Trip to Deer Park

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I was born on the island of Cuba, but at the age of 11 (in August 1961), I left my Motherland with my parents, heading for our exile in Venezuela.   The shift from Cuba to Venezuela was quite traumatic, as Castro’s guerrillas wreaked havoc in the most prosperous country in Hispanic America.

Nací en la isla de Cuba, pero a los 11 años (en agosto de 1961), abandoné mi Madre Patria con mis padres, rumbo a nuestro exilio en Venezuela.   El cambio de Cuba a Venezuela fue bastante traumático, puesto que las guerrillas de Castro hacían estrago en el país más próspero de la América hispana.

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Professor Jose Manuel Alonso – “Panino”

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With this in mind, our father sent my older brother – Ricardo – to live in St. Patersburg, Florida, with one of his brothers, Uncle Armando, who at the time was a Spanish teacher in that Floridian city.  In 1965, he sent me to Spokane, Washington, where his other brother, José Manuel (“Panino”) was a professor at Withworth College.  My brother lived with our uncle, but they got me a house with a family in Spokane named Glod.  The college where “Panino” taught Spanish was Presbyterian.  Through the church of Withworth “Panino” got me the Glods, with whom during that terrible year of 1965, I could never get along.  The Glods were composed of Mr & Mrs Glod, a son (Mike) and a daughter, whose name I do not remember now.

Con esto en mente, nuestro padre envió a mi hermano mayor – Ricardo – a vivir en St. Patersburgo, Florida, con uno de sus hermanos, el Tío Armando, quien para la fecha era profesor de español en esa ciudad floridiana.  A mí, en 1965, me envió a Spokane, Washington, donde su otro hermano, José Manuel (“Panino”) era profesor del Withworth College.  Mi hermano vivió con nuestro tío, pero a mí me consiguieron una casa con una familia en Spokane de apellido Glod.  El college donde “Panino” daba clases de español era presbiteriano.  A través de la iglesia de Withworth “Panino” me consiguió a los Glod, con quien durante aquel terrible año de 1965, jamás pude congeniar.  Los Glod estaban compuesto por Mr & Mrs Glod, un hijo (Mike) y una hija, cuyo nombre no recuerdo.

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That year did not go very well, neither personally-family nor academically.  In response, my father asked his brother (“Panino”) to find me a farm in the middle of nowhere and as punishment I was sent to the Losh family farm.  There were many days with their nights in which I imagined working the land as in Venezuela at that time.  Plowing with castrated bulls and harvesting potatoes manually.  Fortunately, I was totally and absolutely wrong.  American farmers, by then, were already up to date, although hard work was still being done and continues being hard.

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Ese año no me fue muy bien, ni a nivel personal-familiar ni académicamente.  En respuesta, mi padre le pidió a su hermano (“Panino”) que me buscara una granja en el medio de la nada y como castigo me enviaron a la granja de la familia Losh.  Fueron muchos los días con sus noches en los cuales me imaginaba trabajando la tierra como en la Venezuela de entonces.  Arando con toros castrados y sacando papas manualmente.  Por fortuna estaba total y absolutamente equivocado.  Los granjeros estadounidenses, para entonces, ya estaban actualizados, aunque se seguía y se sigue trabajando duramente.

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“Panino” got me with his secretary, who was a neighbor of the family that received me at Wild Rose Prairie (Deer Park, Washington), a home composed of Mr & Mr Losh (Norman and Beverly), Sharon and Mark.  It turned out to be a hidden blessing.  With them I lived several years: the best years of my adolescence.  Later on, with the Loshes lived my sister, María Conchita, our cousins (Carmencita and Pepe) and several boys who participated in the project of the Doña Petra del Amo Foundation, among them: Hernando – “Ernie” – Peña.

“Panino” me consiguió con su secretaria, quien era vecino de la familia que me recibió en Wild Rose Prairie (Deer Park, Washington), compuesta por Mr & Mr Losh (Norman y Beverly), Sharon y Mark.  Resultó ser una bendición oculta.  Con ellos viví varios años: los mejores años de mi adolescencia.  En casa de los Losh vivieron mi hermana, María Conchita, nuestros primos (Carmencita y Pepe) y varios muchachos que participaron en el proyecto de la Fundación Doña Petra del Amo, entre ellos: Hernando – “Ernie” – Peña.

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Arriving

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When I arrived in Spokane in the fall of 1965, I spent a couple of weeks at “Panino’s” house, not far from downtown and a few blocks from Holynames Academy, a catholic high school where our cousin Momy was studying.

