top of page


HBCo / Louther Meyer's Grist Mill

 Early on, Hudson's Bay Company employees at Fort Colvile located a flour grist mill at the falls pictured above on the Colville River.  The historic location is approximately two miles shy where that river tributaries into the Columbia River just below the Shokwitnu (anglicized: Kettle Falls).  The site of this first interior flour grist mill is at the southerly fringe of the present city of Kettle Falls, approximately three miles from Fort Colvile's historic site.  These falls have retained the geographic name of Meyers Falls.  

  Louther Meyers purchased these grist mill operations about 1869--some time after HBCo had moved its operations north of the new international border into Canada.  He also owned and operated a trading post and saw mill near by.  A fledgling pioneer hamlet grew up about his retail operations there named, "Meyers Falls".

Ref.: "The Late, Great Meyers Falls:: The Annexation of Meyers Falls", by Eryn Baumgart.,

on-line access: <https://www.Spokane>    November 11, 2021

Marcus Oppenheimer's Store

  About 1862, US American-Jewish retail merchant Marcus Oppenheimer came up from Walla Walla, W.T., and located a store in one of the above emptied cabins to supply gold prospectors.  These barrack cabins had been vacated the previous year by the Royal British Boundary Commission's survey brigade which had been constructed just a couple miles to the north of Fort Colvile. 

  The southerly trail to the HBCo fort may be seen over the cabin rooftops in the photograph's left background as can the flowing Columbia River in the mid-right.  As there was no longer a fort mail stop after HBCo's move to Fort Steele just north of the international border, mail was left at Marcus' store.  The mail stop thus assumed his first name as did the town hamlet to which these cabins gave birth. 

John Hofstetter's Brewery

  John Hofstetter, a US American of Swiss descent, finished his military enlistment at Fort Colville-USAR in 1860.  He opened a brewery near the former HBCo White Mud Farm dairy operations.  The location was near the crossroads between the southerly military road to Fort Walla Wala and the road's intersection with the trail between Shokwitnu falls and the upland army fort 3 miles nearby.  It soon became a popular watering hole for the area's soldiers, prospectors and ranchers.  Hofstetter is considered the father of this crossroads townsite and its becoming the present townsite of the City of Colville and 13 years later, its becoming Stevens County seat.  
His pour operation grew successfully around his listening ear, the latter which lent itself to his being regional news correspondent to the Walla Walla, Washington Territory paper for a time in the 1860s.  Among the historically significant news he reported mid-decade through that paper was that American prospectors of Chinese descent out-numbered prospectors of Euro-American descent by 2:1.  As this was between 1860-70 decadal census-taking and the Sino-American prospectors were not allowed to be land-owners, there is no other historic population record of their estimable presence there.  Furthermore, the Sino contributions to the area's early economic and commercial development is unheralded as well.

bottom of page