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About This Collection

Medical Lake Heritage is a project of Washington Rural Heritage, a collection of historically significant materials residing in libraries, heritage institutions, and private collections throughout Washington State. The collection includes photographs, documents, and artifacts which tell the stories of Washington's small and rural communities.

Digitizing historical objects with large format camera.Large format digitization, Medical Lake Library, 2015.
Click here to see historic men's wool bathing suit.
Beginning in 2014, the Medical Lake Library of Spokane County Library District and the Medical Lake Historical Society undertook a collaborative effort to digitize documents, photos, and cultural objects that tell the story of this unique community's development.

Medical Lake, Washington enjoyed a brief but noteworthy history as a destination health resort in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The high mineral content of the lake was lauded for its curative properties. A bustling enterprise developed around the purported medicinal value of the lake. Visitors took advantage of several hotels, a lakeside resort, and a sanitarium that pumped lake water directly into its baths. In addition, the lakes' minerals were extracted and subsequently sold throughout the United States in the form of salts, tablets, soap, an ointment, and even a porous plaster. The water was also bottled for export. While the lake's heyday was relatively brief, it helped firmly establish the town, and its legacy and historical interest endures.

If you have corrections or additional details regarding records in the collection, please use the digital collection's public comments feature, or contact the Medical Lake Library directly to update the information. Phone: (509) 893-8330.

Learn more about the history of Medical Lake at HistoryLink: Medical Lake: The Inland Empire's First Spa.

Highlights from the collection include:

  • The Story of Medical Lake, a souvenir edition of the Cheney Free Press celebrating 100 years of Medical Lake history.
  • Early newspapers from Medical Lake, including the Medical Lake Ledger and Medical Lake Enterprise.
  • Objects and artifacts from the Medical Lake Historical Society, including mineral salts and extracts.

Rights & Use

Some of the items in the Medical Lake Heritage Collection are under protection of copyright. Please contact the Medical Lake branch of Spokane County Library District to inquire about necessary permissions regarding the use of items in this collection.

By the use of these digital images and texts, users agree to the following:

  • Materials may not be used for any commercial purpose without prior written permission from the copyright holder and/or owning institution. The Washington State Library does not have authority to grant such permission; please contact the holding institution.
  • Materials may be used for purposes of research, teaching, and private study. You must contact the holding institution and/or copyright owner for permission related to other uses.
  • Credit must be given to the contributing institutions (e.g., 'Photo courtesy of the Medical Lake Historical Society in partnership with the Spokane County Library District.').
  • Materials may not be re-published in print or electronic form without prior written permission from the holding institution and/or copyright owner.
  • Materials may not be mounted on an additional server for public use, or for use by a set of subscribers without written permission from the holding institution and/or copyright owner.

View the Washington Rural Heritage Rights & Use Statement for additional information.

Washington Rural Heritage home

Contributing Institutions


Spokane County Library District

Contact and Connect to SCLD

Medical Lake Library

Medical Lake Library

(509) 893-8330

321 E. Herb ST

P.O. Box 249

Medical Lake, WA 99022

Additional Resources

Spokane Historical

Spokane Historical

Spokane Historical is a web and mobile platform for telling stories of Spokane and Eastern Washington.

This project is supported with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

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