Al llegar a Spokane, en el otoño de 1965, pasé un par de semanas en casa de “Panino”, no muy lejos del centro de la ciudad y a pocas cuadras del Holynames Academy, donde estudiaba nuestra prima Momy.

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There, in that neighborhood, I met all of my cousin’s friends, and we formed a casual rock band.  “Panino” took me to JC Penny, where I bought new clothes suitable to the fashion of the time, including a hat that I will have put on a couple of times.

Ahí, en ese vecindario, conocí a todos los amigos de mi prima y formamos una informal banda de rock.  “Panino” me llevó a JC Penny, donde compré ropa nueva y adecuada a la moda de entonces, incluyendo un sombrero que me lo habré puesto un par de veces.

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With my Glod “siblings” 

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As I mentioned, I didn’t have a good relationship with the Glod family.  I went from home to school (Mead Senior High School) and from school to home, where I stayed in my room until dinner time and after dinner.  The best day of the week was Friday, when “Panino” was going to pick me up to spend the weekend with my cousins in Spokane and the worst of all: Sundays, when I returned to the Glods’ house, a family with whom I lost all contact and never saw each other.

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Mead Senior High School today

Mead Senior High School hoy

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Como he mencionado, con la familia Glod no tuve una buena relación.  Iba de la casa al colegio (Mead Senior High School) y del colegio a la casa, donde me internaba en mi cuarto hasta la hora de la cena y después de ésta.  El mejor día de la semana era el viernes, cuando “Panino” me iba a buscar para psar el fin de semana con mis primos en Spokane y el peor de todos: los domingos, cuando me regresaba a casa de los Glod, familia con la cual perdí todo contacto y jamás nos vimos.

Deer Park

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Deer Park is a small town in Spokane CountyWashington. The population was 3,652 at the time of the 2010 census, up from 3,017 in 2000.  In 1966 when I first went to this town, it had 13 taverns, 13 churchers and a population of 1,300… or so they said. 

Deer Park es un pueblo ubicado en el condado de Spokane en el estado estadounidense de Washington. La población era de 3.652 en el momento del censo de 2010, frente a 3.017 en 2000.  En 1966, cuando fui por primera vez a esta ciudad, tenía 13 tabernas, 13 eclesiásticos y una población de 1.300… o eso decían. 

North of Spokane, the city of Deer Park was officially incorporated 114 years ago on June 24, 1908. Deer Park got its name when railroad surveyors saw deer grazing in the area. It was settled in 1889 when a railroad siding was built for the Spokane Falls & Northern Railway. Soon the Standard Lumber Company sawmill was established by William Short and George Crawford to provide the lumber needed to rebuild the nearby city of Spokane Falls (later renamed Spokane) following the great fire of 1889. By 1900 the population of Deer Park was approximately 300 residents. In addition to the sawmill, the community consisted of three general stores (owned separately by P. Kelly, Dan Weis, and A. Baldwin), a blacksmith and harness shop, a livery and feed stable, Jeff Moore’s hotel, Dr. Prince’s drug store, a public school with approximately 75 students, and a Congregational church led by Rev. F. McConaughy. By this time there were as many as eight sawmills within ten miles of Deer Park, all of which got their supplies in, and employed residents of, the town.

Al norte de Spokane, la ciudad de Deer Park fue incorporada oficialmente hace 114 años, el 24 de junio de 1908. Deer Park recibió su nombre cuando los topógrafos del ferrocarril vieron ciervos pastando en el área. Se estableció en 1889 cuando se construyó un revestimiento de ferrocarril para el Spokane Falls & Northern Railway. Pronto el aserradero standard lumber company fue establecido por William Short y George Crawford para proporcionar la madera necesaria para reconstruir la cercana ciudad de Spokane Falls (más tarde renombrada Spokane) después del gran incendio de 1889.  En 1900 la población de Deer Park era de aproximadamente 300 residentes. Además del aserradero, la comunidad consistía en tres tiendas generales (propiedad separada de P. Kelly, Dan Weis y A. Baldwin), una herrería y una tienda de arneses, un establo de libreas y piensos, el hotel de Jeff Moore, la farmacia del Dr. Prince, una escuela pública con aproximadamente 75 estudiantes y una iglesia congregacional dirigida por el reverendo F. McConaughy.  En ese momento había hasta ocho aserraderos dentro de las diez millas de Deer Park, todos los cuales obtuvieron sus suministros y emplearon a residentes de la ciudad.

Arcadia Apple Orchards Company was established around 1906, and orchards of apple trees were planted on the land surrounding Deer Park which had been cleared by the logging activity.

Arcadia Apple Orchards Company se estableció alrededor de 1906, y se plantaron huertos de manzanas en la tierra que rodea Deer Park, que había sido despejada por la actividad maderera.

