Wednesday, December 31, 2008

1950 President Truman Visits Wilbur

June 1950 visit by President Truman of the Inland Northwest. He visited Dry Falls State Park and Grand Coulee Dam.

Photo taken at the Wilbur depot.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Liberty Bell in Harrington

A previous posting showed a view of the Liberty Bell in Ephrata. Here is an earlier view of it at Harrington.

Monday, December 22, 2008

1890 Account of a Train Wreck on the CW

From "Lincoln County A Lasting Legacy."

Early in January 1890, Lincoln County and all of eastern Washington were assaulted by the worst snow storm in its early history. Settlers were without communication with the outside world for more than a week. Railroads were blockaded and many passengers on trains were snowbound in different towns along the Washington Central. The severity of the storm was blamed for the substantial loss of livestock.

A serious train accident on January 8 between Almira and Wilbur was attributed to the weather. The railroad track had been blocked with snow for a considerable period and a train had left Wilbur to clear the tracks. Consisting of two locomotives and three cars, the train encountered an 8 foot cut packed with solidly drifted snow. This caused both engines to jump the track, rolling over and fatally injuring the engineer and fireman.

1920 view of Almira

Friday, December 19, 2008

History of Govan

From "Lincoln County, A Lasting Legacy."


With the building of the Central Washington Railway in 1889, Govan was designated as a place on the map. The discovery of a large sandbank in the area in the autumn of 1890 created a boom-town atmosphere as a crew of workmen, complete with steam shovel, extracted sand for the railroad construction. The name is derived from R. B. Govan, a construction engineer employed by Central Washington Railroad.

Although Govan was made headquarters for the contractors Wood, Larsen & Company during the building of the railroad, the 1890 census showed the town to be inhabited by only 33 residents.

A post office was established in 1889 in Govan’s railroad depot. By 1898, the post office was moved to the general merchandise store of Almon J. Smith, who was the first officially appointed postmaster. Daily stops were make by a passenger train, and the postmaster had the additional duty of providing messenger service between the post office and the depot. Trains provided mail service to Govan until 1954 when they were replaced by trucks. Two rural routes were established in 1906, combined in 1942 and discontinued when the route was divided between Almira and Wilbur in 1967.

Govan grew from a railroad depot into a small town in 1898 when several merchants and 76 citizens lived in the community to support the main industry of grain and fruit exports.

The 1909 Directory of Lincoln County described Govan as a “village of grain shipping stations on the railway,” with a population of 115. Listed as part of the community were the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, one grain elevator and several warehouses, two general stores, two hardware stores, a drug store, saloon, hotel and public school. The State Bank of Govan was well established and the community was served by the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company.

Govan’s C.B. Monroe Cemetery was located about a half-mile west of town. Only eight graves were recorded from 1904 to 1908, but it is believed several others were also buried there. Other burials of Govan residents were either in Almira or Wilbur cemeteries. The marked graves were moved from Govan to Wilbur Cemetery in 1975.

Govan has been the scene of several unsolved murders. Reported in the December 16, 1902 issue of The Wilbur Register as the “most brutal crime ever committed in this county” was the axe murder of Judge J.A. Lewis and his wife, Penelope. The elderly Lewises kept sums of money about the house. It was believed that robbery was the motive.

A masked assassin gunned down C.S. Thennes in the Govan saloon in April 1903. Thennes, who owned a livery barn and stable, died without divulging the name of his murderer, although his wife and the bartender were confident that they recognized the man. A suspect was arrested and tried for the crime, but was never convicted.

Mrs. Lillie L. Lesnett, a former mail carrier for Govan rural Route 2, was murdered at her farm on August 29, 1941. Her son, Wes Murray, disappeared at the same time. In June 1948, a boy riding horseback about a mile south of the Lesnett home discovered a skeleton which was identified as that of the son. Mother and son evidently died about the same time, but the case was never solved.

Govan children attended several rural schools before School District 126 was established in 1903.

The Govan school was built in 1905. It was staffed by two teachers. It remained in operation until 1942 when it was consolidated with the Wilbur district.

