This Week in Odessa History

Farmers battle fire, grasshoppers, flood control; town prepares for Fest


August 10, 2017

--Archival photo.

Carol Schott was featured in 1992 for receiving a Leadership Development Award for her work at Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center and the Odessa Clinic, the places where she spent the majority of her working life.

100 Years Ago

The Odessa Record

August 10, 1917

O.C.B. decides to incorporate: The Odessa Concert Band made application for incorporation this week under the laws of the state of Washington, the incorporation articles being drafted by Attorney W.M. Nevins, who has forwarded them to Secretary of State Howell for approval.

The band has prospered during its three years of existence and has acquired a nice piece of property, the O.C.B. opera house which has been remodeled and made a credit to the town, but pecuniary profit is not the object of incorporation and there will be no capital stock, but instead memberships will be issued to each band member, the principal object of the incorporation being to arrange matters so the band's affairs can be conducted in a more business like way and that each member may have a better knowledge of his privileges and his obligations.

The management and the leadership of the organization will remain unchanged by incorporation but in the future the property interests will be looked after by a board of five directors elected annually, the regular elections to be held about the first of October. Each band member will be an equal owner in the band's property rights by virtue of his membership and no one will be granted or permitted to purchase or otherwise obtain more than one membership, which will prevent any attempts by any one to obtain a controlling interest in the bands property. The band has now twenty four members and is acknowledged as one of the best in Eastern Washington and there is more good young material growing up and arrangements have been made whereby new members can join the band at any time and obtain all the privileges enjoyed by the oldest member. Incorporation is a step which the boys have been considering for sometime and they feel that the plan they have worked out will not only mean a better band but will insure also its permanency.

"Bob" Green wrecks auto: "Bob" `Green had an auto wreck Sunday afternoon five miles east of Reardan. While on his way to Spokane he was crowded so close to the edge of the road grade that he foresaw an upset was inevitable and steered his car straight off the grade, the machine turning upside down at the bottom thirty feet from the starting point. With Mr. Green was his wife and children and Miss Mary Havlicek and all fell clear of the wreck except his youngest boy who was hidden from view when they began to look matters over. He was finally dug out and proved the coolest one of the bunch, his first remark on looking being "papa is that our car?" Investigations showed that beyond a few bruises not one of the party was hurt. Neither was the car as badly smashed as one might expect for a broken wheel, radius rod and a ruined top was practically all the damage done.

75 Years Ago

The Odessa Record

August 10, 1942

There is a ministerial quartet among the employees of the Odessa Trading company, with four of the local ministers helping during the labor shortage. Correct weights at the Batum warehouse are assured by Rev. J.P. Flemmer and Rev. A. Hausauer. Rev. M. Pempeit and Rev. B.W. Schuldheisz are members of a carpenter crew erecting jacks.

Workmen are busy this week putting new roofing paper and tar on the Odessa State Bank building. John Erickson, bank president, made a run to Marlin to get wood on which to heat the oil, there being none for sale that day in Odessa.

The present Big Bend wheat crop is proving to be the biggest in at least 40 years of crop records, with yields running to an average better than 40 bushels to the acre. Storage space in every wheat shipping station is filled to the brim and the harvest still goes on.

Dr. Robert L. Tanck has taken over the practice of Dr. T.F. Bresee and is taking possession immediately and will practice here until such time as he is called to report for military services.

Voracious grasshoppers clean up as they go, it was vividly brought out by sagebrush samples brought in by Gottlieb Giese from the Louis Frederick ranch where hordes of grasshoppers ravished the victory garden, 30 acres of oats and then started to eat the leaves and bark from sagebrush. Sagebrush samples, stripped clean, are in the Record office window.

Ruff and Kennewick, where temperatures of 106 were reported, were the hottest places in the state las week, states the government report. At Odessa the high was 99 and low 50, with no rainfall.

Mrs. Betty Mae Egbert, Marlin, killed five rattlesnakes in her chicken yard on Monday, one with 15 rattles, three with 10 rattles each and the other with only three rattles. Five rattlesnakes of that size rattling away at one time from different directions, isn't a pleasant experience, but Mrs. Egbert killed them all.

Sgt. David Wacker, bombardier, has cabled his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Wacker Jr., that he has arrived safely in England and that he was enjoying a leave in London.

