Spokane Valley, Washington

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Spokane Valley is an incorporated city in Spokane County, Washington, United States. It is located east of Spokane and west of Liberty Lake. It surrounds the town of Millwood on three sides. The city, the seventh largest in the state, had a population of 86,144 as of 2008.[1]



For thousands of years, the first Native American Indian inhabitants of the area lived quietly in the Spokane Valley area. They were members of the Upper Band of the Interior Salish Indians and called themselves “Sn-tutuul-i”, the meaning of which is not known. In about 1783, fur traders from the North West Company began traveling through the area. They called these Indians the “Spokanes” which has been interpreted as meaning “Children of the Sun.” The Spokanes were a peaceful people, on friendly terms with neighboring tribes and later the fur traders and missionaries who came to the area. They fished salmon, hunted game, and ate camassia roots and berries they gathered. As with most American Indians, the Spokanes honored and respected the Earth and left little mark on the land with the exception of the faint trails on which they traveled.

Despite their many years of peaceful acceptance of the white settlers, and the calming influence of Chief Garry (sometimes Spokan Garry), the Spokanes protested the loss of their lands by joining in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The final battle, in 1858, culminated in the Spokane Valley with the destruction of over 800 of their horses, their food, and teepees. The Spokanes were eventually forced from the lands of their ancestors to a reservation north of the Spokane River, just east of the Spokane area.

The first permanent white settler in the Spokane Valley was a retired French-Canadian trapper, Antoine Plante, who built a small cabin near the Spokane River in 1849. Plante ran a small Hudson's Bay Company trading post in the home he shared with his American Indian wife and family. In 1850, Plante constructed and operated the first ferry across the Spokane River, the only means of crossing the river in the area. It was used for transportation across the river by Fort Colville military personnel, U.S. Army surveyors, and miners traveling to western Montana and southeastern British Columbia.

In 1862, A. C. "Charley" Kendall established a store on the North side of the Spokane River. A bridge to cross the river at Kendall's store was soon built by Joe Herring, Timothy Lee, and Ned Jordan in 1864. A small community, known as Spokane Bridge, began to build up near the bridge. M. M. Cowley took over the holdings of Charley Kendall in 1872, including the bridge, a trading post and a log hotel.

Interestingly, the history of the settlement of the Spokane Valley predates the history of the city of Spokane, Washington. Spokane Valley holds many of the “firsts” for the Spokane area. In addition to being home to the area’s first settler, Antoine Plante, the Spokane Valley had the first business and first ferry in 1850; the first store (1862) and bridge (1864); the first house (1866); and the first post office (1867). All these firsts occurred before the 1873 arrival of James N. Glover, considered the founding father of Spokane.

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