Fires in 1904 and 1909 had destroyed individual Govan homes and businesses, but a major blaze in 1927 nearly wiped out the town's business district. Four warehouses, one grain elevator, the Northern Pacific depot, stores, the post office, the hotel, a church, homes, and three freight cars loaded with wheat were burned. That loss was estimated at $100,000.

Two warehouse buildings and a garage survived. Plans to rebuild an elevator and warehouse were made immediately after the fire. A post office was opened the morning after the fire. Many of the town’s businesses chose not to rebuild.

Until a general store could be rebuilt and a gasoline pump installed, the Dorse Bagleys sold gasoline from their private pump and did a few minor automobile repairs from their home. The town’s water supply, which had been stored in a tank atop one of the burned elevators, was replaced with a cistern built on a hill above the town.

Govan’s eventual demise was hastened in 1933 when the community was bypassed by U.S. Route 2. The only retail store remaining in business by 1940 was the Govan General Store, with the owner doubling as postmaster. Charles Fredrickson, who had the store since 1922, rebuilt after the fire of 1927 and continued in operation until 1946. Peter Luby and Jack Joplin each ran the store one year, then Herman and Helen Kessinger purchased the business in September 1947. They continued in business until the mail service was transferred to Wilbur in 1967. Kessingers store provided a few staples, canned goods, and fresh bread and milk as well as a good supply of penny candy for the children. It also served as an election polling place after the Govan school was closed.

In the fall of 1987, only six homes were occupied. Govan’s senior resident, Mariam Bagley, came to Govan with her family, the T.B. Drapers, when she was only 2 years old. She lived south of the town until 1920 when she married Dorse Bagley and moved into Govan to occupy the house where she still lives. Other Govan residents include Miriam’s son, Orville Bagley and his wife, her granddaughter Lydia and Orville Widmer, the Jim Ogle family and Jim Nelson.

Govan still remains an important grain shipping terminal for area farmers. Almira Farmers Warehouse Co. has a 308,000 bushel capacity elevator. Barley is loaded directly to rail cars for shipment, but wheat is trucked to Almira to be shipped on 20-car unit trains. There are some custom loadouts for farm storage grains.

United Grain Growers’ 480,000 bushel capacity also provides storage for some wheat trucked in from the Wheatridge station.

A crew of one or two workers dispatched from Wilbur and Almira is sufficient to handle the grain during the peak harvest season.

Current pictures here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Railway Express Agency Receipt

Found this receipt in some historical family documents.

For a time, Coulee City went by the name Coulee.

1927 Fire At Govan

Fires in 1904 and 1909 had destroyed individual Govan homes and businesses, but a major blaze in 1927 nearly wiped out the town's business district. Four warehouses, one grain elevator, the Northern Pacific depot, stores, the post office, the hotel, a church, homes, and three freight cars loaded with wheat were burned. That loss was estimated at $100,000.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

1981 Coulee City Derailment

From the "News & Standard," Coulee City, WA

August 20, 1981

"Two Burlington Northern loaded wheat cars were derailed Saturday morning at the Central Washington Grain Growers elevator in Coulee City. One of the cars tipped nearly on its side and the wheel sections were broken off. Several section of track were bent. A switching error apparently caused the mishap."

I never had the chance to see the wreckage, but I did see a few events unfold later. One was the train that left town with the wrecked cars. It was really obvious which two were in the accident.

Next thing I saw was a full section crew, the only time I ever saw one during my years at Coulee City, arrive to lift the old Coal Spur No. 2 track. My viewpoint was from the long-gone Coal Spur No. 1 track bed. One big fellow said they needed the rail to replace ruined rail where the accident had taken place.

Monday, December 15, 2008

1895 CW Branch Wreck

In August of 1895, a stock train jumped the track at Almira. One L.A. Pritz was killed instantly. Eleven cars and 250 head of cattle piled up in a space of 25 by 90 feet. The cattle were being shipped to Chicago.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Little Bit About Early Hartline

From the "Wilbur Register," Wilbur, WA.


J.W. Hartline, of the promising town of Parnell, situated about ten or twelve miles west of Davisine (Almira), was in town Tuesday to get some posters announcing a Fourth of July celebration. When the Central Washington and Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern railroads were running their surveys through western Lincoln and eastern Douglas counties, Parnell sprang up, four and one-half miles southeast of Hartline. The town had one store, but the construction of the 'Seattle' rail line was abandoned and left Parnell storeless and soon nothing remained but the same.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2008 List of Grain Elevators

From the Washington State Department of Agriculture

Licensed from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009

Only listing those in the scope of this blog and if they have or had rail service in the past.

