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Republic

Once the most important town in the county it was called Republic Camp and hidden in the folds of the Okanogan Highlands and the Kettle River Range. After a gold strike on Eureka Creek, Republic was established by a group of miners as The Mining District of Eureka, and platted by Philip Creasor. At about the same time, another strike was made on nearby Granite Creek.

Postal authorities refused the name of Eureka for the post office because a town existed with that name in Clark County. The present name, proposed by citizens to honor the Great Republic mining claim, was accepted.

The town became the seat of Ferry County. Despite a few modern structures, the town retains a flavor of the Old West along its main street, with an ancient “opry house,” now a motion picture theater, balconied and false-fronted buildings, and old-time bars untouched by the fire of 1938, which razed a section of the street.

Discovery of gold on Granite Creek by John Welty on February 20, 1896, opened the northern section of the Colville Native American Reservation and brought an influx of prospectors. In its issue of May 14, 1896, the Republic Pioneer proclaimed that here was a little city that was moving right along. “Large quantities of whiskey, flour, and other necessities arrived during the week.” Gold seekers continued to flock to the frontier town throughout the summer of 1898. By 1900 Republic ranked sixth in population among eastern Washington cities. This was an exciting period of its life, when 28 saloons and two dance halls assisted miners, prospectors, and miscellaneous fortune hunters to while away their evenings. The “Hot Air Line,” a railway so called because its completion was deemed improbable, was finished between Republic and Grand Forks, B. C., in April, 1902, but proved unprofitable and was replaced by the Great Northern the same year.

Images

1963 view of downtown Republic.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Ca. 1945 image of the Knob Hill Mine near Republic, in Ferry County.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Fairweather – Trevitt House

George Warren Fairweather arrived in Republic in 1903 as an employee of what was known as the “Hot Air Line,” a local railroad that was competing with the Washington and Northern line (a subsidiary of the Northern Line). In addition to his position as freight and passenger agent for the railroad, Mr. Fairweather was the telegrapher. Fairweather bought his house in 1904 and in an effort to interest his sons in the telegraphers’ trade, he had the house connected by wire to his office in the Lickey building two blocks away on the main street. The Fairweathers lived in the house with his wife and children until they lost the house in 1915 due to some complicated legal dealings. The house has been sold several times through the years; it was the residence of Claude M. Trevitt and his wife, Effie Lee from 1917 to 1952. The railroad eventually went bankrupt, its track and trestles were torn up for scrap, the Lickey Building burned in the 1930s, and the local station was also demolished. George Warren Fairweather survived the demise of the Hot Air Line; he became an accountant, an insurance salesman and maintained interests in the mining and lumbering industries. He retired in 1945 and died that same year. The local paper hailed him as one of Republic’s most “respected and admired pioneers.” The Fairweather/Trevitt house, which has well-preserved and unusually elaborate architectural details for Republic at that time, is all that is left as a reminder of Republic’s local railroad.

Creaser Hotel

The Creaser Hotel is the oldest frame building in the city of Republic and the second completely enclosed structure to be built in that town, after a log cabin from the original Eureka Camp. It was built in 1897 for Mr. Phillip Creaser who was a major figure in the development of Republic and the surrounding mining district. He was one of the first prospectors to settle in the area, having arrived from Canada during the winter of 1896 when the area’s first gold claims were staked. Mr. Creaser’s hotel business was apparently short-lived. Some time during the first decade of the 20th century, both the hotel building and Mr Creaser’s neighboring single story cottage became private homes – a use which has continued to the present. The Creaser hotel, although having undergone various minor modifications, has retained much of its original mining-camp ambience.

Slagle House

The Slagle House, built c. 1900, is one of the most intact examples of the numerous wood-frame homes that housed Republic’s middle class in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The house is also significant due to its association with one of Republic’s most influential civic leaders, J.W. Slagle, who contributed to the development of such critical local institutions as the provision of health care, the volunteer fire department and the Public Utility District. Slagle was a pioneer pharmacist, the mayor of Republic during a critical period in its history, and was instrumental in putting in place several of the modern community’s key institutions. He was the founder and proprietor of what is now Washington State’s oldest family-owned and -operated pharmacy. This modest Queen Anne style house is quite intact and represents the end of the popularity of that architectural style.

Delaware Hotel

The Delaware Hotel is named after a mining claim of the Delaware Mining Company that eventually was platted as the Delaware Addition to the growing town of Republic. The hotel is the only surviving bay-windowed commercial building on Republic’s main street and is the only structure that survived the town’s 1899 fire. Early in its life, it was known for its elegant dining room that served the miners, mine owners, and travelers in the community. As a center for social activity in Republic, the hotel has mirrored the changing character of a mining camp becoming a modern town.

Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site

At the Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site, visitors can dig for fossils in a fifty million-year-old lakebed. Next door to the center, the Kaufman Cabin, built in 1896, is the oldest extant structure in Ferry County, which now houses a museum maintained by the Ferry County Historical Society

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