(BRANDON HANSEN/Brandon is the managing editor of the Chewelah Independent. He is a graduate of Eastern Washington University and lives in Chewelah. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London has Big Ben, Seattle has the Space Needle and Spokane has that big tent thingy. Scaling things down quite a bit, what things define Chewelah as a town? Are there things you see and instantly recognize it as being from Chewelah?
If we were to have Chewelah coins instead of Chewelah Chamber Bucks, what would be minted on their face?
Some say it’s a landmark like Quartzite Mountain which looms over the city like some friendly rock ogre from “The Neverending Story.”
Patrick Sawyer said what is iconic is “the sun setting on Quartzite, lighting it up in hues of purple, orange and gold.”
I would have to partly agree with Quartzite being iconic, because it seems like 90 percent of photos I take outside have Quartzite in the background. Quartzite has photo-bombed more photos in Chewelah than uncles at weddings who have had too much to drink.
Other landmarks would include Browns Lake, the summit of Flowery Trail, Chewelah Creek and the valley view in whole (which is named Colville Valley, not Chewelah Valley).
Roxanne Joan Beckwith Coatney said it’s “the way the valley opens up before you as you come down the hill with the town at the end of the valley. It’s like someone saying ‘Welcome back home!’”
Some people like to point to buildings and our beautiful city park. The park is to be commended for being much more scenic than the usual park. Growing up in Chewelah, I was so spoiled; we would go to other cities parks and I would immediately ask where the creek was.
“No creek here!”
“Well then I give up, lets go back to Chewelah.”
Iconic buildings include the copper steeple of St. Mary’s of the Rosary, which also serves as a keep point in Chewelah’s skyline. The bell in the steeple also informs me when I’m late to church – which is basically every Sunday.
Some feel Valley Drug is iconic as it used to have nickle coffee, penny candy, milkshakes and a soda fountain.
The beehive, which served as a kiln in its early days, continues to be a roadside attraction and oddity for people. I’m still spreading the rumor that it’s an ancient aliens structure.
Others feel the one stoplight in town is the iconic point of Chewelah. Apparently getting stopped for a minute or two on Highway 395 defines our little town. Or perhaps it’s the guy standing at the crosswalk hitting the walk button over and over hoping for the light to change.
Mandy Faye Michael has a different take on the intersection. “The stoplight looking east is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW I’ve ever laid my eyes on! Anytime of the year.”
The grain silo… however crooked… also towers above Chewelah, so much so there are a few businesses that have put their repeater equipment on it for internet and other means.
The Troy Bouman-Paul Coffey Little League Field is also iconic, and I can vouch for this. Many a Chewelah youth can remember playing there, and it might be the only baseball field in American with a museum serving as the third base foul line.
How can we forget 49 Degrees North and the golf course. Both have economic importance to our town and keep attracting people to the area.
Jeff Newman says KCHW 102.7 FM is iconic in Chewelah, but it’s probably because he works there.
Stacy Fredrickson says its the Flags over Chewelah and the hanging flower baskets down Main Ave. – which it must be noted are two things maintained by volunteers.
Sue Lind says it’s the people and the volunteers. Many others says its the friendly nature of most living in town.
Chris Fisk also probably says it best “No matter what you do… everyone already knows.”
(By the way, have you heard…)
Sarah Frame English says Light Up the Park Chewelah, while Kim Goot says Ken Fantasia.
So you can see, the list is long and varied – which is a great thing. Too many towns in America these days are just a line of fast food joints off a freeway underpass. Here in Chewelah, however, we’ve got weird people, we’ve got friendly people, we have quirky old buildings, scenery to die for, a creek through town, a few Bigfoot sightings, a god-fearing tow truck service, countless “grandma’s home” with fresh baked cookies that come as a feature, the half-a-dozen or more families that have like 50 members, Chataqua, haying season and let’s not forget the rusty pickup with a dented grill from a deer.
It’s home, and could we ask for anything better?