First train arrives at Spokane Falls on June 25, 1881.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 1/28/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5137
On June 25, 1881, the first train arrives in Spokane Falls. The Northern Pacific Railroad line runs only from Wallula near the Oregon border, but will connect to tracks being built over the Rockies from the East and to a line down the Columbia River gorge. Spokane Falls (shortened to Spokane in 1891) will become an important terminal for three trancontinental rail lines.

Almost the entire town turned out to greet the officials and passengers. Graham's Band provided music. When the train arrived, the band was almost drowned out by the bell, the whistle, and venting steam. Dignitaries read congratulatory telegrams to the crowd and afterward enjoyed refreshments and social events.

Just over two years later, the transcontinental line was completed in Montana. The first transcontinental train arrived in Spokane Falls on September 8, 1883.


Sources: Joseph C. Brown, "The First Train Rolled In," The Rainbow Seekers: Stories of Spokane The Expo City and The Inland Empire (Spokane, WA: Wescoast Publishing Co., 1974), 19; William Stimson, A View of the Falls: An Illustrated History of Spokane (Northridge, CA: Windsor Publications, Inc., 1985), 31, 35.

Related Topics:   Roads & Rails

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