Perhaps the most famous person to visit Tekoa, President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt (after whom the Teddy Bear was named) visited Tekoa by rail on May 26th, during the presidential campaign of 1903. Powerfully built, you can't miss him (he's standing and staring back at the camera, at the right of the platform). Oh, by the way, he was re elected, most likely because of the support of the fine citizens of Tekoa!
Tekoa's First Automobile
TEKOA'S FIRST HORSELESS CARRIAGE
Anton Futter is the proud owner standing next to the first automobile to prowl the streets of Tekoa. Note it has no windshield (since wagons had none, why should an automobile have one?) and sports a retractable canvas top, thereby making it Tekoa's first convertible, too. Also note the leather button tucked seat and spoked wheels.
Maple St. Service Station
THE MAPLE STREET GAS STATION
Taken from a different angle, note the early Chevron corporation logo on the sign to the left and the vintage gas pumps in the center. A sign advertising spark plugs is to the left, and a sign advertising Standard Oil Products hangs proudly by the door.
Crosby Street circa 1946
Currently the main thoroughfare through Tekoa, as part of Highway 27. Note the Cohn Motor Company on the right side of the street, and the east slope of Tekoa Mountain in the background. The Chevron gas station to the left now houses the Tekoa Community Ambulance company. The photo was taken in 1946, facing north.
The Hotel Tekoa
THE HOTEL TEKOA
One of the largest buildings ever built in Tekoa, it was located east of the old Union Pacific Train Depot. This made it a very convenient place to stay for train travelers. Sadly, it was demolished a few years back.
Cohn Moter Co.
THE COHN MOTOR COMPANY
Featuring the sale of Shell petroleum products and U.S. Tires, it specialized in Pontiac & GMC automobile sales and service as well. If you need a wrecker (tow truck), just phone 47. Perhaps the man in the bottom center with the bow tie would come to your aid. This building still stands.
Railroad History and Vintage Photographs
In 1883, The Northern Pacific Railway started the first railroad in Whitman County. Partly because of that, rumors began to fly in Tekoa that there would be a railroad built through the Tekoa area. Sparked into action because of this, in 1884, John McDonald, an early homesteader to the area, began to purchase the right of way for a railroad. He was assisted by his partner, Stephen J. Chadwick, and their hopes were such that they could cash in on the bounty that the railroad would inevitably bring. The growing community soon understood that it would become a junction for the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company, which created even more hopes for a prosperous future. Soon the railroad surveyors came to town with the railroad workmen, as they had done before in so many other new Western towns. Their tents were pitched along Hangman Creek, as there was not enough housing within the small town for them. Later, the Union Pacific completed a branch into Tekoa in 1888, coming north from Farmington. This railroad was called the Washington and Idaho Railroad, and extended north through Rockford and on into Spokane, connecting Tekoa by rail with the rest of the World. The W. & I. railroad built a roundhouse in Tekoa at it's peak of rail activity, but a few decades later, with the advent of the diesel locomotives replacing their steam counterparts, the roundhouse was taken down. A special railroad event to note occured on May 26, 1903. Whitman County's reception for President Theodore Roosevelt and his election entourage was held in Tekoa, (See Photo) coming in by rail. Special trains were run into Tekoa for the occasion, and President Roosevelt spoke from a platform erected at the depot. Other noted railroad events: in 1933, a combination gas-electric motor coach was brought into Tekoa to replace the steam locomotive running the Tekoa to Wallace, Idaho route. During both World Wars, troop trains were routed through Tekoa, and given a warm reception upon arrival. But people weren't the only passengers to embark on a journey of the rails from Tekoa. Sheep herders from central Washington would drive their sheep into town to be sent by train to Idaho and Montana to graze during the summer, and they would return in the fall. It's quite possible the sheep were more well traveled than their own shepherds!
Building the Milwaukee Trestle
BUILDING THE MILWAUKEE RAILROAD TRESTLE
This very large black trestle is still standing, and is a local landmark. You can see it in the panoramic photo on our home page. When the railroad pulled it's tracks out of Tekoa, it was planning to dismantle the trestle, but residents protested and it stayed. Travelers heading south on Highway 27, before they enter the town, must still pass under it. This photo was taken in 1908.
The roundhouse and surrounding tracks
A roundhouse was a building used to store steam engines until they were needed for service. In order to get the trains from the Roundhouse onto the main track, a steam powered turntable was moved to the compartment of the engine which needed service. Once on, the turntable was rotated to the main track and the engine was on it's way. This photo was taken in 1921.
Steam engine crossing the trestle
A RAIL SCENE
Note the steam engine and cars crossing the trestle. In the center, a snow throwing engine awaits winter service alongside the old water tower. To the right, an old glass lens signal sits atop a pole. Many of the old railroad beds and bridges are still in existence, and coal from the steam engines and their tenders can still be found along them.
The Union Pacific Train Depot
TEKOA TRAIN DEPOT
Built by the Union Pacific Railroad to service their lines through town, this photo was shot facing north. The northwest corner of the Hotel Tekoa can be seen at the right of the photo.
Sweet Shop & Union Pacific stage depot
THE SWEET SHOP
This was the Union Pacific Stage Depot, an overland extension of their railways. Nowadays it would be called a bus station. Here you could have a fountain lunch, get candy or ice cream or magazines. After all those sweets, you would probably need to visit Dr. C. W. Hamshaw, the Dentist upstairs. This building still stands..
A steam engine and crew
CREW OF A STEAM ENGINE
The crew of this "iron horse" stand proudly by it. Dressed in their overalls, one stands upon the cowcatcher, marking this as an early steam engine. Note the tall smoke stack and very large headlight (probably a carbide or oil type) and also the oil lanterns on either side of the front of the boiler. The Milwaukee Trestle (still standing) is in the background.
Steam engine stuck in the snow
A STEAM ENGINE STUCK IN THE SNOW
During the growing season, precipitation is welcomed with open arms. But when it comes with a vengeance in the dead of winter, it can really slow things down in the Palouse. This photo, taken at the height of the Great Depression in 1937, shows one steam engine trying to pull another that is stuck in the snow.