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Promoting Irrigated Farm Lands on the Okanongan in North Central Washington

Scarce promotional map and text promoting irrigated lands along the Okanongan River, south of Oroville, Washington.

Includes an overview map of the  state of Washington with a comprehensivelook at the lines of the Great Northern, combined with a deailed map showing the lands and towns south of the Osoyoos Lake.  Over sixty different townships are promoted as farming opportunities.

The map locates:

  • Irrigation Canals
  • Syphons
  • Irrigation District Boundaries
  • Public Roads
  • Great Northern Railway lines.

As noted by the Irrigation District Website:

Starting in the late 19th Century Eastern Washington was seen as a fertile land of opportunity for fruit orchards which could be made possible by irrigation. The Okanogan Valley, unlike other parts of Washington State, was settled in the early 1900s long after other regions such as the Puget Sound had been. Being in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains irrigation was seen as a way to make the desert bloom with agriculture. Orchardists and farmers in the Okanogan Valley competed with those in the Yakima Valley to be the first reclamation project in Washington State for the newly formed United States Reclamation Service (USRS). The USRS investigations in 1903-1905 persuaded them to favor and concentrate on the smaller Okanogan Project, in North Central Washington, over the larger Yakima Project. The Okanogan Project was approved in 1905 by the USRS . . .  The Okanogan Project was authorized for $500,000 in a rugged country 100 miles from the nearest railroad.  Nonetheless, when the construction started in 1905 the Okanogan Project had the distinction of being the first one built by the USRS in Washington State.

Original construction of the Project was from 1905-1910. During construction, materials were brought up the Columbia River to Brewster via steamboat where they were then freighted by wagon 40 miles to Okanogan. The Okanogan Project was built as a gravity system that used storage reservoirs located high in the Salmon Creek Basin to hold water that would then be released into Salmon Creek and then diverted out of it 12 miles later into a series of canals to deliver water to the lands in the project  . . .   The first lands were irrigated in 1908 with additions in storage and pumping until 1921.  A patrol house was built in 1909 at the Salmon Creek Diversion Dam on the left downstream side for someone to “be constantly at duty at the intake of the canal”.


We were unable to find any other examples of this map.

Condition Description
Loss of image in one photo at lower right and along lower right margin.