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.…

Cheney has been a gathering place for thousands of years, and people have come up with different names for this spot. Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Native Americans called this place "Yts'piyits'p", which means “worn out, worn out” in the native language…

Today’s Bennett Block is comprised of what were once three distinct buildings: Bennett Building, constructed in 1890; Lockhardt Building, constructed in 1890; and the Star Hotel Building, constructed in 1892. They were built after the great fire that…

Spokane is steeped in Native American history, the name itself derived from the Spokan tribe, and many roads, creeks, and wildlife names also provide evidence of this native history. The creek appears on the The area officially listed as Latah…

Hangman Creek is one of the Spokane River’s largest tributaries and is surrounded by lush meadows and farmland. It once provided local tribes with food sources such as trout, salmon and freshwater mussels, as well as reeds used to make sleeping mats…

Like most of the landscape in Eastern Washington, the South Hill Bluffs in Spokane reveal the incredible influence of Lake Missoula’s ice dam that broke apart and surged through the area around 20,000 years ago. The layers of clay, silt, and rock,…

The area known as Vinegar Flats has a diverse history and was once home to local tribes, pioneers from the East coast, as well as new immigrants moving into Spokane. As early as 1874 there were small farms and orchards springing up with apple and…

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 to…

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 Little…

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…

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…

The officers and soldiers who served at Fort Spokane from its beginning in 1880 to its cessation in 1898 were the product of social contrasts that resembled the differences in the U.S. Army during the 1800's. Many of the officers came from…

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 the…

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…