One of the soldier boys writes that he gained 60 pounds after joining the Army, two pounds in bodily weight and 58 pounds in equipment.

Mrs. Glen Strate left on Wednesday for Abilene, Texas, 10 miles from where her husband is stationed at Camp Barkely, planning to remain there during the rest of his stay in territorial United States.

The freight train wreck caused by rushing waters from a cloudburst in the hills washing out the roadbed of the Great Northern at Naylor station near Ephrata a week ago Friday has been practically all cleaned up although it took more than a week to do so. Fourteen freight cars were smashed, states the Grant County Journal.

The fifth annual Odessa picnic held Sunday at Redonda Beach drew nearly 100 old time residents.

Farmers and their crews stopped work on Thursday afternoon and helped place "Jacks" about the large pile of wheat at the Odessa Union Warehouse company, in order that the company could go on receiving wheat.

50 Years Ago

The Odessa Record

August 3, 1967

Request help on flood control: The town council Monday evening adopted a resolution requesting the committee on Public Works of the U. S. Senate request that the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors determine whether any improvements for flood control along Crab Creek are advisable.

The resolution was made necessary in that the Corps of Engineers at Seattle have reached a position where they have no further funds or authorizations to continue study of the feasibility and design of a proposed flood control structure east of Odessa on Crab Creek.

Roland V. Blanchette, department of the Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle, who heads up the flood control section of the Corps, met with members of the town council Monday eve. He reviewed the history of the channel improvements or flood proposed projects for Crab Creek.

Blanchette stated that the initial studies by the Corps of Engineers were made in 1964 during which was developed a channel improvement plan on Crab Creek through Odessa. Estimates were at that time that such a program would cost $800,000. It would provide no flood control aspects for Wilson Creek, Moses Lake or other downstream points.

As a second step the Corps studied the feasibility of a storage dam on Crab Creek above Odessa for flood control purposes. It was determined that the benefits of such a project would exceed the cost, a necessary criteria for getting approval, funds and action from agencies involved. As a third step, the Corps began an exploration program. In a survey scope study it was determined an earth-fill dam could be placed just below Sylvan lake with a concrete spillway. The proposed low dam would have 35,000 acre feet of flood control storage, capable of reducing the 13,000 cu. ft. flood capacity 100-year average of the Creek to 3,000 while the present channel is capable of handling 4,000 cu. ft.

The tentatively proposed structure would raise the level of Sylvan lake by 10 feet, backing water as much as eight miles. It would control waters from a 700 square mile drainage basin.

An $8 million dollar price tag federal cost is attached to the proposal with $150,000 of local and/or funds to be utilized for right-of-way, bridge changes and recreational facilities.

To date the corps has been making the studies under what is known as a Section 205 authority. Projects estimated to cost less than a million dollars can be studied without special appropriation from Congress. However, in that the current study reveals a higher cost it will be up to a local sponsoring organization to request of Congress a general Investigation study. The detailed study would have to be appropriated. The town council is making the request via resolution.

Should further comprehensive examination of the feasibility of the project be authorized by Congress, the State of Washington would become involved, the Fisheries department, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Governor's approval would be required to complete a survey scope report. A design memo phase would follow as a matter or procedure before contracts could be awarded-- something which couldn't be anticipated for several years to come, according to the Corps representative.

In other matters before the council, Mrs. Anona Heimbigner and Mrs. Margaret Iltz, representing the Library board, presented plans for a proposed library and suggested sites.

Charles Carnes, owner of Smith's cafe, met with the council to request that an additional man be added to the police department. He stated that he felt one man could not possibly put in the time to do the policing job which is necessary in this community.

In the discussion that followed it was revealed that Ritzville has a five-man force; Chewelah a three-man force; but that many surrounding communities have but one man on duty as is the case here.

How to pay for additional help was also discussed. Councilman Ray Schorzman stated. "If people want more police protection they'll have to pay for it."

Mayor R.L. Tanck stated that statistics will prove now that Odessa's record of burglaries and other police problems is better than in other surrounding areas. It was also pointed out that the policeman's job was to serve the 1200-plus residents and not just the business area; that it is not his responsibility to check the locked doors.

No action was taken by the council.

Five fires; 80 acres of wheat, one truck, one pickup lost: Five fires, four of them in wheat fields, destroyed 80 acres of wheat, many acres of stubble, a truck and a pickup the last three days of the week.

