Curlew, Washington

The small community of Curlew, Washington is located on the Kettle River and State Route 21, between Danville and Malo, Washington. The community’s current history begins in 1896, with the establishment of a general store that serviced miners, railroads men, traders, and native Americans. By 1898, the town of 200 had grown large enough to warrant a post office. In 1901, the cable ferry used to cross the Kettle River was replaced by a sturdy one-lane bridge, which is still in use. In 2010 the town and surrounding environs (zip-code 99118) was estimated at 1056.

Today, the community is best known for its Old Swimming Hole, where generations of children have enjoyed a swim in the Kettle River; and the Barrel Derby Days festival, which includes a reenactment of whiskey barrels being run from the Canadian border to Curlew (where prohibition moonshiners used to pull the barrels from the river). The small town also hosts a gem of a museum, the historically preserved Ansorge Hotel, built in 1903 and used until the mid-nineteen hundreds, when it and all its furnishings were donated to Kettle River Historical Club. Once considered a ghost town, Curlew is now an unincorporated community in Ferry County, WA.

Of note are its motel (i.e., Wolfgang’s Riverview Inn), grocery store, country store, two restaurants (i.e., The Riverside and Tugboats), and post office (99118). Curlew doesn’t have a gas station, so you’ll need to travel to Republic to fuel up your car. The Curlew Bridge, a one-lane, pin-connected truss, was built in 1908 and affords a lovely view of the Kettle River. Curlew is located just off Highway 21, at the confluence of the Kettle River and Long Alec Creek.  Travelers pass Curlew on their way to or from the Danville border crossing into British Columbia.

Barrel Derby Days is one of Curlew’s best loved events. For a full schedule of area events, visit our Calendar.

More Information

Republic to Malo to Curlew, Washington Road Map

Republic to Malo to Curlew, Washington Road Map. Map is illustration and is not to scale.

Main street view of Curlew, WA.
Main street view of Curlew, WA.
View of the community of Curlew, WA and of the Curlew Bridge spanning the Kettle River.
View of the community of Curlew, WA and of the Curlew Bridge spanning the Kettle River.
Hwy 21, as it heads into the community of Curlew, WA.
Hwy 21, as it heads into the community of Curlew, WA.
The Curlew Store services the community of Curlew, WA.
The Curlew Store services the community of Curlew, WA.