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Spangle

One of the oldest Euro-American settlements in the Inland Empire, once a village of weatherstained houses clustered about a few brick buildings. The first house built in the vicinity was erected in 1862 and for years served as a stopping place on the Mullan Road, which ran from Fort Benton, Montana to Fort Walla Walla before white settlement arrived. The Native American name was N-soy-akin, meaning crawfish. The first permanent resident here was William Spangle, a Civil War veteran who came in 1872 from Walla Walla, followed by other family members. Before the end of the summer Spangle, a skilled craftsman, with the aid of his two sons, had erected a house of hewn logs, finished with carefully made sills, frames, and doors, and roofed with pine shakes. Everything in the house but the square, hand-wrought nails brought from Walla Walla, and the flooring obtained from Scranton and Downing’s little sawmill on the Spokane River, was the work of the Spangle family.

During the summer of 1872, settlers continued to arrive in such numbers that Spangle decided to start a school. With true communal frontier spirit, all set to work building a schoolhouse. Within a day, the walls and roof were finished, and before long the structure was completed and furnished with handmade desks and benches. This occasion called for a special celebration consisting of a day of feasting, horse racing, and storytelling, topped off in the evening with a dance, for which music was furnished by an orchestra consisting of an organ, three violins, and a harmonica. Today, the dominant feature of Spangle is the Upper Columbia Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist high school founded ca. 1921 as the Yakima Valley Academy. The original school closed due to lack of space, but the church later purchased the old poor farm in Spangle at auction and built the current school.