The municipal airport east of the city was built during World War II and dedicated 78 years ago in August 1944 with three paved runways, all at 6,100 feet (1,860 m) in length. During the early 1960s, an Atlas missile site (567-1) near the airport was operated by the 567th Strategic Missile Squadron of Fairchild AFB. Soon obsolete, the site was decommissioned in 1965 and sold for salvage in 1967.

El aeropuerto municipal al este de la ciudad fue construido durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial y dedicado hace 78 años en agosto de 1944 con tres pistas pavimentadas, todas a 6.100 pies (1.860 m) de longitud. A principios de la década de 1960, un sitio de misiles Atlas (567-1) cerca del aeropuerto fue operado por el 567º Escuadrón de Misiles Estratégicos de Fairchild AFB. Pronto obsoleto, el sitio fue dado de baja en 1965 y vendido como chatarra en 1967.

I arrived at Losh family in September 1966, one month after I turned 16 years old.  Spokane Airport at the time was little more than a private airport for light aircrafts.  However, the biggest disappointment did not occur in me.  It was Beverly Losh, my “American mom,” who came close to thinking it hadn’t been a good idea to have accepted me into her home.  Here’s her story:

A la familia Losh llegué en septiembre de 1966, un més después de haber cumplido mis 16 años de edad.  El aeropuerto de Spokane en aquellos tiempos, era poco más que un aeropuerto privado para avionetas.  Sin embargo, la mayor decepción no se produjo en mí.  Fue Beverly Losh, mi “mamá estadounidense”, quien estuvo a punto de pensar que no había sido una buena idea el haberme aceptado en su hogar.  He aquí su historia:

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Newlywed Bev & Norm 

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To make a very long story short, I will summarize that Deer Park is my true hometown.  When I die, I wish my ashes to be cast into Loon Lake, where I enjoyed so much the summers I spent there. 

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Para hacer corta una muy-larga historia, resumiré que Deer Park es mi verdadero “hometown”.  Al morir, deseo que mis cenizas sean echadas en el Lago Loon, donde disfruté tanto los veranos que allá pasé.  

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Left to right: me, Siomi, Danny Torres, Beverly, Norman, Mark and Sharonin Flathead Lake, 1974

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Upon getting married in 1974, Siomi and I spent part of our honeymoon in Deer Park.  The following year, in 1975, Siomi and I spent Christmas with the Losh family.  43 years later, in 2018, we returned to Deer Park and now, in 2022 we spent a wonderful week in that magical little town that changed my life.  The rest can be seen in this portal.

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Al casarnos en 1974, Siomi y yo pasamos parte de nuestra Luna de Miel en Deer Park.  Al año siguiente, en 1975, Siomi y yo pasamos las Navidades con la familia Losh.  43 años más tarde, en 2018, volvimos a regresar a Deer Park y ahora, en 2022 pasamos una semana maravillosa en ese pequeño pueblo mágico que cambió mi vida.  El resto lo podrán apreciar en este portal.

History

Deer Park Incorporates on June 24, 1908

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Okanogan Highlands

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On June 24, 1908, the Board of County Commissioners of Spokane County files with the Washington Secretary of State its declaration that Deer Park is incorporated as a municipal corporation of the fourth class to be known as the City of Deer Park. The County Commissioners’ declaration was issued on June 23, 1908 and certified the results of an election held three days earlier in which voters approved incorporation and elected a mayor, five councilmen, a treasurer, a clerk, a marshal, and a police judge. The incorporation comes nearly 20 years after the site of Deer Park was founded as a new settlement on a siding of the Spokane Falls & Northern Railroad 22 miles north of Spokane in largely rural Eastern Washington. The City of Deer Park will remain incorporated as a noncharter code city on the southeastern edge of the Okanogan highlands in the northwest corner of Spokane County into the twenty-first century.

Call of the North

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Located in the heart of the original homelands of the Spokane Indians, which spanned three million acres of present-day Northeastern Washington, North Idaho, and Western Montana, the small community of Deer Park developed from a railroad siding in 1889. President Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) established the 159,000-acre Spokane Indian Reservation approximately 30 miles west of the area in 1881, the same year the first Northern Pacific train arrived in Spokane, then known as Spokane Falls.

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Within a few years, the fertile valley sprawling north of the Spokane River became a homesteading destination, especially for Scandinavian and other Northern European immigrants attracted to region’s familiar climate and forests. By 1885, several farming families had settled Wild Rose and Half Moon Prairies just south of what would become Deer Park, generating enough of a market for early newcomer Rowland Hazard (ca. 1837 – ?) to open a general store and establish a post office.