AgVentures NW, LLC
A Odessa
C Odessa
D Odessa
E Odessa
F Irby
G Lamona
H Lauer
I Reiman
J Jantz
K Schoonover
L Packard
M Downs
MM Downs
N Mohler
NN Mohler
P Harrington
PP Harrington
PPP Harrington
Q Harrington
S Rocklyn
T Egypt
U Davenport
W Davenport
X Ephrata
Y Ephrata
Z Ephrata
AR Reardan
BR Reardan
CR Reardan
DR Reardan
ER Eleanor
FR Gravelle
GR Espanola
LR Waukon
LLR Waukon

Almira Farmers Warehouse Co.
# 179
A Almira
B Almira
C N. Almira
D S. Almira
E Govan
F Hanson
G Hartline
K Marlin
L Almira

Central Bean Co.
# 8
A Quincy
B Quincy

Central Washington Grain Growers
A Withrow
B Withrow
C Supplee
D Wilbur
DDD Wilbur
E Waterville
F Waterville
G Douglas
H Alstown
I Mansfield
J Mansfield
K Mansfield
M Almira
N Hanson
O Hartline
P Hartline
Q Hartline
R Hartline
S Coulee City
T Coulee City
TT Coulee City
UC Creston
UG Govan
V Coulee City
Z Krupp

Columbia Bean & Produce
A Wheeler
B Wheeler
C Wheeler
O Wheeler

Crites Seed Inc
A Quincy
B Quincy

Davenport Union Warehouse
A Davenport
B Davenport
C Davenport
D Mondovi
E Mondove
F Omans
I Davenport
L Davenport
M Bluestem
N Bluestem

Eppich Grain Inc.
C Othello

Farmer Bean & Seed
# 450
A Quincy
B Quincy

McKay Seed Company
# 977
A Moses Lake
B Moses Lake

Ritzville Warehouse Co
# 295
F Ralston
G Ralston
I Marcellus
OA Odessa
OE Ruff
OF Ruff
OG Ruff
OH Batum
OI Moody
U Edwall
UU Edwall
UUU Edwall

Union Elevator & Warehouse Co.
E Pizarro
F Schrag
H Schrag
J Bauer
N Bruce

Wilson Creek Union Grain & Trading Co.
A Wilson Creek
B Stratford
C Wilson Creek
D Wilson Creek
E Wye Station

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

1919 List of Grain Elevators

From the Ninth Annual Report of the Public Service Commission of Washington to The Governor

December 1, 1918 to November 30, 1919

Almira Farmers Warehouse Co.
State # 179 Almira
State # 180 Govan
State # 181 Hanson

Almira Trading Co.
State # 385 Almira
State # 386 Almira
State # 387 Almira

L.A. Bently
State # 672 Irby

Big Bend Milling Co.
State # 530 Fellows
State # 531 Davenport
State # 532 Davenport
State # 663 Omans

Bluestem Grain Co.
State # 334 Bluestem
State # 335 Bluestem
State # 599 Bluestem

Columbia River Milling Co.
State # 348 Govan
State # 519 Almira
State # 520 Govan
State # 521 Wilbur

Creston Union Grain Co.
State # 211 Creston

Davenport Grain Co.
State # 269 Davenport
State # 270 Omans

Davenport Union Warehouse Co.
State # 155 Mondovi
State # 289 Davenport
State # 290 Davenport

