Commemorating the 125th anniversary
â€” The Beginning People and places from the early days
A supplement of the Yakima Herald-Republic
April 25, 2010
Les Schwab - 1952
Les Schwab, a self-taught businessman, started with humble beginnings in 1952 with one tire store. He had the vision to remain a family owned business dedicated to providing honest service to customers and unsurpassed opportunity to employees.
Les Schwab - Today
Les Schwabâ€™s vision lives on today with over 420 stores and over 7000 employees. We continue to provide tremendous service to our customers and opportunities for our employees.
Thank you for letting us serve the Yakima Valley over the past 35 years!
YOU REASON... ARE THE
YAKIMA YAKIMA WAPATO 702 E. Yakima 2 | YA K I M A â€”2002 T HS.E 1st B ESt.G I N N I N403 G W. 1st. St. 452-3993 248-1052 877-3722
TOPPENISH 105 Asotin Ave. 865-4005
Brandon SUNNYSIDE 1537 Lincoln Ave. 837-2002
GRANDVIEW PROSSER 812 W. Wine Country 310 Wine Country Rd. 882-1269 786-2540
You are the purpose of our work, the reason we run, the reason we serve. We will treat you with respect, like our family and friends because you have feelings and emotions. We are dependent on you, the lifeblood of our company. We will treat you like our business depends on it, because it does.
ELLENSBURG SELAH S. Canyon Rd. 365 N. Wenas Ave. A n n u a l 2010 925-6922 698-3400
The Yakima Valley Museum Your Place in History
The Yakima Valley Museum has been a part of the community for over 50 years. It has become the guardian of the collective history of the Yakima Valley.
Immerse yourself in the history of the Yakima Valley through both the objects used by its inhabitants and their stories.
Find out more about the people, places, and events that interest you in the Sundquist Research Library or online at yakimamemory.org.
Attend a special program or lecture. Enjoy an evening concert or performance. Bring the children and enjoy a special family event.
Be a part of the museum. Donations of photographs, documents, and objects from members and friends make up the collections at the Yakima Valley Museum–and monetary donations help ensure their care.
Learn more about the museum through our printed and electronic publications at yakimavalleymuseum.org Find Your Place in History at the Yakima Valley Museum. Yakima Valley Museum 2105 Tieton Drive A n n u a l 2WA 0 1 0 • 98902 • (509)248-0747 • yakimavalleymuseum.org Yakima,
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 3
Downtown Yakima, looking west from Third Street, is shown in this 1912 photograph.
About this project
very year, the Yakima Herald-Republic publishes an Annual edition focused on a particular theme or topic. The suggestion that this year we commemorate Yakima’s 125th founding as a city seemed intriguing — who doesn’t love history? — but also overwhelming.
Local historian Yvonne Wilbur and John Baule, director of the Yakima Valley Museum, convinced us to focus on the city’s early years. For good reason. Ours is a story rich in detail and personality. While Yakima’s four-mile move up the road from Union Gap is widely known, many of the individuals and families we tell about here are not. In 1885, there were cattlemen, wealthy investors and a powerful railroad company bent on carving out a community that would have room to grow. Yakima — The Beginning recounts how the city was established and spotlights some of the people — such as A.J. Splawn, Elizabeth Loudon Carmichael and the Ditter family — who laid the groundwork for a prosperous and a remarkably optimistic community. 4 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
Yakima’s growth sowed the beginning for other communities across the Valley, such as Zillah and Sunnyside. The stories are told by several HeraldRepublic staff reporters: Adriana Janovich, Phil Ferolito, David Lester, Pat Muir, Ross Courtney, Erin Snelgrove, Jane Gargas and Leah Beth Ward. Colleen Fontana and Jasmine Okbinoglu — two members of the Herald-Republic’s Unleashed program for high school students — also contributed. City Editor Craig Troianello writes about the texture of our community during the first 25 years and how the pure pluck and initiative of early settlers laid the seeds for the city we know today. This project would not have been possible without Herald-Republic librarian Donean Brown, chief photographer Gordon King, Web producer and graphic artist T.J.
Mullinax, News Editor Jeff Garretson and graphic artist Sarah Button. Our thanks, too, to Greg Stewart at State Fair Park and descendants of Patrick and Nellie Mullins, who provided us with additional photos and historical information. A number of historical photos depicting life in early Yakima have not been seen in other publications. Given the limitations of time and space, other stories about local families and institutions could not be included. By no means did we set out to provide a complete story of Yakima’s beginning. But we hope there is enough here to make you want to learn more about our local history.
— Barbara Serrano, managing editor Annual 2010
Today, as we celebrate Yakima’s 125th anniversary of the move to its current location, I can’t help but think of Hahn Motor Company’s move to its current location. My father started the Hahn Motor Company in Aberdeen Washington in 1924. In 1940 he moved the business to Yakima. This year, Hahn Motor Company celebrates our 70th year in Yakima and I celebrate my 58th year of service to you. Thank you, each and every one of you, for your cards, letters and friendly words of support. The Hahn Motor Company – like Yakima – is here to stay!
President, Hahn Motor Company
509.453.9171 – 1201 South First Street, Yakima WA Annual 2010
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 5
Hand-colored postcards, shown in this undated photo, were used to promote what was called the Nob Hill district. On the back of the postcards read: “In the Nob Hill district the results of irrigation are seen in perfection. Fine orchards and beautiful homes are the rule. Here fortunes grow on trees.”
Sunnyside Irrigation gave this Lower Yakima Valley city, known as “The Holy City,” its early start. 58
Fruit Row Fruit, rail cars and blocks of ice were common elements in a two-block-wide area that gave Yakima its heartbeat. 18
The state fair: A gathering place Still a big draw today, the state fair in Yakima was a major attraction in the city’s early years, too. 70
Yakima Commercial Club Community leaders and business people form a group that helped promote Yakima across the country. 22
Zillah What’s in a city’s name? When it comes to Zillah, it depends on what legend you’ve heard.
Moxee French Canadian and Dutch families settled in Moxee to start new jobs and new lives. 31
Celebrating the past: Jubilees Jubilees have been a big part of Yakima’s spirit every 25 years, and the city’s gearing up for another this year. 76
Life in the Valley: Past is prologue Though Yakima was settled 125 years ago, there are similarities between the first years and the city of today. 38
People from Yakima’s past From farmers to businessmen to landowners, these are some of the people who helped Yakima grow.
The forgotten move: The Yakamas Yakima’s move four miles to the north overshadowed another move: more relocation of the Yakama Nation. 52
The Bartholets Elizabeth Carmichael A.J. Splawn Fred E. Thompson
The railroad influence Without the determination of the Northern Pacific Railroad, Yakima might never have moved.
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24. 27. 51. 61.
The Ditters The Mullins W.W. Robertson
64. 68. 82.
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8 A train is parked at the third North Yakima Northern Pacific Depot, which was built in 1898. A section of it was moved north to Cherry Lane, where it was used as part of a duplex. A bigger depot, which still stands today, was built in 1909. This photo was taken in 1908.
The railâ€™s way Yakima got its start with a sometimes-contentious relationship between residents and businesses and the powerful railroad 8 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
By Adriana Janovich Yakima Herald-Republic
f it wasn’t for the railroad, Yakima might not be here. It likely would have stayed right where it started, some 125 years ago, four miles away in present-day Union Gap. The small town south of here gave birth to what would become
the city of Yakima with the tough-fisted determination of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Instead of siting a railway station in what was then called Yakima City — and already established with churches and homes, hotels and streets — railroad officials opted to locate a depot in uninhabited pastureland to the north. And they urged residents and businesses to move, erecting a city around a train station. Essentially, the railroad company — with its money, power and influence — dictated where North Yakima, now simply known as Yakima, would be built. “We can’t find any other town in America that this happened to — moving an entire town for the railroad,” says Yakima historian Yvonne Wilbur. When settlers in Yakima City learned the depot wouldn’t be located there — and that the train would not even stop there — they were none too happy. Some opted to stay behind, refusing to budge at the will of the railroad. Resentment toward the railroad even
reached the children. There are reports of girls greasing the tracks with soft soap to make trains spin their wheels, delaying arrival in North Yakima. The tracks reached Yakima City on Dec. 17, 1884. And the migration started in January. In the early “We can’t find months of 1885 any other town —and well into in America that summer — homes this happened and businesses began rolling to — moving an across the snowentire town for covered sagebrush the railroad.” to the new townsite. In all, — Yvonne Wilbur, about 100 buildings Yakima historian were moved. An outfit out of Portland was contracted by the railroad to move the buildings, using jack screws to hoist them onto horse-drawn wagons. Bigger buildings were pulled on rollers. Smaller ones were hauled by rail. Guilland House, a hotel, took about three weeks to make the move on rollers. It
An 1886 photo of Weed and Rowe Hardware at the corner of Yakima Avenue and First Street in North Yakima. The store later became Yakima Hardware. A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 9
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was the ﬁrst building to be moved, ﬁnally reaching its destination on Feb. 27. Moving didn’t keep proprietors from doing business. “Business was carried on as usual while the buildings were on the move,” according to the 1919 book “History of Yakima Valley,” which went on to say: “A farmer wishing to buy something at a store would hitch his team to the latter end of a moving building, transact his business, come out with his purchases, load his wagon, while the team followed slowly along with the building.” John Adams Kingsbury was there, watching the exodus. In his early childhood memoirs, he says: “Soon the whole town seemed to be moving ... the little patch of desert that lay between the sad old town and the gay new town was literally alive with moving houses. ... Veritably Yakima was a town on wheels during that tragic and eventful summer of 1885.” Other notable buildings that made the trek were the Bartholet House, another hotel, and Centennial Hall, built in 1876 and named in commemoration of this country’s ﬁrst 100 years. It’s long gone now. But for years after the relocation, Wilbur says, “It was about the last building in Yakima that survived from the move.” orth Yakima didn’t spring up overnight — but almost. Northern Paciﬁc ofﬁcials had been plotting the move for months before settlers learned of the plan. At the center of the scheme was Paul Schulze, general land agent for the railroad in Portland. “The average person didn’t like him,” Wilbur says. “He would strut around town, all dressed up. He’d walk around like the town was his.” In a secret letter to Schulze dated Aug. 28, 1884, Charles B. Lamborn, land commissioner for the railroad, wrote about the company’s intent to bypass Yakima City and start a new community further north. “When the town is platted, we could agree with the owners of other lands to give each party now owning an improved Annual 2010
lot in Yakima City a corresponding lot in the new town, provided he would agree to move his building thereon from the town of Yakima City or erect a good building on the lot,” Lamborn wrote. But he didn’t want the railroad to look bad in the deal. It was important settlers saw the company in a positive light. Settlers were told the land was too swampy to site a station in Yakima City. Really, the railroad just wanted more land with which to grow and sell. The company also wanted the land for nothing. In the 1974 book “Valley of the Strong: Stories of Yakima and Central Washington History,” author Joseph C. Brown wrote that Schulze had tried to obtain right-ofways for the railroad in Yakima City. “The land owners wanted to be reimbursed generously for the land they gave the railroad, but Paul Schulze wanted the land owners to donate the right-of-ways for the privilege of having the railroad come to their town,” Brown wrote. “As a result, with hard feelings on both sides, the railroad company chose to bypass Yakima City and organize its own town ... ” In those days, it wasn’t uncommon for railroad companies to wield their power, overruling the wishes of the residents. “Where they decided to take their lines, they went. When they decide to establish towns or depots in certain locations, they simply established them,” the late Selah historian Bob Lince told the HeraldRepublic in 1985, a hundred years after the Big Move. At first, the depot in the new city of North Yakima was simply a boxcar located smack dab in the middle of Yakima Avenue. Leta Conrad Dickson, who came to Old Town as an 11-year-old girl in 1876, was chosen to ride on the first train from Yakima City to North Yakima. She recalled that symbolic journey in 1935, telling The Grange News: “The train was stopped while the last rail on the road was laid.” School was initially held in Centennial Hall. Central School was built three years after the Big Move, in 1888. North Yakima incorporated in 1886 and officially became Yakima in 1917. A dozen years earlier, in 1905, Yakima City was A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
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Join us for the
128 Years! O Old Town Days Parade – Starts at Main Street
Kids parade starts at 9:45am, Old Town Days parade starts at 10:00am
O Second Annual Open Invitational Show and Shine Sponsored by Yakima Sports Car Club – Proceeds benefit Wishes and Dreams Foundation
O Poker Run - Ride the Wine Country
Sponsored by Yakima Blue Knights Motor Cycle Club with help of American Cancer Society - the Discovery Shop Volunteers – Proceeds benefit local 15 year old Cancer victim
O Old Town Days Bed Race
Sponsored by Union Gap Youth Council – Proceeds to benefit youth in the community
O Idol Contest Your chance to win $1,000 (preliminaries at the Valley Mall, Union Gap)
Many styles & colors to choose from.
