We’re pleased to report that our Palouse Colony Farm was placed on the Washington State Historic Preservation Office Register for the original barn and outbuildings and the property’s role in Pacific Northwest history as an important “clearing house” for German immigrants from Russia arriving in to region from 1880s to the 1910s. State Preservation Officer Mike Houser made the presentation at the October, 2016 meeting of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
The barn (c. 1895) is the oldest building at the farm, which also includes the house and blacksmith shop, which was established by a German immigrant families from Russia’s Volga River region who arrived in the Washington’s Endicott-St. John area in 1882 and established the colony in 1889. The location became a thriving settlement that provisioned families coming from the Old Country to settle in the region, and according to historian Richard Sallet, some 100,000 first- and second-generation Germans from Russia followed to live in Pacific Northwest by 1920. Colony founder parents described the Palouse as a “Land of Milk and Honey” to their children who tended the colony’s dairy herd and raided bee hives along the river. The newcomers used farming methods of medieval origin—long, narrow Langstreifen fields (akin to English furlongs) in three-crop rotations (Dreifelderwirtschaft), a shared “commons” (Almenden) for grazing and gardens, and harvests with sickle and scythe.