From "History of the City of Spokane and Spokane County, Washington."
With the new year, 1887, the country was stirred by rumors of railroad extensions from the main line of the Northern Pacific. One of the first projects surveyed this year was the Sprague & Big Bend railroad, from Sprague to "Wild Goose Bill's ranch" at Wilbur, with a proposed branch line to serve the Mondovi, Fairview and Davenport sections. This enterprise failed to materialize, but it stirred the Northern Pacific to action, and that company sent engineers into Lincoln county and ran surveys for a branch line from Cheney west. A. M. Cannon, Paul Mohr and others were active, too, with their projected Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern project, to cross the state from Puget Sound to Spokane. Spokane citizens subscribed $175,000 to this ambitious undertaking, and in the spring of 1888 a contract was let for the construction of the first sixty miles west from Spokane. This road was actually built from Spokane to a point near Davenport, but the company subsequently lost its entity, its completed road was picked up by the Northern Pacific, and a few years later the steel was taken up and only an abandoned grade remained as a memorial to disappointed hopes.
Meanwhile the Northern Pacific went forward with vigorous construction of its Central Washington branch, and by February, 1889, had laid steel into Davenport. The line was extended this year to Almira, and in 1890 to Coulee City in the Grand coulee, and was graded eight miles beyond, in an ambitious effort to climb out of the coulee and continue on "to an eligible point on the Columbia, near the mouth of the Wenatchee river." Surveys were also made northwesterly towards the Okanogan country. After the lapse of nearly a quarter of a century the Central Washington still has its terminus at Coulee City.