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

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 1/28/2003
  • 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.


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.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You