Friday, February 23, 2024

Warden's Industrial Development

Guest post by William Russ.

Here's 3 aerials of the town of Warden taken within the span of about 11 years. 

In 1953 there was little more than a grain elevator adjacent to the main line. The Milwaukee saw the potential for agricultural traffic resulting from big increases in arable land made possible by the Columbia Basin Project.

Construction of Grand Coulee Dam began in 1933 and was completed in 1942. Its main purpose of pumping water for irrigation was postponed during WWII in favor of electrical power generation needed for the war effort. After the war these irrigation projects proceeded with fits and starts but in 1954 the East Low Canal was finished. As a result of the project, the population of Warden grew from 322 in 1950 to 949 in 1960. 

The Port of Warden was also established in 1960 after voters approved its formation.
It seems there was little more development after 1964. I have a 1969 aerial but the only change I see is the old grain elevator is gone. Warden fell into decline in the 1970s and that trend continued after the railroad shutdown. It was not until the mid 1980s and after considerable new investment did Warden’s fortunes brighten.