One of my favorite summer getaways in Idaho is Coeur d'Alene. I have family who live there and I love visiting...but I would have never guessed that this beautiful Idaho oasis was once the most dangerous town in the West.

According to an article in Only in Your State, Back in the 1800s, Coeur d'Alene was a booming mine town. Zinc, silver, and lead were all found here by miners who suffered through horrendous work conditions. Murders and other deaths were common place in this wild west town.

At one point in time, the famous lawman Wyatt Earp was once the Deputy Sheriff of this old western tough and wild town.

By the late 1890s the killings had become so bad that the Idaho governor even had to declare Martial Law in the city.

The mines weren't the only places where violence occurred in Coeur d'Alene, however. Crime ran rampant in the entire town - giving it the reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in America, At the time it was by far the most dangerous place between Portland and Minnesota.

Perhaps the ringleader of the debauchery was a man who was called Fatty Carroll. He was the owner of Caroll's Variety, a Coeur d'Alene saloon notorious for the prostitution, drugs, and gambling that took place inside. Carroll was also known for "getting rid" of anyone who he disliked or disagreed with - a crime that, like many, went unpunished or unnoticed back in the day.

Obviously a lot has changed since the 1800s. No longer the violent town of the past, more and more people are choosing to vacation and live in Coeur d'Alene. It was even named the cleanest city in the US by Expedia in 2016. It's just amazing to know that one of my favorite Idaho cities was once this wild and dangerous.

To learn more about Coeur d'Alene:

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