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Millwood Town History

Millwood circa 1934
Millwood circa 1934

Early Residents

For centuries, the Upper Spokanes wintered next to the Spokane River at present day Millwood. They built sweat lodges and dried the salmon they caught in the swift flowing river. 

Development and Industrialization

In the decade between 1900 and 1910, the population of the rapidly developing city of Spokane, Washington more than doubled.   It was probably inevitable that the broad, fertile Spokane River Valley located east of the city would also attract serious developers.

When a newly-formed Coeur d’ Alene-Spokane Railroad Co. was planning an electric rail line in 1903,  early settlers Seth Woodard and his father, Joseph Woodard enticed the company with the promise of free right-of-way through their land.  In gratitude, the railroad company located Woodard Station on the edge of Seth Woodard’s land. 

A north-south road was established through Woodard Station in 1908.  The following year, a new bridge across the Spokane River connected Woodard Station to the vast agricultural regions to the north.

The transportation and river attracted industry.   In 1909, W. A. Brazeau convinced Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Co. of Appleton, Wisconsin to invest in building a paper mill at Woodard Station.  The new mill began producing paper in September, 1911.

Millwood circa 1914
Millwood Lumber Co and IEP Mill circa 1912-1914

A Town Gets Its Start

The mill’s management wanted a town name that would promote the mill.  Millwood was chosen as a name that would represent both the Mill and the Woodards. 

Businesses soon located in the fledgling “company town.”  They sought to serve both local residents and farmers as well as mill employees.  By 1911, Millwood had a lumber yard, restaurant, barber shop, general store and the Wiley hotel.  1912 brought the Millwood hotel and the first Byram building. 

Mill workers and their families flooded in from the Midwest.  Very little suitable housing existed in the area.  In 1923, the Paper Mill management established a revolving home loan fund to help their employees build their own quality homes. The company offered lots for sale and provided books of house plans for reference.

In 1928, the Town of Millwood became the first incorporated Town in the Spokane Valley.

Millwood, Washington

Millwood’s original platted town site showcases homes and commercial buildings of the 1920’s and 1930’s era.  This core neighborhood was listed on the National Historic Register as “Millwood Historic District” in 2001.

Grandview Acres (east of the mill) represents the early 1900’s dream of owning a larger plot of land within easy commuting distance to shopping and job - a healthy place to raise both children and food.

The increased demand for housing following WWII spurred the annexation and platting of several tracts of land in1946.  These Millwood neighborhoods display an interesting variety of well-kept post WWII ranch style homes.

In 2007, Millwood has grown to a population nearing 1700.  Inland Empire Paper Company continues to produce paper in the center of town.  Town residents, like their predecessors, cherish the independence and character of their small town.  They are also beginning to recognize the importance of their town’s unique history and picturesque historic neighborhoods.

Millwood Historical Society

In April, 2007, a group of enthusiastic residents formed the “Millwood Historical Society”.  The Society’s members have begun to document and preserve the town’s past. They are also working to revitalize and beautify its present.

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