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The area’s first sawmills started operating at this time as well, giving railroad investors who were already eager to access the rich timber and mining districts of the Colville Valley and southern British Columbia further north even more impetus to build a new road from Spokane Falls to Canada.

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Wild Rose and Half Moon prairies continued to grow and develop as the 1880s drew to a close and beyond. However, once railroad and mining magnate Daniel Chase Corbin (1832-1918) completed the Spokane Falls, Northern Railway Company’s much anticipated new line with a stop five miles north in August 1889, the center of the area’s commercial activity quickly shifted to the site surveyors had named for the abundant deer roaming amid a park-like setting. Recent arrivals to the area, William Hopkins Short (1863-1930) and his brother-in-law, George Crawford, wasted no time in seizing the immediate opportunities that the new railroad and a devastating fire in Spokane earlier that summer afforded. The partners rented a portable sawmill and set it up on the new siding at Deer Park where they took over the local timber industry by producing most of the lumber that would rebuild Spokane, the hub of the region known as the Inland Empire. Within a year, Short and Crawford had purchased the rented sawmill as well as the surrounding land, and from these holdings, a town emerged. Although Deer Park’s initial burst of development in the early 1890s slowed during the lean years that followed the nationwide Panic of 1893, the relatively new but tight-knit community persevered and took hold as a promising addition to the Inland Empire.

A Town Becomes a City

By 1899, Deer Park boasted nearly 300 residents and several stores, a church, a school, a hotel, and other services that fanned from the site where Short and Crawford set up shop 10 years earlier. Local business leader Peter J. Kelly (1858-1908) circulated a petition to establish a town and incorporate the bustling community. What became of Kelly’s petition remains uncertain in the historical record, but by the end of 1906 Deer Park still had not organized as a town. Meanwhile, the community had doubled in population and its only revenue at the time was a $300 license fee charged to each of the three saloons in Deer Park. Although the fees were enough to provide a marshal, the closest sheriff was in Spokane, prompting growing popular support for municipal incorporation. This time Short and other prominent members of the Deer Park community took the lead in exploring the matter. Finally, in June 1908, a special election was called to bring law and order to the rapidly growing “wild little town” (Fisher and Bennett, 33).

On Saturday, June 20, 1908, Deer Park residents went to the polls. Of 98 votes cast, 85 approved the incorporation of Deer Park. The results were promptly submitted to the Board of the County Commission of Spokane, which in turn declared Deer Park a fourth-class municipal corporation to be known as the City of Deer Park. The Board also certified the votes cast for several officers and a city council, declaring A. J. Peters for mayor; J. T. Grove for treasurer; F. E. De Voe for clerk; Joseph Reuthinger, C. G. Gilger, R. R. Grove, Charles Tippin, and William Short for the new city council; Jesse R. Meeker for marshall; and J. A. Neaville for police judge. Although the county commissioners’ declaration does not specify, some of these positions appear to have been elected on an interim basis. Another election was held six months later that placed W. D. Phillips in the mayor’s seat along with J. P. Grove as the new treasurer. Charles Griffith, George Harrison, L. D. Chapman, Charles Wilbur, and O. P. Kelly replaced the previously elected council.

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The 1908 incorporation order did not include a charter that outlined the Deer Park’s government structure or schedule for elections. However, the government structure is implicit in the county commission’s order and remains unchanged as of 2016. Other records suggest that municipal elections were held annually through the early twentieth century and might have changed a number of times throughout the twentieth century until the city transitioned to its current four-year cycle. Deer Park was reclassified as a non-charter code city in 1972, retaining its corporate status. Also at this time, the “town of Deer Park” was curiously renamed the “city of Deer Park.” Most of the details surrounding the developments related to Deer Park’s original incorporation have received little to no attention in local histories or extant news articles and remembrances from the period. Instead, the continued promise of wealth in lumber and agriculture, particularly apple orchards, captured the attention of early twentieth residents who shaped the enduring legacies of this small, but vibrant community nestled among the lingering forests of Northeastern Washington. The original documentation of the Board of County Commissioners order to incorporate Deer Park in 1908 is preserved at the Washington State Archives in Olympia while the Clayton-Deer Park Historical Society holds records of the town’s earliest pioneers and economic development.

