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Cyberpedias & Features

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Garfield County -- Thumbnail History

Garfield County, located in southeastern Washington, had a population in 2000 of 2,397, making it the least populated of Washington's 39 counties. Its largest town (and county seat), Pomeroy, recorded a population of 1,517 in the 2000 Census. Agriculture has long dominated Garfield County's economy with farms occupying two-thirds of the land in the county. Wheat has long been the dominant crop, though other grains such as barley also are grown. At 710.5 square miles, Garfield County is the seventh-smallest county in the state. It is bordered by Columbia County to the west, Asotin County to the east, and the Snake River to the north, with the Snake River Canyon in places descending well over 1,000 feet to the river. The Oregon state line marks Garfield County's southern border. The northern part of the county is a fertile plain; farther south elevations rise to the Blue Mountains near the Oregon state line.

File 7728: Full Text >


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The Mayview Tramway, conveyor of wheat down canyon to the Snake River, begins operation in 1890.

In 1890, the Mayview Tramway, located in northeastern Garfield County, begins operation. For more than 50 years it will haul millions of pounds of grain from a point on top of the Snake River Canyon 1,800 feet down to warehouses at the bottom of the canyon on the river. The tram is located about one mile northeast of the town of Mayview. This rail tramway is not the only method used to transport grain from the top to the bottom of the canyon in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but it proves to be one of the more sophisticated and successful methods used.

File 7917: Full Text >

The steamer Annie Faxon explodes on the Snake River, killing eight people on August 14, 1893.

On August 14, 1893, the steamer Annie Faxon explodes on the Snake River as she comes in for a landing at Wade’s Bar in Garfield County. Eight people are killed and at least another 11 are injured.

File 7722: Full Text >

Fire destroys nearly half the business district of downtown Pomeroy on July 18, 1900.

On July 18, 1900, an accidental fire starts in a saloon in downtown Pomeroy and destroys nearly half the business district. Four people are overcome by heat while fighting the fire, and several others sustain minor injuries, but no fatalities are reported. Damages are reported to be at least $135,800. Pomeroy is located in Garfield County in southeastern Washington at the center of an agricultural region growing mainly wheat.

File 7694: Full Text >

Pomeroy voters outlaw the sale of liquor on November 5, 1912.

On November 5, 1912, the town of Pomeroy (Garfield County) outlaws the sale and manufacture of liquor by a state local-option statute then in effect. Bootlegging quickly becomes rife in the town. Garfield County historian Elgin Kuykendall (1870-1958) is Pomeroy City Attorney at the time and takes a lead role in fighting bootlegging and insuring that local bootleggers get their just deserts.

File 7828: Full Text >

The new Seeley Theatre in Pomeroy opens on November 24, 1913.

On November 24, 1913, in the little town of Pomeroy in Southeastern Washington, the Seeley Theatre opens at 67 - 7th Street. This new Seeley -- a three-and-a-half story brick structure -- replaces the original Seeley Theatre, a turn-of-the-century woodframe building located at the corner of 7th and Columbia. The new Seeley seats 713 patrons.

File 5166: Full Text >

Initial phase of the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River is completed on February 15, 1975.

On February 15, 1975, the initial phase of the Lower Granite Dam is completed and water is allowed to begin filling Lower Granite Lake above the dam. The dam is the final dam of a series of four dams built in the Lower Snake River Project, but the controversy about the damming of the Lower Snake River has since continued. Lower Granite Dam is located approximately 15 miles northeast of Pomeroy in Garfield County.

File 7715: Full Text >

School Fire burns nearly 52,000 acres in the Blue Mountains beginning on August 5, 2005.

Between August 5 and August 19, 2005, a wildfire burns nearly 52,000 acres of terrain in central Columbia and Garfield counties in the Blue Mountains. More than 100 homes and another 100 outbuildings are destroyed; costs to fight the fire eventually exceed $15 million. No deaths are reported, though at least one firefighter is injured seriously enough to be treated at an area hospital. The School Fire is the largest fire reported in the lower 48 states during the summer of 2005. The fire’s origin is traced to a dead pine tree falling over power lines, causing the lines to arc and send sparks to the ground, which ignites dry grass.

File 7685: Full Text >

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