~ Fort Spokane and Crown Point Overlook ~

Fort Spokane, the Crown Point Overlook and the Spokane Indian Reservation were stops I made during my crive from Spokane, Washington to the Colville Indian Reservation and the Chief Joseph Memorial in Nespelem, Washington.

The drive was made on a beautiful Sunday in May. All along the drive, where I could see the surrounding mountains, some of those mountains were still shrouded in snow. WInter had not yet released its frip on Washington, as I would experience snow again, but it was a wonderful spring day.




Fort Spokane

The area of Fort Spokane was a U.S. Army fort from 1880 to 1898 and became an Indian boarding school from 1900 to 1907. Then it served as a hospital and offices before being abandoned in 1929.

Fort Spokane was established to separate settlers in the south and reservation lands north of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers. The fort saw little action during its time as an Army post. Soldiers spent most of their time defending local tribes from encroaching white settlers who wanted to poach game, mine or build homes illegally on the Apokane and Colville reservations.

The Fort Spokane Indian Boarding School was one of almost 150 Indian boarding schools across the nation. Indain children were forcibly taken from their homes and sent away to these schools to be indoctrinated in the ways of the white man. The program was largely a failure and the tactics used by the teachers and administrators would, today, violate the Geneva Convention's rules on torture.

The intent was to strip the children of their native culture. The memories and scars of that time resonate to this day in Native American communities. After seven years in operation, under pressures from the tribes and some leaders in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, this school closed.

When the government abandoned the fort in 1929. the buildings weren't considered historically impoertant. Most were dismantled during the Great Depression and World War II. The materials were then used to build homes. Many of the residents of this area grew up in homes made from Fort Spokane lumber.

Fort Spokane was the last Western frontier fort built in the Pacific Northwest. It helped maintain order and "protect" the reservations from white settlers. Across the West, European settlemet led to clashes with Native Americans. Initially military forts were built to protect settlers during these clashes. Later forts such as Fort Spokane helped protect newly established Indian reservations from illegal settlement.

The grounds were tranferred to the National Park service in the 1960s and the four remaining buildings were restored.

Looking down on Frot Spokane

Entrance Fort Spokane Washington Territory


Quartermaster Stable - built 1884

Administration Building

Quartermaster Storehouse location
The Administration Building was located across the parade ground from the Commanding Officer's residencve and was connected to Officers Row by a boardwalk.

The structire first served as headquarters for LTC Henry Clay Merriam, who felt is surpassed all other post administration buildings he had see "for appearance and convenience."

Colonel Merriam, a Civil War veteran from Maine, was noted for his fair-handed negotiations with the local Indians.
Soldiers of the Second and Fourth Infantry were joined by troops from the First and Second Cavalry on Fort Spokane. Cavalry supplemented the infantry by providing reconnaissance and a mobile strike force.

Cavalry officers had to care for their own mounts, which were kept in sheds behind their houses. All other horses were cared for in this stable. Cleaning the stable, herdind horses and being detailed as a farrier or blacksmith wre routine jobs for the 50-60 members of a cavalry troop.

Parade Grounds

Enlisted quarters


All that remins of most of the fort's 45 buildings are stones and rocks that show where they were.

The Quartermast Powder Magazine

Hospital Stewards Quarters


More ruins. The one on the right was the morgue.

Spokane Indian Reservation


On the Rez

Spokane River


I first encountered these metal sculptures on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana in 2002. Since then I have been seeing more of them on my travels.


Crown Point Overlook


Welcome to Crown Point

Grand Coulee Dam from Crown Point
The main reason for visiting Crown Point is to view Grand Coulee Dam and the surrounding area.

Grand Coulee Dam is the key structure in water utilization for the Columbia River basin. The dam began operation in 1942 and is one of the world's largest concrete structures. The Washingtom State Historical Scoiety claims it is still the largest, but I have my doubts. It is a mile long and contains nearly 12 million cubic yards (9 million cubic meters) of concrete. I weighs over 24 million tons.

The dam houses three power plants to provide electricity to the Northwest.


These blue and green areas made me curious. You will see them again on the Colville Indian Reservation page.

Across the Columbia River Valley is the Colville Indian Reservation

From inside the Crown Point Sundial

Columbia River Valley

Another view of the dam



City of Coulee Dam, Washington

The Crown Point Sundial
Closer views of Grand Coulee Dam from along the River




Music is "White Flag"

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