An easy-to-read, contemporary history book on Wenatchee for all, that’s something Chris Rader never found in her 15 years of local historical research. Rader decided to fill this gap by writing her own book, “Place of Plenty: A History of Wenatchee, in English and Spanish.”

Rader has worked as editor of Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center’s quarterly magazine, The Confluence, since 2006.

“There really isn’t a current book that you can pick up and read conversationally” when it comes to history in the Wenatchee Valley, she said. The only options were dense reads with hundreds of pages.

Her plan has been to adapt a book for Spanish speakers from Wenatchee as well as to share a shorter, more well-rounded history of the Wenatchee area.

Rader started and wrote the book throughout the pandemic. It took less than a year to finish; six months of that time Rader spent writing.

The 242-page book covers topics such as the Indigenous people who first lived in the Valley as well as the Latinx population that has found a home here.

“It’s not that huge,” she said. But that is Rader’s intention. It’s not supposed to be hard to read.

Spanish and English translations are adjacent to each other when the book is flipped open, allowing for readers to easily bounce across between the two.

We caught up with Rader to ask her about the book. Her answers have been shortened for clarity

Wenatchee World: What was your main goal in creating this bilingual history of Wenatchee?

Chris Rader: I really had dual goals. One of them was to translate and make our history available. The other goal was to write a more contemporary, conversational, shorter book that [is for] many younger readers, including high school students, or college or young adults who don’t really have the desire or the patience to read some lengthy dissertation on the history. It’s not that huge, but in those pages, there are 15 chapters, and they cover a lot of stuff and I think in pretty good detail that gives you a good overall grasp of Wenatchee’s history.

WW: Of the four primary themes in this book — people, agriculture, transportation, recreation culture — which stood out to you the most?

Rader: I don’t know if I could pick out one. I want to make sure that people are aware that we start with a pretty good discussion of the Native American, the Indigenous presence here. They were the first people here and they lived here for thousands of years and they’re still around — they’re not gone. I loved going into some of the older, the early settlers, and the town developers and imagining, trying to paint a picture of what Wenatchee was like, before there was even the irrigation system. It was kind of deserty. I love bringing those days to light so people can have an appreciation for how far we’ve come.

WW: What do you hope readers can take away from “Place of Plenty?”

Rader: I would like people to appreciate our roots, how far this community has come. And what a terrific place we live in. The name “Place of Plenty” or “Un Lugar de Abundancia” — it’s a place of abundance. We’ve got such beauty, such natural beauty around us. The soil has produced this fabulous tree fruit industry and beautiful parks and trails and the people have worked hard [in] creating an inclusive town with a lot of amenities. I just want people to basically appreciate all that this region has to offer.

WW: Is there anything else you would like to share about this book?

Rader: It would be really cool if the high schools would recommend [Place of Plenty] for the students to read during the studies of Washington history. I’m pretty sure the local high schools are going to at least carry it in their libraries. And of course, the North Central Washington libraries are buying several copies and they’ll make them available.

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