Places in Ferry County

These are some of the prominent places on this large landscape of Ferry County. They are in no special order or listing (at this time). I'll start with Republic, the county seat and the only incorporated municipality in the county.

It was gold prospectors who in the late 19th century founded The Mining District of Eureka on mineral rich on Eureka Creek. The Great Republic claim, found by Thomas Ryan and Philip Creasor on March 5, 1896, was the highest producer of gold in the region and by 1900 the settlement was booming. A post office was established but postal authorities rejected the name Eureka because there was already a town by that name in Clark County, Washington. The citizens then decided to honor the Great Republic mining claim by proposing the name Republic. This name was accepted and the settlement was incorporated as a city on May 22, 1900.
Republic Washington link

As mentioned earlier in this blog, the Colville Reservation forms the southern half of Ferry County. And while I'm familiar with many of the geographic features of tribal lands there is much I don't know, hence some on-going research on my part before I post much about this unique area of Ferry County.
This sign greats visitors and travelers on all major approaches onto tribal lands in Ferry County - J. Foster Fanning, photography

Colville Confederated Tribes

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Follow WA Highway 21 north of the county seat about 20 miles and the Kettle River bridge appears. There are actually two bridges across the river serving the town of Curlew. Humans have occupied this portion of the river valley for thousands of years. Native Americans used the broad backwaters of the river directly below the mouth of Long Alec Creek as a ferry crossing long before Europeans visited the area....

Curlew Washington link
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Laurier is a very small community in the far northeastern corner of Ferry County, Washington that is adjacent to the Canada–United States border. According to the 2010 census, there was one person residing at this location, but we locals know there are a few more.

Laurier was named for Sir Wilfrid Laurier, prime minister of Canada from 1896 to 1911. The federal U.S. General Services Administration lists three buildings in Laurier – a border station and two border station residences – all built in 1936. U.S. Route 395 runs through the community north to the Canada where it ends intersecting with the Trans-Canadian Highway 3.


The small, unincorporated community Orient is in northeastern Ferry County. East of town the Kettle River marks the border with Stevens County. A Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line runs through the town alongside U.S. Route 395. The population at the time of the 2010 census was hovered around 115 people, but like all of the small communities in Ferry County, there are many more folks living in the hills and drainages served by these areas.


The town of Orient was first settled in 1900 by Alec Ireland and by George Temple. At one time Orient was the endpoint of a cable bucket tramway completed in 1892 that ran from the First Thought Mine down into the town. The First Thought Mine ceased operations in 1941 and closed down in the next year.

Other mines, which were located in the area, Hidden Treasure mine, Red Lion mine, Copper butte mine, Globe mine, and Scotia mine.

Orient is served by Orient School District No. 65. The district offers classes from kindergarten to grade 8. In October 2004, the district had an enrollment of 88 and a single school. The Orient School building is one of the oldest continuously used schoolhouses in Washington state. It was built in 1910.

 Peggy Brixner Park, also known as Brixner Park or  “The Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole” is a public access park on the banks of the Kettle River, in the town of Curlew, Washington.  This park has been used for picnicking, swimming and family get-togethers for generations. Native Americans landed their local ferry on this sandy beach long before the whiteman came to this valley.

The park came into formal existence when the Brixner family donated the land to Ferry County to be used as a public park in memory of Peggy Brixner.

Keller Ferry Crossing
Linking  the southeastern reach of Ferry County to neighboring Lincoln County is the Keller Ferry crossing  Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake.  The crossing connects the northern and southern segments of State Route 21, between The Colville Indian Reservation  (Ferry County) and the community of  Clark in Lincoln County. Since the 1890s a ferry has been operating at this location, at first spanning the Columbia River, and after the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam,  crossing Lake Roosevelt. Washington State took over operations of this ferry passage in 1930. The M/V Sanpoil is the fifth of five vessels that have served this crossing. The Martha S., which is the most lauded of this group of ferries operated from 1948 to 2013.


The M/V Sanpoil is the only Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) owned and operated ferry in Eastern Washington. All other WSDOT ferries are part of the Puget Sound system  in Western Washington. This was the first ferry crossing operated by the state of Washington; the Puget Sound ferries did not commence until 1951. I will post photos of both recent ferries.

Hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. to Midnight 7 days per week. The fare to ride is free.




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