Montpelier, Idaho

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Montpelier is a city in Bear Lake County, Idaho, United States. The population was 2,785 at the 2000 census. The city is the largest community in the Bear Lake Valley, a farming region north of Bear Lake in southeastern Idaho along the Utah border. It was settled in 1863 by Mormon pioneers on the route of the Oregon Trail.



Like most western towns, the name has been changed numerous times. First it was known as Clover Creek by Oregon Trail travelers, later it became Belmont and finally was given the name Montpelier by Brigham Young, one of the founding fathers of Mormonism, after a town in his birth state of Vermont. The city was first settled in 1864.[1]

In 1892 the railroad was extended to Montpelier, with a terminal being located here until 1972. The railroad brought a population that made Montpelier the county's "Gentile Town" as opposed to nearby Mormon-run Paris that was the county seat. Both cities would have tabernacles built in their city limits.

U.S. Routes 89 and 30 intersect in Montpelier.

In 1896 Montpelier was the site of a bank heist by Butch Cassidy, members of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch Elzy Lay and Bob Meeks who were supposedly trying to get enough money to bail out fellow gang member Matt Warner. This historical footnote has become a significant component of the town's identity and is commemorated by a plaque on Washington Street (Highway 89).


Montpelier is located at 42°19′13″N 111°18′13″W / 42.32028°N 111.30361°W / 42.32028; -111.30361 (42.320416, -111.303703).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.8 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 2,785 people, 1,012 households, and 715 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,512.3 people per square mile (584.4/km²). There were 1,171 housing units at an average density of 635.9/sq mi (245.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.70% White, 0.61% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.97% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.81% of the population.

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