The town of Colfax was established In 1870 by James Perkins and Thomas Smith, who decided to build in a forested valley at the confluence of two branches of the Palouse River. It was the first community in the Palouse region of southeastern Washington. The town is named in honor of Schuyler Colfax, Vice-President to President U.S. Grant (1869-73).
Smith soon left Colfax, but Perkins stayed on. Shortly after his arrival Perkins built a log cabin which survives and today is the oldest building in Whitman County. He also built the first sawmill in the area supplying lumber for settlers on the Palouse, a region of hilly farmland which is relatively treeless. Perkins sold his interest in the sawmill and became a bank owner and one of the leading citizen of the new town.
In the 1880s Perkins and his wife Jenny built an lovely Victorian home on the same property where the log cabin was located. The new home was completed in 1887 and became the center of Colfax society for many years.
In 1920 James Perkins died. His son Sumner with family moved in and lived with their mother until she died in 1935. Sumner passed away in 1959 and his wife lived in the house until the late 1960s. The Perkins House and the log cabin were purchased and today are maintained by the Whitman County Historical Society (WCHS).
The aging house was extensively restored by the WCHS, had it's electrical system upgraded, roof rebuilt, etc. Today it is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am - 2 pm (it was closed when we visited on a Monday). It's also available for weddings, parties, meetings and other events.
The photo below was used as last weekend's one Clue Mystery photo. It was recognized, as usual, by talented detective George G.