1912 two important events came together that put Ford on the map. The
Long Lake Dam was being built on the Spokane River, six miles from Ford,
and a railroad was being built to haul equipment to build the dam. The
dam, built by Washington Water Company, was to be the highest spillway
dam in the world. The little town of Curby, which had the only Post
Office in that part of Stevens County, was located in the path of the
rising waters. The town moved to a new location, but did not prosper.
Curby was abandoned by 1914. By 1912 Ford had established the next Post
Office. Mrs. William Morgan was the first postmistress and they proposed
to name the new town ‘Clay Hill’, but the Postal Department rejected
the name and so the name ‘Ford’ was chosen because of its proximity
to where the road crossed Tshimakain Creek.
town grew and filled with characters. As well as the butcher shops,
grocery stores, blacksmith shops and local school, there were also dance
halls and a pool hall. Fred Blizzard owned one of the blacksmith’s
shops. "He was a man who had followed his trade half way across the
continent in railroad and logging camps and was without a doubt the most
interesting character that ever lived in Ford. He loved to tell the
strangers wild tales that he swore were true, and often scared the life
nearly out of some that did not know him by taking after them with a red
hot horseshoe, or other items with such fervor that the victim was fully
convinced that he was going to be branded in one way or another with the
red hot metal."
newly built dam did not supply electricity to Ford, even thought the
main line ran within a 100 yards from the town, because the power
company charged unreasonable rates for small users. The town water was
drawn from wells, but since there was not an abundant supply, or enough
pressure, the town had no quick protection against fire. In 1917 the
store and pool hall owned by the Hayes brothers and many other small
buildings were destroyed in a blaze. In 1919 the town burned again. Ford
was never re-built to its original size.
Post Office changed hands many times and was slowly updated. It was only
profitable in conjunction with the store. In the 1940’s the owner made
a special trip on Sunday to get the Spokesman Review in hopes of
bringing in Sunday customers.
more recent years Ford became home to the Dawn Mining Mill and Uranium
City. Another disastrous fire in the late 1950’s showed that Ford
citizens do not give up easily. A council gathered and talked about how
to make their town prosper and survive. To this day you can still visit
Ford and see an example of how a small pioneer town can weather many