The Odessa Record -

This Week in Odessa History

Many accidents in early years of automobile; Lamona hail; fire at Timm's


100 years ago

The Odessa Record

June 28, 1918

Auto accident takes two lives: A fatal automobile accident which took the life of one and seriously injured two other Ritzville young men, occurred Friday mornin gas Herbert Johnson, Lee Oestrich and Edward Seidel were returning to their homes at the close of the Pioneers picnic.

While going at a high rate of speed near Kystone, in turning the corner the car turned over. It is claimed that the car's velocity on the turn was so great that every wheel of the auto was taken off in the wreck. Johnson, who was driving, was caught under the car and crushed, probably dying instantly. The others were found in a half conscious state later, Seidel seriously injured and Oestrich having sustained a fractured arm. Mr. Johnson was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson, pioneers of the Ritzville country.

Another auto accident occurred the same night which caused the death of an old time Harrington citizen and placed another in the hospital, occurred on the state road a mile north of Harrington, when Dr. J. W. Corpering, a physician and Ole Hong, formerly a photographer of Harrington, turned over in Dr. Corpering's automobile. How long the men lay there before being found is not certain. They were discovered by Gordon Hensley, a farmer living north of Davenport, who was driving into Harrington with his family. Dr. Corpering was about ten feet from the car. Mr. Hong was pinned beneath it. Both men were taken to the Harrington hospital, where it was discovered that Dr. Corpering was injured about the head, one wrist was apparently broken and he complained of internal injuries, and was taken to the Sacred Heart hospital at Spokane, where he is resting easily, Mr. Hong's funeral was held at Harrington and conducted by the I. O. O. F. lodge.

75 years ago

The Odessa Record

June 24, 1943

Lamona section hit by hail storm: One of the worst hail storms in years in that area hit the north Lamona area Saturday evening, covering a strip two miles long and three quarters of a mile wide.

Carl Carlson reported that the storm caught his garden, leaving plants riddled by hail pellets, much as though they had been shot at. About two inches of hail lay on the ground and did not melt until Sunday. Some wheat acreage and some summerfallow were included in the strip covered.

Green Russian thistles were beaten to a pulp, and mustard weeds were stripped of their leaves and smaller stems. Some farmers reported that water was dripping from the eaves of the porch 12 hours after the storm from melting hail.

Otto Timm Ranch hit by costly blaze: Fire of undetermined origin burned the machine shed at the Otto Timm ranch near Harrington Monday afternoon during Timm's absence. A Diamond T truck, Diesel and other oils, barrels, a set of blacksmith tools, repairs for machinery and other articles were housed in the shed and burned. The noise from the explosions of the oil barrels could be heard from some distance away.

50 years ago

The Odessa Record

June 27, 1968

Wanted: Farm homes for 10 families: Ten farm families from the Odessa, Lamona, Marlin area are needed to host 10 families from the Seattle area on July 19, 20 and 21. The Lincoln and Adams County Associations of Wheat Growers is a sponsor of the City Farm Swap.

Deadline for locating the 10 local host families is July 1. Bob Deife has asked that he be contacted by any interested family wishing to participate in the short harvest week end swap.

The purpose of the exchange is to foster closer ties between rural and urban citizens, to bring Eastern and Western Washington closer together, and to build a better appreciation and understanding towards the wheat industry, it is stated.

The "Swap" will be patterned after last year's highly successful exchange between Seattle and Colfax in Whitman County. Only this year the goal has been increased to 70 host families and eight wheat communities: Harrington, Sprague, Edwall, Odessa, Ritzville, Benge, Lind and Washtucna.

The families from Puget Sound will leave Seattle on Friday, July 19, and drive directly to the community nearest to their host family. They will be welcomed by community officials and their host family, then driven to the farm for supper and the evening. On Saturday, the guests will be absorbed into harvest activities, riding the combine, trucks and observing the work-a-day life on a wheat farm. On Saturday afternoon, after lunch, the guests will drive to Ritzville at 3:00 where they will be hosted for an afternoon of tours and activities by the townspeople of Ritzville.

At about 7:00 p.m., both host and guest families and townspeople are invited to a giant city-farm barbecue, program and square dance. The host families will return to their farms for Saturday evening and Sunday morning they will depart for Seattle.

In exchange, the Puget Sound families will invite their host families to Seattle for a visit at a future mutually-agreed-upon date.

"City Farm Swap" was scheduled during the harvest because that is the most interesting time of the year for the visitors. While this is obviously not the best time for you, we hope that you can arrange to 'absorb' a family from Seattle into your harvest activities... and also spend an evening with them at the barbecue and square dance. It will be a choice and enjoyable experience for those who can arrange to participate," Deife said.

25 years ago

The Odessa Record

June 24, 1993

Amy's Crater cleanup: A potential tourist attraction for the Odessa area came a long way closer to reality last Saturday as volunteers from Odessa and personnel of the Bureau of Land Management heaved out and hauled away tons of junk from Amy's Crater.

