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.
Norm Willey had several businesses in Tieton- Willey's Garage 1935-1944, Willey's Hardware & Auto Suppy 1944-1962 & later, Willey's Promart Home Center 1956-1967. Norm was born in 1911 and died in 1993. He was involved with many community service organizations: Fire Department 15 years, Lions' Club 12 years, I.O.O.F. Lodge 24 years, Community Chest 2 years, City Council 6 years, Tieton Businessmens' Assn. 6 years, 3 years as Sunday School Superintendent in his church. Norm and Loreen's son Don took over the Home Center after his dad retired.
Cowiche Division of Rural Fire Protection District No. 1 was formed in 1948. The fire department's truck had a 500-gal. capacity for water and booster tanks and in winter when water was limited. Both Cowiche and Tieton departments answered calls in this area of Cowiche & Tieton and Naches Heights. A power wagon was used on grass fires. In 1953, the department formed a community center in their building with a pool table installed for local use and an upstairs meeting room. The chief at the time was Harold Amos and the first pool players were: Jack Edgar, Carl Miller, Vince Adams and Linville Amos. In 1963, the district's pumper truck capacity was 1,000 gallons and fire chielf Emard Willard had volunteers including Jake Herman and Don Adams as assistant chief. The rural district's alarm system automatically rang phones in the firemen's homes and covered 27 square miles in both Cowiche and Tieton.
Ray Landre took over William Schenck's store site in Tieton and expanded the store with a second-story dance hall. This building burned to the ground one night with only the tall, ornate chimney left towering over the ruins. He then built "Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe" out of logs with softly shaded lights and a number of cabin-drawing rooms where a guest could have coffee and tea. It was named the Ridge Roost and it too burned down in 1927. The Tieton Post Office and Karl's Cafe then occupied the site. Landre then sold the remodeled store and stock of groceries to Gerald Stromme for a grocery and meat lockers. At one time, this site was Ed Schuller's Repair Shop. Ray Landre wrote and printed the Tieton Fair News in 1921, 1923 and 1928 with plenty of advertising in the pages for his businesses.
William & Ella Hatten built the Hotel in 1920, and it was burned in 1922 and was rebuilt and operated until 1932 when both Hatten's died. The following businesses began with it becoming Perle's Restaurant & Grocery with C.H. Perle, the Red and White Store with Ted Jensen, Tieton Mercantile with Ernie Beitel and Reich's Market with William & Katie Reich.
H.E. Langdell began his business in Tieton in 1926 and was the owner and operator until his son Ray came in with him about 1938. The business began as Tieton Garage and sometime later was Langdell's Garage. He offered welding, repairing and accessories for cars and trucks with gas, oil and Ford parts available. He retired about 1940's and his son Ray took over running the business. Ray was a welder, fabricator and worked for some years at McIlvanie Machine Works in Yakima. Ray was married with three stepchildren.
Image: The Langdell Garage (probably early 1940s). Left to right: Ray Langdell, Les Hosmer, H.E. Langdell. Courtest Pearl VanEpps Morris.
Ray (Blackie) Freimann and his wife came to Tieton in 1923 when Ray was 23 years old. He acquired orchard and grew exotic flowers in the basement of his home located across the street from the Presbyterian Church. He had large, formidable Chow dogs who always paced in the back of his station wagon. His wife Elsie was a classy lady who operated the Apple Blossom Shop in Yakima-picture heels and shorts in the 1950's. Ray was a Tieton High School Grad in 1929 and owned Tieton Billiards and Tavern. He had a barber shop in his billiards building and helped build Newland's Pharmacy and George's Shoe Shop in downtown Tieton.
Sam and Rosella Campbell began a partnership with Jack and Marie Radford in 1950 that resulted in their stores. They began separately with Campbell's Variety in 1950 and until 1954 they were in a building between the Tieton State Bank and the Hatten Hotel on the north side of Wisconsin Avenue in Tieton. Their shop was there until 1962. The Campbells build a home where the doctor's office was previously and remained there. Sam was born in 1922 and died in 1996 and Rosella was born in 1923 and died in 2012. Sam was a volunteer fireman, post-master 1959-1961, Tieton City Councilman in 1962. Rosella graduated from Cowiche High School in 1942 and she worked for many years at Yakima County Horticulture Union.
