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…

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…

Short on clothes but long on intrigue, Willie Willey and his choice in dress (or lack thereof) made an impression on twentieth century Spokane. Born in 1884, Willis (Willie) Willey grew up in Iowa but moved to Spokane in 1905. As a young twenty…

In 1887, Norwegian-born Helga and Ole Estby purchased 160 acres of land in “Little Norway,” an enclave in the town of Mica Creek, 25 miles southeast of Spokane. Shortly after the Panic of 1893, Ole injured his back and was unable to work the…

White Americans of the early 1900s were often obsessed with concepts of race and whiteness. But what did they mean by "white?" In 1912 a recent immigrant from India to Spokane would put the idea to the test.Born in Calcutta in 1880, A. K. Mozumdar…

In 1890, Alfred Thayer Mahan published his magnum opus, The Influence of Seapower Upon History. Thayer was a geopolitical strategist and an admiral in the United States navy, and he argued that throughout history great empires had flourished not by…

Float Homes of Bayview The “Floating Village” at Bayview, Idaho has been a unique community for over 100 years. There are over 200 of the historical floating homes in Idaho with about 100 of them being in one central location of Scenic Bay on…

The River Pigs of Logging The remote virgin forests of northern Idaho represented a fortune in timber--if it could be brought to market. In areas not immediately adjacent to a railroad, the fast-moving rivers offered an economical way to get…

How does a young, single woman prepare herself to teach in a one room, country school house? When this question was asked of Nellie F. Ramsey Garrison, an 86 year old retired teacher of Bonner County schools, she smiled, laughed and said there is no…

The main challenge for farming in the Spokane Valley was supplementing the meager local rain fall with manmade irrigation systems. Gravity ditches, such as the Corbin Ditch, formed the core of early efforts in this area. Developers understood that…

Originally called Woodard, or Woodard Station, after the family who owned the land on either side of the tracks, the district that is now Millwood was a little railroad town. The arrival of the Inland Empire Paper Company in 1910, however, changed…

This quiet street corner in Cheney was once the scene of two brutal murders. From 1881 until 1886, the frontier village of Cheney was also the seat of government for Spokane County. A courthouse stood nearby, and here on the northeast corner of…

During the boom years of early Spokane, colleges and academic institutions began to pop up around the city. Spokane University was among the first universities in Spokane and the first in the valley, but it would not survive for long. Founded in…

Not all the wealth of Wallace came from the mines. Some came from bedrooms of the working women of the brothels like the Oasis or the Bi-Metallic. As the miners extracted the ore from the ground, the second wave of workers arrived to mine the wages…

Nestled in a cramped canyon seven miles from historic Wallace, are the decaying remnants of the once-booming mining town that was built to house the miners of the Hecla, Hercules, Tiger-Poorman, and Bunker Hill mines. Burke was "all length and no…

After hundreds of years of American oppression, American Indians gained the right to vote in the land they called home since time immemorial with the passing of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. Native Americans, new to the political scene worked…

[Note: This location is a private residence, not open to the public.] This Spokane home has a Hollywood pedigree. It was built to promote the 1948 film, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Seventy-three similar Blandings homes were built across…

The steel rails that still peek through the pavement here and there in Spokane remind us of the days of trolley cars. At one time, the tracks that lay before you carried Spokanites to work, shops, restaurants, and leisure. Residents even had a safe…

Every spring, many of the meadows of the eastern Washington and northern Idaho are dotted with the blue flowers of the camas plant, cammasia quamash. To the Native peoples of the Columbia Plateau these flowers indicated food, marking the nutritious…

By the early 1900s, the rough and tumble frontier towns of America were dying off, slowly becoming gentrified and developed into respectable settlements. Taft, Montana was one town that wasn't going to go down quietly. Home to pimps, prostitutes and…

When the territory of Washington became a state in 1889, the city of Spokane Falls was one of its largest and most successful cities. Attracting wealthy businessmen who had stakes in the nearby Idaho mines, Spokane Falls was a thriving young city…

The Washington Cracker Company building, which still stands at the corner of Bernard and Pacific Streets, is one of the most visible reminders of Spokane's foray into the industrial world. Its high visibility is due in part to the painted signage…

When Levi and May Arkwright Hutton struck silver ore in 1901 at the Hercules Mine, the couple's lives dramatically changed. Both from humble beginnings, the pair met while working on railroad in Idaho. Upon striking it rich, the two moved to Spokane…

Life as an orphan out on the western frontier was full of hardships. Without parents, orphans bounced around from distant relative to distant relative. It was a lonely life for most, who were often treated like servants in the homes they occupied.…

Felts Field is not only the oldest airport in the Spokane area but is also one of the oldest federally designated airstrips in the country. Located near Rutter and Fancher and along the banks of the Spokane River, Felts Field was originally known…