Good Old Days: February 6, 2020


February 6, 2020

125 years ago

The Commoner

Feb. 8, 1895

C. H. Erwin received a telegram Wednesday from the Nebraska State Relief committee at Lincoln, that a carload of provisions could be used acceptably at Kearney, and Mayor Lewis has received the same information from a letter from that section. It has, therefore, been decided to make an effort to secure another car of provisions at this point. The telegram suggested it was not worth while to ship potatoes at present, as they are sure to freeze. Hence it seems best to fill the next car with wheat, flour, bacon and clothing or anything else in that line which will not freeze, and arrange for a car of potatoes later in the season. Those desiring to contribute to the car to be shipped next week will leave word at Harry Cornwell’s office or give their names to I. B. Harris, L. T. Bragg or Mayor Lewis.

Considerable wheat and flour was subscribed for the former car that could not be shipped and this it is thought will be given at this time.

All who can should respond generously, as the Nebraska people are practically, many of them, without food or comfortable clothes.


Prof. Read and W. B. Hargrave are at work on a comic opera which it is predicted by those who have been afforded a glimpse of the words and music will take high rank and give its authors an enviable reputation. Unlike the majority of such operas there is a strong plot which is well worked out and in the opinion of good judges will be very taking. The libretto which is from the pen of Mr. Hargrave is nearly completed. The music is not so far advanced, but Prof. Read hopes to be able to complete it in the next month or so. For a proper presentation, the opera will require over 100 persons, and its authors contemplate bringing it out in one of the larger cities of the country, San Francisco, perhaps. Those who heard the anthem composed by these gentlemen sung at the Congregational church last Sunday evening, will not be surprised if their more ambitious work shall give them a national reputation.

100 years ago

The Colfax Commoner

Feb. 6, 1920

The new city pump has been installed and it is now at work furnishing the people of this city with water for domestic purposes. The big pump was put into operation this week and it met the test of pumping 500 gallons of water a minute with ease. The water is forced through a six inch pipe, running from the pumping house to the top of the hill, a distance of 220 feet.

The pump was purchased from the A. C. Cameron Company of New York City last June and it arrived at Colfax two months ago. A delay was cause in installing the plant, owing to the difficulty of securing the necessary attaching pipes and some of these fittings have not yet been received.

Fred Dirr, the water superintendent, installed the pump during the snowy weather, working inside when it was impossible to do any outside work. The cost of installing the big pump would have cost at least $200 had an outside mechanic been employed.


The farmers of Washington, Oregon and Idaho are forming a wheat growers association, the object of which is to market their grain on the co-operative plan. The men back of the association have given many months of their time working out a feasible plan for co-operative marketing and this plan promises to save the growers many thousands of dollars in profits each year.

The plan is to eliminate the grain speculators and to sell the farmers grain by experts of the association to the world markets of trade. It is one of the greatest movements that has ever been launched by the farmers and the organization committee is composed of some of the best known farmers living in the eastern part of the state. The plan is based on the co-operative plan of marketing produce which has been in force in California for the last few years and which is said to be the most successful co-operative selling agency in the world.

The announcement of the association is carried in this week’s issue and it should be read by every farmer who is interested in this plan of marketing grain. Under the co-operative plan there will be no profits made by the association but the organization plans on making money for the members. Wheat will be placed on the market just enough at a time to satisfy the demand and sold through only the expert agents and individual farmers will not be pitted against each other in securing sale for their grain.

75 years ago

The Colfax Gazette-Commoner

Feb. 9, 1945

The Albion school district is destined to be divided among three other districts under the program of the county reorganization committee which met in Colfax Friday.

A hearing, postponed from last fall when residents in the eastern portion of the district asked that their territory, originally the Pitt district, be transferred to the Palouse district, will be held the latter parts of this month.

Carl King, E. L. Moys and Fred have asked that their land, approximately a section, be included in the Colfax district and the hearing on their position will be held at the time of the hearing on the proposed Palouse merger.

The remaining portion of the Albion district, which involves almost all of the old original Albion No. 99, will be transferred to the Pullman district if the petition of Albion residents receive a favorable vote at the general March 3 election in both Albion and Pullman.


Whitman county’s share of the 1945 smooth dry edible pea goal will be 133,500 acres according to Anson Patterson, chairman of the A.C.A. committee. A substantial decrease in the planted acreage below that grown in 1944 will be necessary in order to meet this goal, he stated.

The war food administration has again offered to support the market price, but only for the dry smooth peas grown within the acreage of the 1945 goal. This support price was previously announced at $4.50 cwt. basis U.S. grade No. 1, cleaned and processed, f.o.b. car.

At a meeting of growers, processors and AAA representatives in Lewiston, recently, it was agreed to use the average of the 1943 and 1944 pea acreage planted from which to compute the tentative 1945 goals for individual farmers. This formula required the use of a factor of 57 percent in this county. These goals apply only to the smooth varieties of dry edible peas.

