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Ketchum, Idaho facts for kids

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Ketchum, Idaho
Ketchum in September 2007
Ketchum in September 2007
"Small town, big life."
Location of Ketchum in Blaine County, Idaho.
Location of Ketchum in Blaine County, Idaho.
Country United States
State Idaho
County Blaine
Founded 1880
 • Total 3.25 sq mi (8.43 km2)
 • Land 3.21 sq mi (8.31 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.12 km2)
5,853 ft (1,784 m)
 • Total 3,555
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 208, 986
FIPS code 16-43030
GNIS feature ID 0397833

Ketchum is a city in Blaine County, Idaho, located in the central part of the state. The population was 3,555 at the 2020 census, up from 2,689 in 2010. Located in the Wood River Valley, Ketchum is adjacent to Sun Valley and the communities share many resources: both sit in the same valley beneath Bald Mountain, with its world-famous skiing. The city also draws tourists from around the world to enjoy its fishing, hiking, trail riding, tennis, shopping, art galleries, and more. The airport for Ketchum, Friedman Memorial Airport, is approximately 15 miles (24 km) south in Hailey.


Originally the smelting center of the Warm Springs mining district, the town was first named Leadville in 1880. The postal department decided that was too common and renamed it for David Ketchum, a local trapper and guide who had staked a claim in the basin a year earlier. Smelters were built in the 1880s, with the Philadelphia Smelter, located on Warm Springs Road, processing large amounts of lead and silver for about a decade.

After the mining boom subsided in the 1890s, sheepmen from the south drove their herds north through Ketchum in the summer, to graze in the upper elevation areas of the Pioneer, Boulder, and Sawtooth mountains. By 1920, Ketchum had become the largest sheep-shipping center in the West. In the fall, massive herds of sheep flowed south into the town's livestock corrals at the Union Pacific Railroad's railhead, which connected to the main line at Shoshone.

After the development of Sun Valley by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1936, Ketchum became popular with celebrities, including Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway loved the surrounding area; he fished, hunted, and in the late 1950s bought a home overlooking the Wood River in nearby Warm Springs. He and his granddaughter, model and actress Margaux Hemingway, are buried in the Ketchum Cemetery. The local elementary school is named in his honor.

Every Labor Day weekend, Ketchum hosts the Wagon Days festival, a themed carnival featuring Old West wagon trains, narrow ore wagons, a parade, and simulated street gunfights.


Ketchum is located at an elevation of 5,853 feet (1,784 m) above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.08 square miles (7.98 km2), of which, 3.05 square miles (7.90 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water. However, two mountain streams, Trail Creek and Warm Springs Creek, join the Big Wood River in Ketchum.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 450
1950 757
1960 746 −1.5%
1970 1,454 94.9%
1980 2,200 51.3%
1990 2,523 14.7%
2000 3,003 19.0%
2010 2,689 −10.5%
2020 3,555 32.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

Ketchum is home to several faith communities, including the Presbyterian Church of the Bigwood, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, and the Wood River Jewish Community.

2010 census

At the 2010 census there were 2,689 people, 1,431 households, and 583 families living in the city. The population density was 881.6 inhabitants per square mile (340.4/km2). There were 3,564 housing units at an average density of 1,168.5 per square mile (451.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.9% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 6.5% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.1%.

Of the 1,431 households 15.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.2% were married couples living together, 5.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 59.3% were non-families. 44.1% of households were one person and 11.5% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 1.88 and the average family size was 2.63.

The median age was 44 years. 14.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 31.4% were from 25 to 44; 32.3% were from 45 to 64; and 16.3% were 65 or older. The gender makeup of the city was 52.0% male and 48.0% female.

Points of interest

  • Sawtooth Botanical Garden
  • Ketchum Sun Valley Historical Society Heritage & Ski Museum
  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area
  • Sun Valley's Bald Mountain or "Baldy" has 13 chairlifts and 65 runs. It covers 2,054 acres (8.31 km2) and has 3,400 feet (1,000 m) of vertical from top to bottom.

Special events

  • Trailing of the Sheep

Sister cities

Notable former and current residents

  • Melissa Arnot - mountain guide
  • Bowe Bergdahl, United States Army soldier captured by the Taliban
  • Peter Cetera - singer-songwriter, Chicago
  • Christin Cooper - alpine ski racer
  • Dick Fosbury - 1968 Olympic gold medalist in the high jump; "Fosbury Flop" (progenitor of all modern high jump techniques)
  • Karl Fostvedt - professional skier
  • Gretchen Fraser - alpine ski racer, first US winter Olympic Gold medalist
  • Scott Glenn - actor
  • Tom Hanks - partial year; Academy Award (5 nominations, 2 wins) actor
  • Ernest Hemingway - Nobel Prize-winning author and outdoorsman
  • Mariel Hemingway - Academy Award-nominated actress, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway
  • Cody Lampl (born 1986) - professional ice hockey defenseman
  • Steve Miller - rock musician ("Steve Miller Band")
  • Carson Palmer - Heisman Trophy Winner & Former NFL football player with Cincinnati, Oakland, and Arizona
  • Tim Ryan - sportscaster
  • Jim Sinegal - partial year; founder and former CEO of Costco Wholesale
  • Ann Sothern - Academy Award–nominated film and television actress
  • Tisha Sterling - actress
  • Picabo Street - Olympic and world champion ski racer
  • Ed Viesturs - only American to climb all 14 eight thousand meter peaks
  • Adam West - actor, TV's Batman
  • Van Williams - actor
  • Steve Wynn - partial year; founder and former CEO of Wynn Resorts

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ketchum (Idaho) para niños

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