Northport Washington, slowly fading town
Directions: From Kettle Falls Washington, head north on US-395 N/WA-20 for 32.4 miles. Most of the older buildings are off the main street. Take a left on 3rd street. That turns into Columbia and parallels the river.
Description: Northport was first settled in 1876. It was named for the fact that it was the United States’s most northern port on the Columbia River. It’s boom started in 1892 started by a sawmill, a ferry service and the ‘Northport News.’ The Spokane Falls & Northern Railroad reached town the next year. It soon became an important smelter site, smelting ore shipped in from British Columbia.
It’s decline started in the 1920s. First the Northport Smelting and Refining Company closed the Northport smelter after World War I. It was completely dismantled in 1922. This was in tandem with a drought that allowed forest fires to burn across the area and closing all the lumber mills. Lastly, the smelter in Trail, British Columbia was discharging sulfur dioxide. This sickened livestocks and crops.