In 1915 tuberculosis struck the Spokane Indians hard. Four natives died and fifty more were suspected of having the disease. In response to the outbreak, the Indian Service used the site of the former boarding school to create a sanitarium for local…

Being an enlisted man in the United States Army at frontier posts throughout the West was not a glamorous or respected occupation. Enlisted soldiers were typically recent European immigrants or lower white class Americans; both came from slums and…

Soldiers need weapons, and in the era of combustible black powder, a safe place to store weapons and ammunition was especially important. Powder magazines like this one were present on every military base. Black powder is inherently dangerous and…

Soldiers packed their bags and wrote farewell letters to their families. The call for war had sounded, and the elements of the 16th infantry regiment stationed at Fort Spokane had been activated for deployment. The year was 1898 and the Spanish…

Enjoying a barbecue and a nice, cold beer with friends and family?  Flicking out a fishing line into the lake for a fish to take a bite?  Are you planning on camping in a RV on the grounds of the old Kettle Falls townsite?  Perhaps are you taking…

Beneath the blue-green waters of Lake Roosevelt lie eleven drowning victims: the towns that were flooded by the rising waters behind the Grand Coulee Dam. Gifford was one of those towns. James Gifford, the town's founder, was born in 1843 in the…

Set on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River approximately 350 feet north of St. Paul's Mission near Kettle Falls, WA is a natural and historic object seeming out of place amidst a landscape of dense Ponderosa pine forest. Large, off black in color,…

In 1880, Fort Spokane was a long way from the centers of white population. The fort was situated on the edge of the Indian reservation to keep Indians on the reservation and keep white encroachment off. Fifty-five miles from the nearest railroad, and…

Between 18,000 and 13,000 years ago, glaciers advanced and retreated over northern Washington. This ice formed a fragile dam on the Clark Fork River, which slowly filled with water, creating glacial Lake Missoula. The lake spanned hundreds of miles…

In 1940, Congress mandated that the Bureau of Reclamation would be granted all the land that would be flooded by Lake Roosevelt, from the banks of the Columbia up to 1310 feet of elevation. But passing the bill was only the beginning. The wording…

Mired in strict routine and with little chance of combat, soldiers at Fort Spokane looked forward to their free time away from the base. The young men stationed at the fort were lucky to have the small town of Miles just across the river. There they…

What happened to the houses, stores, and buildings that were threatened by the rising water of Lake Roosevelt in 1941? Some were torn down and their materials reused. Some were burned. Others, if in good condition, were actually picked up and moved.…

The landscape that lies under Lake Roosevelt today is part of a series of “benchlands,” flat regions separated by steep drops. The soil is fertile, and the nearby Columbia River provided drainage, but without a way to bring more water uphill to…

Starting in 1902, the Indian children at the Fort Spokane boarding school tended this orchard. As part of “civilizing” the natives, the school taught native children to farm. The children, some as young as six years old, had to grow potatoes,…

For years, the term "Indian Agent" was synonymous with corruption, and Albert M. Anderson was a perfect example. At the turn of the century, the “spoils system” was in full effect: the Bureau of Indian Affairs turned a blind eye to agents who…

The tribes that lived near the Columbia River were enthusiastic about the "blackrobes" and their teachings. So much so that Father DeSmet, a Jesuit priest from Belgium, wrote his superiors in 1840 that he needed more priests to minister to the local…

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…

Hillyard began as a working men’s railroad town with a rough-and-tumble reputation. But families quickly followed and the addition of women and children softened the image of the town. Schools provide the mark of a civilized society, and more than…

Hillyard has always been proud of its history and heritage, as demonstrated in the many painted murals throughout the neighborhood. Let’s take a closer look at some of the Hillyard murals. Hillyard's first mural no longer exists. In 1978, a…

The large tree that stands before you, with its distinctive curve, once provided shade to a trading post for Native Americans and the Hudson Bay Company. Baptiste Peone, the chief of the Upper Spokane, chose the location in the 1840s, and it became…

Visitors to Hillyard will see the name Kehoe prominently displayed -- on the Kehoe Building, park, and apartments. These are monuments to Agnes and Thomas Kehoe, pioneer citizens of Hillyard. In 1894, Agnes Kelly married Thomas Kehoe, a…

James J. Hill lived the late nineteenth century American dream. Through hard work, perseverance, and sometimes sheer luck, Hill amassed a fortune in the railroad industry though his company Great Northern. Hill was born in a rural community west…

The Great Northern railroad is the soil on which the town of Hillyard grew. James J. Hill chose this location for his railroad terminal in 1892. The small town rapidly expanded around the railroad industry. The initial population was composed of…

The year 1889 brought a new religious experience to Spokane. The Church of Christ, Scientist, was described by one adherent as “similar to Protestantism,” with having the added benefit of scientific belief. Founded a decade prior by Mary…

Theaters were staples of entertainment for Americans from the mid-1800s to the beginning of the 20th century. Theaters in these decades featured live entertainment including plays and vaudeville. Even small towns had their theaters (often…

Commercial buildings often live multiple lives, changing with their neighborhoods. Such is the case with the Dishman Theater. Dishman Theater opened its doors on November 6, 1938. It was to be the first and only theater in the Spokane Valley for…

The name Kirtland Cutter is important in the history of Spokane, yet few know of his history in Connecticut. Cutter’s great grandfather, Jared Potter Kirtland, became the first medical student enrolled at Yale at the time the School of Medicine…

Preservation is important to small communities in keeping their heritage and remembering their history. The Metaline Falls School, constructed in 1912, was designed by Kirtland Cutter. It was the first school in the region and the only school in…

The Great Depression plunged the United States into an economic downturn unlike any it had seen before. Spokane was not immune. Workers lost their jobs quickly and the local unemployment rate shot up to twenty-five percent. Even though the local…

Tucked away in a corner of this odd-shaped parking lot, behind the historic Frank's Diner, is a sliver of Spokane history. Actually, a large granite block of history. At the west end of the parking lot is a retaining wall made of mismatched bricks…