Corner of 40th & Summitview, Suite 9 965–5397 18.823613.ANN.L
for the home
Sound Shows & Valley Mall O Arts and Crafts Exhibits O 3 on 3 Tournament O Battle of the Bands O Music in the Park
Games O Food O Fun O and more!
1 2 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
13 The Guilland House in Yakima City, now Union Gap, in 1884.
renamed Union Gap. Meantime, businessmen did their darndest to attract more people and industry to the new town. In the May 1889 issue of The Northwest Magazine, a story touted North Yakima under the headline “A Verdant, Blooming Town in the Midst of Highly Fertile Valleys.” “It is ‘water, water everywhere,’ pure, cold and sparkling, and yet there are no damp marshy or malarial places in the valleys, because the streams keep in their natural courses until turned into the winding irrigating ditches which may be seen in all directions following the bench lands like huge serpents,” C.M. Barton wrote. The story goes on to describe the city as “laid out on a broad gauge plan, with electric lights and waterworks about to be put in, with a fine new brick hotel, a spacious opera house, a dozen brick blocks, two new elegant brick bank buildings, sixty business houses, hundreds of frame modern residences, a half dozen beautiful sites for the Capitol of the State of Washington when it is located here, as it ought to be, 5,500 people who look as if A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
Some of the Pioneer Daughters stand outside the Centennial Building with owner H.J. Cahalan (left) in a photo taken about 1951. The Centennial Building was one of the 50 moved in 1885.
they had came to stay and do not wander around the streets with a far away gaze, busy merchants with stores well filled with customers, thrifty farmers who ship their produce from the city, none of the ‘tough’
element, several churches and schools, a charming climate and grand mountain scenery.” By some accounts, the New Town was designed to resemble Schulze’s hometown, Baden-Baden in Germany. A ditch was built to bring water from the Naches River to the city. Ten years after the Big Move, Schulze would be dead. He committed suicide in Tacoma in April 1895 — shooting himself in the head with a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver — shortly after Northern Pacific requested his resignation. Another key player behind the move, Martin Van Buren Stacy, a wealthy landowner who often stayed at the Guilland Hotel, died in an insane asylum. Yakima never did become the state capitol. But the “grand mountain scenery” and some of those brick blocks remain. The original boxcar depot has long since been replaced. The 1910 station — built during the city’s silver jubilee — is now home to a restaurant and lounge. But it remains in the heart of downtown, an enduring testament to Yakima’s railroad origins. YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 1 3
YAKIMA . CITY . YAKIMA WASHINGTON CITY Atlas of 1884
Atlas of 1884
Prior to the Big Move of 1885
WASHINGTON Prior to the Big Move of 1885 NORTH STREET
AD 84. LRO ec. 17, 18 RAI D IFICAmDa City on84. PAC O , 18 aki ERN AeIdLRY ec. 17 RTH CreRach on D NOPaAilCtrIaFckI skima City r a ERTNhereached Y RTH NO ail tracks he r
The Bartholet House move.
Source: Yakima Valley Museum
1 - CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH 2 - THE RECORD NEWSPAPER 3 - HUGHES LIVERY & FEED 4 - FRANCIS XAVIER INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOL 1 - CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH 5 - GUILLAND HOUSE 6 - FIRST BANK 2 -NATIONAL THE RECORD NEWSPAPER 7 - GERVAIS GENERAL STORE 3 - HUGHES LIVERY & FEED 8 - POST 4 -OFFICE FRANCIS XAVIER INDIAN Not all buildingsBOARDING are shown. SCHOOL 9 - CENTENNIAL HALLHOUSE 5 - GUILLAND About 100 structures were relocated 10 - BARTHOLET 6 - FIRST HOUSE NATIONAL fromBANK “Old Town” Yakima City to 11 - COURTHOUSE 7 - GERVAIS GENERAL STOREin the Big Move. North Yakima 8 - POST OFFICE Not all buildings are shown. 9 - CENTENNIAL HALL About 100 structures were relocated 10 - BARTHOLET HOUSE from “Old Town” Yakima City to 11 - COURTHOUSE North Yakima in the Big Move.
Based on a map by John Beck
Source: Yakima Valley Museum
The Bartholet House move.
TJ Mullinax/Yakima Herald-Republic
1 4 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
WIDE HOLLOW CREEK
Based on a map by John Beck
TJ Mullinax/Yakima Herald-Republic
PINE COURT STREET STREET
MAIN STREET FIRST STREET
FIRST STRSECON EET D STREET
WIDE HOLLOW CREEK
SECOND STREET THIRD STREET
THIRD STREET 4
The Yakima Herald-Republic Publishing Co. Proudly owned by the Blethen family
The Yakima Herald-Republic Publishing Co. Proudly owned by the Blethen family
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G 18.821473.ANN.L | 15
Scenes from the past Clockwise from top: An overview of Yakima City, now Union Gap, in 1884; an undated photo of the interior of the general store in Union Gap owned by W.Z. York; and an 1882 street scene in Yakima City with the First National Bank on the left.
1 6 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
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Fruit Row in the 1920s, with the Pacific Fruit warehouse on the right.
A city’s busy center Fruit Row gave a young Yakima its heartbeat
became a civil engineer. It was a career that required him to move around a lot. Wanting to settle in one place in the West, Frank came to the Yakima Valley and bought an orchard in Naches Heights around 1947 with financial help from his father-in-law. Then he purchased a warehouse at
ice the cars,” says Bice, who is the apple-box label curator at the hen Del Bice was a Yakima Valley Museum. teenager, he would By then, this bustling locale — a accompany his father two-block-wide area stretching to First Avenue to from Yakima Avenue north to I watch the loading take place. Street — had been the heart of the Huge blocks of ice, weighing Valley’s fruit about 1,500 pounds each, would be industry for packed in the ends of railroad cars. three decades. The ice kept apples, one of the Fruit packers bounties of the Yakima Valley’s rich and shippers agricultural soil, cool on the long located there cross-country trip to market. to be near the Bice, now 85, recalls how exciting railroad. it was to watch the activity as 100 Herb Frank rail cars each day pulled out of wanted to be Yakima in the early 1940s. there, too. “A big thing was to come down Born in A work crew at a packing house on Yakima’s Fruit Row poses for around 5 p.m. and watch them a photo about 1915. Chicago, Frank
By David Lester
1 8 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
First Avenue and B Street from another pioneer, Elon Gilbert, and named the business Yakima Fruit and Cold Storage. “It was a bit more prestigious” to be located on Fruit Row, says Frank, now 94 and retired from the fruit business. “It was easy for the growers to bring fruit in bulk and have it packed” near the railroad, he says. Another pioneer on Fruit Row made his fortune with ice. J.M. Perry, whose name graces the J.M. Perry Technical Institute on West Washington Avenue, sold ice to the railroads to keep fruit cool. Perry started the plant in 1907, just before cold storage warehouses went up along Fruit Row. He sold up to 15,000 tons of ice a month and held the contract for about 40 years, until ABOVE: Wagons are lined up at the loading dock of a fruit packing operation on Yakima’s Fruit Row about 1910. BELOW: Women pack peaches at the refrigerated rail cars became more widely Thompson Fruit Co. in a photo taken about 1912. available after World War II.
