Colville Historical Museum

Before too much time slipped away I wanted to go back to our time at the Colville Historical Museum and document what we saw here.

In 1975 the City of Colville entered into an agreement for the Historical Society to manage a piece of property and buildings it had received a decade earlier as a gift from the Keller Family. The terms of the gift is that the house and grounds were to be used as a park and museum. That had not been possible for the City prior to 1975 so the partnership turned out to be a good one.

We made a last minute decision to visit the Museum the last Friday of September and we were pleasantly surprised at the great indoor and outdoor displays and history. The Stevens County Historical Society has done an exceptional job! We had the grounds to ourselves on this afternoon and the museum volunteer treated us to a nice tour of the Keller House while we were there.

We hope to return to the museum next year (they are open from May-September) to take more photos of the Keller Home on the property. You can read about it here. During the Christmas season they decorate the home and have Christmas tours. This year because of COVID they are only decorating the outside of the home and will have live Christmas music drive by tours available.

This is the music room inside the house.

One of the views from the Keller Home.

The history of mining in Stevens County is great and was the lifeblood of the area in the early 20th century.

The exhibit that the Historical Society has developed comes from several of the important mines of the area. It has a 16 foot gallows for lowering a “bucket” into a vertical mine shaft complete with steel bucket. This was powered by a gas engine but the Society will have on display a horse—powered winch too.

This Trapper’s Cabin was moved from the John Lockner property on Gold Creek by members of the Stevens County Historical Society. The main cabin of a trapper was known as the “home cabin”. All of the furs trapped were brought back to the home cabin for stretching and fleshing the skins. A marten or a bear line could easily cover 12 miles. The trapper would cover these lines daily, packing his traps and about 20 lbs. of bait. Bear, marten, lynx, fox, coyote, beaver and other small meat eaters were plentiful for the trappers.

You can read about the farm equipment housed on the grounds here.

The first public schoolhouse built in the city of Colville was originally located on the south side of town, close to the city park. It was later moved to First Avenue and Elm Street, eventually making it’s way to the Keller Heritage Park. It was built in 1874 by local labor, including that of John U. Hofstetter, a leader in civic and educational endeavors.

You can read about the Heritage Park Schoolhouse here.


Throughout the last half of the nineteenth century and during the early part of this century, small farmstead cabins dotted the countryside in all areas of Stevens County. Attracted by the availability of land, fine climate, a rich volcanic soil and scenic beauty, the early settlers cleared their land to build small hand-hewn log cabins. The farmstead cabin was donated to the Stevens County Historical Society from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A closeup of the construction of the cabins.

You can read about the Hixson Castles here.

So much history preserved in our little town of Colville. We were impressed with all the well managed and documented information housed on these grounds.

As we drove away from the museum I had to jump out of the car to capture these turkeys sitting on the fence.

About Ellen am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

9 thoughts on “Colville Historical Museum

  1. Very impressive! Your town has a treasure in that historical display. I especially liked the dolls and toys 🧸 display. I hate to think that I am old enough to say that I had a walking doll like the one in the pink coat. She was almost as tall as I was when I received her one Christmas. When I held her hand, she could be made to walk along with me.

    Those outbuildings are fabulous, too. What craftsmanship! Too bad about the Christmas display in the house. Rotten old you know. Maybe in 2021!


    • Vee, a walking doll!? I had one doll growing up and it was about 10 inches long with a plastic (rubber) head with swirly brown plastic (rubber) hair. Pliable legs and arms. My mother made her a blue corduroy dress and gave it to me when I was in the hospital. Don’t know what ever happened to her.
      The outbuildings were all outfitted inside with period furniture, etc., too. Truly a wonderful historical museum.
      We want to go back to the museum next year on a day we can also climb up to the look out tower on the grounds.

  2. Ellen – that is an extensive museum. I am always so grateful that these Historical Societies spend the time and monetary resources to preserve all of this history for the rest of us to enjoy!

  3. My Name is John A Cosner Sr I am the Great grandson of Ada Hixon that built the Castles , I would really like to thank Dick Baker Tom Dodson with Newell Wilson along with all the folks who have done so much to move and preserve these works of art , our family owes you all a debt of gratitude, sincerely John A Cosner Sr. ,Arlington Wa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s