Before that time the St Paul had been a great local railway, operating primarily in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois; but by the construction of a long arm from the Missouri river to Spokane, Seattle and Tacoma, it became a transcontinental line of the first importance, avoiding the mistakes of earlier railway builders by securing a line with easy gradients through the most favourable regions.
The guarantee for this activity may be illustrated by a single fact: the combined building operations, in 1908, of San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Spokane and Salt Lake City exceeded the combined building operations of Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Kansas City, Boston, Baltimore and Cincinnati during the same year.
It is served by the Northern Pacific, the Great Northern, the Oregon & Washington, and the Spokane, Portland & Seattle railways, and by steamship lines, being accessible to sea-going vessels; a ferry connects with the Portland Electric railway.
East of the Cascade Mountains the Columbia and Spokane rivers mark the boundary between the Okanogan Highlands to the northward and the Columbia plateau to the southward; The Okanogan Highlands, an outlier of the Rocky Mountains extending westward from the Coeur d'Alene Mountains in Idaho, reach heights of 5000 to 6000 ft.
Of the 119th parallel), the Spokane (in the east central part) and the Pend Oreille (on the N.
The Northern Pacific and the Great Northern enter the state near the middle of its eastern boundary at Spokane, which is a centre for practically all the railway lines in the eastern part of the state.
The Great Northern, running west from Spokane, crosses the state in nearly a straight line, and between this road and the Northern Pacific, and parallelingthe Great Northern, runs the recently constructed Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound, the westward extension of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul.
Entering the south-east corner of the state, the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company extends a line northwards to Spokane, and a branch of the Great Northern, leaving the main line at this city, runs north-westward into British Columbia.
The Spokane, Portland & Seattle railway connects the three cities named by way of the Columbia Valley; and the Spokane & Inland Empire sends a line eastward into Idaho to the Coeur d'Alene country and another through the south-eastern part of the state into Nevada.
Township organization is in force only when adopted by a particular county at a county election; in 1910 only one county (Spokane) had the township organization.
Whitman College (Congregational, 1866) at Walla Walla, Gonzaga College (Roman Catholic, 1887) at Spokane, Whitworth College (Presbyterian, 1890) at Tacoma and the University of Puget Sound (Methodist Episcopal, 1903) at Tacoma are institutions of higher learning maintained and controlled by their respective denominations.
The Snake river (which receives all the drainage of Idaho except small amounts taken by the Spokane, the Pend Oreille and the Kootenai in the N., all emptying directly into the Columbia, and by some minor streams of the S.E.
Wide, drained by the Spokane river; Priest Lake, in Bonner county, 20 m.
M.), in the N.W., by the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane tribes.
In the value of manufactured product the city was fourth in the state in 1905 (being passed only by Tacoma, Seattle and Spokane), with a value of $3,293,988; according to a census taken by the local chamber of commerce the value of the product in 1906 was $7,751,464.
In 1811 the Pacific Fur Company, a kind of western division of the American Fur Company, founded a trading post at the mouth of the Columbia which they called Astoria, and set up a number of minor posts on the Willamette, Spokane and Okanogan rivers.