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It's time to do better at preserving our history



This community has not done a good job of preserving its own history. Until recently, the home of the largest dam and largest powerplant in North America, and of one of the most important public works projects in the country’s history, hasn’t even had a museum; and even the one that’s struggling to survive is an underfunded all-volunteer effort.

Now would be a good time to reverse this trend.

When Mom’s Tavern, the last of the old buildings on the famous B Street in Grand Coulee, was demolished decades ago, the last authentic remnant of that part of our past left the community, never to return.

This week, we learn that another treasure, unique to Coulee Dam, can no longer be supported by its dedicated congregation. The Coulee Dam Community Church was built by locals. Its cornerstone, laid in 1951, is a monument to the spirit of those who built it with some 20,000 rocks from the local area and from around the nation.

That news comes in the same week that a state official, scheduled to speak at a special chamber of commerce luncheon tomorrow (Thursday) at Coulee Dam Town Hall, will take a look at what it could mean to classify the town, or part of it, as a historical site. The public is welcome to attend.

The good news is that some of us are placing importance on knowing and preserving our history. Let’s hope that feeling builds and sustains an effort to preserve and understand what we would otherwise lose.

This community’s story, at its core, is not about the remarkable engineering that changed the face of the Earth, or about causing the desert to bloom with agriculture, or taming a river and paving the way for the manufacturing of enough war planes to defeat the Nazis. It’s about the people whose determination and ingenuity made all of that possible.

Letting that story slip away through a simple lack of planning and a paucity of our own determination would dishonor those who came before. We can and should do better.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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