The Workshop Building

Fort Spokane Tour

The workshop building was originally built in 1885 and cost the government $1,013.78. The 136 foot by 24 foot structure housed the blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, paint shop, tanner and wheelwright shop. All of these shops provided the means to keeping the horses and mules shod and the supply wagons in working order.

Although the original structure has been torn down, excavations of the grounds by Washington State University in conjunction with the National Park Service revealed many important artifacts. The archaeological work that they did fills in some of the blanks in the historical record.

Some of the artifacts that they uncovered were a large number of fastening devices such as square cut nails, various nuts and bolts, fragments of broken glass from windows, beer bottles and medicine bottles, horse shoes, mule shoes and ox shoes, as well as metal parts from wagons, stoves, watches and other assorted hardware. From this we know that men at the fort used a variety of patent medicines, that the army went through a lot of horse shoes, the types of metal working that they did, and that they drank a lot of beer.

The preliminary excavation, done in 1963 was the start of Fort Spokane's renovation and reopening as a site to be interpreted and presented to the public as a historic, scenic, and recreational site.


View from the East

View from the East

The workshop at the fort including this large structure for the carpenter and wheelwright helped make Fort Spokane self sufficient during the army post era. This photo was taken after the fort's conversion to an Indian boarding school. Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page

Workshop Building

Workshop Building

Undated photograph of workshop building during army post period at Fort Spokane. Source: Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service View File Details Page



Bottles recovered from workshop excavation. View File Details Page

Items from the workshop excavation

Items from the workshop excavation

Buttons, gun parts, buckles, and a knife fragment. View File Details Page


Audio - Workshop Building Fort Spokane

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Cite this Page:

Ryanna Thurman, “The Workshop Building,” Spokane Historical, accessed July 22, 2017,

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