Nothing lasted very long in Lamoine … or Arup.
Unless you want to talk about the schoolhouse.
It’s still standing after 100 years.
Long after Arup was platted.
Long after Arup became Lamoine.
And long after Lamoine became deserted when the railroad took a pass on the little town.
Lamoine was an “excellent trading point just north of Waterville” and boasted of several stores and a blacksmith shop, wrote Honor L. Wilhelm in The Coast, a monthly magazine dedicated to news in Washington State.
“It is surrounded by a magnificent country, and a fine crop of wheat has rewarded the efforts of the farmers this year. The place has a daily mail by stage, with free mail delivery along the stage line.”
Sounds like home
Arup, according to Wikipedia, was platted and filed on November 20, 1905, by an immigrant farmer named Nels P. Nelson, who born in a little town called Aarup in Denmark.
Nels settled the area, hoping the railroad would run through and his little town would experience a boon.
Alas, it was not to be.
The menfolk met in Spokane to plan the route from the River City into the Big Bend, necessitating almost 100 miles of track, the jobs to get it down and the rich economy that would flow through the area with the railway. No question, the railroad was a big deal for the local economy, but towns in the outlying areas were forced to beg for their share of the spoils.
The Waterville Press, quoted in the January 30, 1906, edition of the Spokane Chronicle, wrote that representatives from St. Andrews, Meld, Jenn and Leahy traveled to Spokane to meet with the builders.
“Now the proper thing to do is for Waterville, Douglas, Farmer, Arup, Buckingham, Dyer and all the country benefited to get together and send representatives to meet with them and see what can be done to get them in here,” the Press’s editorial team pleaded.
“As soon as they reach St. Andrews it would be plain sailing to swing around the head of the coulee, catch all the points mentioned and reach Waterville.”
The Great Northern Railway bypassed the little town, however, and built through Withrow.
Arup disappeared from historical records some time between 1906 and 1909, says Wikipedia, and the name “Lamoine” pops up.
Something smells fishy
The little town did get itself a post office, dance hall, hardware store, blacksmith shop, feed store and — crack the bat! — a baseball team.
Nothing about that is abnormal.
The name change is.
When the townfolk were discussing the town in the general store, reported W.H. Murray, the publisher of the Withrow Banner, they latched onto a new name by happenstance.
A man named Bragg reached to the shelf and took down a can of sardines labelled “Lamoine” asking: “What is the matter with that as a name for the town?
The suggestion was approved.
But when the railway officials decided in 1909 to bypass Arup/Lamoine, the post office closed.
One hundred years later, it’s ranchland and all that remains is the well preserved schoolhouse.
Not a cloud in the sky
A snowstorm threatened to strike all weekend long.
Bella and I spent a couple nights in Oroville with a friend and, after driving through a blistering Rocky Mountain blizzard one month earlier, we were not looking forward to another white-knuckle route home.
We woke up to nothing more than a skiff (as we call a couple of inches in Newfoundland) but I made the executive decision to bypass Disautel Pass, south of Omak.
We busted down the 97 and headed for Brewster. It struck me then to pull my Washington State atlas out of the seat pocket and make the side trip worth it.
This was my first trip to the Lamoine schoolhouse and the snow was deep and glistening in the morning sun.
Here’s a little gallery of the trip, complete with one thrilled Maremma sheepdog rolling around in the snow: