Locations to Visit
We have 5 locations to visit while on the Palouse.
623 N Perkins Ave, Colfax, WA
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2pm
Closed January and February
James Allen Perkins came to the area in 1870, when he was 29 years old. He and Thomas Smith traveled from Waitsburg to set up a sawmill at the suggestion of Anderson Cox, who speculated that the valley along the South Fork of the Palouse might make a fine location for a new settlement. They proceeded to build a log cabin with timber hauled from Walla Walla. Sawmills, brick mills and business started to grow the town. The growing community was first called Belleville, possibly after Perkins' hometown of Belleville, Illinois, but a story exists that his wife thought he named it after his former girlfriend, Belle. To dispel any hard feeling, a decision was made to call the town Colfax in honor of President Grant's first VP Schuyler Colfax. The Victorian Home was completed in 1887 where family members lived until the 1960's. It was sold to a couple who tried to renovate but the job was to big. The aging house was purchased by the newly formed Whitman County Historical Society in 1973 for $13,900 - a sum financed through donations and loans. A series of grants and much volunteer help allowed restoration to begin. Work has been done inside to restore it to an appropriate Victorian decor, update the electrical system, remove/rebuild the porch and chimneys, repaint the exterior and many other tasks. The roof, which was also in very bad condition, was completely replaced with cedar shakes like the original. With the new paint, various architectural features stand out, in particular the quoins on the corners of the house.
The Perkins House is available for meetings, small weddings, bridal showers, anniversary parties, and other events.
330 N Grand Ave, Pullman, WA
Hours: Saturday 1pm to 4pm
The Northern Pacific Railroad arrived in Pullman in 1887. The first wood depot stood on Grand Avenue just North of Whitman Street. In 1901 the Northern Pacific purchased land between Grand and Kamiaken and built a 32 by 160 foot frame depot. This was replaced in 1916 by the present brick building which opened in March 1917. The depot was remodeled one time before the passenger service was discontinued in the 1960's. In 1970 the Northern Pacific sold the building to Burlington Northern Railroad which in turn leased the building to the Department of Agriculture. In June 1988, Dan Antoni purchased the building and later acquired the land. In 2018, the Whitman County Historical Society purchased the property with the vision of preserving the past by bringing it back to life.
Roy Chatters Newspaper & Printing Museum
110 E Main Street, Palouse, WA
Hours: Saturday 10am to 2pm
Closed January and February
The Newspaper and Printing Museum preserves the equipment and methods of letterpress and linotype printing. The museum also holds an extensive collection of early newspapers from throughout Whitman County and has rotating exhibitions featuring artifacts and photographs from the region. While all of the equipment used by early-day printers is still operational, it is obsolete or unsuited to modern printing practices. This equipment and the extensive collection of county newspapers provide a unique opportunity for research in letter-press printing technology and in local history.
The museum is open on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm or by appointment. We don’t mind spur-of-the-moment requests and want to share this museum as much as we can! Group tours are welcome as well, with advanced notice.
Genealogical research is also available, with a donation requested for this service. Whitman County newspapers available for research include: Endicott 1904-57, Garfield 1888-1951, LaCrosse 1910-65, Palouse 1892 to present; Rosalia 1900 to ?, St. John 1918-41, and Tekoa 1919-57.
Holy Trinity Chapel
105 E Alder Street, Palouse, WA
By appointment only
Holy Trinity Chapel is a small, lovingly preserved former Episcopal Church which was built in 1896 and is still in all original form. This unique chapel is home to one of seven lich-gates in the United States. There are many interesting architectural details including 8 tri-foil topped windows, buttressed exterior walls, a combination of wood and shingles covering the church and a wrought iron tie back on the chimney that matches the altar inside the church. Services had been held from 1896 through 2003. As there was such a small congregation left in Palouse to use the church for Sunday service, the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane decided to sell the building in 2003. When several people in Palouse heard that the building was to go on the market, a meeting was held to determine if there was enough interest locally to purchase it. Fortunately, there was a dedicated core group who were willing to invest time and money and a proposal was made to the Diocese to purchase the building. The offer was accepted and the Historical Society agreed to take ownership of the building with the community group continuing to maintain and operate the care of the church. In 2004 the church was placed on the Washington State Register of Historic Places and in 2005 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Continued restoration of the building continues as funds become available. Two stained glass windows have been repaired. Shakes have been replaced on the roof in 2006, the lower building shingles were replaced in 2014 and the exterior of the church was repainted in 2016. Funds to partially cover the costs of these improvements were raised through two tours of homes and gardens in Palouse. Donations were also encouraged to support the painting of the building.
