The Wenatchee Indians (Native Americans) were the first to occupy the area of Central Washington where the Columbia River and the Wenatchee River confluence.
Wenatchee is the County Seat of Chelan (she-lan) county. Surrounded with a mountainous backdrop, it is ideal for both city and country living.
Early History of Wenatchee
Fur traders of the British Northwest Fur Company (Hudson’s Bay Company) were some of the very first to come into the area. These non-native settlers were mainly seeking gold. Their groups were made up of chinese miners, cattlemen and even missionaries.
Growth in the early 1890’s came quickly as the Great Northern Railway chose Wenatchee to be one of their depot’s stopping places, just south of the city. With that in mind, the city naturally grew to encompass the RailRoad stop.
Ideal Growing Conditions
Being surrounded by mountains did have its challenges. Being a bit difficult to conduct regular business with the larger cities of Seattle and Spokane (spo-can), a Seattle businessman formed the Wenatchee Improvement Company in 1890 to build a township.
This in turn, would allow the potential agricultural region to grow by leaps and bounds, especially as the apple industry would soon show.
Apple Capital of the World
Being close to the famous mountain of Mount Rainier (ray-neer) and it’s volcanic soil, plus having plenty of fresh waters from both the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers, proved to be an exceptional location for growing apples.
Quickly the entire Wenatchee Valley was covered with row upon row of young fruit bearing trees. Within a short while, apples were being shipped around the world. As word of this “valley of the apples” spread, more and more people came into the area making Wenatchee the most productive apple-producing region in the world.
Have a sweet tooth ? Then you’ll simply love the famous Aplets and Cotlets.
City Growth And Hydroelectric Power
Industrial growth came quickly. It also spearheaded much needed institutions such as, libraries, newspapers, educational systems, churches, theaters and even a highly successful commercial district.
Way back in 1940, the power created by the Grand Coulee Dam (1942) and Rock Island Dam (1932) made power readily available and cheap. The “free water” source to turn turbines to create power was always at the ready for industry growth.
Alcoa and the Holden Mining Company (copper mine) were instrumental in the cities growth.
A Growing Community
Having a very desirable climate year round, more and more businesses are being attracted to the area. The health community sees it as an ideal place for the Central Washington Hospital, Wenatchee Valley Medical Center and the Columbia Valley Community Health.
If you take up nursing as a profession (highly paid) then you will enjoy the benefits of the Wenatchee Valley community.
Colleges abound in the area along with Technology which is only a short trip over the mountains to the Bellevue Redmond area where the world famous Microsoft Company has always resided.
Enjoy the arts? Then the Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee will draw you into it’s many local and entertaining events.
On the other hand, perhaps you are one of those that have the entrepreneurial spirit. Here is the place to be. In fact, the state of Washington encourages small business, whether home, or a store front type, to come and grow with the community.
Seattle itself was developed and has grown into a tremendous city because of self-starter type businesses. Some are : Amazon, UPS, Home Depot, and as mentioned above, Microsoft.
Why not come in for a visit to Wenatchee or the Seattle area? You’ll be pleased that you did.
Written by: Tom McDaniel Be sure to share this site