Colville Indian Agency

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2013

Location: Chewelah, Stevens County

In the 1860s, Major John Sims, Acting Indian Agent, oversaw the construction of a log cabin to serve as the Colville Indian Agency. The cabin maintained this role until 1885, when Agency operations were relocated to Fort Spokane. Sims and his wife, Lucy, continued to live in the cabin, staying on to homestead the site. In 1902, Dr. S.P. McPherson purchased the cabin as his personal residence. With the addition of a granary and other rooms, the cabin continued to meet the needs of the family, with the last descendants remaining until 2010. Concerned about the long-term stewardship of the cabin, the family donated the property to the Stevens County Historical Society (SCHS). With the goal of using the cabin to interpret the Indian Agency period, the SCHS has worked to clean out the cabin and make needed repairs. The hopes for a quick solution were lost when work began and it became apparent that more than cosmetic changes were needed. The sill logs were so badly rotted that they would not have supported the cabin for very much further into the future. The roof, the floor, and the porch all had to be replaced, and the chinking between the logs also had to be removed and replaced. In addition, the fireplace, which was pulling the cabin down, would have to be removed, and the gap filled.

The SCHS was dedicated and continued to raise funds and build awareness for the site. With support from the Washington State Heritage Capital Projects Fund and the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Washington, the cabin has undergone a complete rehabilitation and was declared “Saved!” in 2019.

Read more on page 8 of the Fall 2019 issue of This Place magazine.