Jack Radford's father-in-law Severt Nelson sold him and Sam Campbell, his other son-in-law what was Mel's Shurfine Market in 1946. It was a general store of wood with a false front, large wooden porch and two large windows in front. They carried their stock of dry goods, groceries, kerosene and animal feed. The partnership split in 1950 when Rosella Campbell took the dry goods part and opened a store on the north of the park square, while Radford kept the original store site. They then became Radford's Market and Campbell's Variety. Jack was very involved in the Tieton community and was mayor from 1953, resigned in 1959 and elected as mayor again in 1961. He began the white cane campaign through the Lions' Club resources for the blind. He was a ham radio operator and purchased several lots in Tieton to renew and build on.
Ed & Vivian Durkin owned and ran this business 1937-1967 when they came to Tieton from Spokane. Vivian's first husband Walter Sandgren and she owned and started the Round-Up Wholesale Grocery in Spokane and after Walter died, Vivian married Ed who was at that time, a Spokane County Deputy Sheriff from 1935-1936. Vivian owned and operated a boarding house in Spokane at age 16. Ed was for four years from 1934 to 1938 a Washington State Liquor Inspector. While they were in Tieton, they cooked and catered out of their restaurant that had a card room in the back. After the Durkins left Tieton, they had the Game Ridge Cafe and another cafe, both in White Pass. In 1953, during Tieton Community Days, Vivian was "jailed" until someone agreed to pay to release her, which was the way funds were raised for community days.
W.G.(Bill) Wies was here in the Cowiche area in 1918. He had gone to Alaska and spent 17 years there and then returned to Cowiche. For a short time, he opened a mechanic's garage and then opened the corner hardware. His store was advertised as the "Upper Valley headquarters for Sportsmen" with guns, ammo, fishing supplies, sporting clothes, boots and shoes. He also carried white gas in his inventory. The store began as Wies' Corner Hardware and morphed into Cowiche Promart Home Center 1949 to 1967. Bill married Della Bierly who was part of pioneer families in Cowiche and graduated from Cowiche High School in 1928. They had one child, a daughter named Kaye.
Marley Orchards...Cowiche Warehouse-Frances Marley, one of the partners in Marley Orchards, stands in front of the Cowiche Fruit handling warehouse of the firm. Bins, one of the new developments in apple handling, are stacked around him.
The school newspaper of Tieton High School published in 1931 through 1944 had the title "Sagebrush Echo" and was researched, edited and printed by the journalism class in high school. News items included an invitation to faculty and spouses and senior class members to the annual Junior-Senior banquet at the Commercial Hotel in Yakima on May 29, 1931. An ad in 1932 listed businesses supporting the newspaper including Friemann's Barber Shop with haircuts for ladies and gents for 35 cents and children 25 cents; another ad for the United Purity Store owned by G.H. Stromme offering 10# of sugar for 43 cents, Proctor & Gamble soap 10 for 27 cents, Oxydol 21 cents and whole kernel corn 2lbs. for 35 cents. There were two students of that high school class who graduated in 1931 and remained friends for 62 years-Eva Deschenes Beffa and Lillian Cox Lawsha.
Fire Protection District #1 in Tieton held its organizational meeting on January 15, 1934 in the Hatten Hotel in Tieton. It was the first rural fire protection district in Yakima County. The first members of this district were businessmen in Tieton. They were A.H. Perle, Fire Chief; William Newland, G.H. Stromme, J.B. Taft, Seth Lolley, Les Soden and Ray Landre, Secy-Treasurer. The first fire trucks were a 1926 Lincoln Touring Car converted to a pump-hose wagon, a 1947 Ford pumper and a war surplus Dodge power wagon used for rough work and range fires. Ralph Brooks' personal station wagon was the aid car. The original Tieton Fire Station was a small metal building that sat at the north end of the lot where Willey's Hardware building was later located.
