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Arco, Idaho
Arco, Idaho.jpg
Location of Arco in Butte County, Idaho.
Location of Arco in Butte County, Idaho.
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Coordinates: 43°38′5″N 113°18′5″W / 43.63472°N 113.30139°W / 43.63472; -113.30139Coordinates: 43°38′5″N 113°18′5″W / 43.63472°N 113.30139°W / 43.63472; -113.30139
Country United States
State Idaho
County Butte
Area
 • Total 1.08 sq mi (2.80 km2)
 • Land 1.07 sq mi (2.77 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation
5,325 ft (1,623 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 995
 • Estimate 
(2019)
880
 • Density 823.97/sq mi (318.02/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
83213
Area codes 208, 986
FIPS code 16-03160
GNIS feature ID 0396049

Arco is a city in Butte County, Idaho, United States. The population was 995 at the 2010 census. Arco is the county seat and largest city in Butte County.

History

Originally known as Root Hog, the original town site was five miles (8 km) south at the junction of two stagecoach lines (Blackfoot-Wood River and Blackfoot-Salmon). A suspension bridge that crossed the Big Lost River funnelled traffic through the settlement. The town leaders applied to the U.S. Post Office for the town name of "Junction."

The Postmaster General thought the name too common and suggested that the place be named Arco for Georg von Arco (1869–1940) of Germany who was visiting Washington, D.C. at the time. Georg von Arco was an inventor and a pioneer in the field of radio transmission and would become the lead engineer of Telefunken, a German company founded in 1903 that produced radio vacuum tubes. The town later moved four miles southeast when the stage station was moved to Webb Springs at Big Southern Butte. When the Oregon Short Line railroad arrived from Blackfoot in 1901 the stage lines became obsolete and the town of Arco moved northwest to its present site.

Arco was the first community in the world ever to be lit by electricity generated solely by nuclear power. This occurred for about an hour on July 17, 1955, powered by Argonne National Laboratory’s BORAX-III reactor at the nearby National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS), which eventually became the site of the Idaho National Energy Laboratory, a predecessor of the current Idaho National Laboratory. NRTS made further history on January 3, 1961, when the SL-1 reactor was destroyed through an operator maintenance error, causing the deaths of all 3 personnel present. It was the world's first (and the U.S.' only) fatal reactor accident.

Highways

Geography

Arco is located at 43°38′5″N 113°18′5″W / 43.63472°N 113.30139°W / 43.63472; -113.30139 (43.634632, -113.301323). The elevation is 5325 feet (1623 m) above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.07 square miles (2.77 km2), of which, 1.06 square miles (2.75 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.

In town, the most striking physical feature is Number Hill, a rocky hill with numbers painted all over it. Butte County High School has a tradition of each class since 1920 painting its graduation year on the face of hill.

Climate data for Arco, Idaho (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 29.5
(-1.39)
35.5
(1.94)
45.7
(7.61)
58.1
(14.5)
67.0
(19.44)
76.6
(24.78)
84.6
(29.22)
83.2
(28.44)
73.6
(23.11)
61.1
(16.17)
41.9
(5.5)
30.4
(-0.89)
57.3
(14.06)
Average low °F (°C) 4.8
(-15.11)
9.6
(-12.44)
20.7
(-6.28)
28.8
(-1.78)
36.6
(2.56)
43.4
(6.33)
48.4
(9.11)
47.0
(8.33)
38.0
(3.33)
29.0
(-1.67)
17.6
(-8)
6.2
(-14.33)
27.5
(-2.5)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.82
(20.8)
1.05
(26.7)
0.86
(21.8)
0.75
(19.1)
1.32
(33.5)
0.90
(22.9)
0.83
(21.1)
0.78
(19.8)
0.70
(17.8)
0.63
(16)
0.80
(20.3)
0.81
(20.6)
10.25
(260.4)
Source: NOAA (normals, 1971–2000)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 322
1920 737 128.9%
1930 572 −22.4%
1940 548 −4.2%
1950 961 75.4%
1960 1,562 62.5%
1970 1,244 −20.4%
1980 1,241 −0.2%
1990 1,016 −18.1%
2000 1,026 1.0%
2010 995 −3.0%
2019 (est.) 880 −11.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census of 2010, there were 995 people, 417 households, and 254 families living in the city. The population density was 938.7 inhabitants per square mile (362.4/km2). There were 504 housing units at an average density of 475.5 per square mile (183.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.1% White, 0.3% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 1.7% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 417 households, of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.1% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.03.

The median age in the city was 41.2 years. 26.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.6% were from 25 to 44; 26.1% were from 45 to 64; and 18.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.8% male and 48.2% female.

Economy

The town's economic base is primarily derived from the Idaho National Laboratory (formerly the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory or INEL), agricultural products, and recreation in the Lost River Valley.

Notable residents

  • C. A. Bottolfsen, Governor of Idaho, (1939–1941, 1943–1945)
  • Warren Jones — justice, Idaho Supreme Court, valedictorian of Butte County High School in 1961
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