Most historians know that railroads play a huge role in American society at the turn of the 20 century. Railroads help the economy, establish globalization, and start towns. Railroads also bring people, which allows them to search for the American Dream. Today we will be exploring the opportunities that railroads bring to the city of Cheney and eventually Spokane.
The first ever transnational railroad that went across a gigantic portion of the United States from Duluth, Minnesota right through Cheney, Washington. It was not always named Cheney. It was first named Willow springs and underwent various names changes until the people decided on naming the town after Benjamin P. Cheney. Benjamin P. Cheney was a big contributor in creation of this small little town, but there were other contributors that played even bigger a role in funding the Northern Pacific Railroad. Henry Villard funding a large portion of this railroad and even got the federal government on board to give him a loan. However, building railroads often displaced Indians that were already living in nearby areas. This lead to the battle of four lakes with “Yakama, Spokane, Palouse, and Coeur d’Alene tribes.” For the most part the United States Federal Government put these tribes on reservations.
Even though Indian tribes and bands were displaced by federal government there is still some good that came out of it. The railroad gave potential to not only towns, but also to universities. Eastern Washington University (EWU) was one of the first universities to be built in Washington State 1882. “Benjamin P. Cheney gave the town $10,000 to start the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy.” This later became (EWU). The railroad also gave up 8 acres of land. History.link.org is missing a contributing factor of the Moril Land Grant Act, which gave schools federal land to build on. That’s why the college must fellow federal regulations closer than other colleges that are not Moril Land Grant schools.
The last thing that the railroad brought over was famous architects. Some were trained like Harold C. Whitehouse and Ernest Price at Cornell College. Others such as Kirtland Cutter still did amazing work without a degree in engineering or architecture. Instead his degree was in art which is can be an applicable field to house building. Some of the coolest buildings were created in all sorts of styles. St. John Cathedral was built by Whitehouse and Price in classic gothical revival style. It was mostly made out of stone blocks and stained glass, but it looks amazing. It looks a lot better to see the finish product than to see the voided or superseded blueprints of the cathedral. The circle in the middle reminds me of the Late Romanesque Revival style. Often times, architects use a mix of 2-4 different styles to create a completely unique home. Kirtland Cutter is also famous for his Davenport Hotel and Mansions like the Patsy Clark Mansion. The Davenport uses the Chicago business style and late Italian renaissance revival the Patsy Clark Mansion is difficult to identify, but I would say it’s Queen Ann, with small hints of mission revival and some others.