Image Caption: Added to facilities of the twon of Tieton is the new city hall, shown in background. At center is fire truck and at right is patrol wagon Tieton police. Standing in foreground are left to right, Fire Chief Ralph Brooks, J.L. Bateman, Norman Willey, Mayor G.H. Stromme, William Newland, former mayor and recently elected coucilman, and Chielf Bud Blumeyer of the police force.
The Hort Union was founded in Yakima in 1902 and had its first home site in the J.M. Perry Warehouse, The next sites it occupied were at No. 1st Avenue and "C" Street and No. 1st. Avenue and "A" Streets in Yakima. The Hort Union then build a warehouse in Naches, Selah, Wapato and in 1918, a branch warehouse in Tieton. Shipment by rail from the Hort Union in 1918 totaled 1400 railroad cars. In 1919, this warehouse was enlarged, a basement was added to the then brick building and additional space in 1923 and at that time, an employee apartment house was erected to house 41 families and a group of small cabins n front of the Hort building alongside N. Tieton Road that housed 12 more families, and this time, an added laundromat. The railroad ran along Market Street back of these three buildings. At the south end of the buildings was the Tieton Cold Storage plant and included the site of the original Cubberley Fruit Warehouse. All of these five buildings burned down in 1940, including the cabins with a loss of $300,000. The Tieton branch of Hort. Union closed in 1972.
The ownership of the Cowiche Store in Old Cowychee began in 1889 when Lafe Masters built a store on the 15 acres purchased from Anson White. The store faced north, its face to Cowiche Mill Road. William Schenck bought and operated the store next when it was yet the only store and post office in the whole Cowiche Valley. In 1902, Archie Rightmire and family moved to Cowiche and in 1903, bought the store from Schenck and became post master. Rightmire moved the store to face east and added onto the very small store thereafter. Rightmire sold the store to B.F. McCoy who sold it a year later to Will Foster and Frank Cull. Rightmire renamed the Rightmire Store. In 1925, Rightmire moved the store to a new location in Cowiche City across the road from Cowiche Growers.
In 1884, Mrs. Elizabeth Loudon came to the Cowiche Valley from New Zealand with her husband William and three sons to establish a homestead. Her husband died a few months after their arrival and four months later, she gave birth to her fourth son. She continued on the farm and began delivering the milk she got from their dairy herd to Yakima. Some years later, she married Colin Carmichael, an early hop buyer and moved to California. Carmichael died shortly thereafter and she returned to Yakima. Determined to start a creamery, she began the Yakima City Creamery. Carmichael and Maid O-Clover were brands she used on her products.
Cowiche Growers was in its first year as a cooperative by January 1922. At that time, it had three growers in charge: Asa Schwartz, Jacob Strausz and Arthur Strausz. These three men went to Yakima National Bank and signed a note for $100/acre of their land bearing fruit with them guaranteeing delivery to Cowiche Growers, for which they received stock in the co-op. The first building of the Cowiche Growers was 50 x 100 feet with a basement. The office was a balcony over the south end of the packing room, with office furniture being a safe, a desk, modest beginnings of this farmer owned cooperative.
William Schenck came to Cowiche from Michigan in the late 1800's where he built a store/post office building in Old Cowiche on land he bought from Lafe Masters, a homesteader already in this area. This building was on 15 acres of Anson White's land at the corner of Cowiche Mill Road and Old Pioneer Way. He sold this store to Archie Rightmire and bought the Stevenson Ranch and then the Crawford Ranch. He later took his construction ability to Tieton where he built another store/post office in 1910. He sold the two-story Tieton building to Fred Crum and Truman Jeffery and in 1917, the original store was dismantled. Between 1903-1909 William Schenck and his wife Emma lost four daughters to death and in 1912 Emma divorced William and he sold out and returned to Michigan.
Image Caption: #1 is Rightmire Store, #2 is Rightmire House, #3 Lumber Yard, #4 Modern Woodsman Hall. #5 Telephone office.