On Thursday at 11:15 a.m. the local Volunteer Fire Department siren blew in a call to Don and Wallace Weishaar wheat fields. Ignited by a passing pickup, an acreage of stubble, burned, but no wheat was lost although standing fields were on both sides of the fire. Four trucks from Odessa and three from Wilbur responded to the fire call in the 100-degree weather.

At 5:15 the same day a costly fire destroyed 15 acres of wheat, an abandoned farm house, a fully-loaded 1963 International truck-- all on Dr. L.J. Bonney land near Lauer. Forty acres of stubble also burned. The truck belonged to Carl Dammel who was harvesting the crop at the time. Four fire trucks went out from Odessa to control the blaze started by the grain truck exhaust.

On Friday at 9 p.m. a passing Great Northern train ignited fires from the viaduct east of Odessa to Nemo where railway ties and grass along the track burned until extinguished by local volunteer fireman.

A second fire occurred on Bonney wheat land near Lauer Saturday at 12:30 when five acres of wheat were lost and approximately 40 acres of stubble burned. The fire, in a different location than that of Thursday was also ignited by another truck used in the harvest.

The largest acreage of wheat burned Saturday evening in Sam and Jim Richardson wheat on the Charlie Ring place south of Downs. The blaze, which consumed approximately 60 acres of 60-bushel wheat, was ignited by a pickup of the Richardsons which burned and was a complete loss along with the gear being hauled in it.

Seven trucks and an airplane were used to battle the fire reported at 5 p.m. Paul Hanes of Harrington sprayed water ahead of the fire with his plane. Three Harrington, one Lamona and three Odessa trucks and personal were on the fire lines before the wheat and 100 acres of stubble were extinguished.

Statistics reveal, according to fire department records kept by Merle Janke, that these field fires are all occurring at mid-day to 5 p.m., the hottest and driest period of the day. It obviously is a time when all harvesters should be especially careful where and how they drive their pickups and trucks.

25 Years Ago

The Odessa Record

July 30, 1992

Fest concert with Seal is called off: The on-again, off-again plans for a country western star to appear as a feature attraction at Deutschesfest on September 20 were off again, and for good, this week.

Last Wednesday it was believed by members of the Deutschesfest Music Committee that contract negotiations with nationally known pop singer Dan Seals had been finalized for his appearance at a Sunday afternoon show at Finney Field. But several clauses in the contract could not be agreed upon by both parties and Monday the committee canceled all plans for the Seals show. A committee spokesperson said that negotiations had gone on so long that there was no longer time to sell enough tickets to cover costs of putting on the concert.

The Odessa Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors Deutschesfest, had proposed the Sunday afternoon entertainment to offer a more complete program for the three-day event.

Earlier the committee had booked entertainer Ricky Skaggs for the Fest's Sunday show, but he had a schedule conflict which caused the cancellation of his appearance.

Town, paper observing milestones: This is an anniversary year for the Town of Odessa and its newspaper, The Odessa Record.

The town is about to become 90 years old. It was incorporated on September 16, 1902, with an overwhelming vote of the citizens of the new community, 50 for and one against.

No special celebration is planned for that day. The birthday falls on the day before the beginning of Deutschesfest and most residents will be too busy making final preparations for that event to observe the incorporation anniversary.

The Odessa Record is noting an anniversary of a different sort. To make a special occasion of a 91st birthday may seem a bit unusual, but the newspaper management has a good reason for doing so.

As has been previously explained, the volume and issue numbers on the newspaper have been in error for about 50 years. Sometime during the 1940s, and because some of the newspaper files of that time are lost it can't be determined precisely when, the numbering of the volumes fell behind.

After the new publisher of The Record assumed duties on May 16 1991, it was discovered that the volume number was running a year behind. When the newspaper was in its 90th year, the folio line at the top of page 1 showed it to be the 89th.

Last October an adjustment was made. It was decided to bring the numbers up to date by having two short volumes. And so on The Record's page 1 and 91st year came to a close with issue Number 31. Today begins the 92nd year of publication with issue Number 1, the Anniversary Edition. Volume 92 will continue until the issue of May 13, 1993, when The Record will begin its 93rd year with issue number 1.

--Archival photo.

In 1992, Kevin Kiehn was featured in an article about his military career. He was then with an Army Blackhawk Medivac Unit.


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