PALOUSE HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: from early newspapers

January 4th, 2016 by —

Palouse has been blessed with a very wide Main Street which is enjoyed even now. Our forefathers built it wide enough to turn an eight horse team and wagon around. Palouse’s second Mayor C.H. Farnsworth was the influence that shaped such a creditable Main Street for Palouse. According to an account by Garret D. Kincaid in one of his articles published in an early day Palouse newspaper, “(Farnsworth) has been heard to say he had seen many towns laid out in the west which grew up to find that their Main streets were too congested and narrow. Regardless of the fact that the space between the sidewalk and river bank on the south was limited, he insisted upon the present width of Main street, which gives Palouse one of the best business streets of any town of this size in Washington.”

palouse hardware 1910 postcard cropped

1910 shot of Palouse Main Street looking West. The block you see in the foreground is mostly gone now. The first building is Palouse Hardware and Implement (which is an empty lot right now), the next building still remains as the Palouse Arms Apts (being repaired right now) with the top story removed some years ago. The next building is gone and has been replaced with a new structure housing the local post office.

Palouse Swampy
Main Street

It has been accounted in many publications and writings that Palouse’s wide Main street was once a muddy swamp.

It was not uncommon to see a span of horses mired down, hitched to te running gears of a wagon. At one point a group of boys put up a sign warning about driving into that mire.

The Palouse sign read:

This street is impassable,
It is not even jackassable.

The sign served a purpose and Main Street was later built up by hauling in fill dirt and rocks. At one time a horse watering trough, large enough for six to eight horses, stood in the middle of the street between Williamson’s (now where Palouse Caboose and the Community Center has been built) and the Proctor buildings. When the street was raised with fill dirt, the horse trough was left and just covered up. The street was raised about four feet. (Do you think that watering trough still lies entombed in our Main Street? – LJN)