Fort Spokane, established in the fall of 1880 was the last "frontier" fort to be constructed in the Pacific Northwest.
White settlers began moving into the area as farming overtook mining as the local industry. The Native American population was being pushed from their farms onto the Colville Reservation. Local authorities, fearing a revolt similar to the serious Indian uprisings in the Pacific Northwest by the Nez Perce, Bannocks and Paiutes during the late 1870s, wanted to discourage any resistance through a military presence. This was not a farfetched fear as the tribes being sent to the Colville Reservation had never signed treaties that would have provided any legal basis for their removal. The Army was also needed to calm the minds of white settlers who would overreact to rumors. Although there were many more reasons for the establishment and location of Fort Spokane the main idea was that it was a barrier separating settlers to the south and the Indian reservations to the north.
The guardhouse, now the museum and visitor center for Fort Spokane, was originally built in the early 1880s and was used to guard and house prisoners. The two solitary cells were used to confine more serious criminals. The common cells could house up to 25 men and the men would be placed there if they got into fights, drank too much alcohol or tried to run away.