Challis, Idaho

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Challis is a city in Custer County, Idaho, United States. The population was 909 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Custer County.[1]



Challis was founded in 1878 and named for A.P. Challis, who was a surveyor when the townsite was laid out.[2] Challis post office was established in 1878.[3]

1983 Earthquake

On Friday, October 28, 1983, the Borah Peak earthquake occurred at 8:06 am MDT, measured at 6.9 on the Richter Scale. The Challis-Mackay region experienced rather thorough damage, with 11 commercial buildings and 39 homes with major damage; while another 200 houses were damaged, minor to moderately. Mackay in particular, about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Challis, experienced the most severe damage. Most of the city's large buildings on its Main Street were damaged, to some extent; eight of these buildings were deemed condemned and closed down. Most of these buildings were built from materials such as brick, concrete block, and stone, each varying.[4]

Geography and climate

Challis is located at 44°30′15″N 114°13′42″W / 44.50417°N 114.22833°W / 44.50417; -114.22833 (44.504260, -114.228279).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.7 km²), of which, 1.8 square miles (4.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.11%) is water.

Challis experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk).


As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 909 people, 410 households, and 248 families residing in the city. The population density was 510.8 people per square mile (197.2/km²). There were 525 housing units at an average density of 295.0/sq mi (113.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.14% White, 0.88% Native American, 1.21% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.85% of the population.

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