Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Argonne Road Spokane Valley


Argonne Road in Spokane Valley
Named for The Argonne Offensive WWI

Have you ever driven by a street sign and wondered how the name on the sign came to be the name of the street?  I have occasionally but not often--unless the name was unique or funny.  One of the main streets running north and south through the Valley is Argonne Road.  Recently I was given a Spokesman Review article about Argonne Road history and how the name was chosen.

Argonne Road (originally Street) has been around for a long time—before roads really existed—it was really a small trail connecting Millwood and the Dishman-Mica Road.  Residents travelled to get wood south to Dishman and for ice, east to Shelley Lake.  

The trail eventually became Woodard Road named after Joseph Woodard an early homesteader who owned much of land on the south side of the river that is now Millwood.  On the north side of the river was Foults Road also named for early settlers who owned much of the land on the north side of the river.  Both roads are parallel to the river, and no bridge connected the two roads to make travel easier.

Prior to 1903, the area population had grown, and the Coeur d’ Alene-Spokane Electric Railway had been developed.  A new stop was constructed at Woodard Station, a small town (now Millwood), an Woodard Station gave the right-of-way for the Electric Railway.

Around this time, a bridge was built across the Spokane River that finally connected Woodard Road and Foults Road.  The new bridge helped people and goods get to the train and travel easier around the area.  The bridge was demolished about 15 years later when cars replaced most other types of transportation, and the bridge was determined to be unfit for cars.

Two bridges were built two years after the end of WWI—the Argonne Bridge and the Marne Bridge.  Both bridges were named for the Argonne offensive that along with the Argonne Forest were four other sites that needed to be captured and cause surrender of the Germans.  The Argonne offensive took place from September 26, 1918, and November 11, 1918.  The Argonne offensive was one of the attacks that brought an end to WWI and Armistice was signed.  1,000,000 American soldiers participated, and it was also the deadliest campaign in American history.

The two bridges were dedicated on Armistice Day, November 11, 1920, and Woodard and Foults Roads were renamed.   The new name:  Argonne Road.

In 1927, Woodard Station was officially incorporated as Millwood, the first town in Spokane Valley to become an official city.  The name Millwood recognized the area’s largest employer, the Inland Empire Paper Company and its paper plant.

Source:  Sonji Ruttan, Spokesman Review article, July 30, 2018, "Getting There"

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