A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
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Workers stand with boxes of fruit for shipping on a loading dock.
“One of the reasons Perry survived the Great Depression was he had cash flow from the Northern Pacific Railroad,” Bice says. Artificial Ice and Cold Storage was another of the ice-supplying firms, providing ice to the Union Pacific Railroad. While technology has transformed the Valley’s billiondollar fruit industry with sophisticated packing lines, controlled-atmosphere storage and long-haul trucks for shipment, the downtown area remains a key part of the business and home to a number of fruit-packing and shipping firms. Fred Plath, the 87-year-old patriarch of Washington Fruit and Produce Co. of Yakima, still goes every morning to the office where it all began for the company almost a century ago. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, he 2 0 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
worked for his father, Fred B. Plath, during the summers making the wooden boxes in which apples “One of the were packed reasons Perry and shipped. survived Boxes were the Great loaded on their Depression sides because was he had the tops tended cash flow from to bulge. Then, the Northern workers would Pacific apply the Railroad.” wonderfully — Del Bice illustrated box labels that showed which company packed the fruit. It took 756 boxes to fill the rail car, Plath recalls. Although Washington Fruit has expanded with storage, packing and orchards outside of Yakima, it still occupies the same space on Fruit Row where Plath’s father joined
the fruit business in 1915. The sales office for the firm is there. The early beginnings of Fruit Row and the Washington fruit industry is intertwined with the history of the railroads. Fruit packers and marketers had to be along the rail line for ease of shipping fruit. And when the railroads began selling the land granted them by Congress as a way to encourage rail development, farmers saw opportunities in the fertile soil of the Yakima Valley. “The railroads created this by selling the land,” Bice says of the Valley’s multimillion-dollar fruit industry. “It was like the Florida land boom. Members of the Yakima Commercial Club were land speculators. They put ads in the papers in the East that ‘10 acres of land will make you rich.’ ” And for many men, it did.
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A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
3701 Fruitvale Blvd. • Yakima 98902 509-452-PUMP (7867) www.aklandpump.com YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 2 1
Crowds gather in 1911 for the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Masonic Temple. Members of the Yakima Commercial Club began meeting there in 1912.
Yakima’s civic boosters Commercial Club laid the foundation for future growth of young city By Pat Muir
onsider, for a moment, the decision confronting restless men and women from the East or Midwest around the turn of the 20th century. The West was wide open; all that was required was a pioneering spirit. But which burgeoning town to settle in? Where was the work? Where was the fertile land? Now consider it from the town’s point of view. How do community leaders in, say, the 1890s get the word out? That was the problem facing Yakima. And the answer: the Yakima Commercial Club. “It was in 1893 that a few moving spirits got together and conceived the idea of a club designed to look after the business interests of Yakima — then not much more than a wide spot in the road — to lend assistance 2 2 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
An undated photo of a postcard extolling the virtues of the Yakima Valley.
to the struggling farmer and stockman, and to lay the foundation for a city whose importance as a trade center would extend throughout Central Washington,” W.D. Lyman wrote in his 1919 tome,“History of the Yakima Valley.” A precursor to the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce, the Commercial Club did indeed support local business. But it was the second part of that goal, the bit about laying a foundation, that became the club’s lasting legacy. In 1903, the club incorporated and sold $100 shares to 500 members. Annual membership dues were $100 — no small amount of pocket change back in the day. With $50,000, club members traveled to world’s fairs in St. Louis, Chicago, Portland, Seattle and even the Alaska territory, distributing brochures that heralded the Yakima Valley’s good weather and fertile soil. By the early 20th century, the Commercial Club became almost like a real estate business. While the existing real estate men didn’t much like the competition, the club’s ability to spread the word and its political clout was unmatched in Central Washington. Its members included those who belonged to the Yakima Social Club, which according to Lyman included “some blue-blooded aristocrats from England and some early settlers who literally had money to burn.” Among the Commercial Club’s early leaders were several recognizable names: Col. W.F. Prosser (for whom the town was named), J.M. Gilbert, Edward A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
The Masonic Temple in the final stages of construction in September 1911.
Whitson, Alex Miller, O.A. Fechter, George Donald, Frank Horsley, A.J. Splawn and Frederick Mercy. Club members met in the Clogg Building on Yakima Avenue, before moving in 1912 to the fourth floor of the new Masonic building at the corner of Fourth and Yakima, where they had a card room, billiard room, leather upholstered chairs and room to seat 200 people. In addition to bringing people to Yakima, the club had an interest in shipping goods west to the markets and harbors of Seattle. Toward that end, it lobbied in 1913 “and finally succeeded in getting adequate federal and state aid for the Snoqualmie Pass (Interstate 90) highway,” Lyman wrote.
The Yakima Commercial Club also went to Olympia to push for irrigation and horticulture laws as well as money for an armory and the state fair. That sort of work is how most chambers of commerce get their start, said Mike Morrisette, director of the modern version of the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce. Businessmen and businesswomen will determine mutually beneficial goals and band together to reach them, he says. “The idea was to provide a welcoming environment to business and to help attract other business,” Morrisette says. “It really hasn’t changed.” YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 2 3
Joseph Bartholet Jr.
Family influence The Bartholets, perhaps best known for the hotel, had their hands in many businesses â€” including beyond North Yakima 2 4 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
he sign for the hotel remained until about ďŹ ve years ago, an emblem on the North First Street sidewalk. It has since been removed, and yet the memory of the Bartholet family and the Hotel Bartholet linger on. Annual 2010
25 The Hotel Bartholet is shown in this undated photograph. It was rebuilt in 1889 at 10 N. First Ave. in North Yakima.
— Colleen Fontana
3806 Summitview • Yakima, WA 98902 (509) 966-7010
BEADS Mon.-Fri. 9-5:30, Sat. 9-5, Sun. 11-4 Closed Holidays
201 S. Wapato Ave • Wapato
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 2 5
When the town of North Yakima was ﬁrst established, the Bartholet Hotel was one of the ﬁrst buildings to be transported from Union Gap. It was placed on South First Street, one of the main streets at the time, and remained there until it was burned and rebuilt on North First Street. Traveling by wagon in the late 1860s, Joseph Bartholet and his sons, John, Frank and Matt, came West looking for a place to settle. Having traveled from Jordan, Minn., through San Francisco, and to The Dalles, Ore., they decided to settle in Parker Bottom. They lived there with their families: John with his two sons, Arch and Joe Bartholet; Frank with his son, Urban Bartholet; and Matt with his son, John “Bud” Bartholet. Joe and Arch were born in the hotel, and Joe is thought to be the ﬁrst white child born in North Yakima. John Bartholet, the hotel proprietor, advertised rooms for $1 and $1.50 a
night and noted that it had new brick, making it more ﬁreproof. “Handsomely furnished, ﬁrst class in every respect, elegant accommodations,” read a hotel advertisement in 1890. Like many families of their day, the Bartholet family was composed of strong people who worked to build Yakima up to what it is today. The family began a dairy business with seven cows, which they milked consistently morning and night, selling milk at 20 quarts for a dollar. The business stopped once Joe left for college. After college, he became a messenger boy for the Yakima Valley Bank, where he worked until the Depression hit in 1933. Soon after that he became the Yakima representative for the J.H. Huston Co. of Seattle, as well as, for a short time, treasurer of the Selah Brewery. Joe also worked as a dispatcher for Yakima Grocery until his death in 1969. Arch Bartholet was involved with theater. At age 11, he got his ﬁrst job at the Larson Theater, working as a program boy. In his adult years, he was president of the BPO Elks Lodge, Gyro Club and Chamber of Commerce. His $6 million War Bond Drive in Yakima in 1943 was one of the biggest jobs Arch undertook, along with being general chairman of Pioneer Days in 1935, after which the Yakama Indian Nation named him Chief Yellowcloud. He died in 1962 at age 73. Frank Bartholet, John’s brother, was an assistant cashier for Yakima National Bank, and Matt Bartholet, the third brother, worked in the mercantile business. He was Yakima County treasurer and auditor in the 1890s. After moving to Ellensburg, he worked in the grocery business and was mayor there. Known for his ability to converse in the Indian language, Matt was given special names by the Indians of the area. Eventually he moved to Olympia, where he died in 1925.
Come See What’s Blooming!
PHOTO TAKEN IN EARLY 1900
JOHNSON FAMILY MEMBERS STAND IN FRONT OF THE ORIGINAL HOME THAT IS STILL IN USE TODAY. SUMMITVIEW AVE. IS JUST A DIRT TRACK IN THE FOREGROUND HERE.
Opening Mid June
Our knowledgeable agents will help you reach your goals and will guide you every step of the way. Our agents also contribute a portion of each sale to Children’s Miracle Network right here in our Valley. When you are looking to buy or sell a home, trust the professionals at RE/MAX Traditions.
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Strength in Community Banking
ome may call us conservative. That’s okay. Because for the last 48 years we have worked hard to build a local, strong, stable community bank.
As a result, you can rest assured with confidence. The money you invest with us is safe, illustrated by our solid liquidity, capital position, credit quality and earnings—traditional measurements of stability and longevity among banks. Stop by any of our six branches and put us to work for you. “As Central Valley Bank effectively deals with the market volatility and the concerned public, I am pleased to say that we have been and continue to be a conservative bank focusing on the fundamentals of banking. We are proud of our strong liquidity, capital position, credit quality and earnings. I believe this is exactly what our customers and our communities expect and deserve from a local community bank.”
D. Michael Broadhead, President 18.823679.ANN.L
Downtown Yakima (509) 453–1172 301 W Yakima Ave
Yakima (509) 576-0424 2205 S 1st Street
2 6 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
Nob Hill (509) 972-9510 3919 W Nob Hill Blvd
Toppenish (509) 865-2511 537 W 2nd Ave.
Wapato (509) 877-6161 507 W 1st Street
Ellensburg (509) 925-5444 100 N. Main
An undated photo of the Loudon Bros.’ Yakima City Creamery.