Josephine Ditmar
State # 738 Ditmar

Edwall Grain & Elevator Co.
State # 4 Edwall

Farmers Corporation
State # 425 Coulee City
State # 666 Coulee City

Farmers Elevator Co.
State # 736 Waterville

Farmers Independent Grain & Produce Co.
State # 580 Waukon

Farmers Union Grain Co.
State # 268 Hartline

Graingrowers Warehouse Co.
State # 384 Wilbur

Gravelle Farmers Elevator Co.
State # 791 Gravelle

Green Valley Union Warehouse Co.
State # 355 Ephrata
State # 555 Ephrata

Griffith Union Grain & Trading Co.
State # 69 Ruff
State # 596 Laing

Hartline Mill & Elevator Co.
State # 267 Hartline
State # 523 Hartline

Irby Union Warehouse Co.
State # 558 Irby
State # 559 Irby

Jantz Grain Co.
State # 750 Jantz

Krupp Union Warehouse
State # 265 Krupp

Lenhart & Co.
State # 656 Moody

MacDonald, Hale & Co.
State # 434 Quincy
State # 624 Douglas
State # 625 Mansfield
State # 626 Supplee
State # 627 Waterville
State # 628 Withrow
State # 629 Quincy
State # 630 Ephrata
State # 631 Krupp
State # 632 Othello
State # 634 Ruff
State # 635 Bruce
State # 637 Wheeler
State # 648 Quincy

Mansfield Elevator & Warehouse Co.
State # 324 Mansfield
State # 326 Touhey
State # 747 Mansfield

Marcellus Farmers Elevator Co.
State # 578 Marcellus

W.W. McCormick
State # 432 Corfu

Milwaukee Grain Elevator Co.
State # 274 Lind
State # 277 Pizzarro
State # 278 Ralston
State # 147 Supplee
State # 148 Withrow
State # 149 Mansfield
State # 144 Alstown
State # 145 Douglas
State # 146 Waterville
State # 279 Roxboro
State # 280 Schrag
State # 281 Schafer

Mohler Union Warehouse Co.
State # 487 Mohler

Jas. Muir
State # 463 Wilbur

J.M. Oakley
State # 573 Waukon

Odessa Union Warehouse Co.
State # 416 Odessa
State # 417 Odessa
State # 418 Nemo
State # 420 Lauer
State # 439 Lauer

E.L. Olwell
State # 64 Mansfield
State # 65 Coulee City

Pacific Coast Elevator Co.
State # 102 Reardan
State # 103 Mondovi
State # 104 Davenport
State # 105 Omans
State # 106 Gravelle
State # 107 Ditmar
State # 108 Rocklyn
State # 109 Creston
State # 110 Wilbur
State # 111 Govan
State # 113 Hartline
State # 116 North Pine
State # 133 Waukon
State # 135 Canby
State # 136 Bluestem
State # 137 Mohler
State # 138 Downs
State # 139 Lamona
State # 140 Irby
State # 141 Ephrata
State # 202 Hartline

Packard Farmers Warehouse Co.
State # 435 Packard
State # 561 Packard

Portland Flouring Mills
State # 5 Harrington
State # 6 Harrington
State # 571 Odessa
State # 657 Odessa

Quincy Farmers Elevator Co.
State # 397 Quincy
State # 590 Quincy

Reardan Union Grain Co.
State # 458 Reardan
State # 459 Reardan

Rocklyn Farmers Grain Co.
State # 727 Rocklyn
State # 728 Rocklyn

Ruff Farmers Warehouse Co.
State # 266 Ruff

Russell Warehouse Co.
State # 678 Harrington

W.E. Schrock
State # 589 Hanson

Seattle Grain Co.
State # 333 Edwall
State # 336 Harrington
State # 337 Mohler
State # 338 Downs
State # 339 Downs
State # 340 Lamona
State # 341 Nemo
State # 342 Odessa
State # 345 Rocklyn
State # 346 Wilbur
State # 347 Wilbur
State # 348 Govan
State # 352 Krupp
State # 353 Wilson Creek
State # 354 Wilson Creek
State # 356 Trinidad
State # 357 Trinidad
State # 358 Warden
State # 359 Hartline
State # 360 Waterville
State # 361 McCues
State # 362 Alstown
State # 365 Withrow
State # 366 Appledale
State # 371 Bruce
State # 372 Ralston
State # 519 Almira
State # 573 Shano
State # 623 Alstown
State # 633 Ralston
State # 693 Columbia River
State # 627 Waterville
State # 344 Rocklyn

Henry Sieler
State # 66 Wheeler
State # 67 Sieler

Sperry Flour Co.
State # 322 Creston

Spokane Flour Mills
State # 575 Harrington

Starbuck Warehouse Co.
State # 718 Wilbur

D.O. Tranbarger
State # 765 Corfu

Union Elevator & Warehouse Co.
State # 207 Roxboro
State # 208 Schrag
State # 209 Vassar
State # 210 Pizarro
State # 518 Ralston

