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The third-largest city in Whitman County, this was the commercial hub of the North Palouse River valley. The stream, which runs through the center of the town, is bordered by several blocks of one-story and two-story business buildings, and warehouses, industrial plants, and the railroad tracks. Wide paved streets lead to pleasant residential districts on the slopes of the hills that crowd down upon the town.

In the course of its existence, Palouse has had a varied history. When Modoc Smith settled here in 1875 he found a well-defined trail running from the fertile valley, called Our Home by the Palouse Native Americans, eastward to the forested mountains of Idaho, where the natives went on hunting, fishing, and berry-picking expeditions. Among the early settlers were some of the Quantrell bands, outlaws who were active in Missouri and other border states during the Civil War. Later, when settlers began to come into the country in increasing numbers and mining in Idaho began to boom, Palouse became a stage stop and outfitting point. In the 1880s a flour mill and several sawmills were operating, and logs were floated down the river from the heavily forested Idaho mountains a few miles to the east. Later Palouse had several pea-processing and canning plants.

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Palouse Main Street Historic District

This district encompasses the present and historic commercial core of Palouse. The buildings here are a contiguous, cohesive and representative of what was once a larger commercial district in one of eastern Washington’s principal pioneer-era cities. The district rose to prominence in the 1880s, during an era of settlement, and its merchants and buildings continued to playa regionally significant role in commerce, trade and finance until at least 1920. The buildings reflect a range of Victorian and early twentieth century commercial architectural styles and are a significant representation of that type and period of design.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Constructed in 1896, in the waning years of the Gothic Revival style, the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church boasts numerous intact features typical of the Gothic style as it was utilized in ecclesiastical buildings. The church is the oldest religious structure in Palouse and maintains a high level of architectural integrity.

F Street Bridge

Spanning the Palouse River, this bridge represents a type that, during the early twentieth century, was claimed to be the most commonly used bridge type in America for spans less than 250 feet. The seven-panel, 140-foot bridge is a steel-pin-connected Pratt truss, and has a timber deck 15.9 feet wide, curb to curb. The Engineer, J. A. Liddell, stated that the advantages of the Pratt truss were its simplicity, its economy of metal, and its suitability for connecting to the floor and lateral systems. The diagonals of the F Street Bridge that carry the load in tension are double braced by two adjustable counter-rods with turnbuckles. The verticals, which consist of lacing bars, resist the load in compression. The hip verticals are double eyebars. Unlike the other verticals, they resist the load in tension.