From dream to creamery Elizabeth Loudon Carmichael’s success still apparent today
n 108 W. Pine St. in Union Gap and 2 Chicago Ave. in Yakima, there are two beautiful houses. Many may walk past them or drive by them without a second thought. However, to those in the know, those houses are special. Both are connected to Elizabeth Loudon Carmichael and are testaments to her wealth and success. As a young Scot, she emigrated from New Zealand with her husband and three children to a farm in the Cowiche area in 1884. Shortly after, their fourth son was born and her husband died. behind the The young widow then married Colin Carmichael and moved to California. When he died, she moved back to Yakima, now Union Gap. She opened up a general store and became the town’s postmistress. But that wasn’t enough for this driven woman. She had an idea that the community needed a
A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
Elizabeth Loudon Carmichael
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 2 7
Crypts and Niches are now available in our outdoor Garden Mausoleum.
the support of our lot owners has made Terrace Heights Memorial Park the pride of the community. A truly local nonprofit cemetery serving the entire valley.
3001 Terrace Heights Drive • Yakima, WA 98901 CALL FOR INFORMATION REGARDING COMPLETE SERVICES 509-453-1961 – no salesman will call
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creamery. Thus, the Yakima City Creamery blossomed into a business. The creamery started humbly with simple cream and butter, but in 1905, Carmichael made a proclamation that, “The Yakima City Creamery will make the ﬁnest ice cream it is possible to make and will continue to keep it such ﬁne ice cream.” That’s when Carmichael Ice Cream began. Paul Schafer, a teacher at Eisenhower High School, recalls the ice cream was indeed delicious but that the special marker was its “blue and white checks.” With business booming, Carmichael moved her business to North Yakima to create a new creamery plant that would be closer to ice and water. The artisan well created for the plant was at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Walnut. Later, the well actually helped ﬁll a natatorium where a car wash near Davis High School now stands. Her success doesn’t end there. Carmichael left such a prosperous business to her four sons that, by 1969, the small dairy farm used for the Yakima City Creamery could no longer keep up with the demand of customers. They came not just from Yakima but surrounding areas. The Maid O’Clover Dairy Store was established and ultimately became a chain. Carmichael’s hard work made her wildly successful, so much that she was able to afford two houses. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “In times when most houses had two or three rooms, she built a house of stone that was two stories and had a basement,” Schafer says. “ It had nine to 10 rooms. Then she sold that house and moved. The second house (2 Chicago Ave.) had 12 to 15 rooms plus a ballroom. Yes, she was very successful.” — Jasmine Okbinoglu
101 N. 3rd Aveue YAKIMA 509.453.3171
2 8 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
5802 Summitview YAKIMA 509.972.7620
222 S. 6th Street SUNNYSIDE 509.837.5410 Annual 2010
W John Baule
e are indebted to John Baule and Yvonne Wilbur for their assistance in the production of Yakima — The Beginning. From their ﬁrst meeting with us in December until a few days ago, as we touched up the last few pages of this magazine, they made themselves completely available to our staff. Their expertise and knowledge of the history of Yakima was invaluable. Baule, director of the Yakima Valley Museum, opened the museum’s back room to us for research. There, we were able to pore over photos, postcards, jubilee buttons and programs and old street maps. The museum staff, particularly David Lynx, provided us with dozens of historical photos. No matter what the request, Baule and his staff were always helpful and cheerful, ready to provide whatever was needed. Wilbur, a local historian and active member of the Yakima Valley Historical Society, often jokes that she should get paid for her knowledge. She’d be a wealthy woman. Wilbur can talk about many of Yakima’s earliest settlers as though she’s personally familiar with the families — who married who and what happened to the children. Her insight and deft handle of local history comes from years of research and volunteer work at the museum. Need to know when Spanish-American War Memorial statue was ﬁrst moved to Yakima Avenue and later moved to the courthouse? Wilbur’s the person to call. After months of working with Wilbur and Baule, we have come to realize what a treasure both of these individuals are to the entire community.
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SEARS TENT & AWNING CO. 452-8971 903 S. 1ST STREET • YAKIMA 18.823875.ANN.L
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3 0 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
www.photohaus.com Annual 2010
The Gideon Champoux family poses for a photo while picking hops on the John South ranch in Moxee in 1900.
An influx of farmers French Canadian, Dutch families came to the Valley to start new jobs, lives By Adriana Janovich
hey arrived in the dark during the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 1897. The Gamache and Sauve families, each with eight children — as well as contingents from the Dulude, Regimbal, Dumas, Fortier, Riel, Patnode, Trepanier, Toussaint, Houle and Simon families — came by train to North Yakima, their belongings loaded into boxcars. They shared a language — French — and a religion — Catholicism. There were about 50 of them migrating west, first from Québec, then from Polk and Red Lake A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
counties in northern Minnesota. And they stuck together, intermarrying and taking in new arrivals until they, too, could buy tracts of land from the Moxee Co. YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 3 1
The Champoux & Bro. General Merchandise store is shown circa 1901. The first store was built in Moxee City by Arthur Champoux and Frank Albert Champoux. Gideon Champoux is in the horse-drawn buggy. Other men in white shirts are Albert Dupree, Theophile Champoux and Arthur Champoux. There is no name for the man seated on the porch.
The company, owned by Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, and his father-in-law, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, founder of the National Geographic Society, had started the 6,400acre experimental farm in the Moxee Valley in 1886. Along with a number of relatives, they grew tobacco, alfalfa, cotton, hops, corn and fruit, and raised a variety of livestock. And their farm drew an influx of immigrants. Many French-Canadian families, came west to work for the company, then branch off, doing business on their own. The Moxee Valley’s French-Canadian connection dates to the late 1800s, when lack of work in Québec forced large numbers of people, even entire villages,
3 2 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
Students of the French school in Moxee are shown in this photo taken about 1905.
contemporary fashion for her 811 W. Yakima Ave. 18.823881.ANN.L 18.822764.ANN.L
A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
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...his tradition and values continue today.
Customer satisfaction is as important to us as it was to him. That is why we are family-owned and operated and have been dedicated to you for over 53 years.
Thank you for letting Frank’s Tire Factory serve you.
2612 Main St. • Union Gap
605 S. 1st St. • Selah
CASUAL CLOTHING PREMIUM DENIM BEAUTIFUL NECKWEAR & ACCESSORIES CUSTOM SUITS & SHIRTS BETTER SHOES TUXEDO RENTALS
to move south and west, becoming part of the largest and most continuous inﬂux of French-Canadians to the United States. And, with the arrival of the Northern Paciﬁc Railroad in Yakima in 1884, they migrated steadily to the Moxee Valley for more than a quarter of a century. They weren’t the only ones. Dutch immigrants, known as “Hollanders,” migrated here, too, forming a colony of their own. At one point, there were both a “Holland School” and a “French School.” Early settlers in what was known as the Holland District included the Gerritsen, Van Wechel, Den Beste and Mieras families. Like the French-Canadians, many had migrated for a second time, having come from the Netherlands to Iowa, then to the Moxee Valley. They were tired of the tornadoes and crop failures in the Midwest. And many came before the French-Canadians arrived. In the eastern reaches of the valley were the Meeboer, Bronkhorst, Whitmore, Van Diest and other Dutch families, many of whom traveled here in 1886, a decade before the night train pulled into the station. More than 100 years later, the Moxee Valley’s French-Canadian and Dutch connection endures. You can see it in the surnames of early settlers on country road signs. It’s preserved in a 20-page book at the Yakima Valley Regional Library titled “The Enchanting Moxee Valley: Its History and Development,” by the late Alice Toupin, a longtime Moxee resident. And many descendants of those Dutch and French-Canadian families still live in the area, including those of Melina Gamache and Wilfred Sauve, who arrived with their families on that night train in 1897. They met on board during the journey west and married two years later, eventually raising 13 children.
A group of pickers pose for a photograph in 1913 in a hop field at the Morrier Ranch in Yakima.
248-9862 • 811 W. Yakima Ave. YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 3 5
A jewelry store that lasts as long as the jewelry it sells…
Rock Solid for Over One Hundred Years! Larson’s Theater, located at North Second and East A Street, is shown circa 1900.
4100 Summitview Avenue • (509) 457-5113 • www.dunbarjewelers.com
Photo courtesy of Yakima Valley Regional Library.
Three Generations To Serve You! B&C SEWING & VACUUM … Committed to giving our Customers Exceptional Service and Quality Products! Rob & Bob Pottenger
• SEWING MACHINES • EMBROIDERY MACHINES • VACUUMS • SERGERS • SEWING ACCESSORIES
A man and young boy pose in this undated photo taken in an apple orchard.
As a family-owned and operated business for the past 33 years, the Pottengers and their staff have prided themselves in making sure their customers are their number one priority. Bob & Son The employees of B & C Sewing & Vacuum would like to thank all of their wonderful customers who have been so loyal to them over the years.
SALES & SERVICE • PARTS 453-8301 • 613 West Yakima Avenue www.yakimasews.com
3 6 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
HOURS: MON-FRI 9-5:30 SATURDAY 10-3
The Masonic Temple is shown in winter. Annual 2010
Quality Painting for over a Quarter of a Century
In The Great Pacific Northwest
Jim Schumacher – 248-2000
2812 Terrace HeigHTs Dr. • Yakima, Wa 98901
KAMEO FLOWER SHOP, INC. One Of the Oldest flOwer shOps in Yakima, and One Of the largest flOwer shOps in the nOrthwest. Serving the valley for over 85 yearS.
Washington Wines & gourmet giFt baskets, plus assuring you oF quality Fresh FloWers & unique arrangements. Dorothy grabenStein – over 60 yearS Daughter bert – 40 yearS
111 S. 2nd Street, Yakima • 453-7166
Scenes from the past
Dorothy Grabenstein in front of Kameo Flower Shop in the 1940’s
Central Chain & Transmission Serving Yakima Valley Over 63 Years
A team of horses rests at a water hole along Yakima Avenue , circa 1910.
