top of page

Company Town by Keith C. Petersen


At a bend in the Palouse River, in the shadow of Gold Hill, in northern Latah County, Idaho, rests a town named Potlatch. It is not particularly picturesque, and projects an image of gritty working-class living. But the ordinary appearance of Potlatch belies its unusual past. For this was a company town—a town wholely owned by a large lumber company.


But Potlatch’s history is more than just the history of a company town. It is the story of the West in microcosm—the exploitation of natural resources; the impact of big business upon the development of a rural area; and common people making a place their home.


Company Town presents an insightful look into life in a rural community and follows its progress through the decades. It shows the close ties between community life and the larger spheres of the timber industry, regional and national economics, and international events. The book imparts a sense of what it was like to work in the sawmill and live in what the Potlatch Lumber Company had planned as a model town.


(336 pages)

Company Town: Potlatch, Idaho, and the Potlatch Lumber Company

    bottom of page