Thumbnail History

Deer Park is located 22 miles north of the city of Spokane in the northwest corner of Spokane County amid the southeastern reach of the densely forested Okanogon highlands of Northeastern Washington. Home to 3,864 residents as of 2014, Deer Park stands at an elevation of 2,123 feet on nearly seven square miles of land in the heart of the traditional homelands of the Spokane Indians. Although the Spokanes lived in and around the area for centuries before the first non-Indian explorers penetrated the region in the early nineteenth century, the site of this small bedroom community to the state’s second largest city traces its origins to the building of the Spokane Falls & Northern Railroad in 1889. The railroad not only put Deer Park on the map, but also facilitated the growth of the lumber industry that shaped the community’s early settler days and helped sustain it through most of the twentieth century. In the contemporary period, Deer Park celebrates its pioneer past while offering a rural escape from Spokane’s sprawl to both seasonal outdoor enthusiasts and permanent residents alike.

Northern Exposure

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Fierce corporate competition in the fur trade brought the first non-Indians into Northeastern Washington in the early nineteenth century. Lakes and streams nestled among rolling woodlands along the foothills of the northern Rocky Mountains made the region one of the last best places for agents of the Montreal-based Northwest Company, in particular, to pursue beavers and other fur bearing animals. The area’s modern environment, which would later prove conducive to other extractive industries as well, started to take shape during the Pleistocene Epoch when ice sheets covered the Okanogan highlands.

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The end of the Pleistocene nearly 12,000 years ago saw the melting of the ice and formation of the lush, forested valleys of the Columbia and Pend Oreille rivers. Today, Deer Park emerges at the southern end of this complex geological region, where it gives way to the more arid Columbia Plateau.

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Over time, the region became favorable to hunting, fishing, and gathering for the Upper Spokane Indians who lived there from time immemorial to the late nineteenth century. The first glimpse of the area appeared after David Thompson (1770-1857) passed through in 1811 on Northwest Company business on one of several trips through the broader region. Traveling southwest from the Pend Oreille River to the Spokane House, a fleeting but important trading post established the year before, the well-known trader and cartographer noted in his journal that he stopped for an hour at Beaulieu’s Brook, now known as Dragoon Creek, the morning of June 14. His brief stays a few miles southwest of present-day Deer Park left little to the imagination, however, as he did not record his impressions of the place before moving on to his final destination. Catholic and Protestant missionaries came to Northeastern Washington in the decades that followed but bypassed the area in and around present Deer Park.

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Chief Garry

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Although most of Washington’s earliest inhabitants living to the south and west were relocated to reservations with the Stevens Treaties of 1855, the majority of Spokanes declined to relocate with them. Instead, they continued to try to negotiate a better agreement, as they had no ties to the lands or people of these new reservations. Despite the efforts of famed leader Chief Garry (ca. 1811-1892), Native-newcomer relations in Eastern Washington deteriorated over the next 20 years and the Spokanes were ultimately unsuccessful in retaining their rights to lands near the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers, including the area northeast of the Little Spokane that would become Deer Park. In 1881, President Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) reduced the tribe’s original homelands of some three million acres from Northeastern Washington to Western Montana to 159,000 acres approximately 30 miles west of the present site of Deer Park. Meanwhile, 22 miles south, the community of Spokane, then known as Spokane Falls, welcomed the arrival of the Northern Pacific’s transcontinental railroad, which quickly turned the growing city on the east-west running Spokane River into the commercial hub of the Inland Empire. The valley spilling north of the river’s watershed gleamed with potential for both existing residents and new arrivals looking to break away from urban crowding and commotion.

New Roads Breathe New Life

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The establishment of the Spokane Indian Reservation in 1881 along with the building of the Cottonwood Road 14 years earlier facilitated the settlement of the Deer Park area. Newcomers had moved into the Colville River Valley, 25 miles north of Deer Park and beyond, starting in the 1850s. By the 1860s, the town of Chewelah was a busy gateway community accommodating farmers and ranchers as well as others passing through to mining and logging districts near Fort Colville, another 25 mile north, and into southern British Columbia. Chewelah’s growth and development increased demand for a more direct route to and from the developing Spokane River Valley than the old, roundabout Colville Road, which served to connect the region to Walla Walla. In 1867, Chewelah residents cleared a route through approximately 60 miles of forest following the course of Cottonwood Creek out of the Colville Valley and through present day Deer Park as it meandered southward to the Spokane River Valley where it met the Mullan Road. Although winter snow and spring mud often made the road impassable, the Cottonwood Road nonetheless served as the main thoroughfare for overland shipping and passage between the Spokane and Colville valleys until the arrival of the railroad in 1889.

