Where Time Stopped by Mary Rothlisberger in Palouse, Washington, USA

Lola Scott is quoted in the June 1982 edition of National Geographic as declaring “Palouse has a history of unusual happening – and eccentric people – …”.  Founded in 1888 and maintaining a population of around 900, a crossroads that often appears as another sleepy rural western town is really hustling and bustling with some of the most magical tragical narratives of contemporary America. The Palouse region itself is actually a frozen ocean, a land of curious-looking dunes of glacial silt that produce most of the world’s supply of lentils and barley. Palouse is a town of tall tales and long poems, stories still told thick with romance and heavy with hardship. Palouse is a town that still smells like woodsmoke in the winter and barley dust in late summer, and in the spring, everyone is up with the sun and mending their own way again. Palouse is a town where time stopped in all the right places; and Palouse is a town where all the best days start. At night I fall asleep to the hoot-hollerin’ of owls and coyotes and nowhere have I ever, ever, seen so many stars.

Name:Mary Rothlisberger

Place you live: Palouse, Washington

Place your photos were taken: Palouse, Washington

Occupation: Artist

Preoccupation: Astrologer

A perfect day in Palouse? Most days are better than ever, and walking next door to the post office can take all day if you run into the right folks. Today before breakfast I stood in the middle of the road talking with Marv about the 49ers, followed by a nice chat with Jeff the grocer about my favorite types of potato chips and a hi-hello to Renee, my favorite dog.

If someone was visiting, what must they do? Palouse thrives on rigorous expectations of mutual generosity and kindness. If you’re ever visiting, make sure you say hello to everyone you see. And walk slowly, there’s no rush.

A perfect meal in Palouse? It’s nice living in a town that has just one of everything. We have one thrift store, one grocery market, one cafe, one bakery, one tavern, one post office, a handful of great antique shops, one of you and one of me. My best advice is to take a walk down Main Street and visit them all– buy some bread from Mimi’s Bakery, a candy bar from McCleod’s Palouse Market, have lunch at the Green Frog Cafe, go treasure hunting at the Open Eye and Needful Things, say hi to Richard at the Post Office, take a tour at the Roy M Chatters Print Museum and then belly-up to the bar for happy hour at the Palouse Tavern, Act II. You’re going to have to find a ride home.

What is the best thing about your spot? The people that live here.

What is the worst? People that don’t live here won’t always believe me when I tell them it’s all true.

A little known fact about where you live? Clairborne “Peg-leg” Kennedy was one of Palouse’s first postmasters. He was also a total babe.

Where is your favorite place in the world? Palouse.


  • Margaret Gregg

    I love Palouse for all the reasons Mary named. It’s beautiful, warm, friendly, and it changes slowly but stays the same. There is always something going on in town at the city park, the grange, the civic center, the school or right on Main street. I visit often and wish I had my home there.

    • Jesse

      Thanks for the comment Margaret! Its on our wish list to visit one of these days. Sounds like a cool place. The Global Yodel headquarters is in Washington State and we have never been. Can you believe it?

  • Delene Estes

    I like the fact that when the streets and sidewalks are covered in snow the owners of four wheelers put there snow blades on and clear off sidewalks and driveways to help their neighbors! In times of need the people of Palouse always pull together.

    • Jesse


  • Jennifer Bartlett

    There is no place like home!!!

  • Nicole

    This article and pictures depict the essence of Palouse. Here are a few pictures at your place….530 E. Alder St…were we lived from 1975 to 1989. That’s the school in the background of the family portrait.

    • Jesse

      thanks for sharing Nicole

  • Tami Slonaker

    Born and raised in Palouse, still here. LOVE IT! I am a farmers wife and it is the most beautiful place on earth. June is the prettiest. All the colors of green you can imagine. We have all four seasons and sometimes all of them in one day!!! Everyone knows you. Friendly, thriving, peacful. A perfect place to raise a family. This is MY town!

    • Jesse

      lovely Tami – thanks for sharing