Officers' Row

Fort Spokane Tour - Story 2

You are now standing in front of the foundation of what once was an officers house.

The officers and enlisted men of Fort Spokane were divided by a wide social gulf, as evident with the differences in their living quarters. Officers lived in houses across the parade grounds from the enlisted men's barracks.

Most officers lived in double sets while the higher ranking officers lived in single occupancy dwellings. Many even had quarters for their Chinese servants located behind their house.

The social gulf can also be seen in the pay gap between the officers and enlisted men. An infantry private's pay was only $13 for the first ten years and $18 after, while a second lieutenant earned $140 after 10 years. To put these wages into perspective, a quart of milk at that time would have generally cost around .56 cents. In general, soldiers during this era earned very little and were enlisted for much longer periods than currently. For example, all 4th Infantry officers from captain on up at Fort Spokane, had fought in the Civil War. One of the post commanders, Maj. Leslie Smith had joined the Army in 1849 as a private. However, despite long military careers opportunities for advancement were very seldom.

The social gulf even extended into the officers ranks as well; non-commissioned officers were housed not in the comfortable houses, but in the bottom section of the barracks with the enlisted men.

Images

Lt. Andrus

Lt. Andrus

Photograph of Lt. Andrus taken c. 1890. Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page

Commanding Officer's Quarters

Commanding Officer's Quarters

The Commanding Officer's house in winter during the army post era. Snow has been cleared from the boardwalk. Aside from the foundation, some of the few remnants of this era are the Douglas-fir and black locust trees. Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page

Inside an Officer's House

Inside an Officer's House

The sitting room of an officer's house as furnished during the agency and school period. c. 1900 Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page

Lt. Colonel Henry Clay Merriam

Lt. Colonel Henry Clay Merriam

Lt. Colonel Merriam commanded the post through much of the 1880s. During the Civil War, Merriam commanded the 73rd Infantry Regiment, United States Colored Troops. For his actions in the war, he later received the Medal of Honor. Source: Sentinel of Silence View File Details Page

Officers' Row

Officers' Row

Fort Spokane "Officer's Row." Commanding Officer's quarters on left. Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page

Officer's Row Today

Officer's Row Today

Foundations and trees planted to shade homes mark the location of officers' row today. View File Details Page

Audio

Audio File 1

View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Ryanna Thurman, “Officers' Row,” Spokane Historical, accessed April 27, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/70.

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