This article is from the August 18, 1921 edition of the Waterville Empire-Press. This article attracted my attention for two reasons. First there is a lot of historical significance, as the editors were seeing the first steps towards the formation of the Grand Coulee Dam. This particular visit was about 12 years before construction began in 1933. Secondly, I find it funny that they so greatly missed the importance of what they were seeing. The focus on so many personal details was a neat insight to the day and the blurbs about wheat and a mainly gravel road at the end show me that the editors really did not grasp the concept of what this modern marvel would one day become.
A quick search of the internet reveals that today the Grand Coulee Dam had a generating capacity of 6,809 megawatts, which is enough electricity to meet the needs of four million customers a year. It is the largest hydro-electric producer in the United States. But I guess who accompanied who, the fact that some editors went swimming, a list of what was for lunch, and the wonders of a mostly gravel road are newsworthy too.
Editors Met at Soap Lake and Took Trip Up Grand Coulee
Editors of group 1, of the State Press Association, which comprises the counties of north central Washington, met at Soap Lake last Saturday with a dual purpose in mind. First, to talk shop, and then to see the mouth of Grand Coulee, where core drilling is underway to determine the possibility of building a dam across the Columbia River.
The EMPIRE-PRESS editor left early Saturday morning, accompanied by Editor Murray of the Withrow Banner, and arrived at Soap Lake shortly before noon. Editors of group 4, which comprises the counties east and south of here, had been invited to attend the meeting, and there was a goodly number present. Aside from the members of the country, press representatives of the Seattle P.-I. and the Spokesman-Review were there, as well as representatives from the state college and the state university.
Editor Simpson of the Ephrata Journal, who had arranged the program, had spared neither time nor effort to get a live bunch lined up for the occasion, and the success of the meeting was largely due to his efforts.
The official session was called to order at 1 o’clock, with Chairman Murray of the Withrow Banner, in the chair. The entire afternoon was devoted to addresses on newspaper subjects and discussions of questions of interest to editors.
At 5 o’clock the editors took a swim in Soap Lake, enjoyed a watermelon feed and at 7:30 a banquet at the Lakeview Sanitorium was a feature of the convention.
The Coulee City Commercial club members and their wives were hosts Sunday to the visiting editors on a trip to the mouth of Grand Coulee. About 200 were in the party that traveled up the coulee, including citizens from Soap Lake, Ephrata, and Coulee City.
At the Oscar Osborne ranch, at the mouth of the coulee, a picnic dinner was enjoyed that was a feed long to be remembered, and those hungry pencil pushers certainly did get away with fried chicken, cake, pie, and ice cream.
Among the speakers at the picnic were W. H. Murray, of the Withrow Banner; Rufus Woods, of the Wenatchee World; James Campbell, president of the Ephrata Commercial Club; N. W. Washington, of Ephrata; and Dan Scott state director of conservation and irrigation.
Three holes have been sunk by the engineers on the western shore of the Columbia at varying distances from the water line. One is 194 feet, 84 ½ feet and 74 ½ feet. The fourth hole is being put down on the east shore.
The committee from the Coulee City Commercial Club in charge of arrangements included N. H. Lynn, chairman; George McDonald and the Rev. James Howell. On the women’s committee were Mrs. Clyde Gilbert, Mrs. J. L. Tucker, Miss Lena Kinnick, Mrs. M. A. Bogart, and Mrs. W. C. Gilley. Assisting in serving were Mrs. Gilbert, Mrs. Emma Cook, Mrs. Frank, and Mrs. Mathis.
In the EMPIRE-PRESS editor’s car were Rufus Woods, W. H. Murray, and H. C. Freeman. We had as a guide with us, Frank McCann of Coulee City, who, by the way, taught the first school in Waterville some years ago. Mr. McCann explained all the interesting features of the coulee in the way of geological wonders, which proved very interesting to our party.
On our trip home we came down through Douglas County, making short stops as Delrio, Leahy and Mansfield.
Winter wheat in the northeastern part of the country is making about twenty-five bushels to the acre, but spring grain will be cut down to from ten to fifteen bushels per acre.
The finest road in the county is from Leahy to Mansfield. James Leahy, pioneer merchant, informed us that he can now come to Waterville on gravel roads, with the exception of about eight miles.