Goal notices will be mailed to the farm operators within the next few days from the county A.C.A. office. Growers are specifically requested to immediately notify the county office if they intend to grow substantially less dry smooth peas in 1945 than the acreage shown as their goal. The goals will not be transferrable between farm operators.

50 years ago

The Colfax Gazette

Feb. 5, 1970

Demolition of the old Central Ferry bridge won’t look anything like the spectacular movie productions where great columns of water are jetted into the sky along with flying pieces of steel and rubble, Supervisor James Blake of Williamette Western said today.

“We’re going to blow the old bridge off the piers with about 12 to 15 separate blasts and can’t promise anything much worth photographing,” he said.

Blake declined to release a time schedule of the demolition with a terse “we’re too anxious to have any spectators, too much chance of someone getting hurt, so we hope people will stay away during the demolition.”

None of the bridge will be salvaged, Blake said. “If we dismantled the bridge, cut it up into five-foot sections and hauled it via barge to the junkyards in Seattle, we could probably get about $18,000 for it, but that amount would barely cover the labor to dismantle it and it would cost three times that much to get it to Seattle.”


Whitman County residents aren’t likely to be paying extra one-half percent sales tax on merchandise they buy at home, even if the special session of the legislature passes the enabling act that would permit cities and counties to collect sales tax.

The bill has already passed the house and may soon be up for a vote in the senate, according to Sen. Elmer C. Huntley of Thornton. However, the bill does not require cities or counties to levy the extra sales tax, and the county commissioners and the mayors of the county’s two largest cities have indicated that they have no intentions of trying to get the tax imposed in this area.

Senator Huntley was surprised that the bill passed the house and questioned whether or not it could pass the senate. “At the present time I don’t feel that I could support the bill because of the effect an additional sales tax would have on businessmen in Whitman County competing with merchants in neighboring Idaho,” he said. “The businessmen in Colfax and Pullman certainly don’t want any more sales tax so I can see no reason why I should support it.”

25 years ago

Whitman County Gazette

Feb. 9, 1995

The Port of Whitman County and the Palouse River Railroad may join forces to open a rail car repair shop in Colfax, creating nearly five new jobs.

“Three to five new jobs, particularly basic industrial jobs, in a small town is a very significant project,” said Jim Weddell, port manager.

Weddell plans to meet with a railroad representative this month. The port should have more information and “some sense” if the project will fly by either the Feb. 16 or March 2 meeting, Weddell said.

The repair shop, a possibility that has been discussed in the past, was addressed at the Feb. 2 port meeting.


After months of waiting, students, teachers and faculty members moved into the new Endicott school building early this week. Wednesday marked the first official day of classes in the new facility.

“It’s great excitement,” said Principal Suzanne Schmick. “It’s been a long many months.”

“The building is beautiful. It is gong to be wonderful to work in and watch the kids grow in,” she said.

Schmick pointed out the many possibilities offered by the new building. One is the centrally located library and computer center, she said, comparing it to the hub of a wheel where the classrooms branch off.

Eventually, the school will have a full-scale computer lab with programs that offer internet access. It will “beef up our research capabilities,” Schmick said.


A first collision with the new Colfax critical areas ordinance hit city hall Monday night when Travis Brock of Colfax asked the city council to reconsider provisions for protecting native grasslands. Brock said the new law would prevent any development of 26 acres which he has purchased on the hillside above Schmuck park.

Brock contended wording in the new city law, which was passed last month to meet provisions of the state’s growth management legislation, blocked any chance of placing housing sites on his land.

City council members agreed to take another look at the new law which calls for a review of any development which takes place on the designated critical areas. Many of the council members said they didn’t anticipate a situation where the critical areas provisions could get in the path of growth.

The Brocks were one of the few residents to attend sessions when the city was weighing the critical areas law. Those sessions stretched out for several council meetings.

10 years ago

Whitman County Gazette

Feb. 11, 2010

A major Japanese production company is making a television mini-series that will include extensive scenes in the rolling hills of the Palouse.

Three farmhouses on the Palouse, the University of Idaho and Spokane have all been selected by High Field Entertainment, Inc. for shooting locations.

The Japanese company plans to produce a 10 hour, five episode docudrama depicting the Japanese internment in America during World War II. It will be broadcast exclusively on the Tokyo Broadcasting System for Japanese viewers.

High Field Entertainment is based in Los Angeles and films for Japanese companies.


A historic run of Gazette newspapers was recently launched online by a national program, joining hundreds of other historic newspapers.

Editions of the Colfax Gazette from 1900 to 1912 are now accessible online at

The website is free and can be word-searched.

Sections of eight other Washington state papers have also been uploaded, said Laura Robinson, manager of the Washington State Library.

“The reason they picked the Colfax Gazette is, at that time, it was the most important paper in Whitman County,” Robinson said.


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