Place:Ilo, Lewis, Idaho, United States


TypeHistorical inhabited place
Coordinates46.2382196°N 116.4976448°W
Located inLewis, Idaho, United States
source: Family History Library Catalog

The town of Ilo was founded in 1898, about a mile west of the current town of Craigmont, Idaho. Originally named Chicago, the town name was changed to Ilo, named for the daughter of O. W. “Oaky” Legget, because the Postal Service confused Chicago, Idaho with Chicago, Illinois.[1][2]

By 1902, the town was considered sufficiently established to merit an entry in An illustrated history of north Idaho,[3] which provided an early history:

“This little town is named in honor of Ilo Leggett, who has, also, contributed a portion of his name to the Ilo Hardware & Implement Company, of this place.

The first store was erected in the spring of 1898, but was closed out the same fall. W. F. Stinson was the succeeding merchant, who, however, continued in business but six months, and in the spring of 1899 (June), O. W. Leggett opened a general merchandise store. This was, at that period, the only business house in the place. During the succeeding fall or winter a blacksmith shop was started by James Breeding, and in the winter of 1900-01 there was opposition in the shape of another blacksmith, Andrew Anderson. In the spring of 1901, Charles Larson opened a wagon repair shop. The same spring a small hotel was built by W. D. Simmons, and during the succeeding summer a general merchandise store was erected by O. W. Leggett. The drug store of Mrs. Cynthia A. Tatko was built in the spring of 1902, and Dr. J. G. Lenz dispensed the drugs. He had begun practice in Ilo in the spring of 1901. A harness shop was opened by E. C. Kness in the spring of 1902, the Kamiah Trading Company having commenced business the previous fall. This enterprise was recently sold to The Ilo Hardware and Implement Company. The Idaho Supply Company, comprising local capitalists, began business in the spring of 1902, and the Smith Hotel Building was erected the same period. The Bank of Ilo is a recent financial enterprise, of which J. J. Woods is cashier.

During the winter of 1901-02 William Blair opened a livery barn, and recently, another was started by Simmons & Nichols. Mrs. J. C. Pearsall conducts a millinery store; A. Gardner, a butcher shop, and there are two confectionery and soft drink stores. An ungraded school is conducted six months of the year with an attendance of fifty pupils. The Presbyterians and Christians have church organizations and buildings, erected during the summer of 1902, Revs. McLain and John McDonald pastors, respectively. The Modern Woodmen of America and the I. 0. 0. F. represent the fraternal societies of Ilo.”

The Presbyterian Church was built by John Mayer, and still stands today. His cousin, George Tatko, was one of the organizers of the church and often served as a trustee during it's early years.[4]

Although a fire destroyed much of the town in 1904, residents soon rebuilt. Real disaster came with the building of the Camas Prairie Railroad from Lewiston, which deliberately by-passed the town of Ilo. A financier, John Vollmer from Lewiston, platted a competing town near the railroad, naming Volmer, for himself. The people of Ilo responded by moving their town to the other side of the train tracks from Volmer. The two towns were consolidated on 17 June 1920, under the name Craigmont.[5][6]

  1. Special Collections & Archives, University of Idaho Library The Village Of Craigmont; accessed 10 Dec 2016
  2. Craigmont, Idaho, Wikipedia; accessed 10 Dec 2016
  3. An Illustrated history of North Idaho embracing Nez Perces, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone counties state of Idaho (Western Historical Publishing, 1903), p. 119
  4. Bovey, Byron D. (Byron Dwaine); Idaho) Ilo Presbyterian Church (Craigmont; and Idaho) Community Presbyterian Church (Craigmont. Ilo Presbyterian Church, Craigmont, Idaho, book 1. (Lewiston, Idaho: Ilo Register Publishing, 1987)
  5. Special Collections & Archives, University of Idaho Library The Village Of Craigmont; accessed 10 Dec 2016
  6. Craigmont, Idaho, Wikipedia; accessed 10 Dec 2016

Image:Ilo Church36crop.jpg
Craigmont Community Presbyterian Church (originally Ilo Presbyterian Church), Summer 2005]

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