Newman Lake History
Early inhabitants of the area were Indians who roamed the lake and hillsides for berries and game. William Newman, after whom the lake was named, was from England. He sailed from Liverpool to New York City in 1858 and there he joined the US Army for 5 years and was sent out to the Washington Territory with the 9th US Infantry. William Newman was selected as one of a 25 man escort for the Boundary Commission where he first saw the lake.
Newman married Elizabeth Barnaby, one of the three daughters of Joseph Barnaby and Isabelle Boucher. Isabelle’s mother, was named Josephte Kanhopitsa who was of Colville Indian descent. Newman farmed an area bordering the lake and with his wife raised nine children. He died in 1887 at the age of 49. Just after 1880, the white man began homesteading in the area.
Newman Lake was named after William Newman who settled on the southern portion of the lake around 1860. Many explorers and traders from the Hudson’s Bay company constructed gardens at Newman Lake more than 145 years ago, just as they did on the west side of Liberty Lake.
In the 1880’s, pioneers caught trout in Liberty Lake and transplanted them to Newman. A federal government fish tank railroad car was parked at Moab, on the Northern Pacific main line. In 1887, residents carried carp to Newman Lake in buckets.
Excursion trains from Spokane use to run to Moab, where busses and stages took took passengers three miles to the lake. At one time on the lake there were four hotels, each one doing a brisk business. The earliest was W.J. Day’s place at the south end of the lake. E.J. Chingren bought the Gillett Park hotel in 1912 and subsequently sold it in 1933 after making some add-ons to the place. The Day place was still standing in the late 50’s as a farmhouse. But, today it is history. Chingren built an extension of the old road from Sutton bay to Gillett Park, and he built about 15 cabins. His hotel and cabins were sold to F.W. and Robert Kolbe in 1933. In the late 1950’s they were owned by the Evangelical United Brethren church, which built a chapel in the grove in the rear of the property.
On the east side of the lake in the 1920’s were the Newman Lake hotel and the 26-room Taylor hotel near the eastern extremity, which burned in 1934. A rancher named G.L. O’Neil, from the north end of the lake bought the location now called Honeymoon Bay for a down payment of $45. He later sold it for more than $35,000 to Ray Hathaway, who later developed and ran the spot, with its dance hall, restaurant, store and cottages for some 15 years. He later sold it to Ed Letzring who operated it in the 1950’s.
Sam Sutton was an early settler with his family on the lake. Sam had two sisters: Maude and Bessie. In 1907 he married Anna Thom. They homesteaded Sutton’s Bay on Newman Lake operating a boat from Day’s Landing to summer homes on the lake. He also worked in a sawmill and ran his own resort where he died of tuberculosis in 1941. The family had no children.
The Moab area was originally settled by Martin O’Brien who came to Spokane County in 1880. After he and Bridget
McAuliff were married in 1897 they leased the former William Newman property and moved to the former Newman
property. The Newman’s original homestead property was 160 acres covering the West 1/4th of Section 13, Township
26. The land was bordered on the west by Starr Road, on the South by Moffat Road and on the east by McCoy Road.
In 1900 Martin purchased property on both sides of Starr Road, just north of the intersection with Trent Road. In 1903,
he opened his general store where the gas station is now. His son Johnny, opened his gas station and garage on the
west side of Starr in 1922 in the present location of the Newman Lake Scope office.
Other settlers, Martin and Bridget McAuliffe, bought property on both sides of Starr Road in 1900 just north of Trent
and built their general store on the east side of Starr a few years later. Their son Johnny built a garage on the west
side of Starr in 1922 in the present location of the Newman Lake Scope office.
Public Access on Newman Lake
Do you know why we have one public access to the lake? Not counting the resorts or McKenzie Purchase. The public access belonged to Don and Mary Kay Wahlin: Circle KD Ranch, a private children’s summer camp. When they sold in the 60’s they considered, with many resorts closing, that perhaps Newman Lake would someday be completely private. For their own reasons, they wanted the lake to be available to everyone forever. Thus they deeded off that part of their sizable property to the county to make it happen. And now you know the rest of the story!
The Wall of unrequited love – by Craig Aldworth
Our family purchased the cabin on the west side of the peninsula point from Ms. Mary G. Bassett in 2000. At the time, Ms. Bassett was researching and writing a memoir of her Aunt, Grace Jones, who had first owned the cabin. The book, A Glimpse of Grace, published in 2001 by Ulyssian Publications, provides a wonderful history of our cabin, and the lives of its first owners.
Grace Jones was an artistically talented young woman who graduated from Spokane High School in 1908. After studying art at Whitman College she started giving china painting classes to wealthy women in Spokane. One of her “students” who became a close friend was Newman Lake homesteader Maude Sutton. During World War I, Grace studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Upon graduation she toured Europe in 1919 with a Spokane matron. When she returned home, Maude Sutton invited her to ride horses on the peninsula.
Grace found, to her surprise, a new cabin that Maude gave her as a gift. The cabin was built by one of Grace’s high school friends,Clarence Heineman. Clarence was a short man with black hair and eyes. When he first met Grace he was a freshman in High School and she was a beautiful senior graduating at the top of her class. He offered to work without pay in her china painting business until she could afford to pay him. Needing someone to do the heavy lifting and odd jobs she accepted. She was kind, but kept only a business relationship.
After returning from Europe, Grace opened an interior decorating business with Clarence as her man Friday in Spokane. Her wealthy friends appreciated her design knowledge and talent. She would select the wallpaper and accessories and Clarence would do the installations. They decorated numerous mansions in Spokane including the Campbell House, now preserved as part of the Museum of Art and Culture.
When Grace was not using the lake cabin, Clarence would come out and work on it. Over the years he built the eight foot high rock wall that supports the lakeside veranda. Each stone was gathered from the lake shore. Some were brought across the lake in a small rowboat. All were hauled up the hill and mortared into place by Clarence, working alone, on his time off.
To continue the story I quote directly from Ms. Basset’s book, “A Glimpse of Grace”: As Clarence became less robust in his 70s, bent almost double from increasing back pain, he spent weeks alone at the lake. Grace would visit in the daytime, declining to stay overnight at the cabin. It was, after all, not proper.
One morning, Clarence, who had use of Grace’s car when he drove to his home in the city from work at night, was late arriving at the studio. Two hours later, a
concerned Grace took a taxi to Clarence’s home. There was no answer to her knock at the front door. Then she heard cries for help. She went to the side window of a house that she never in her life had entered. She saw Clarence lying crumpled on the sofa. “My legs! I can’t move.” Clarence pointed. Grace called an ambulance. There was a double break in one of Clarence’s legs and a single break in the other. Doctors ordered a blood transfusion for Clarence. Yet his
condition did not improve. One night, Grace visited him longer than usual, staying until 8 p.m. As she was leaving, Clarence called her back to his bedside. He lifted his right arm, placed his hand on the back of her tiny head, and pulled her toward him. Then, for the first and last time in his life, he kissed her on the lips.
“You’ll be all right,” she said, patting his cheek. She left immediately. Three hours later, Clarence, at age 83, was dead.
“Why wasn’t I kinder? “Grace asked when she told me this story. “You know, in all our lifetimes, I never touched Clarence until that night.” She had made, for her, a stunning discovery at Clarence’s home. There were photographs of her on his desk, on his dresser, and on the walls. There were photos of the two of them together at work, on trips, at social functions. “Why didn’t I understand? Why wasn’t I kinder?” Grace asked again. I don’t know where Clarence Heineman is buried, but his wall surely is a fitting memorial.