Spokane House

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Spokane House was a fur trading post founded in 1810 by the British-Canadian North West Company under direction of David Thompson, and built by Jaco Finlay.[1] The post was sited on a peninsula where the Spokane River and Little Spokane River meet. Today this site is in Spokane County in the U.S. state of Washington, just northwest of the city of Spokane.

When established, it was the North West Company's farthest outpost in the Columbia River region.[2]

In 1812 the Pacific Fur Company, operated by John Jacob Astor, founded a rival post known as Fort Spokane, located 35 miles west at the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia rivers.[3] It announced to the native peoples of the region their readiness to compete for furs. Trapping parties were sent out over the winter to the Coeur d'Alene, Kootenay, and Flathead districts, previously controlled by the North West Company.[2] When in 1813 the North West Company bought out the Pacific Fur Company during the War of 1812, operations of Fort Spokane were merged into Spokane House.[4]

Even before the Hudson's Bay Company took over North West Company in 1821, problems with the location of Spokane House were evident. It was the North West Company's central depot in the interior, but was poorly connected to other posts and depended upon transport by large pack trains, rather than their being able to use water transport. This made the company dependent upon the Nez Perce for a supply of horses. Despite several proposals to abandon Spokane House, it remained popular among company employees. Fort Nez Percés was ranked as the main interior post in 1818. The HBC continued to operate Spokane House for many years.[2]

When the Hudson's Bay Company took over in 1821, their representatives abandoned Spokane House, judging it too far from the Columbia River. They built the new post of Fort Colvile to replace it on the upper Columbia River. In 1846 by the Oregon Treaty, Britain ceded all claims to lands in Oregon Country south of the 49th parallel to the U.S.A.

Archeological digs were carried out at the Spokane House site in 1950-53 and 1962-63. The historic district was defined and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.[5]


  1. ^ Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  2. ^ a b c Meinig, D.W. (1995) [1968]. The Great Columbia Plain (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Classic edition ed.). University of Washington Press. pp. 51, 57. ISBN 0-295-97485-0. 
  3. ^ National Park Service. "Fort Spokane". Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Washington. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  4. ^ John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company establishes Fort Spokane in 1812, HistoryLink.org, Essay 5101
  5. ^ Currents and Undercurrents:, An Administrative History of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, National Park Service

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Coordinates: 47°47′17″N 117°31′53″W / 47.78806°N 117.53139°W / 47.78806; -117.53139