Locally owned by the Berg Family since 1971
ed in 194 7
509-457-6188 • 702 South 2nd Street • Yakima, WA 98901 Annual 2010
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 3 7
38 An undated, aerial view of Fruit Row looking north toward Selah.
3 8 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
Past is prologue Yakima was settled 125 years ago, and there remain similarities between the first years of the town and the city we know today By Craig Troianello
early anything seemed possible in Yakimaâ€™s first few decades. Real estate values doubled, tripled, quadrupled or more in a single year.
Streets designs followed that of European cities. Streams, footbridges, paddlewheels and towering shade trees lined Naches Avenue. In an astonishing burst of energy and civic pride, schools, a hospital, an 800-seat opera house, a library, churches, a trolley system, a YMCA, and a
vast lumber mill all sprang up in just two decades. By 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt came to visit. Six years later, President William Taft did the same. Out on the new farms it seemed anything would grow and grow well. The Valley would soon
The First National Bank at Yakima Avenue and South Second Street is shown in this photograph taken about 1890.
A view in 1901 from Chestnut Street north through an alley to Yakima Avenue.
A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G | 3 9
40 Q - YAKIMA TRIVIA:
What household appliance business started in the Larsen Building in the 1920’s & is still operating in Yakima? The Ezee 1914
KIRBY VACUUMS at 405 S. 3rd Street – 452-8321! (Same number and location for 37 years!) The present location of the Kirby Vacuum Service was established in 1973 by Kermit Jacobsen who retired after 33 years in the Kirby business. In the last 80 years, Kirby in Yakima has had only 3 long term owners which contribute to great service for our customers in the area. YAKIMA-
The Sentria 2010
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!
We’ve been serving the Yakima Valley for 27 Years!
“WE EXCEL AT WHAT WE DO BEST”
Grading & Paving • Residential & Commercial Vaile Thompson, owner and operator of Perfect Pavers has been serving the Yakima Valley for 27 years.
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4 0 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
A bank in North Yakima photographed about 1900.
gain fame for its apples, but in those early years it was hard to tell which crop would dominate. In 1895, a St. Louis food wholesaler declared Yakima’s potatoes the best in the world. “If you never raise any other produce, the spuds alone will make you famous,” he told farmers. Cigars from local tobacco were labeled Flor de Yakima and were compared to the best imported products from anywhere in the world. Spurred by aggressive advertising by the railroad, civic boosters and investors, the city’s population swelled more than 800 percent between 1890 and 1910 when residents stood at 14,082.More than a century later, the old accounts recorded in faded newspapers and tattered books retain a palpable sense of unbridled optimism over a new land ripe with unfolding opportunities. But if Yakima’s early years were of wild optimism, they also prove a distant mirror. As early as 1905 it was clear that the Yakima water supply was overappropriated. There was already an uneasy relationship between residents and some of those who were hired to harvest its crops. Like today, residents exuded
An undated photograph of the Coffin Brothers store at the intersection of Third Street and Yakima Avenue.
a distrust of the political esablishment in Washington, D.C. And the great opportunities extolled by boosters were not open to all.
ake no mistake. After the town’s famous move in 1885 from what would eventually become Union Gap, development in North Yakima proceeded at a pace that seems difﬁcult to imagine today. Annual 2010
$SDUWRI RXU FRPPXQLW\IRU RYHU\HDUV A young boy carries a chicken and a basket of eggs.
Just four years after incorporating as a city, Yakima had 62 businesses and was sending hundreds of railroad cars of fruit, vegetables, hops and cattle back East. Sprawling, gracious homes lined Naches Avenue, which, among other streets, was fashioned after those in Baden-Baden, Germany. The railroad station on North Front Street and accompanying grounds were designed by the same nationally known architect who drew up the plans for the Minnesota state Capitol. Outside of town, columns of black
smoke rose from piles of burning sagebrush as farmers cleared land. Many were small family farmers. Others were huge ventures funded by outside investors, such as members of Alexander Graham Bell’s family, which started the Moxee Co. farm in 1886. The 7,000-acre operation grew alfalfa, tobacco, barley, oats, corn, wine grapes and raised cattle. But its real purpose was to sell parcels to smaller farmers — a mission that ﬁt well with that of the Northern Paciﬁc Railroad and led to a partnership to
Certain homes, in and of themselves, are a work of art.
To find your masterpiece, call Ryan Beckett.
An undated photo of the Washington Hotel under construction. Photo courtesy of Gerry McGree
www.ryanknowsyakima.com YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 41
Clockwise, from above left: The Cyrus Noble, “Frank Shad-dlow” saloon on the corner of Front Street and Yakima Avenue about 1890; the paint department in the Yakima Hardware Store about 1930; a 1911 photo of the interior of the Emporium at 117 East Yakima Ave.; a group of workers in 1913 in a hop field at the Morrier Ranch; and an undated photo of workers from the Lloyd Garretson Co.
4 2 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
Scenes from the past
YAKKI IMMAA —— TTHHEE BBEEGGI INNNNI INNGG | | 4 3 YA
ABOVE: A front view of the Haney Hardware Co. about 1909. The store was located at 18 West Yakima Ave. RIGHT: An exterior view of the Yakima Hardware warehouse on South First Street in a photo taken about 1910.
promote settlement. So many people were immigrating west that Northern Pacific set aside specifically numbered railroad cars just for new arrivals seeking land. But amid the bursting civic pride and rapid development were elements of squalor. While carefully platted, with 80- and 100-foot wide streets, Yakima’s roadways could be a mess of mud in the winter and choking dust in the summer. As early as 1889, the City Council was making plans to pave Yakima Avenue, but it dropped the idea after residents argued the improvement were unnecessary and that taxes were already too high. Focus on draining the streets, critics said, and the council listened. The city’s main thoroughfare wasn’t paved until 1908. There were thriving gambling halls and opium dens. A red-light district flourished along the first block of East 4 4 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
Yakima Avenue, where such questionable establishments as The Brick, Our House, “444,” the Little Club, the Exchange and The Teddy Bears operated. As early as 1885, there were efforts to restrict the number of saloons by requiring a $500 license. The fee, which would
equal nearly $12,000 today, did little to discourage a proliferation of drinking establishments. Each spring when the Yakima River rose, as many as 1,000 logs cut from the forests of Cle Elum and Easton were floated daily to the Cascade Lumber Co. And when the
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wind was right, the scent of fresh-cut wood from the mill would drift over the town, replacing for a moment decidedly more earthly aromas. In downtown Yakima, there was no regular garbage collection. Manure piled up along the streets and the alleys ﬁlled with debris. In the summer the air was thick with ﬂies. Stores were encouraged to place ﬂy catchers in their windows. Eventually, the problem grew so acute that health authorities began paying children a nickel for each 100 ﬂies they caught. By the turn of the century the crude sewage system, which dumped waste into the Yakima River, had grown inadequate. Typhoid was common in many Western towns. But by 1910, Yakima had the highest typhoid rate in the country, nearly four times the national average. After ignoring the problem for years, authorities created a local health department, which became a model for the nation.
Photo by Asahel Curtis.
607 2nd Ave. Zillah, WA 98953 (509) 829-5500
akima’s ﬁrst full decade, from 1890 to 1900, also marked the worst depression the young nation had ever seen. While there was optimism and understandable pride in the accomplishments of the city, but like many places in the West, there was also a Annual 2010
18.823167 ann 1L
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 4 5
The Chicago Dry Goods Co. on South Second Street is seen in this photo taken about 1900. The store burned shortly thereafter.
Photo courtesy of Yakima Valley Regional Library.
4 6 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
North Yakima’s first courthouse, moved from Union Gap in 1885, was located at 128 N. Second St.
clear sense of superiority and a hostility toward outsiders who were not AngloSaxon and from the Midwest. The Irish were mocked in a local 1896 newspaper called The Epigram: “... as a rule (the Irish) have no great regard for the truth, but like to make the reply they think will be the most agreeable to the question.” In 1892, petitions were circulated urging Yakima’s residents not to eat at Chinese restaurants or shop at Chinese-owned or operated businesses. Yakima was not alone. At the time, similar or worse sentiments were common across the Western United States, including Seattle, where white residents rioted against and forcibly removed Chinese immigrants. In 1894, when unemployed workers from Seattle boarded freight cars for a march on Washington, D.C., they were met by an angry and armed mob in Yakima. They were beaten and shot at; one deputy died after being accidentally shot by another deputy.
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Fullbright Park Ag Museum in Union Gap $5 Adults Children Under 12 FREE A Ringling Bros. circus parade was held along Yakima Avenue in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy of Yakima Valley Regional Library.
as far as British Columbia and Idaho to work the hops harvest. But in some ways they remained strangers to Yakima residents, according to an account by the late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who grew up in Yakima in the 1900s. “We who were raised in Yakima did not know the Indians well. Some of them lived in town, but most them held to the reservation. And most of the Indian children attended the public schools in the Lower valley. Not living with them or playing with them, we felt them strangers. We only saw them on the streets and in
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When wages for hop picking fell in 1895, the Yakima Herald was quick to note there would be little tolerance for outsiders pushing for higher pay. “It is well to inform these anarchists — if any there be — that no organized demand for increased pay will be recognized, and that the leaders of such a movement will be black-listed summarily upon the ﬁrst demonstration toward a ‘strike.’ There are Indians enough to care for much of this year’s crop and they fully realize that 75 cents goes as far today as did $1 a year ago,” American Indians routinely came from
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48 The Spanish-American War Memorial, with cannon, is shown in front of the old Yakima County courthouse at North Second and B streets. The statue of John Jacob Weisenberger was originally dedicated and placed on Yakima Avenue on July 4, 1902. It was moved to North Second Street in 1908 and remained there until moved to its current location on Naches Avenue, south of Yakima Avenue. The statue was erected in memory of the fallen of Company E, I Washington U.S. Voluntary Infantry, 1898-1899. Weisenberger, former mayor of Whatcom, commanded the First Battalion, including Company E from North Yakima. Photo courtesy of Yakima Valley Regional Library.
