Walla Walla, WA is a beautiful little town, partially because it is just loaded with wine tasting opportunities as there is a great number of wineries/vineyards in the surrounding area. Besides wine it is well-known as being the home of Whitman College, an 800 student, $48K/year four year liberal arts school that is the alma mater of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. The school is unique in that over the years, it has bought up many of the grand old homes that surround it. These restored old beauties now serve as “interest houses” used for classrooms and seminars for all the various liberal arts, ie, languages, literature, culture, art. This makes the city even more attractive as the college is in the center of town.
We left WWW for Spokane where we spent a couple of days roaming around the city, with a special visit to the grand old Davenport Hotel where Sybil used to stay with her family when traveling to Idaho during her childhood. We enjoyed a $15 apiece 3 course dinner at the hotel…one of the best ever…then rode on the antique merry-go-round in the waterfront park, still with rings to grab! We also took a 40 minute kinda boring ride in a gondola over Spokane Falls….a definite “been there, done that”, but the falls are pretty and right downtown.
On the way to Kellogg/Wallace, ID we stopped at beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene for lunch and wished we had camped there with the RV.
For Sybil, the piece d’ resistance was spending 4 days in the Idaho Kellogg/Wallace area (Kellogg and Wallace are just 12 miles apart), which is actually just 100 miles+- from Spokane. Sybil’s mother’s family immigrated there from Sweden (settling in Wallace,the Nordquists) and Germany (settling in Kellogg, the Sommers) around 1850 to work the still-to-this-day prolific silver, iron, copper and gold mines in the area. We searched graveyards and found all the family tombstones, and we really lucked out using the phone book and found I have a distant cousin Harry Sommers still living in Kellogg! He too, had retired from mining, and we spent the day together putting the ancestors back together. We discovered lots of history from the late 1800’s-early 1900’s, both family and cultural. The most exciting discovery, other than cousin Harry, was my grandfather’s city engineer and mining consultant shingle still hanging on the building he owned in the early 1900’s!
This area of the US has not changed much in nearly 150 years because mining has always been the main industry. We were still able to find many family-related grant deeds in the old handwritten records at the Shosone County Office in Wallace and then track down the old homes and commercial buildings that are still standing, but now owned by others. Both towns still have “miner’s rows” with many tiny cottages from the early days that are inhabited by today’s mine workers. Wardner is a town up-canyon from Kellogg, and actually was the first established mining town in the area with a population of nearly 10K during the big gold/silver era…….there are now 120 living there. But there is a very cool old museum with a character of a “curator”. He owns the very old building and, as a hobby, has collected all this mining, etc. memorabilia……what a treat!! Some wonderful stories came from the things he has on display (1,000,000’s!). After all this, I, Sybil am going to attempt a family tree!
Coming up……America’s beauty….Glacier National Park!
100 year old miner's cottages
Spokane, WA Riverfront Park
Rainy day in WallawallaWa