The crater, just a few hundred feet off Highway 21 eight miles north of Odessa, is one of several geologic phenomena unique to the Odessa area's Channeled Scablands. It is on public land adjacent to the Lake Creek Canyon Recreation Area, both managed by the BLM.

Ever since the Odessa area was settled the crater has been a dump site, but there is evidence that native Americans hundreds of years ago may have gathered there, storing roots under the rocks or perhaps using the crater for ceremonial purposes. The crater is about 150 feet in diametere and 100 feet deep. There are various theories and scientific explanations as to its origin. It might have been a huge bubble in the molten basalt which flowed across the region 50 million years ago. It might have been the point of impact of a meteorite or it might have been formed during the cooling process which hardened the basalt lava, later to become the colonnades and protruding fissures characteristic of the Channeled Scablands as they appear today.

Years of accumulation of junk deposits on the crater floor or caught on the rocks of the steep crater walls as it was dumped over the side were cleaned up last Saturday. There were old tires, rusty steel lawn chairs, twisted washing machine cases, wire, cans and broken glass. A few treasures were also produced, including a metal flower pot painted with a floral design and what appeared to be a large pewter butterfly.

The cleanup campaign had been organized by the Scablands Steering Committee of the Odessa Economic development Committee, which just a year ago decided to work with the BLM in making the crater into a tourist attraction.

About seventeen volunteers including representatives from Odessa High School's FFA joined with four members of the BLM, headed by district manager Ann Aldrich, at 7 a.m. Saturday to transform th e crater's appearance.

Jerry Schafer donated the use of and operated his boom truck to lift out the larger items. The volunteers dug into the rocks to pull out the smaller items. This was not without peril, as the crater had been described as being "Rattlesnake City" at this time of the year. Two rattlers were encountered during the course of the cleanup.

The BLM provided a dump truck to transport the junk to Odessa's landfill, the use of which was offered by the Town of Odessa. By law, the landfill will close in November, ending forever the opportunity for easy, inexpensive disposal of junk and debris in this area. The project could have used at least one more dump truck, because by the cleanup deadline at noon some of the larger items brought up with the boom were still piled beside the crater, waiting to be hauled away.

Volunteers were treated by the BLM to a barbecue lunch at noon at the Lakeview Ranch picnic grounds. Odessa-made sausage was served. Amy Schroeder for whom the crater is unofficially named, and Mildred Deife baked pies for the occasion. During lunch, archaeologist Grant Day of the BLM Spokane District office, told of some of his findings which included one of the rattle snakes as he helped with the morning's cleanup. Part of his interpretations were based on earlier archaeological exploration of the crater.

Day said placement of some of the rocks in the crater shows that hundreds or perhaps thousands of years ago they were moved from their original positions to form pits. Five of these pits have been found. They indicate the presence of humans, who may have stored root plants, their probable source of food, beneath the rocks for future use. A mound of rocks on a rise beside the crater also shows evidence of being man-made in an earlier age, said Day. This may have been a monument which had ceremonial or ritual significance. He said it was not possible to classify the era when the rocks may have been moved, as no tools have been discovered to provide clues.

One of the cleanup volunteers was Mark Orson, of Seattle, who is writing and illustrating a four-color brochure for the BLM on loop tours of the Channeled Scablands in the Odessa area. The brochure shows aspects of the basalt formations and ice age flood features of the Channeled Scablands. A tentative title for the booklet is Floods of Fire and Water. It is due to be published by late summer.

Orson has researched thoroughly the geological features of the Scablands and is an authority on the lava floods of 50 million years ago which created basalt formations which are visible today. Orson described to the volunteers during lunch at Lakeview the lava eruptions of central Washington, known to geologists as the Roza formations, which manifest themselves in fissures 150 miles long, extending from Grand Coulee to the Dalles, Ore.

Orson also has authored and illustrated a book on the volcanoes of Washington. He is a conceptual artist with Boeing Aircraft.

With the crater cleanup now practically completed, the BLM plans to establish a path from a pullout parking area beside Highway 21 to the crater, and also to build an overlooking observation area and interpretive kiosk at the crater. BLM Spokane District manager Ann Herdrick, who was one of the volunteers working on the cleanup, said she is not certain when these improvements can be completed.

In addition to the establishment of the crater as a major viewing attraction and Orson's brochure about the Scablands, two other developments closely related to the BLM presence in the Odessa area are contributing to enhance the community's position as a center of tourism.

One is the animated multi-media video presentation now being produced by Washington State University. It shows how the region was formed, from the formation of basalt through the ice age and on to the present-day use of land in the area. The video is expected to be ready in October. It will be available for continuous viewing at the Odessa Visitor Center in Record Square.

The other development is the picnic area at Lakeview Ranch. It features new barbecue grills installed by the BLM. The agency also has invited horseback riding groups to make use of its corals as a takeoff point for rides and hikes along the trails of the Lake Creek Canyon Recreation Area. Aldrich said hiking and riding in the area are encouraged. Parties wishing to make use of the corrals, which were built for the wild horse adoption in April, should call first to the BLM's Spokane District at 353-2570.


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