4 8 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
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r HO Find you www. St. Elizabeth Hospital is shown in this photograph, circa 1900. Photo courtesy of Yakima Valley Regional Library.
the stores and restaurants,” he wrote in “Of Men and Mountains,” an autobiographical account. “By and large the Indians would come to town on Saturday night, mingle peacefully with the whites in stores, restaurants and theaters and then melt way into the night, back to their reservation.”
Corner of S. 12th and W. Chestnut Ave.
ater was key to growth and irrigation canals were dug at a furious rate. “Irrigation is better than the rain directed from the clouds, for the water goes just where you want it to go and in such volume as it is wanted,” touted one booster in 1890. Taking water from natural streams and rivers, farmers in the Yakima region had about 120,000 acres under irrigation by the turn of the 20th century. But as early as the mid-1890s, most of the Yakima River’s smaller tributaries were dried up by late spring. During one drought just after the turn of the century, the Yakima River essentially dried up below Prosser. Thus began the ﬁrst appeals for help from the federal government,
which built the ﬁrst organized system of reservoirs in the Cascades. The venture marked one chapter in a complicated relationship between Yakima and authorities in Washington, D.C. In the late 1890s, national debate centered on whether the nation should retain the Philippines after the Spanish American War. Yakima residents, it seemed, had little patience with East Coast politicians who opposed the acquisition on grounds that it violated the Constitution. Many Yakima residents saw it differently, arguing the Constitution allowed the acquisition just as it had allowed the purchase of Alaska. On the same day those arguments were carried in the pages of the Yakima Herald, an editorial for the new year of 1899 also ran. While the language is slightly arcane, its sentiments have changed little over time. “Unbounded hope about the future is the feeling with which all classes see the close of the year. The hope is based on bountiful harvests, fair prices, increased business in all department of trade.”
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5 0 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
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A man of many talents Among the earliest settlers in the Valley, A.J. Splawn had his hand in many vocations, from cattle business to politics to writing
hough he was engaged with the business for 35 years, Andrew Jackson (A.J.) Splawn did more than herd cattle. He helped transform the political and industrial scenes of Central Washington. He and his brothers were among the earliest settlers in the Valley. Born in 1845 in Holt County, Mo., Splawn spent much of his childhood in Linn County, Ore., where the family moved after the death of his father in 1848. At age 15, he followed his brother Charles to the Klickitat Valley and eventually ended up in Yakima. In 1861, Splawn began working in the cattle business and nine years later opened a trading post in Kittitas Valley called “Robbers Roost.” He drove cattle and horses over hundreds of miles, from the Okanogan to Boise, Idaho, to Montana to Cariboo in Kamloops, British Columbia. Establishing a herd of purebred Hereford cattle in 1887, he served as president of the Washington Live Stock Association, the Paciﬁc Northwest Live Stock Association and the Cascade International Live Stock Association. His Stetson hat and gold-headed walking cane were his constant companions, and he was rarely seen without them. He was a loyal friend to Indians and was not easily intimidated. A three-day running encounter with the Indian military chief and horsemen while moving supplies by pack train from The Dallas to Canyon City, Ore., during the Paiute War proved such a claim. In 1902, Splawn went from simply being active in the livestock industry to being active in politics. He was elected to the Washington Legislature as state senator and ran unsuccessfully for governor as a Democrat in 1908. He also became the ﬁrst mayor of North Yakima under the commission form of government, serving from 1911 to 1914. In the early 1900s, he became active in the Tieton Water Users’ Association and served as its ﬁrst president. He also worked with local businessmen to ﬁnance construction of Yakima’s trolley system. As if he didn’t have enough accomplishments, Splawn was an author, too. He wrote “Ka-Mi-Akan, the Last Hero of the Yakimas,” which chronicles much of Yakima Valley’s early history. Splawn died in 1917 at age 72 from a disease he caught from a parrot in a pet store, but his legacy remains within the history of this Valley.
Andrew Jackson Splawn
— Colleen Fontana Annual 2010
YAKKI IMMAA —— TTHHEE BBEEGGI INNNNI INNGG | | 5 1 YA
The forgotten move Years after signing the Treaty of 1855, the Yakama Indians again found themselves uprooted by development and the railroad
An Indian encampment near the Yakima fairgrounds in 1900.
5 2 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
By Phil Ferolito
he story of Yakima’s beginning was told with great pride among the people who settled here. They viewed the new city as the harbinger of great progress and unknown possibilities.
A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
Not so for the Yakama Nation. The railroad’s arrival in Central Washington occurred 30 years after tribal leaders signed the 1855 Treaty with the U.S. government and reluctantly agreed to relocate their families and children to the Yakama reservation.
There are few tribal elders left who carry the oral history of how the Yakamas felt about the city’s incorporation or how they interacted with its inhabitants. But the histories that remain are infused with sadness.
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 5 3
W.D. Rogers of Minnesota buys horses on the Yakama Indian Reservation in this undated photo.
The growing numbers of white settlers in the late 1880s not only breached the reservation boundaries, but the Indian way of life. Tribal leaders watched the settlement of Yakima City — now Union Gap — uproot a tribal cemetery, ancient fishing sites and a village that once occupied the entire Upper Valley, says Yakama elder Russell Jim. “Union Gap was a significant campsite area and there were a lot of fish coming up the Ahtanum — it was a great place to stay,” he says. “This whole area was very significant, clear up to the Wenatchee area.” The home of Chief Kamiakin’s father-in-law, Sluskin We-ow-wicht — considered a great chief — once stood where the Central Washington fairgrounds now sit. In recent years, the tribe has had 5 4 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
success protecting cultural remnants in areas outside the reservation. But back in the 19th century, dealing with white governments was a different story. “They seemed to think that we were powerless, and I guess at the time we were,” Jim says. By the time North Yakima was incorporated in 1885, most Yakamas were confined to the reservation in the Lower Valley. As more newcomers settled, North Yakima became a major retail and trading hub that lured tribal members. Many merchants learned a form of the tribal language that allowed them to trade with the Yakamas. “Everybody was speaking with Chinook jargon, and all the merchants knew it and that’s how they spoke to Yakamas,” says tribal elder Virginia Beavert. Meanwhile on the reservation,
Two Indians ride horseback on Yakima Avenue about 1905.
tribal leaders were grappling with federal laws that carved up the reservation into specific parcels that were given to each tribal member. Some of those lands eventually fell into the hands of non-Indians. Tribal members interested in farming embraced the idea of having their own land while members holding to their
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YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 5 5
Photo taken in the early 1900s. Current location of The Little Soapmaker, Inc.
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traditions opposed it, according to “The Yakima,” a history book by the late Helen Schuster. By the 1870s, the tribe boasted more than 3,000 acres in production, about 12,000 horses and 1,400 head of cattle worth $195,000. Some tribal members began embracing Christianity, while many more held on to their traditional religion. It was a recipe for resentment between those embracing change and those opposing it. Historic photos show tribal members boarding the train from reservation towns like Toppenish bound for North Yakima. Other photos show tribal members and their children laboring in Moxee’s hop fields with teepees set up nearby. “All tribes were exploited in the fields,” says John Baule, director of the Yakima Valley Museum. “There was a lot of bringing people in, Indians from western Montana. Then they were marched back to the trains. There was no encouragement for them to stay.” Indians were lured to farm work by the prospect of earning wages during a time when their reliance upon their traditional way of life was dwindling, says Yakama General Council Vice Chairwoman Mavis Kindness. Still other tribal members held on to hunting, fishing and gathering natural foods as their mainstay. In 1913, a prominent Indian chief, We-yal-lup Wa-ya-cika, through a translator, wrote a petition to government officials, fighting for the tribe’s water rights. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation had been
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taking water from the Ahtanum while also charging Wa-ya-cika and other Indians for the water they used. “When the treaty was signed the law was established that the land and water was given us. The law was satisﬁed. We were satisﬁed. This law is still there, but it is not regarded by the white man. I have not forgotten this law, but my people are passing away. I am grieved that the white man has not kept his word. When an Indian lies, Me-yay-wah (God) is angry. When the white man lies his God is not ashamed ...” “I look at this ditch as alive today. It is mine; as God gave me water for my land. Now the Reclamation men steal my water and I want to see why I must pay for water which is mine. When they made the new canal, they took my old ditch. They rob me. I have nothing, but I own the water ... I have no money to pay for this water. “I want no lies in this letter. You write it good and send it Washington, D.C. I can get no justice here. I want the high ofﬁcials to know how we are treated and robbed. I want to hear from them. This is all.” Wa-ya-cika died two years later, having received no answer.
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YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 5 7
Ranch horses stand on Edison Street in downtown Sunnyside in a photo taken about 1908.
A tale of two beginnings Sunnyside — ‘The Holy City’ — took off once irrigation came to the Valley
5 8 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
By Ross Courtney
unnyside has two beginnings, really. Like many of the communities in the Valley, Yakima County’s second-largest city traces its earliest days to the arrival of irrigation. Engineer Walter N. Granger, working for the Northern Pacific Railroad, began work in 1891 on a canal that would deliver water to the Lower Valley’s unclaimed sagebrush.
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Within three years, water reached present-day Sunnyside. Granger convinced the company to purchase and plat the townsite. He proposed naming the community Mayhew, but entrepreneur William H. Cline preferred Sunnyside and promised to set up the town’s first store if the name was changed. The isolated town grew for a few years at the turn of the 19th century, in spite of being separated from the nearest rail stop in Mabton by an unbridged Yakima River. The infant city included a three-story hotel with business cards that boasted owning the only bathtub in town. However, the Depression that gripped the nation in the late 1800s caught up with farm communities Stores closed, residents moved away and the Philadelphia Securities Co., which held the mortgage to the townsite, foreclosed. The first beginning ended just as it got started. Then, in 1898, three Midwest churchgoing men formed the Christian Cooperative Colony with the goal of creating a haven for God-fearing, moral families in the West. They picked Sunnyside, which had been visited by one of the men, Harvey M. Lichty, a devout Progressive Brethren. The men purchased the bankrupt townsite and drafted ordinances that mandated piety. Anybody caught gambling, drinking alcohol or engaging in prostitution had to forfeit property back to the cooperative. Alcohol remained 6 0 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
Picture is an undated photograph of the construction of a diversion flume and temporary check basin for the Sunnyside canal at the Outlook pumping plant.
illegal until 1933. Pioneers from the Midwest were recruited to a land of “Ideal Homes, Schools and Churches” with “no saloons, no blizzards, no pear
blight,” according to a promotional flier from the times. Nicknamed by outsiders “The Holy City,” Sunnyside incorporated in 1902.
