Document 4: Spokane Country Irrigation

Spokane Chamber of Commerce, Tourist’s Guide to Spokane and Environs (Spokane: Chamber of Commerce, c. 1920?), 2-3.
Pacific Northwest Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

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Irrigation, destined to become the nation’s greatest source of wealth, is the leading factor in the rapid development of the great interior region of the Pacific Northwest, known as the Inland Empire, of which Spokane is the metropolis and commercial center.

Fortune beckons to the Spokane country, the land of cool summers and mild winters—a perfect climate all year around—the greatest apple-growing district of the world.

The principal irrigated districts of the Spokane are found in the Yakima, Spokane, Wenatchee, Okanogan, Methow, Snake and upper Columbia River valleys.

Forty thousand acres of land in the Spokane Valley can be irrigated and of this amount 10,000 acres are under the ditch. Government projects are completed or under way in the Yakima and Okanogan Valleys. Private projects are numerous, ranging from 80 acres to 15,000 acres each.

The Government irrigation projects in the Northwest in operation or in course of construction, are the following:

Project Location Acres Cost
Sunnyside, Wash. Yakima Valley 90,000 $1,600,000
Tieton, Wash. Yakima Valley 30,000 $1,500,000
Wapato, Wash. Yakima Valley 102,000 $1,600,000
Okanogan, Wash. Okanogan River 8,000 $500,000
Ellensburg district, Wash.   50,000 -------------
Rattlesnake & Coal Creek District, Wash.   200,000 -------------
Okanogan Valley, Wash.   10,000 -------------
Palouse River project, Wash.   100,000 -------------

Private projects in Eastern Washington will add more than 200,000 acres to the irrigated area.

When all of the above projects shall have been completed there will be nearly 2,000,000 acres of the finest arable land in the world remaining to be claimed by the National Government. It is known as the Big Bend project, and will cost approximately $50,000,000. It is estimated that the Quincy flats, an unbroken area, containing 400,000 acres, will more than repay the government for the construction of the necessary irrigation works.


From the following statistics taken from official records, probably the best idea of the activity and progress of Spokane can be gained. The commercial growth in 1908 shows a marked increase over what was accomplished in 1907.

Spokane, in addition to her rapid growth and commercial development, has a healthful and delightful climate and an abundance of pure water. Not once, since the opening of the Untied States weather bureau office (over 27 years ago) in this place, has there been an instance of loss of life or property at Spokane, caused by extreme meteorological conditions (sunstroke, floods and destructive winds and electric storms) as occur yearly in other parts of the United States.

Spokane Water is not only free from germ, but is pleasantly cool to drink in the summer.

1908 1907
Bank clearings $307,792,482.00 $301,419,017.00
Bank deposits, estimated 25,000,000.00 24,000,000.00
Building Permits 2,927 1,870
Building expenditures 5,927,548.00 5,778,876,00
City Water receipts 31,736.46 291,743.58
Transfers of real estate 20,715,405.00 19,869,832.00
Post office receipts 350,504.00 302,388.00
Jobbing trade 24,500,000.00 24,000,000.00
Population 121,600 96,000
New mileage (steam and electric) 453


Manufacturing in Spokane—    
  Number of industries 410 360
  Capital invested $13,000,000.00 12,000,000.00
  Output of product 17,000,000.00* 16,500,000.00
  Wage earners 5,200 4,700
  Wages paid 4,500,000.00 4,200,000.00

Production, Spokane and Inland Empire—

Wheat $27,500,000.00 22,200,000.00
Live stock and poultry 16,000,000.00 14,500,000.00
Fruits 14,000,000.00 12,000,000.00
Dairy products 6,000,000.00 5,000,000.00
Other farm products 15,250,000.00 14,000,000.00
Mineral output 40,000,000.00 32,000,000.00
Lumber cut, cars 50,000 43,183
Lumber output, feet 1,250,000,000 932,995,747
Lumber, value $18,000,000.00 17,000,000.00

*Quantity manufactured increased but lower prices prevailed. These ranged from 10 to 40 percent under the prices quoted in 1905.

Map Spokane Country

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest