The population of the Upper Columbia Country exploded when gold was discovered along the banks of the Columbia River and its tributaries in the early 1850s. The first gold boom, the Colville Gold Strike, drew prospective miners from all over the…

The United States-Canadian border in the Pacific Northwest is clearly marked and border agents at defined crossing points regulate movement from one side to the other. This system is the direct result of the hard work done by the United States and…

The Spokane River is a vital resource that has attracted humans to the region for thousands of years. The river has provided food and fresh water for generations, but the arrival of white settlers in the late 1800s presented a substantial challenge…

It was the end of an era when Stockland Union Stockyards closed in 1999. Just off of North Freya, the area had been home to stockyards since 1915, when the Spokane Union Stockyards opened under the direction of brothers John H. and Walter D.…

Dick’s Drive-in is an iconic Spokane business. The drive up parking, the open air counter and the buildings silhouette call back to the googie architecture of a 1960’s California Drive-In. On the sign a panda holds a hamburger that is being…

The Robert Reid Lab School started as a training school in 1908 where college students did student teaching with elementary students from the community. This was important because the normal schools purpose was to train teachers. In 1937 when Martin…

Like many of the commercial structures in downtown Cheney, the Masonic Temple has had many tenants and uses over the decades. Two influential architects of the 19th century, Kirtland Cutter and Karl Malmegren, designed the building in 1910 for the…

During the early years, Eastern Washington University was a normal school, which was the term for a teacher’s college. Most students were women, and by 1919, the administration decided it was time for a new women’s dormitory. Architect Julius…

On March 22, 1890, the legislature of the newly minted Washington State granted Cheney the state’s first Normal School. Normal School was the designation used for a school or college whose purpose was the training of teachers. Cheney’s Normal…

Vigilante justice and mob law took Spokane County by storm on the fateful night of March 21st, 1881. A group of eight disgruntled men from Cheney under the leadership of John Still, the Cheney Justice of Peace, broke into the Spokane County…

Being the first of its kind in a small and rural town in Eastern Washington, the Cheney Electric Light works and Leifer Apartments was a sign of advancement and prosperity. The building itself was three stories and was built at a cost of $15,000,…

Ask a local resident in Eastern Washington about Mt. Spokane and they will assume you are talking about its skiing slopes, hiking trails or campgrounds. Ask about what else it might be famous for you will most likely draw blanks but a hint of its…

One hundred years ago on a cold foggy February morning, Cheney’s worst railroad accident occurred at this spot. The Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited passenger train plowed into a Burlington passenger train. The Burlington train was stopped…

As a college town, Cheney has no shortage of apartment buildings, but few have stood the test of time as gracefully as the Philena Apartments. Built in 1929 by Archibald Rigg and Roland Vantyne, these apartments were financed by Clarence Martin, the…

The week of June 19, 1994 was a dark time in the history of Fairchild Air Force Base. On June 20, 4 people were killed and 22 wounded in a murderous rampage carried out by a disturbed shooter. Just four days later, a B-52H Stratofortress, piloted by…

Between 1876 and 1915, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone lines went from reaching just 100 feet, to over 3,400 miles. The first call between Bell and Watson merely spanned adjacent rooms; while their call in 1915 spanned New York to San Francisco.…

Amicitia, amor et veritas. Friendship, love, and truth were the three founding principles of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). After its founding in 1842 in Baltimore, Maryland, the fraternal order grew rapidly across the United States and…

It was a long way from West Point to the remote frontier post of Ft. Spokane. John McAdams Webster, from Warrenton, Ohio, began his military career by joining the 197th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in 1865. Though he was only 16 years old, Webster was…

Like most Army posts on the western frontier, Fort Spokane relied on native scouts. Indian scouts interpreted, guided soldiers through the wilderness of eastern Washington, and brought back vital intelligence to the Army. At Fort Spokane, being…

On March 26, 1821 two giant companies merged. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), founded on May 2, 1670, bought out its largest upstart rival in the fur trading business, the North West Company. This merger had lasting effects on the fur trade in the…

Fort Spokane, like any other military fort at the time, was a structured place where officers and enlisted men practiced drills and kept the peace. During their time off, the soldiers were free to get in trouble, and with a brewery just up the hill,…

Missionaries conducted their final service at St. Paul’s Mission on August 14, 1875. Without the stewardship of the clergymen and parishioners the building quickly fell into disrepair. But although the church was no longer in use, locals continued…

In 1862 Louther Meyers arrived in Colville Valley from his home in New York state, determined to make his fortune in the west. He worked as a carpenter for homesteaders and at a flour mill on the Little Pend Oreille River near the village of Hart. By…

Bertha Finley Brisbois was born in 1890, on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Her father, John Finley, was a Flathead from Montana and her mother, Annie Lafleur, was Spokane. Bertha was one of the children taken to the Fort Spokane Indian Boarding…

“Everything you need to know about life is in the Coyote stories- if you just listen carefully.” Flathead elder, Joe Cullooyah The Salish-speaking Spokane Indians occupied a wide territory, much of it along the drainages of the Spokane and…

In the early 1900s, tuberculosis was known as the “great white plague,” and at the turn of the century it killed around 450 Americans every day. An infectious disease of the lungs, tuberculosis spreads through the air, usually via coughing fits.…

This jail cell has harbored many a man; frontiersmen, troublesome soldiers, and defiant Indians. One of the most infamous prisoners was the shama q,olá’ skin, known in English as Skolaskin, who founded a new religion among his native…

Just a few decades before the prohibition of alcohol, soldiers stationed at Fort Spokane were thirsty for libations and one man, Bernard Bockemeuhl, decided to take on the job. To the lonely, isolated soldiers stationed at Fort Spokane during the…

For centuries, Kettle Falls was a fishing spot and a gathering place. When Grand Coulee Dam began construction in 1933, thousands of years of history and tradition suddenly changed. By 1940, the waters of Lake Roosevelt began to rise, slowly…