From hops to apples Fred E. Thompson was among the first to branch out into tree fruits, and helped nurture an industry that continues today
he hop business was good to his father, so Fred E. Thompson decided it would be good to him, too. But the son didn’t stop with hop vines, which his father ﬁrst started cultivating on the coast near Tacoma. In 1888, he bought land in the Yakima Valley and planted 10 acres of peaches, apples and pears, many of them new to the region, such as the D’Anjou pear and the Rome apple. Thompson caught the tree-fruit bug. By 1906, he had 160 acres of orchards in the Parker area and had formed the Thompson Fruit Co. A shrewd businessman, Thompson bought interests in other upstart fruit companies and developed a knack for marketing. He was also one of the ﬁrst on Yakima’s “Fruit Row.” About 1893, Thompson Fruit shipped by train the ﬁrst carload of fruit ever sent from the Yakima Valley across the Mississippi River. About 25 years later, Thompson was up to 155 carloads of fruit and employed 225 workers during harvest. Thompson, born in Tacoma, was a true “westerner,” according to “History of the Yakima Valley,” a book that was published in 1919 and contains biographical sketches of leading citizens written in the self-congratulatory style of the time. “Actuated in all that he does by a progressive spirit, he is constantly reaching out along broadening lines that result to the beneﬁt and upbuilding of the community as well as to the advancement of his individual success,” Thompson’s biography says. He and his wife, Veola, had a daughter, Hazel, who became an assistant superintendent of Yakima schools.
Fred E. Thompson
— Leah Beth Ward
YAKKI IMMAA —— TTHHEE BBEEGGI INNNNI INNGG | | 6 1 YA
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Years ago, your membership supported the TACOY Club, HI-Y and Glee Club, local programs to benefit youth. Today, it’s ASPIRE, Midnight Madness & Saturday Night Live. Your membership still benefits you and young people in our community. It’s a good reason to join your YMCA. Help us write a new chapter in Yakima history.
A group of Yakima businessmen is shown in this undated photograph.
Scenes from the past
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For more information please contact: Yakima County Horticultural Pest & Disease Board 105 South 18th Street, Suite 103 Yakima, WA 98901 (509) 952-1737
An undated photo of an Indian teepee.
6 2 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
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This photograph, taken circa 1901, shows Yakima Avenue , facing east, from Front Street.
The Toppenish train depot in 1909. Annual 2010
Representative Norm Johnson
Senator Curtis King
Representative Charles Ross
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 6 3
Sales & service The Ditter family was known for retail stores, entrepreneurial efforts
The Ditter Brothers clothing store on East Yakima Avenue is shown in the 1920s. 6 4 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
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The Ditter Brothers float in the 1913 Apple Blossom Festival parade.
Strategically located next to one of the city’s oldest banks, First National, the dry goods store occupied the site now where the Larson Building now stands. In 1893, Ditter handed the business — one of many rolled up on wheels, courtesy of the Northern Paciﬁc Railroad — over to his two sons, Phil and Joe, who renamed it Ditter Brothers. Later they would build a brand new store at 209 E. Yakima Ave. By all accounts, Phil and Joe Ditter Annual 2010
magine renting a retail space for $50 a month. That’s what pioneer retailer Henry Ditter did in 1888, deciding a store in North Yakima had more of a future than one in Yakima City, which later became Union Gap.
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102 South Naches Avenue Yakima, WA 98901
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Triumph Treatment Services was the first Community Alcohol Center in Yakima County, established in 1961, doing information and referral for alcoholics. We became the Community Drug and Alcohol Center in 1983, and Triumph Treatment Services in 1990. We now do: • Outpatient and Residential Treatment for Men and Women • Assessments • Have Family Resources • Housing A variety of funding is available.
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The Ditter Brothers store is shown circa 1904. The business was moved from Yakima City to North Yakima in 1888.
were compassionate, religious men who cared as much about their community as they did about making a buck. Staunch Catholics, the Ditters donated property in Moxee City for St. Joseph Church and later gave the church its main altar and a stained-glass window, which the brothers dedicated to their parents. They both learned to speak with Indians in their native tongue, which broadened their customer base. Like many leading businessmen of the day, the Ditters got involved in service clubs. Phil was one of the founders of Associated Charities and became a charter member of Rotary. Joe was one of the original Lions Club members and both belonged to the Elks as well as the Yakima Country Club. The Ditters found time for fun, too. In 1908, they bought Franklin cars, the ﬁrst air-cooled vehicles at the time. But since neither knew how to drive, they were chauffeured until they learned. Bernadine Bittner, Phil Ditter’s daughter, recalled in 1975 that a big outing was a drive to the hill at the edge of town, at 16th and Yakima avenues. “By the time we had driven to there and back, it was quite a day!” — Leah Beth Ward Annual 2010
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1972-1998 Henry Ditter
Faces behind the places
Family operated Since 1948 The Miner
faMily knows, The growTh and success of Miner’s has been due To The faiThful and Tireless efforTs of iTs eMployees and of course, To The Many Thousands of loyal cusToMers.
Opening Day April, 1948
Thank You Yakima, for 62 Great Years! YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 6 7
An undated photo of the Washington Hotel.
Photo courtesy of Gerry McGree
Building blocks Patrick Mullins — and his money — helped start a construction boom
hen Patrick Mullins moved to Yakima in 1903, he came with a reputation and a pocketful of money. Known as “Honest Pat,” Mullins was born in Michigan, made his money in Montana and spent it in North Yakima, where he was credited with starting a building boom.
Faces behind the places Patrick Mullins
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Mullins, who was orphaned as a boy, married his wife, Nellie, and moved near Butte, Mont., at age 19. Shortly after his arrival, he became involved in the mining industry and served two years as Butte’s mayor — a stint that included meeting President Theodore Roosevelt, who went there on a visit. He was later awarded a $250,000 settlement stemming from a $1 million lawsuit in which he claimed he was cheated on a property sale. With that money, Mullins moved to Yakima, where many of his descendants
still reside. Although he could neither read nor write, he was a respected man who kept all his business interests in his head. Nellie Mullins, who was literate, was also said to have helped her husband in his business dealings. Mullins built ﬁve buildings within 10 years, including some on Second, Chestnut and Front streets. Three of the most notable buildings were the Washington, Montana and Michigan hotels. The site of the Montana Hotel is now occupied by North Town Coffeehouse at 128 N. First St., while the Washington and Michigan hotels were demolished years ago. The former was at the northwest corner of Yakima Avenue and First Street and the latter, now a parking lot, was at the intersection of Chestnut Avenue and First Street. Mullins also helped improve the mining district near Bumping Lake, and he developed a 200-acre ranch in Selah. In his obituary, Mullins was described as a fair and courageous man, whose honesty and integrity were never questioned. He and Nellie had three sons — John, Frank and George, who grew to be a real estate agent, a hotel manager and an attorney, respectively. The family was active in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Mullins died from diabetes in 1916 at age 58. — Erin Snelgrove
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 6 9
Members of the Lanterman family pose during a picnic, circa 1910, at the Central Washington State Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy of Yakima Valley Regional Library.
The gathering place Still a large draw today, the state fair was a major attraction in early years
orse racing, A.J. Splawn’s famed Hereford steers, and a 100-foot table piled high with jars of fruit, preserves and samples of ore. Local business leaders and farmers hosted Washington’s first state fair in 1894 after more than a year of planning. Hundreds of fairgoers from all over the state traveled by train to get to the fairgrounds — the current site of State Fair Park. Gov. John McGraw was unable to attend the Sept. 24 inaugural event, but a parade was held, led by the 26piece Dayton Knights of Pythias band. Yakima’s debut went off fairly smoothly, though the barbecue and Indian horse races were postponed so as not to interfere with hop-picking season. “The concessions are filled with the usual fakes headed by that latest and most artistic fake of all, the girls who (do not) give you the famous dance du 7 0 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
Cars are parked in front of the Agriculture Building at the Central Washington State Fairgrounds in an undated photo from the early 20th century. Photo courtesy of the Central Washington State Fair.
71 Balloons at the Central Washington State Fairgrounds in 1910. Photo courtesy of the Central Washington State Fair.
vetre. After these are egg throwing devices, merry-go-rounds and lunch counters galore ...,” the Yakima Herald reported. “Watch us in 1895.” Community leaders had lobbied the state to purchase a 120-acre parcel from Silas A. Gibson for the Washington State Fair, beating out King, Thurston and Spokane counties. For $10,000, the land came with an ice house, 25 acres of alfalfa and a racetrack. Much of the energy — and money — collected by the fair commission was focused on building a new racing track, one designed to match the “celebrated speed track at Cleveland, Ohio, which is one of the fastest in the United States,” the Herald announced March 29, 1894. The ﬁrst fair opened with an exhibit hall, 100 horse stalls, a grandstand and a judges’ stand that was three stories high. Fair organizers struggled a bit with ﬁnances at ﬁrst, mainly because the Legislature didn’t
provide enough money. But by the late 1890s, horse racing, coyote hunts, Indian war dances and vaudeville entertainment had turned the state fair into a must-see annual event. Hotel rooms were full beyond capacity, so some visitors rented rooms in people’s homes. There were baby contests — with a $10 dress pattern awarded to the best-looking child under age 2
War dancers of the Yakama Nation at the fairgrounds in 1903. Photo courtesy of Yakima Valley Regional Library.