W.L. Walker
State # 574 Waukon

Washington Grain & Milling Co.
State # 150 Reardan
State # 151 Reardan
State # 152 Reardan

Waterville Union Grain Co.
State # 464 Withrow
State # 465 Supplee
State # 466 Douglas
State # 467 Waterville
State # 468 Alstown

F.L. Watson
State # 142 Coulee City

Wenatchee Milling Co.
State # 643 Rock Island

Wheeler Union Trading Co.
State # 514 Sieler
State # 515 Wheeler

White-Dulaney Co.
State # 89 Arney
State # 287 Mohler
State # 419 Schoonover
State # 433 Creston
State # 436 Batum
State # 437 Jantz
State # 438 Schoonover
State # 440 Moody
State # 577 Warden
State # 672 Irby
State # 743 Lamona

Wilson Creek Union Grain & Trading Co.
State # 398 Wilson Creek

J.G. Wolfe
State # 642 Almira

Zeimantz Brothers
State # 754 Mondovi

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Centennial Mills Elevator in Coulee City

From the "Coulee City News," Coulee City, WA

February 8, 1952

Manager Raymond Fischer announced the addition of a new $190,000 Centennial Mills elevator to be in operation by July 1. Storage in the three new upright steel bins would increase the storage capacity by approximately 110,000 bushels. A jackbin was being torn down to make room.

The three steel bins are the lighter colored ones just right of center.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Family History Story from the Coulee City Area

Excerpt from "Memoirs of Mary E. Higginbotham McCann"

From "The Gold Historian."

March/April 1984

"...The old stagecoach road across the state out of Spokane and west, was the Sunset Highway, which went northwest from Wilbur and followed the coulee to Coulee City. Pioneers traveled this road to Waterville. A branch of the Northern Pacific was built in Central Washington in the winter of 1889 and 1890 and towns were then started.

"Hartline was named for Johnnie Hartline, who owned land there; Almira was originally called 'Davicine' for a family named Davis, who were the first merchants. It was later named for Mrs. Davis--Almira. Coulee City was called Coulee Crossing, the only place in 50 mile where the coulee could be crossed. It was also called MacEntee, for the first stockman who owned a lot of cattle and lived east of town.

"When the railroad came and the town name was voted on there were three names: MacEntee, Three Springs and Coulee City. Frank McCann and my uncle graded Main Street in Coulee City. The first time I was in Coulee City was 1889. My sister and I walked 3 miles to the home of John Henry Smith and stayed all night, going with then to Coulee City for the 4th of July celebration. All of Chief Moses' tribe of Indians were there and a barbeque was held in the grove east of town near MacEntee. There was even a dance pavilion. Indians were quite a sight, as there had been an Indian scare the year before. Moses' Tribe was on the warpath, but Moses quieted them because he wanted peace. The whites got Moses and his two wives to sit upon a platform, where they were given ice cream. Chief Moses was a handsome man in his full buckskin suit trimmed in fringe and beads.

"There was also horse racing and lots of dust from the horses' hooves. The land was all cattle and horse country back then. We got back to the Smith's that night and walked home the next day, arriving by noon. It was a Fourth of July never to be forgotten by me, and 11 year old.

"After the towns sprang up, there were 500 people here and two railroad companies building roads. (Their marks can still be seen today out west of town.) They were close enough to throw dirt in each other's way. Finally each company decided not to build to Bridgeport and most of the population left and this became the end of the Central Washington branch of the Northern Pacific. Coulee City was a thriving town, with three stages leaving from there daily..."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Former C W Officials Are Now Elsewhere

From the "Coulee City News," Coulee City, WA

Friday July 24, 1891

A letter from J.C. Patterson, formerly engineer in charge of the C.W., informs us that he is located at Montesano, in charge of the Grays Harbor branch. He also states that 'Pink' is in the employment of the land department, located in Oregon, Dick Patterson is employed in the G.N. office in St. Paul. Mr and Mrs McCreary have moved to their new house in Seattle.