Prior to the first European settlers' arrival in this area, the whole valley west of Yakima, Washington was known on maps as the Cowychee Valley which included Tieton and Naches Heights. The community of Cowiche established the first business ventures which included creameries (on the Cowiche Creek for a water supply) and a small general store in 1884 with a post office at the crossroads of Pioneer and Cowiche Mill Rd. Also developed shortly thereafter was a lumberyard, a blacksmith shop and somewhat later than the 1850's, a telephone exchange, which began in the Lafe master's home. There was a grade school built on the butte above the Cowiche Mill Rd; an old wood frame structure that is still standing. Its life included the Cowiche Grange Hall. The first high school graduating class in Cowiche in 1922 numbered 3 children, all of whom began school in that building.
Tieton business began in the Tieton town site about 12 years after the settling of Cowiche and contained a grocery store with a post office, a meat market and blacksmith shop. All goods produced for market before the railroad arrived in these communities were wagoned into Yakima or down the grade to Naches where the railroad was established. Buildings constructed in Tieton were homemade by those who lived there and some are still standing, memorials to those settlers' lives.