— dancing girls, a boa constrictor show and ostrich races. One year, a man was buried under 6 feet of sod for ﬁve days, supposedly hypnotized while lying underground. Then there were the two men from Olympia and San Francisco who amazed the crowd by rising in their giant balloon, coming down by parachute. Admission was 25 cents. Buggies, wagons and saddle horses cost extra: 25 cents each. In one historical account, Splawn, one of the fair commissioners, was so determined to put on a ﬁrst-rate show that he bought an entire herd of prize cattle from Oregon and had it shipped by fast freight train, in time for the second day of the fair. In 1911, ﬁrst day attendance was 15,000 people. Four years later, the directors of Yakima’s trolley system began offering transportation from downtown to the fairgrounds. In later years, of course, ﬁreworks became the big draw. Given the new popularity of the car, there was also something called an auto YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 7 1
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Auto racing in the early 20th century at the Central Washington State Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy of the Central Washington State Fair.
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polo game, where automobiles with huge hoops over their hoods batted a big ball around. The 1930s brought disappointment — and change. After the stock market crash in 1929, the Legislature withheld funds for the state fair. And even after it was resumed in 1932, the event wasn’t drawing big crowds anymore. The Legislature abolished it in 1939. Local residents, however, weren’t about to let the fair die. A group of more than 40 people representing agriculture, livestock breeding, business, the Granges and 4-H clubs came together to organize a fair that same year, in late September. Its new name: the Central Washington Fair.
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Zillah: A city by any name
An undated photo of the Civilian Conservation Corps’ Camp Zillah. 74 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
f you believe one legend, the city of Zillah was born from a spoiled girl’s tantrum. By 1892, the city was platted by Walter Granger, engineer of what later became the Sunnyside Canal, at the behest of the Northern Pacific Railroad Co. Shortly after that, the town was named after Zillah Oakes, the daughter of the company president, Thomas Oakes. Here’s one theory about why, according to a local history book named “Zillah: Looking Back.” Traveling from the infant town to Toppenish, the Oakes’ family buggy tipped while fording the Yakima River. To pacify his panicky and pouty daughter, the railway president promised to name the town after her. By 1900, shortly after the irrigation water arrived, the city was surrounded by orchards and populated by well-to-do families in cottages with green lawns, large barns and “an occasional veritable mansion,” according to “History of Yakima Valley.” The Washington Irrigation Company,
Watermelons were planted between the fruit trees in this orchard in Zillah. The yield was 175 tons, which sold for $10 per ton. The photograph was taken in 1910.
under the direction of Granger, used the city as the location for its company headquarters. The ﬁrst school started in 1894, and the ﬁrst church was built in 1901. A weekly newspaper started publishing in 1910. The city incorporated on Jan. 3, 1911, shortly after a railroad linked it to North Yakima. One of Zillah’s early highlights was the fabricated “gold rush” of 1931. As told by longtime residents who remember it, a local prankster named Justus Thomas stole a couple gold nuggets from a neighbor, then made up a story that he “discovered” them in the Rattlesnake Hills north of town. Townspeople in scores rushed to stake claims. The ruse ended after about three days when people overheard Thomas discussing his joke. Thomas later became the managing editor of the Yakima Morning Herald and the editorial page editor of the afternoon Yakima Republic.
ABOVE: The William and Reinsek Oord family in Zillah in 1911. LEFT: The Christian Church in Zillah, shown here circa 1915, was built in 1901.
— Ross Courtney Annual 2010
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 7 5
A parade is shown in this photo from Yakimaâ€™s Golden Jubilee celebration in 1935. 7 6 | YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G
Men grew beards as part of the celebration of Yakima’s Diamond Jubilee. Those growing beards included, from left, Marvin K. Powell, Ernest T. Noel, Gene Cady, Haskell Hutton, Tom Durrett, Don Dwinell and Red Heneghen. The photo was taken June 24, 1960.
Parties for the ages Jubilees have long been a big part of Yakima’s history (and there’s another one coming up this year) A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
By Jane Gargas
arades — stretching for miles. Pageantry — plumed hats, pioneer dresses, parasols and petticoats. Performances — casts of hundreds, hand-sewn period costumes, historical scripts. There was nothing quite like a Yakima Jubilee. Every 25 years, beginning in 1910, the entire town of Yakima put on the dog (or at least old-time clothing) to celebrate Yakima’s official founding. During jubilees, people commemorated the town’s January 1885 origin with speeches, parades, dramas, beard-growing contests and queen coronations. Following 1910’s Silver Jubilee came the Golden in 1935, the Diamond in 1960
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and the Centennial in 1985. “All the jubilees did their own thing, and they were all pretty prominent,” says John Baule, Yakima Valley Museum director. Prominent, yes, but there’s slight disagreement over which one was the jubilee to end all jubilees. Memories have faded a bit on the Silver; it was, after all, 100 years ago. But both the 1935 and 1960 celebrations have their advocates, as viewed through historical perspective. Baule thinks the 1935 extravaganza couldn’t be topped. “People absolutely packed the downtown,” he explains, judging from ﬁlms. But Joe Mann, a member of the Sunfair Parade board, is certain the 1960 Jubilee was the one to beat, from stories he’s heard. “There was a committee of 100 people planning the 1960 one,” he says. No doubt the coldest, the Silver Jubilee was celebrated Jan. 15, 1910, with a rather modest parade from Third Street and Yakima Avenue to the railroad depot on Front Street, where a brass band played. A program on the history of the Valley lasted several hours, followed by entertainment and dancing (a quadrille). The 1935 celebration was a much more lavish affair. “Frontier Days,” as that jubilee was called, drew tens of thousands of observers for daily parades May 17, 18 and 19, each stretching ﬁve miles down Yakima Avenue. Leon Rightmire was 9 years old when he Annual 2010
stood along the 1935 parade route with his mother, Anna, as horse- and oxen-drawn wagons, stage coaches, covered wagons and horseback riders — even ﬂoats that looked like wooden sheds — rambled past. “We were out there a long time,” Rightmire recalls. But it was exciting, he says. His father, Leon Sr., who was one of four jubilee organizers, rode his horse all the way in from a ranch in Cowiche to participate in the parade. Subsequent events took place at the fairgrounds, where Yakama Chief Jobe Charley made Leon Sr. an honorary chief. One bit of jubilee lore revolved around J. Hugh King, fairground manager. “I can’t swear to it,” Rightmire admits, “but it was reported that Hugh King rode his horse into the lobby of the Commercial Hotel (on Yakima Avenue) during the jubilee.” The eight-day 1960 Diamond Jubilee was no wallﬂower. Five parades over ﬁve days in June thrilled 25,000 spectators. People dressed in pioneer garb, even children at school. Perhaps most spectacularly, the Span-A-Rama production involved a cast of nearly 800 who performed the history of Yakima. Beard-growing contests, fashion shows and the burying of a historic vault under a sidewalk at City Hall were highlights, as was Lee Miner, of Miner’s Drive-In Restaurant, sporting his grandfather’s beaver top hat. Yakima’s most recent jubilee, over several days in June 1985, began with “Our Heritage on the Move” centennial parade. A tribute to the founders of North Yakima followed at the fairgrounds, featuring demonstrations on blacksmithing and goat milking, with a carnival and ﬁreworks capping off the ﬁrst 100 years of Yakima.
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Planning’s under way for 2010 party
appy quasquicentennial! A mouthful, yes, but it’s just another way of celebrating Yakima’s birthday, 125 years
later. This year’s jubilee is still in the planning stages, but so far several prominent events are scheduled. The first is “Yakima’s Anniversary Celebrations,” an exhibit at the Yakima Valley Museum running now through the end of the year. A video of the 1935 Jubilee parade plays continuously in the lobby. Memorabilia, such as commemorative buttons, wooden and gold coins, plates, programs, mugs, caps and Frisbees, all created for a past jubilee, fill a display case. The next planned event will take place during the Sunfair Parade in September, says Joe Mann, a member of the parade board. “We’re going to make it a special heritage parade in commemoration of 125 years,” he explains, adding that an award will be given for the best pioneer-themed entry. A lasting commemoration also is being devised for later this year, says John Baule, Yakima Valley Museum director. “The Light Project (a collaboration among nine local arts organizations) is discussing something that would be a permanent recognition of the founding,” Baule explains. That might include installing a fountain or other structure at the museum or at Allied Arts. Finally, at the end of the year, Yakima’s grand old age will be recognized at the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which will be dedicated to the anniversary of the city’s founding.
— Jane Gargas 18.824193.ANN.L
A n n u a l 2 0 1 0
YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G | 8 1
An active voice Straight-talking publisher W.W. Robertson wasn’t one to sit idly on the sidelines W.W. “The Colonel” Robertson
ilbur Wade Robertson was one of those characters you see in period movies and chalk up to poetic license and exaggeration — larger than life not only in accomplishment but in personality. He was a cigar-chomping, straight-talking activist publisher from the old school, a staunch conservative known statewide for the boldness — and, occasionally, vitriol — of his editorials. The Federal Writers Project 1941 history book “Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State” describes him posthumously as “one of the most picturesque ﬁgures in Washington journalism.” In 1898, when a 31-year-old W.W. Robertson arrived in what was then North Yakima, he was practically a kid. He’d been raised in Nebraska by pioneer teacher parents and had left the University of Nebraska within months of graduation to go to work. According to legend, he slept on a pool table in a saloon that ﬁrst night because he couldn’t get a room. True or not, he rose the next day and promptly bought one of Yakima’s two weekly papers, The Republic. The man knew how to make an impression. Twelve years later he bought the other newspaper, The Herald. He ran both papers, which became The Daily Republic and The Morning Herald, until his death in 1938, taking on the nickname “The Colonel.” “He was a frank, fearless observer, and his comments on politics and life will be greatly missed,” Gov. Clarence Martin told The Associated Press upon Robertson’s death. Robertson’s son, Ted Robertson, carried on the legacy, merging the papers and ultimately selling the Yakima Herald-Republic in 1972. — Pat Muir
8 2 | YA K I M A — T H E B E G I N N I N G
The Yakima Herald-Republic would like to thank our loyal readers for making our first 107 years a century to remember.
We couldnâ€™t have done it without you.
www.yakimaherald.com (509) 248-1251 YA K I M A â€” T H E B E G I N N I N G | 8 3
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