downtown.

History of the City of Nezperce….

Bibliography

Original Research: AIC staff

History of North Idaho – published 1903, embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties.
Remember When – published 1976 by Margaret Nell Longeteig and Rheba Miller.
http://community.idaho.gov/ (Idaho_Department_of_Commerce–Community_Profiles)
Idaho: Official State Travel Guide published by Idaho Department of Commerce
http://www.nps.gov/archive/nepe/site15.htm
http://www.nezperce.org/
http://www.imtribune.com