Spokane History Timeline

Northern Pacific Railroad and Daniel Corbin - 1881

On July 4, 1881, the first train came into Spokane from the West. The first Northern Pacific train carried 6 boxcars loaded with passengers from Cheney. The NP depot, was on Railroad Avenue, which was between 1st and 2nd Avenues. It was called that because the railroad went right through the street.

NP Tracks
Northern Pacific Railroad ran through town between First and Second Avenues. [Spokesman-Review, October 5, 2003, pg F8.]


Several years later, the tracks were raised so cars could go underneath and Railroad Avenue disappeared. The first trains from the east arrived in 1883 after the golden spike was completed at Helena, MT.


During the 1880's there was a race going on to build railroads to different important places. J.J. Browne, an early Spokane entrepreneur, was going to attempt to build a standard gauge railroad branching off from the Northern Pacific. This was to be connected by a steamboat south down Coeur d'Alene Lake and then up the Coeur d'Alene River to a narrow gauge railroad that would go to Wallace, ID. But Browne had mistaken that in order to build the railroad he had to get Congressional permission.

While J.J. Browne was struggling in Washington, D.C., Daniel Chase Corbin decided to carbon copy Browne's plan. Corbin knew that the Congress did not have to give permission so he went to New York to the Northern Pacific Directors. In 1886, the NP directors agreed to work with Corbin on the new railroad. Over the next 20 years, Corbin built seven feeder railroads, including the Spokane Falls and Northern which connected with the Canadian Pacific in British Columbia, the Western Fruit Express, and Spokane, Portland and Seattle.

Corbin House

Mr. Corbin had married Louisa Jackson (in 1860) and they had three children. Even though D.C. had a large house on "The Hill" designed by Kirtland Cutter in 1898, Mrs. Corbin had poor health, and she disliked the country ways of Spokane Falls. She took her belongings and children, and went to England where she could live the proper life, so she thought.

D.C. Corbin re-married Anna Louise Larson, his housekeeper, after his wife died in France in 1900. On June 29, 1918, Daniel Chase Corbin died in Sacred Heart Hospital from a fall. Mr. Corbin's house was given to his second wife, Anna. Later on Anna made the second floor into a boarding house. Anna died in 1950. The City of Spokane now owns the house. It is an art center and city park.

copyright (c) 1998, All rights Discovery School.
Report completed 1998.
Revised September 22, 2002; November 29, 2003; 10/4/2009
Last Modified on July 27, 2011; April 2016