Curlew, Washington

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Curlew, Washington
Unincorporated community
Curlew, Washington is located in Washington (state)
Curlew, Washington
Curlew, Washington
Coordinates: 48°53′08″N 118°35′58″W / 48.88556°N 118.59944°W / 48.88556; -118.59944Coordinates: 48°53′08″N 118°35′58″W / 48.88556°N 118.59944°W / 48.88556; -118.59944
Country United States
State Washington
County Ferry
Elevation 1,801 ft (549 m)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 99118
Area code(s) 509
GNIS feature ID 1518417[1]

Curlew is an unincorporated community located in northwestern Ferry County, Washington, United States, between Malo and Danville on State Route 21. The BNSF Railway ran through the town. The historic Ansorge Hotel is located in Curlew.


Curlew is located at the confluence of Long Alec Creek and the Kettle River. Its elevation is 1800 feet above sea level.[2]

One of the most popular sites on Kettle River in summer is the Old Swimming Hole near the center of town. Curlew was a pick-up point for moonshine that was dropped in the Kettle River. The tradition is still celebrated on the first Sunday in June each year during the Curlew Barrel Derby Days. A barrel is set adrift in the Kettle River at the Job Corpe Brigde, and local citizens bet on when it will reach town.[3]

Early Days[edit]

In 1896 two traders, Guy S. Helphry and J. Walters, set-up a general store at an old ferry crossing near the junction of Curlew Creek and Kettle River. The site around the store grew into a collection of log buildings and other stores. By 1901, a bridge was built across the Kettle River and a the community had grown to a population of 200. The community contained two general stores, two saloons, a hotel, two livery stable, a dry goods store and several other businesses. In 1898, a post office was established and the town was named "Curlew." Miners, railroad workers, natives, and others passed through the region. Nearby mines such as Drummer, Lancaster and Panama grew. Curlew never really expanded beyond those early boom years.[4] In the 1950s, there was nearby Curlew Air Force Station, part of the network of Air Defence Command radar stations. The radar site is gone, but the base is in use by Job Corps.


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Curlew, Washington
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ " Barrel Derby Days". 1998-07-21. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  4. ^ N.L. Barlee (2004), Gold Creeks and Ghost Towns of Northeastern Washington. Hancock House Publishers., ISBN 0-88839-452-7