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#32 Falls of the Spokane

We pick up with Stevens and his teams on October 16, 1853 as they are traveling through the Cœur d’ Aéne prairie. In his narrative, Stevens is very detailed in his observances, including those of the interactions with "Indians". While these are truly very interesting, we have to remember that this is written through his lens and experience.

As the teams are heading for the Spokane Falls, Stevens describes the several hundred square miles of beautiful prairie and its "trap rock" projecting above the surface of the ground that bordered the river. As the proceeded through the prairie, they met Francis Finley who was on his way to the Bitter Root valley with his wife and family. Finley is described as a "half-breed" who lived near Colville, just beyond the ferry. "They were well dressed, and had a very respectable appearance," wrote Stevens. After a brief visit, both groups proceeded on their separate paths. Stevens and his teams traveled through some "richly grassed" areas along the river for about five miles before reaching Saxton's Trail at the edge of the prairie. At this point they encountered "some Spokanes, who said Garry was at his farm and that he had caught some of the horses left by Saxton. The horses of the Spokanes roam over this prairie in herds of from 12 to 20." They made their camp for the night.

Courtesy of Warren Seyler

October 17, 1853. Antoine [guide], Osgood, Stanley [artist] and Stevens departed from the trail to visit the falls of the Cœur d’ Aéne river, while a Mr. Lavatte took the train [teams] ahead on the trail to the Spokane House; a fur-trading post founded in 1810 by the British-Canadian North West Company. Stevens described the falls:

There are two principal falls, (see sketch) - one of 20 feet and the other from 10 to 12 feet; in the latter, there being a perpendicular fall of seven or eight feet; for a quarter of a mile the descent is rapid, over a rough bed of rocks, and in this distance we estimate a fall of 90 or 100 feet.[1]

General Report Plate #36 "FALLS OF THE SPOKANE"

SOURCES: All quoted material unless otherwise noted are from Stevens's report as originally detailed in the first postings of the series.

pages 135-136.


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