Located at the confluence of the scenic Snake and Clearwater rivers approximately 465 river miles from the Pacific Ocean, Lewiston is the most inland seaport on the West Coast. Through the Columbia/Snake waterway and three port districts, the community serves as an economic hub for the Inland Northwest and a window to the Pacific Rim.
The cities of Lewiston and adjoining Clarkston, Washington, trace their heritage to the 1804-06 expedition of captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark -- a journey commissioned by the nation's third president, Thomas Jefferson, to seek and chart a new trade route to Asia. Nearly two centuries later, the Lewiston area (with a population of approximately 56,000) indeed plays an integral role in the economic and cultural link of the Pacific Northwest and Asian trading partners that include Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Russia and other developing countries.
Lewiston served as Idaho's first territorial capital in 1865 before the seat of government was spirited away to Boise in the state's southwest region. Lewiston grew seemingly overnight into a center of commerce and culture after the discovery of gold in the mountains of north central Idaho. A wave of Chinese began arriving in 1860 to work the mines, and their number reached more than 4,100 by the start of the next decade. More than one-half of Idaho's 6,579 miners at the height of the gold rush were Chinese, and at the peak of their influence, they comprised an estimated one-fourth of the state's population.
Their legacy is preserved for present and future generations in a distinctly beautiful restoration of a 19th century temple on permanent display at Lewis-Clark State College's Center for Arts & History located in downtown Lewiston. Included in the display are a deity plaque, altar, donor signs, ornate lanterns and a variety of worship items used in the original temple located less than three blocks from the center.
Lewiston's central business district is marked by numerous "turn of the century" buildings that shadow the Snake/Clearwater confluence. While the city supports several national chain stores around which mini-malls have developed, the historic business district remains an active center of business and commerce.
The moderate, inviting climate is ideal for year-round recreational pursuits. Joggers, walkers and bicyclists take advantage of the Valley's extensive paved levee path throughout the winter. Spring in the Lewis-Clark Valley provides an artist's palate of colors, dominated by the reds, pinks and whites of Dogwood trees and an array of other flowering trees, shrubs and flowers. Summers are warm and dry; autumns are filled with the hues of trees in transition. Unlike many areas in the Inland Northwest, Lewiston and Clarkston are blessed with four distinctly beautiful seasons.