Thanks to a Washington Rural Heritage grant from the Washington State Library, the Libraries of Stevens County recently completed work to digitize a collection celebrating the history of Kettle Falls. The Kettle Falls Heritage Collection is the latest addition to the growing digitized historical collection the library has been digitizing from around Stevens County. The collection can be viewed online at www.washingtonruralheritage.com.
Over the past half-century, the Kettle Falls Public Library collected and provided access to historic photos of the area. Most of these photographs were kept in folders and boxes. In an effort to make this collection more accessible and to preserve it for future generations, the Library used the grant funds to contract with a local historian and digitization expert, Sue Richart, to digitize this unique collection of historic materials. Among the hundreds of pictures are photos that document the historic move of the City of Kettle Falls in advance of the flooding caused by the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. In addition to the City of Kettle Falls’ photos, other surrounding communities have been incorporated. Highlights include pictures of the original site of Kettle Falls, which is now submerged under Lake Roosevelt, and photographs of historic buildings and early residents.
The Libraries of Stevens County has joined more than 65 cultural institutions throughout the state that have digitized material with assistance from the Washington Rural Heritage initiative. These collections include historic photos, texts, artifacts, and audiovisual materials that were not as widely accessible. Their owners house physical collections locally, while digital collections are hosted by the Washington State Library. So far, Washington Rural Heritage has published 35 collections including more than 10,000 unique items that document local history from every corner of the state. One of the more unique projects in the state was last year’s partnership between the Colville National Forest and the Libraries of Stevens County to digitize hundreds of photographs, maps and documents from the area, including land records and old stock routes.
This latest Kettle Falls collection was made possible by grant of $4,259 via the Washington State Library that was funded by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) through the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
In addition to the digital display at the Kettle Falls Public Library, a small selection of original photos can still be viewed at the Kettle Falls Chamber of Commerce and Information Center located at 425 W 3rd Ave, Kettle Falls, WA 99141.
-Submitted by Libraries of Stevens County