Serving Whitman County since 1877

Colfax history - railroad arrives

Editor’s NOTE: This is the second in a six-part series on the history of Colfax leading up to a July 23-24 celebration.

COLFAX — On Nov. 10, 1883, the first Columbia and Palouse Railroad train arrived in Colfax. By 1916, three rail lines (the Northern Pacific, Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company, and Union Pacific) served Colfax.

As quoted in a book by Thomas Hillenbrant, Palouse Rails Granger Railroads of the Inland Northwest:.

“The Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. (OR&N) took its first steps into the Palouse when surveyors arrived at Texas Ferry in August 1879.”

There was line laid northward, which followed Alkali Flat Creek up a hollow reaching the Palouse Plateau rim. Hillebrant writes that “...


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