The days of the Westward movement, potbellied stoves, and slate boards, are long gone. Yet, their memories live on, along with the rest of Stevens County's rich history, at the Keller Heritage Center in Colville. Located at 700 N. Wynne, the center is the home of the Stevens County Historical Society Museum. The Keller House, a machinery museum, Colville's first schoolhouse, a home-stead cabin, and a Forest Service fire lookout are among the many buildings on display on over seven acres of a pristine park-like setting.
The museum houses a very extensive collection of native American artifacts of tribes from all parts of the nation as well as all local tribes. The rest of the building is filled with remnants of days gone by and contains several well-organized displays of life as it was in the younger years of Stevens County.
An extensive gun display is exhibited in one area of the museum. There are also numerous display cases depicting the progress of the local lumber and fur trading industries, schools, missions, agriculture and pioneer life.
Also included in various displays are discussions of local history, dating from the 1811 visit of David Thompson to the area through the era of both Fort Colville and Pinkney City to the present day.
Indians and the Hudson Bay Co. also played a large role in the county's early history, and they are included, along with several prominent pioneers and "founding fathers," in exhibits throughout the museum.
A display of an early-day general store is one of the highlights of the museum. Here one can see the large variety of items once sold in just one store. Many of the items are marked with the enviously low prices of the time, including a domestic sewing machine for $11.90, 68 cent waffle irons, beef roast for 18 cents a pound, and Western Style Ladies sidesaddles for $12.45.
The Picture Gallery has a fine photo display, including many old photos of buildings, towns, families, and agriculture, mining, and lumbering areas.
The museum was opened in June of 1976 by members of the Stevens County Historical Society, who still run it today.
A new addition to the geological exhibit is a display of 25 samples of ash from different areas around the state, gathered after Mt. St. Helens' eruption in 1980. Also exhibited are artifacts dating back several thousand years up to the 1800's when the white man came to the area.
Adjacent to the museum is one of Stevens county's early one-room schoolhouses, completely equipped as it was when operating.