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Initially, homesteaders making their way into the Deer Park area on the Cottonwood Road from the south stopped short of the site that would become the town by five or six miles. Wild Rose and neighboring Half Moon prairies, so named by the first non-Indian families to take up residence there, offered open land to those looking to make a claim. Many of these pioneers were new immigrants from Norway and Sweden who found the landscape and climate comfortably familiar and the soil suitable for farming. The area also attracted substantial numbers of German and English newcomers. Scandinavians and other Northern European immigrants consistently represented 12 to 15 percent of Deer Park’s growing population through the 1920s, shaping the community’s enduring social tapestry.

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Louis C. Gemmill (1849-1924) and James Evans (1855-1929) were the first settlers in the area, arriving in 1883. Others soon followed, including Rowland Hazard (ca. 1837 – ?) who opened a general store and post office at Wild Rose Prairie in 1885. As these early pioneers removed old growth timber stands to clear the land for farming, they ironically planted the seeds for the local lumber industry. Gemmill was among the earliest to establish a sawmill along the south bank of Dragoon Creek and within a few years, several sawmills were in operation throughout the area. The trick, however, was hauling logs to market on a rough, often impassable road. Fortunately for early lumbermen in the Deer Park area, the call of the established logging and mining districts further north had already sounded among railroad investors in Spokane.

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Surveyors identified a route from Spokane to Colville sometime before 1888 while Spokane business leaders James Monaghan (1839-1916), James Glover (1837-1921), Arthur Newberry (1852 – ?), and Frank Rockwood Moore (1852-1895) invited railroad and mining tycoon Daniel Chase Corbin (1832-1913) to oversee the financing and construction of the new line. A key developer of Western Montana and North Idaho, Corbin arrived in Spokane in February 1889 to take control of the fledgling Spokane, Northern Railway Company. Construction began a month later and crews rapidly laid tracks through the spring and summer while most of downtown Spokane sizzled in a catastrophic fire that July. In August 1889, workers reached the spot that surveyors had identified for a stop five miles past the settlements at Wild Rose and Half Moon prairies. The abundance of deer roaming the forested park-like landscape had caught the attention of the surveyors who named the site accordingly. As crews pressed on toward Colville, the siding at Deer Park quickly morphed into a town.

A Town is Born

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The first Spokane Falls & Northern cars rolled into Colville in October 1889. By this time, recent arrivals to the Deer Park area, William Hopkins Short (1863-1930) and his brother-in-law, George Crawford, had shrewdly seized the local lumber industry. Recognizing the potential opportunity in supplying Spokane with Deer Park timber to rebuild after the fire, the partners rented a portable sawmill and set up shop at the railroad siding on the heels of its construction. Business boomed for Short and Crawford whose immediate access to the trains allowed them to lead area competition in providing most of the lumber to resurrect the commercial capital of the Inland Empire. Within a year, the lumbermen purchased the portable sawmill, which they later replaced with a permanent structure in 1892, and the surrounding lands that would form Deer Park’s city center.  Short and Crawford’s loggers needed food and other supplies, as well as lodging, while the trains lured farmers and ranchers from the prairies. Short built a boarding house a stone’s throw from the mill and an unknown area resident opened a small store.

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After the initial boon from the Spokane market, local demand sustained Short and Crawford for a few years as Deer Park and the railroad attracted new residents and businesses. Not long after they replaced the portable sawmill in 1892, however, Crawford left the partnership to attend to his ailing father in Minnesota while Short took over as supervisor of the newly incorporated Washington Mill Company and another of Deer Park’s leading historical figures, Peter J. Kelly (1858-1908), bought the small store. Kelly expanded the store to three stories, adding apparel, hardware, and farm machinery to his inventory of general merchandise. Although Kelly’s People’s Supply dominated the local retail market, Short’s boarding house, also rebuilt and expanded in 1892, became the hub of social activity for miles around. It too was a large three-story building with office space for company executives, living quarters for the Short family, and rooms for employees in addition to offering a large kitchen, dining room, parlor, and library. Featured in Spokane’s newspaper and the lumber trade journal as “the showplace of northern Spokane County,” Short’s boarding house was like no other in the region with amenities and accommodations that brought an air of sophistication to the community (Sherry, 362).

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Although Deer Park’s economic development slowed through the middle years of the 1890s, as was the case throughout the nation following the financial Panic of 1893, the town continued to grow and establish its permanence. Agriculture and lumber helped keep the Deer Park economy afloat and attract new residents. By the end of the decade, James J. Hill’s (1838-1916) Great Northern Railway had absorbed the Spokane Falls & Northern and Deer Park was home to approximately 300 people with three general stores in addition to The People’s Supply as well as a church, a school, a hotel, a blacksmith and harness shop, and a livery and feed stable.

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Short’s newly formed Standard Lumber Company, however, was the leading enterprise, employing 35 men, and his boarding house remained the center of Deer Park and the surrounding area’s social life. In addition to Short’s, eight sawmills were in operation within 10 miles, all relying on Deer Park’s shops and services for goods, supplies, and entertainment. The town stood on firm ground at the turn of the twentieth century.

Apples to Apples

Although production remained strong, the lumber industry had dramatically altered Deer Park’s landscape by the early twentieth century. Most of the old growth timber in the immediate area was gone by 1906, fueling new ideas among outside speculators for the cut over land left behind while local business leaders thought about formally organizing the community as a municipal corporation. With federal irrigation of the Pacific Northwest underway following the passage of the Newlands Act in 1902, Floyd L. Daggett (1862-1933), an insurance broker and mayor of Spokane, along with his brother-in-law, John D. McIntyre, a Seattle engineer, launched an irrigation agriculture scheme to develop apple orchards around Deer Park. The venture was one of the largest economic development projects in Deer Park’s history and bore striking resemblance to the land-selling efforts of the railroads and regional boosters throughout the Northwest.

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In 1906, Daggett and McIntyre incorporated the Arcadia Irrigation Association and started buying up stump lands south of Deer Park. The plan was to irrigate an original site of 4,473 acres with water from Dragoon and Spring Creeks, using Deer Lake as a reservoir. After planting and cultivating apple trees on five to 10-acre irrigated tracts for four years, Arcadia would turn over an established orchard with a perpetual water right to previously contracted buyers. Initially, tracts sold at $120 per acre, although demand from urban land-seekers within the state of Washington as well as Minnesota, soon allowed the partners to raise prices to $400 per acre and reorganize Arcadia as a corporation at roughly the same time Deer Park itself incorporated as a fourth-class city in June 1908. In 1909 the company was reorganized one more time, as the Arcadia Orchards Company, but without Daggett and McIntyre. Olaf L. Olsen (1881-1958), the son of a Deer Park pioneer merchant, and Edward N. Robinson (1875-1940), an attorney from St. Louis, took over. Under Olsen and Robinson, Arcadia expanded the project to 20,000 areas, buying more unlogged or sparsely treed land from lumber companies, and tirelessly promoted their land of seemingly boundless opportunity just north of Spokane.

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Arcadia’s production and sales peeked from 1910 to 1916, enticing buyers from 32 states, three Canadian provinces, and England while the apple industry exploded across the state of Washington. Arcadia’s top seller, however, was a somewhat small, pinkish-red Wagener variety that proved less competitive than the Delicious, Jonathan, and Winesap varieties produced elsewhere around the state. Stiff competition along with a relatively short growing season, financing woes, poor management, and several national business recessions contributed to Arcadia’s eventual failure. Arcadia was already limping along by the time the post-World War I agricultural depression took hold in 1920 and was officially defunct by 1924.

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Although relatively short-lived, Arcadia held an important place in Deer Park’s history. Its officers were leading members of the community and its promises of land ownership and fortune in the apple industry brought international attention and 26 percent population growth to this little hamlet on the old Cottonwood Road. Aside from remnants of the company’s canals and flumes, its dam at Dragoon Creek, and a few rows of apple trees scattered among the area’s recovering pine forests, Arcadia’s name can be found on a housing division, middle school, and street to remind contemporary locals and visitors of the company’s historical role.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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Despite the fall of Arcadia, Deer Park continued to grow and prosper in the twentieth century not only because of the persistence of the lumber industry but also because of its proximity to Washington’s second largest city and commercial center of the Inland Northwest. In 1914, William Short had sold his Standard Lumber Company to Walter M. Leuthold (1887-1968) and Ralph L. Wilson, who promptly renamed it the Deer Park Lumber Company. Deer Park Lumber operated until the late 1950s when it merged with Potlatch Forests, Inc. of Lewiston, Idaho. Both companies carried Standard Lumber’s torch as key economic drivers in the area, consistently employing hundreds of workers until the last Potlatch mill closed there in 1972. As important as the sawmills were to the town’s history and economy, the end of the lumber industry did not spell disaster, as Deer Park’s sustainability independent of the lumber industry rang true long before the last sawmill closed. In the early years, many observers assumed Deer Park would follow the boom-bust cycle of most western towns built upon an extractive industry and wither away once the best timber had been harvested. While Deer Park’s timber outlasted expectations, it was the tenacity of early newcomers committed to the rural niche they had carved for themselves that lent permanence and cohesion to the community.