Several weddings and other small group events have taken place in the church. It is always available for weddings, funeral services, local special church services, recitals, and cultural presentations. Tours are given at any groups' request and many professional photographers have found the setting and lighting in the church exceptional for photographing.
at The Gladish Community Center
115 NW State Street, Room 103A, Pullman, WA
Hours: Wednesdays 9am to noon
The WCHS Archive is located at The Gladish Community and Cultural Center, located on the ground floor, near the West Main Street entrance.
The Archive contains over a 1000 inventoried collections, a photograph collection, a map collection, County plat books and various indexes to birth, death, census, and cemetery records; an every name index to 52 local publications; and various other helpful guides and indexes. The Archive space is shared with the Whitman County Genealogical Society, which maintains many indexes and other reference material. We are happy to help visitors with their research questions and can attempt to checkout email inquiries.
The Archive welcomes donations of records, photographs, diaries, ledgers, and other materials that reflect the history of our county. Our entire collection is due to the generosity of those who have turned valuable records and materials to the Whitman County Historical Society.
For information and assistance please contact Alex Otero via e-mail at: email@example.com
Mailing Address: WCHS Archive, PO Box 67, Colfax, WA 99111
WCHS, in partnership with WSU MASC, has published digital copies of numerous oral histories of Whitman County residents. To visit the site click on this link which will take you to the MASC wwebsite: http://content.libraries.wsu.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16866coll7
at The Palouse Empire Fairgrounds
Set up a field trip!
Learn about the past by experiencing a moment of life from over a century ago!
Built in 1895, the Jones School (No. 146) was originally located near Dusty, Washington, where it served area students in grades 1 through 8 until 1942. Following its consolidation into the Colfax and LaCrosse districts, it served as the home of the Dusty BB (Busy Bee) Club from 1945 to 1998. In 2010, the building was moved to its present site by the combined efforts of the Palouse Empire Fair Board and staff, the Whitman County commissioners, members of the Palouse Empire Fair Foundation, and the Whitman County Historical Society.
Now located on the Palouse Empire Fairgrounds, four miles outside of Colfax, Washington, the Jones Schoolhouse has been restored and rejuvenated as a place for the community to meet and for visitors to experience an authentic one-room school. Open to the public every year during the Palouse Empire Fair (held Thursday through Sunday each year following Labor Day), it offers 20-minute mini-lessons to fairgoers on such topics as “Mental” Arithmetic, Penmanship, Poetry, Science, and Washington, U.S., and World Geography. In keeping with educational practices in 1895, strict discipline in the classroom is maintained at all times!
In addition, field trips for students in grades 1 through 6 can be scheduled in September, October, April, May, and the first part of June. The Jones Schoolhouse is not a dry, dusty museum! Instead, students “step back in time” to experience what a day was like in an authentic one-room school over a century ago. Classes are taught by schoolmarms and/or masters dressed in the style of the period. Lessons will be taught as they would have been taught in 1895—using slates, copybooks, lecture, and/or recitation.
If you are interested in providing this one-of-a-kind experience for your students, please contact Kathy Meyer (509-334-9089, firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your field trip.
St. Ignatius Hospital
1009 S Mill Street, Colfax, Wa
This is private property, do not enter the property without a ticket to an event. Historic Tours and Ghost Tours available year-round. Get tickets at:
St. Ignatius was built in 1893 by the Sisters of Charity (now the Sisters of Providence)
The building was a hospital until 1968. It was beginning to show its age and the sisters didn't have the resources to renovate again. Roy McDonald purchased the building and in 1970 open it up as St. Ignatius Manor. This facility housed elderly and developmentally disabled adults until 2003 when it was abandoned. It sat empty for years, until the Colfax Chamber of Commerce stepped in to try and find a new owner who would save this historic building. In 2015, St. Ignatius was named the number one most endangered building in Washington State. The Chamber of Commerce started tours and ghosts hunts to try to entice someone to buy the building. The tours got the hospital on National TV shows and brought attention and the importance of saving it. In 2021, Austin and Laura Storm stepped up to purchase and save the building. The Historical Society jumped on board to assist in the preservation of this historic building. The project will eventually become a 501c3, but for now it is considered a project of the WCHS.