The Guardhouse

Fort Spokane Tour - Story 4

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.

Images

Company C, 2nd Infantry in Dress Uniforms

Company C, 2nd Infantry in Dress Uniforms

Co. C, 2nd Inf. in dress uniforms in front of barracks. Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page

Brigadier General Nelson A. Miles

Brigadier General Nelson A. Miles

Civil War veteran and builder of Fort Spokane. Miles relocated operations from Fort Chelan and Fort Colville to Fort Spokane. Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page

Physiographic Map of Washington

Physiographic Map of Washington

Map illustrating the location of the military Fort Spokane at the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers. View File Details Page

Chief Moses

Chief Moses

Chief Moses of the Sinkiuse-Columbia. Taken October 1886. Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page

Fort Spokane, c. 1903

Fort Spokane, c. 1903

Image Courtesy of the University of Washington Libraries, American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Images Collection. View File Details Page

Audio

Audio File 1

View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Ryanna Thurman, “The Guardhouse,” Spokane Historical, accessed April 27, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/21.

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