It’s a beautiful, blue-sky day in Eastern Washington.
Part of me wants to hit the road and go somewhere fun.
Today, however, my beautiful Bella is recovering from surgery. It was time to get her spayed and add on a prophylactic gastropaxy (a procedure in a which her stomach is attached the chest cavity to prevent bloat and torsion).
That means we’re grounded for a few days or a week. No matter, we still haven’t shared our story about the first great road trip since moving to Spokane.
We set out on an equally sunny day a month ago, heading for Pine City, WA. I had read three families remained in Pine City, a small town centred around a ghost town and about 90 minutes southwest of Spokane. There used to be a general store, grange, post office, school and several other buildings.
Most are still there, my source said.
Trouble is, GhostTowns.com, one of my favourite reference sites, is terribly outdated. When I got to Pine City, I realized it had become a residential area, far more populous than “three families.”
Yep, the grain elevator was there.
The church, of which I failed to get a decent shot, was originally a general store, says NCBible.org, a website recording the history of churches in Whitman County.
When the train tracks came through, the railroad not only cut off part of the parking area adjacent to the store, the engines scared the horse teams tethered there. So the owner, Andrew Jackson Smith, decided to turn it into a church building and would walk over every day from town to check on construction progress.
Mr. Smith was very deaf, and during one of these daily visits, he forgot to look when crossing the railroad tracks and was hit by a train and killed.
Likely, he’s buried somewhere in this well-kept cemetery.
But the town area didn’t seem like the type of place to park the truck and start roaming around.
Instead, Bella and I headed back along the route we’d come.
Bookmarks along the way
When we’re exploring, I tend to watch for places to stop along the way to our destination. It’s like bookmarking favourite websites on your web browser, but I do it with my brain. (You’d think I’d be smarter and write them down in a notebook or use my dumbphone but, hey, I’m driving.)
We backtracked to Malden, population 203. According to Wikipedia, it was incorporated in 1909 and was home to the largest locomotive roundhouse in the world.
There’s little sign of life in Malden, let alone the remains of a roundhouse.
That’s the post office on the corner. A posted sign says it’s open for retail hours from noon to 2 p.m. daily.
Then it was on to a busy small town just off the 195.
Rosalia was first settled in 1872, after the Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 opened native lands to white settlers.
Not far from Rosalia is the site where Colonel Edward J. Steptoe clashed in 1958 with a number of area Indian tribes.
The walk through the downtown core is fascinating.
You can’t miss the Texaco Central Service Station on the main drag, Whitman Street.
Charles Hall, says Spokane Historical, opened it in 1923 and the family operated it until it closed in 1980. The Halls then donated the building to the Rosalia Chamber of Commerce, which turned the gas station into the tourist centre.
An old brick building is still emblazoned with its painted sign, “Turnleys – Things to Eat & Wear.” Its storefront is vacant, and the rest of the building has been turned into apartments.
There must be nothing, though, in the basement, protected by these fabulous green doors:
The town clock is a gem:
And one of the old churches appears to abandoned but on private property.
I would have loved to have gotten closer, but I was unsure that no one lives there.
The car looks like it needs a photo shoot, too, but I was saving myself for these babies, tossed away in a grassy field near Latah Creek and mentally bookmarked:
With sunshine and 20 C temperatures due next week, I hope Bella will be ready, willing and able to do some exploring.
In the meantime, I’m combing my archives, looking for more stories I never told.