Lewiston, Idaho: 3:30 PM
Lewiston, Idaho is one of my favorite places for many reasons including climate (particularly in the winter), the amazing topography and the proximity to the Clearwater and Snake rivers and Nez Perce country.
I also particularly like the tree-lined, shady streets of the older part of town in preference to the much newer suburban-like developments anchored by the big box stores seen almost everywhere across America.
Also, there is much to do in the area including history, culture, museums and scenery. I enjoy learning more about the history and people of the Nez Perce Tribe, the Nez Perce War, Gold Mining, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I also enjoy exploring Hell’s Canyon and visiting the campus of the Lewis-Clark State College and the visitor center at Hells Gate State Park.
Unfortunately on this trip, we were running late, the afternoon sun was far too close to the horizon and we had another three-hour drive ahead of us.
Visitor Center, Nez Perce National Historical Park, Spalding Site: 2:21 PM
Our first stop in the Lewiston area was to visit a spot along the Clearwater River just a few miles east of the city off US Highway 12 to begin our tour of the Nez Perce and Hells Canyon country. The spot is the location of what is now known as the Spalding Site, one of 38 sites that make up the Nez Perce National Park, which was established in May 1965.
Though the park is managed by the National Park Service, the Nez Perce Tribe is one of the key partners in governing the park. Tribal members work at the park and the Tribe is consulted whenever a major park project is undertaken.
The Spalding Site, located just minutes east of downtown Lewiston, Idaho along US Highway 95 (See Google map) and the Clearwater River, is named after Henry and Eliza Spalding who founded a mission in this area to the Nez Perce in the late 1830’s.
The center piece of the site is the Visitor Center where one can learn the story of the Nez Perce people through visiting with National Park Service staff, videos, books and the excellent museum containing thousands of artifacts including a number that once belonged to Chief Joseph (March 3, 1840 to September 21, 1904), chief of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce.
For more information on the Nez Perce and the Nez Perce National Historical Park, visit the park’s web site.
Next Stop: Lewiston, Idaho