Known to some as Washington’s final frontier, small towns in the state’s northeast region reflect the area’s old-school charm. Whether you crave a stroll through a traffic-light-free community, an examination of historic structures or a visit to a railroad and farming museum, you'll find it in one of these northeastern Washington small towns.
Founded as Eureka after an 1896 gold rush, Republic retains its pioneer charm to this day. You may not find traffic lights or chain stores here, but you can find an organic bakery, family-owned brewpub and the renowned Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site among historic buildings graced with murals.
This Colville Valley community is the gateway to the Flowery Trail, a scenic mountain road. Head for the hills to the 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort, or stay in town to try your luck at the Chewelah Casino. Chewelah Museum’s collection of photographs, letters and historic artifacts captures the area’s pioneer spirit, while a stroll through downtown is all it takes to soak up the quaint feel.
Perched on the banks of the Pend Oreille River and surrounded by lofty peaks, tiny Metaline Falls was the site of a cement plant for 75 years. The community was consistently covered in dust that would harden in wet weather. Today more than a dozen historic structures, including the old cement plant, the 1906-era Washington Hotel and the 1912 Metaline Falls School (now the Cutter Theatre), still stand. The theater even features a library, an art gallery and live performances on its stage.
Originally in Idaho, this river and lumber town relocated to Washington after the local post office moved there. Many of its historic artifacts are on display at the Pend Oreille County Historical Society and Museum, adjacent to Centennial Plaza, which is housed in the original Idaho & Washington Northern depot from 1908. Newport’s downtown invites leisurely strolls, while the nearby Wolf Donation Trails are a scenic spot for a hike.
Surrounded by rolling wheat fields, basaltic coulees and pothole lakes, Davenport captures the essence of the Columbia Plateau. The Lincoln County Historical Museum, with its railroad and farming memorabilia, and the 1880s frontier army post Fort Spokane preserve the community’s past. Celebrate its rich heritage at Pioneer Days in July, plus the Vintage Harvest Demonstration and the Lincoln County Fair, which has a stellar rodeo, in August. Find more county fairs in Washington >>
Read the other articles in our series about Washington small towns, organized by region (in no particular order): Metro Seattle, North Cascades, The Islands, Peninsulas & Coast, The Gorge, The Volcanoes, North Central, Wine Country and Southeast.
Photo credit: Flickr/Jasperdo