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Northport

The city extends along a valley below Silver Crown Mountain. The United States Customs and Immigration offices were housed here, located on Columbia Avenue in Northport, but today does not appear to be in use. Here the Long Lake Lumber Company felled and shipped thousands of pine and tamarack trees, which are excellent for ties and poles. The waters of the Columbia River, backed up behind Grand Coulee Dam, lie at the edge of Northport. North of Northport the highway crosses the Columbia River and runs through a narrowing valley into hilly terrain.

Early miners camped in Northport for several years before the Spokane Falls & Northern Railway reached it on September 18, 1892, which gave the town its name because Northport was destined to be the most northerly town on the railroad, south of the Canadian border. It was previously called Terminal City.

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Northport School

The Northport School, built in 1903, is significant for its historic associations with the development of Northport and early education in Stevens County. It is the oldest brick school building in Stevens County. The simple style and solid construction, combined with the ornate decoration of the once-existing bell tower, testify to the growing prosperity and confidence of the wilderness boom town.

Lael Sheep Barn and Sheds

Built in 1938 by Dan Lael and Frank Paparich to store hay for a sheep operation, the basic structure was framed with 6 x 8 x 15-foot beams taken from the Northport smelter. The rest of the wooden materials were from the local Saunders Mill and surrounding area. Several thousand sheep were housed on this property through the winter and spring lambing and then shipped by rail to Chicago each year. They were herded across the river via a railroad bridge (now SR 25) into boxcars. According to Paparich’s telling, the trip by train required the sheep be unloaded, watered and fed, and reloaded once daily for the duration of the sometimes several-week-long trip. This property borders the Columbia River, and in the winter the sheep were moved to its banks for their daily drink, where they had to break the ice that formed on the river. The rest of the year the sheep grazed on leased land all the way to the Canadian border. With the help of hired hands Dan kept the sheep business all through the war years until he moved to Spokane around 1950.

Columbia River Bridge

The Columbia River Bridge at Northport provides the only access to the west side of the Columbia River between Kettle Falls, some 32 miles to the south, and Trail, British Columbia, approximately 20 miles to the north. It also allows direct travel to Rossland, B.C., via U.S. Route 25 and Canada Route 22. The bridge is the largest and longest man-made structure of any kind in Stevens County and is an example of a bridge whose original design was notably altered during construction to improve the structure for years of extreme flooding. While it is not known when the technique of underwater blasting was developed, this method played an important role in the removal of the fifth pier during reconstruction after it was undermined by flooding. Constructing a durable pier posed a difficult challenge for the builder. Clarence B. Shain and W. A. Bugge were Directors of Highways for the state of Washington during construction of the bridge; George Stevens was the Bridge Engineer; MacRea Brothers were the contractors for the original approach spans and bridge piers; General Construction Company was the contractor for the additional approach spans and reconstruction of the south main pier; and Midland Structural Steel Company was the contractor for the steel portion of the bridge.