It’s Finished!

Construction of the wash house that stood behind the J.W. and Elizabeth Slagle House is complete. Contractor Jack Bacon finished the construction in July and Board members Dick Slagle and Jean Delaney painted the structure inside and out. Dick also tied the structure into the existing landscaping and planted grass. This means that we now have a wheelchair accessible restroom adjacent to the Slagle House and an authentic wash room to display the laundry equipment used in the original wash house. The final report on the project has been submitted to the Inland Northwest Community Foundation, the primary funder of the project.

But It Goes On

The past year was a productive one at the J.W. and Elizabeth Slagle House. Outdoor tasks that were completed or are underway include: yard work, painting, pruning, fence repair, roof cleaning, screens, and replacement of the front porch gutter. Indoors, a long and tedious effort in the bathroom and an adjacent small bedroom resulted in the careful removal of many layers of wallpaper (and thousands of tacks). The wallpaper in the bathroom is being replaced with authentic wallpaper of the same design using the shiplap and muslin wall-covering technique that was originally used. Though still a work in progress, the house will be open to the public sometime in the summer of 2014.

The Wash House is Complete

MacDonald Visitors

One of this fall’s high points was an October visit to Curlew High School and Ranald MacDonald’s grave by two students and the Principal from Rishiri Island High School, on the island where MacDonald first went ashore in Japan in 1845.

Rishiri High School Principal Hiroyuki Tsukamoto, Atsumi McCauley and students Tatsuya Koujiya and Yuki Komatsu at Ranald MacDonald’s grave

Their guide and translator, Atsumi McCauley, is a long-time member of both the Friends of MacDonald and the FCHS. They visited MacDonald’s grave and the remains of his niece’s cabin where he died. FCHS President Madilane Perry served as guide.
The tour was followed by a potluck dinner at the Curlew Presbyterian Church, hosted by the FCHS and the Kettle River History Club.

The students stayed over- night with host families in the Curlew area. The next day, the visitors spoke to an assembly at Curlew School with the aid of Atsumi and illustrations from her book Unsung Hero. The book is about Ranald MacDonald, Japan’s first teacher of the English language. We hope to repeat the experience next year at Republic High School.


Exhibits In addition to our usual exhibits in the Native American room, we were happy to display a collection of mounted plant specimens on loan from The Colville Confederated Tribes this summer. The framed specimens showed important native food
plants and included the entire plant.

The Eureka Gulch diorama saw some minor changes and retouching, and another glass display case that had been on loan to Stonerose for several years was added.

New Acquisitions

Our most notable acquisition this year is a collection of 95 framed historic photographs of Ferry County subjects. This photo
collection hung in the hallway of the Title Building when it housed the office of Atty. Richard Perry. Some of the photos are already in the Society’s digitized collection, but some were copied from private collections and need to be added to ours. The
collection was given by Mr. Perry’s daughter Sarah Krausse.

We have also acquired the back issues of the Republic News-Miner which ended publication in 2013 and was Republic’s principal newspaper for over a century. They are not complete as a result of fires through the years. Due to lack of space, they are temporarily stored at a member’s residence.


In our effort to be more visible in the community, President Madilane Perry has continued the tradition of history talks at the Curlew Lake State Park. The campfire talks have covered the topics of Ranald MacDonald, local railroads, cutting ice on
Curlew Lake, and local history in general.

The annual meeting of the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners (the non-profit group raising funds to develop a recreational trail on the old Great Northern rail bed) offered an opportunity to present a PowerPoint presentation on former Ferry County railroads including: the Great Northern (later the Burlington Northern); the Spokane and British Columbia (better known as “The Hot Air Line”); the short, narrow gauge line on Lambert Cr. that connected the Belcher Mine with the ore bins on the Great Northern line; and the Hedlund Lumber and Mfg. Co.’s logging line that ran from the Columbia River up the South Fork
of Sherman Cr. in the 1920s.The April presentation was well received, and was repeated on Prospectors’ Day in June with several showings.

FCHS was also represented at the Curlew Barrel Derby where Madilane (in costume) was privileged to ride in the Car and Truck Museum’s prized Ford “Little Vic” with a representative of the Kettle River History Club.

Our Museum Visitors

This year there were 718 signatures in our guest book. This is a conservative count since those who signed as “family”, “crew”, “club,” or “posse” were counted as three individuals when there were probably actually more. Several had fascinating stories of family members who homesteaded or mined here in the early days.

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