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Open space relatively close to a major urban center made the Deer Park area an ideal place to land for migrating settlers and merchants even before rail service reached the region. Once the railroad came, residents gained access to national markets as well as an easy day trip to Spokane. Deer Park thus became only more attractive as a rural escape from Spokane and, especially during the Arcadia years, Seattle and other big cities around the country. The town also benefitted from the rise of the automobile industry in the early twentieth century, which encouraged the building of highways, like the Inland Empire Highway winding through central and eastern Washington. Although only a short stretch of the original highway still bears the name in the present era, the Inland Empire Highway helped solidify Deer Park as a bedroom community of Spokane. Today’s US Highway 395 continues to facilitate Deer Park-Spokane travel, making the once two-day wagon ride a 35-minute commute. Meanwhile, local interest in building an airport first surfaced in 1929 and took hold in the mid-1930s as developers sought to build a series of airports between Spokane and the Canadian as part of a strategic link to Alaska. Deer Park’s municipal airport was finally dedicated in 1944 for general aviation and remains open, providing flight training and serving as a base to combat regional summer wildfires.

From its emergence in the late nineteenth century, Deer Park’s growth and development have been directly tied to the entrepreneurial spirit of Spokane’s elite and modest opportunity-seekers alike. Yet, while few have settled in Deer Park without at least stopping in Spokane first, the community has built and preserved its own unique identity blending rustic, small-town charm with suburban amenities.

Distances

Here are some distances in miles from Deer Park to different cities in the US:

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Special Thanks 

Clayton – Deer Park Historical Society

Paul Erickson – ericksonpj@msn.com

Michael Reiter – mrreiter2@gmail.com

Bill Sebright

Peter Coffin – pcffn@q.com

DPHS Classmates

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July 18 – 25, 2022

Robert – “Bob” – Alonso

RobertAlonso.vip@gmail.com

Index

1st Street Restaurante de Deer Park

…..Eating Prime Ribs

…..Mark & the story of the Bread Board

And God made a farmer

…..Hay bales

…..Hay roles

…..Harold Weger

At Marny Burdega’s home

 ….An endless train

…..Mike Burdega’s story

…..The Peace Corps

…..The Smoke Tree

At Spokane Int. Airport

…..Bev’s story

Bluff’s Edge

….Big Foot story

….Bluff’s Edge Temperature

…..Chemtrails over Deer Park

…..Finding Bluff’s Edge

…..From Bluff’s Edge to Burdega

…..Hummingbirds drinking fountain

…..Our suite

…..Siomi & Dick

…..Solar Cover Reel

…..Swallow nest

Breakfast in Deer Park

…..Daily Life Essentials

…..Zip’s

Cat Tales.
Chattaroy, Washington.
Clayton Rodeo – Rodeo de Clayton

……Davie, FL Rodeo

Dallas,Texas

…..Dealey Plaza

…..Downtown Dallas

…..From Dallas to Spokane

…..From Ft. Lauderdale to Dallas

…..Farmers Market

…..John Neeley Bryan’s Cabin

…..Kennedy Memorial

…..Mandalay Canal Walk

…..Pegasus

…..Pioneer Plaza

…..Reunion Tower

…..Yellow Green Farmers Market

Dining at Erickson’s home

…..53 Years Ago – Everlasting friendship!

Ernie Peña & Family

…..Dinner at Peña’s

…..Drip irrigation

…..From Holynames Academy to Peña’s

Ft. Lauderdale Airport

…..Siomi’s Sacapiojos

Gasoline prices – Precios de la gasolina

…..In Fort Lauderdale

…..In Spokane

Granite Point at Loon Lake
Hertz
Mt. Spokane
Settlers Parade
Settlers Picnic

…..Deer Park High School Classmates

Siomi’s flower – La flor de Siomi

Spokane

…..Downtown

…..Riverfront

…..Skyride

Touring Deer Park & Wild Rose

…..Burdega’s old home

…..Deer Park “new” Highschool

…..Deer Park Middle Sschool

…..Grandpa Hell’s old hardware store

…..Grandpa Hell’s old home

…..Grandpa & Grandma Losh’s old home

…..Grandpa Losh’s parents

 

…..Norman’s Tree

…..Norman & Beverly Losh’s first home

…..Our Catholic Church

…..Our Protestant Church

…..Weger’s Farm

…..Wild Rose Cemetery

…..Wild Rose old church & Fire Station

TRIP TO DEER PARK (Home page)

Trump Vs. Biden

…..Tea Party’s speech

…..Trump Won

Wine Tasting – Catando vino

…..Halix

…..St. Augustine, FL – Winery.

Yoke’s Supermarket

…..Deer Park Yoke’s

 …..Expresso at Mead Yoke’s

 …..Jerky

…..Our first female tattoo

 …..Siomi dream pan

Index of our trips

Robert Alonso Presenta

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