Stories of Spokane Valley
The “Lake Men” were very early pioneers in the Spokane valley. Three of them, Courchaine, Liberty, and Newman, settled at Saltese, Liberty and Newman Lake. Morrison, who arrived in the Valley about 20 years later, was equally influential. His property is still being developed today.
Trent, Trentwood, Steno, Irvin – all are names that have been used to describe a section of the north central Valley. By 1882, the Northern Pacific Railroad had completed tracks through the Spokane Valley, The origin of the name Trent is unclear…
In the early 1800s the first white men came into the Spokane Valley. These were mainly fur trappers and military personnel. The options for crossing the Spokane River were few. At this time these men crossed at a few different fords used by the Indians, places shallow enough to ride their horses across when the river was low.
Before the influx of the early pioneer Europeans, the Spokane Valley was the ancestral homeland of the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane Tribes. Chief Saltese lived at the lake that bore his name, Saltese Lake. Quin-mo-see lived at what became Spokane Bridge. Tecumseh and Wildshoe lived around the shores and hills of Liberty Lake.
In 1888, a group of citizens met and decided to go ahead with building a new school. Amos Lewis, one of the three newly appointed school directors, donated an acre of land. The school district was organized as School District 71. The new two-room Plouf Gulch School, which opened on Oct. 1, 1888, was paid for by donations.
In the early to late 1800s, the Spokane Valley floor was covered with bunch grass which provided well for Indian horses. The Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Indians caught salmon from the river, used large rocks for drying fruit and built sweat lodges where the paper mill now stands. There also was a race track where the tribes had horse races, probably where the Millwood School is located.
Trent, Trentwood, Steno, Irvin – all are names that have been used to describe a section of the north central Valley. By 1883, the Northern Pacific Railroad had completed tracks through the Spokane Valley. The origin of the name Trent is unclear. Trent has been called by many other names, but it generally referred to the area east of Argonne Road, west to Barker Road, south to the river and north to the rock bluffs. It may have gotten its name from the station master, but no records indicate the correct answer.
Otis Orchards originally was a railroad stop called Otis. The story is that the person who manned the stop was named Otis. Other stories indicate Otis was an early settler. Still another story recounts that Otis was an early Northern Pacific engineer.