The Huntingtons maintained a small trading post on their land. In 1884, the rails of the Oregon Short Line and the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company line were joined in Huntington. Since that time, Huntington has been an important railway division point. With the advent of the railroad came J.T. Fifer, who had been selling general merchandise to the construction crews moving his goods from town to town as the work progressed. Shortly after Fifer arrived, the Huntingtons closed up, leaving him alone in the general merchandise business. The Oregon Construction Company followed soon, with a stock of general merchandise, a blacksmith shop, the Pacific Hotel, several boarding houses and restaurants and a number of saloons.
In 1898, the Northwest Railroad Company began extending a short line down the Snake River. It reached Homestead about 1910. This increased transportation at Huntington and gave an outlet for Eagle and Pine Valley fruits, cattle, lumber and ore. This line was flooded by water from Brownlee Dam. Huntington became the only incorporated city in Baker County on the Oregon Trail in 1891 with Home Rule Law.
Evidence of the hardships and tragedies of the pioneer movement still exists: a small iron cross, visible from Route 30, marks the location where Snake River Shoshone Indians killed a number of emigrants in 1860.
At the turn of the 19th century, Huntington developed a reputation as "Sin City", a rugged frontier town having its share of saloons, Chinese opium dens, and gunslingers.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land.
There were 232 households out of which 21.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.73.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 21.6% from 25 to 44, 27.2% from 45 to 64, and 23.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 113.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,132, and the median income for a family was $30,781. Males had a median income of $27,500 versus $22,083 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,396. About 10.7% of families and 17.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.8% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.