Fort Colville

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Fort Colville
Fur Trade Outpost
PaulKane-BushCamp-ROM.jpg
Indian camp at Fort Colville by Paul Kane.
Constructed: 1825
Company built: Hudson's Bay Company
Location: Kettle Falls, Washington
Continent: North America
Later Ownership: none
Abandoned: 1870
Map of the route of the York Factory Express, 1820s to 1840s. Modern political boundaries shown.

The trade center Fort Colville (also Fort Colvile) was built by the Hudson's Bay Company at Kettle Falls on the Columbia River, a few miles west of the present site of Colville, Washington in 1825. It replaced Spokane House as a regional trading center, as the latter was deemed to be too far from the Columbia River.[1] Named for Andrew Colville, a London governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, it was part of the Columbia fur district of the HBC, and was an important stop on the York Factory Express trade route to London via Hudson Bay. The HBC considered Fort Colville second in importance only to Fort Vancouver, near the mouth of the Columbia.

At that time, Oregon Country was under joint British - U.S. occupation under the Treaty of 1818. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 ended the Oregon dispute and created a new boundary, located at the 49th Parallel. As Fort Colville was south of this, the Hudson's Bay Company founded Fort Shepherd, just north of the new boundary, as a surrogate location secure on British territory. They continued some operations at Fort Colville for a few years longer. In 1859 the Palliser Expedition reunited in Fort Colville and proceeded down the Columbia River, after having explored much of what is now western Canada, from the Great Lakes to Lake Okanagan.

During the gold rushes of the 1850s and 1860s, Fort Colville in 1860 especially became an important centre for mining activity and supplies. Abandoned in 1870, some buildings stood until they burned in 1910. The construction of Grand Coulee Dam resulted in the site being flooded in 1840, as was Kettle Falls. When Lake Roosevelt was drawn down for construction of Grand Coulee Dam's Powerhouse #3 in the late 1960s and early 1970, the Falls were revealed again, as well as the site of old Fort Colville. Archeological work was performed by Washington State University and the University of Idaho.

After the work, the Fort Colville site was inundated again by Lake Roosevelt. In 1974 the Fort Colville site was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its historic significance.[2]

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