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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago today: Small town mayors pitch irrigation project

Published in the May 25, 1921 Spokane Daily Chronicle.  (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A group of Spokane business people took a tour of the Columbia Basin to evaluate the prospects for a gigantic irrigation project.

Two competing projects were proposed, one taking water from the Pend Oreille river and transporting it west to the Columbia Basin and the other taking water from the Columbia itself at Grand Coulee. The Grand Coulee project recently seemed to gain the upper hand.

“We want water on the land and we are for whatever project will get it here in the quickest and best way,” said the mayor of Soap Lake, who addressed the Spokane contingent.

The mayor of Ephrata told the group that irrigation was of the utmost urgency.

“For 15 years, people of Grant County have hoped for irrigation, and many broken-hearted homesteaders have been forced to leave with scarcely enough to get out one,” he said.

From the convention beat: Thousands of Elks Lodge members were in Spokane for a Northwest regional convention.

They dedicated a new Elks temple and generally had a rollicking good time.

The Elks apparently did not take themselves too seriously. A Walla Walla Elk said that he fully expected his band to win the “best band” award in the upcoming parade.

“Our ‘Turkey in the Straw’ band will surprise them all,” he said. “The big-brimmed straw hats and high boots which our whiskered musicians will wear, will make all of the other bands jealous, we expect. The band can play ‘How Dry I Am,’ as well as ‘Turkey in the Straw.’ It takes a real band to play two numbers right.”