Articles Comments


The Crossroads Project

The Crossroads Project

Stevens County Crossroads on the Columbia Digital Archive Since the ice sheets retreated 10,000 years ago, Native Peoples fished at Kettle Falls until the falls were submerged beneath waters backed up by Grand Coulee Dam in 1940.  Rivers were the highways of early travel, where they came together villages arose.  Native people gathered through the summer at the falls to catch and dry salmon.  This is the oldest and greatest of the Crossroads on the Columbia. The … Read entire article »


Spokan Garry

Spokan Garry by: Ojibwa Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 16:38:51 PM PST In 1825, Governor George Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company conceived the idea of selecting some Indian boys from the Columbia River tribes in present-day Washington and Idaho and sending them east to the Anglican mission school at Red River in Manitoba to be educated. His idea was that these boys could help in “civilizing” the tribes upon their return. Two teenage Indian boys – one from the Spokan in Washington and the other from the Kootenai in Idaho – were sent to the Red River School. The boys are renamed Kootenai Pelly and Spokan Garry. The name “Garry” was taken from the name of one of the directors of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the name “Pelly” from one of … Read entire article »


Mining History

A series of Adobe Acrobat files telling the story of Mining in Stevens County Washington is now available on this site: Mining Part I – Tells the story of the rocks that make up the county and the kinds of mines found in them Mining Part II – Talks about early mines and miners up till 1883 Mining Part III – Takes a look at the flurry of important mines discovered around 1883 Mining Part IV – Finishes the story with a look at some current mines Some of these are files up to 8 megabytes.  They may take awhile to load. … Read entire article »

Magnesite Plant

A continuing theme in Stevens County History is boom and bust mining.  We have recently received a slide show on the Magnesite Plant in Chewelah from Geno Ludwid, local historian.  Follow this link, To see the story as a slide show in Acrobat .PDF format. … Read entire article »

Colville Road Slide Show

Geno Ludwig, teacher and historian, lives in Chewelah and has donated to the archive a slide show on the history of the Colville Road from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Colville.  This presentation fits exactly into the Crossroads on the Columbia theme and is a great introduction to Stevens County history as well as the Crossroads websites.  Check the Colville Road Slide Show. … Read entire article »

At the End of the Road

Pushed out of Europe by conflict and poverty into Canada and the United States, settlers from across the nation and the world made their way to Northeast Washington in the first decades of the 20th Century.  They not only settled in the small towns at the crossroads of wagon trails and railroads.  They moved out to build communities wherever there was a mine to work or land to farm.  A log cabin, a cow and a clearing in the woods was all that many first settlers had to make a living.  The stories of these people at the ends of the roads have been passed on by their descendants and make a continuous pattern from … Read entire article »


DC Corbin built a railway through Stevens County and to the Canadian Border in 1889 and 1890.   The enterprise could make or break a town and everyone had a stake in it.  The changes brought on by the railroad brought many more settlers and more commerce to the area.  But at the same time they took away the dominance of Colville and other towns built along the ancient water ways and gathered goods for transport to and from the rest of the country to and from the flat and dry rail yards of Spokane.  Spokane soon became the biggest city between the Rockies and the Cascade Mountains. … Read entire article »

Wagon Trails

Military Fort Colville was established in 1859 by Captain Pinkney Lugenbeel.  He brought 36 wagons from Walla Walla to an area just north of the current city of Colville.  The road was later named the “Colville Road” or the “Colville Military Road” and was the oldest pioneer highway in eastern Washington.  It tied into the Oregon Trail at Walla Walla.  The first route along the Colville River was subject to problems with flooding and an all-weather road was needed to supply the fort. … Read entire article »

The Steamboat Era

The first transportation of the industrial age to enter Northeast Washington, were steamboats.  With parts brought in on wagons and boats assembled on site early ships captains cashed in on the need to export ore, fruit and livestock and to import settlers, miners and trade goods into the upper Columbia.  A steamboat landing involved the whole community.  Firewood needed to be supplied, food and accommodations flourished.   Trading establishments and warehouses sprang up. Captain Leonard White constructed the first steamboat above Kettle Falls in 1865 to service the burgeoning mining regions to the north. … Read entire article »


In 1854, Joseph Morel, a teamster for the Hudson Bay Company, was taking a drink of water from the Columbia River near what is now the Canadian Border.  He noticed black sand on the river bottom.  When Angus McDonald had taken charge of Hudson Bay Fort Colvile in 1852, he had hinted that there might be gold in these waters.  Morel sifted through those sands and found flakes of gold.  News spread quickly and veterans of the California gold rush of 1849 and prospectors from the West Coast soon flooded the area.  You can still pan gold out of that stretch of the Columbia today. The prospectors soon found more gold in Sullivan Creek, (named after prospector, … Read entire article »

The Fur Trade

The Fur Trade in what is now Northeast Washington did not begin until near the end of 250 years of activity in North America.  Over the period from 1600 to 1850 dominance in the trade shifted from the French to the English and finally to the Americans in the era of the “Mountain Men” from 1830 to 1850.  Its significance for Northeast Washington and interior British Columbia goes well beyond the economic impact that buying and selling furs had on the region. By the time of the first official contact between White Men and the local natives, the arrival of David Thompson at Kettle Falls in 1811, the trade of iron goods, firearms, … Read entire article »