Did you know? Wheat and Waterville

Wheat farming has long been a staple of the Eastern Washington economy, with transportation of the valuable grain being a high priority. A story of Waterville at the turn of the century illustrates this well. Waterville sits high above the Columbia River on a plateau, with cliffs and difficult terrain in between. Transporting heavily-loaded wagons down steep rugged roads to the river was nearly impossible, until the enterprising people of the area came up with a solution. In 1902, the Columbia River Tramway Company began operating trams from the bluff down the breaks to a steamboat landing north of Orondo. Large steel buckets on cables supported by wooden towers carried wheat sacks the two miles down and returned laden with freight and merchandise for Waterville stores. At first gravity operated, soon the tram was run by steam engine as well, and continued operation until 1910. 
Reference: HistoryLink.org Essay 9357 
Submitted by Laurie A. Owen, DNR Public Land Survey Office