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Liked it so much, we moved here twice


My wife and I liked the coulee so much that we moved here twice.

The first time was in 1954 when I accepted a job grading lumber at the planing mill above the dam.

I worked for Everett Kirkpatrick and a junior partner. Old timers will remember the mill and Kirkpatrick.

I had come to the area to take a position as lumber grader at Lincoln Lumber Company, a few miles upstream. I’d had earlier training at Potlatch Lumber Company in Potlatch, Idaho.

At that time, they floated logs down the Columbia River to the mill site.

Sad to say that the only reminder of the mill at Lincoln back then is the old fire stand in which the waste lumber was burned.

On Saturdays, I filled in grading for the Emerson Lumber Company just for the extra money.

I remember that at the time, Grand Coulee’s Main Street and other places were filled with shops. You clearly could get most of your needs satisfied by local retailers.

I also remember that our rent on the little house we lived in was $15 a month. You could say, those were the days.

I worked at the mill here for about 18 months, and piled up enough savings that we headed out for college.

We loved it here then, and still do.

Over the years, I changed my profession to the newspaper, but we came back on a regular basis to stay with friends we had met earlier.

Stopovers from college were Boise, Idaho, and Othello, before we landed on the other side of the mountains at Bothell.

There I had a 25-year career at a newspaper, with 25,000 circulation.

When it was time to retire from there, we decided to take several days and tour Eastern Washington.

Naturally, we stopped in Grand Coulee to see our friends and decided to drive the different towns to see what real estate was available.

That’s when we met real estate czar Merle Kennedy.

Although it was on a weekend, Merle was kind enough to drive us around and show us property.

We would see a for sale sign, but Merle would just say that he didn’t think it would be a good fit.

At the time, we couldn’t believe how low prices were on the real estate here.

Anyway, Merle showed us a place in Electric City, which later I made an offer on.

As it happened, it took a long time for the paperwork to get done, and I kept calling Merle and bugging him. I never will forget what he would say: “Remember why you wanted to get out of the Seattle area.” He was referring to my story of being tired of the crowds and traffic.

Things do, I learned, take longer in the coulee.

But the canyon walls helped bring us back. You couldn’t live in a more historic environment.

Soon it will be 30 years here.

The place beckons you to return. One of our sons, Paul, and his wife Cindy, like the area so much they have decided to retire here.

We often drive out through the canyon and the walls change appearance at different times of the day, so it is always interesting.

But don’t tell too many people about it.

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