The Entiat Valley was first settled by the Columbia River Chinook Indian tribe in the 1800s. Entiat was originally named by the tribe as “Enteatqua” which means “Rapid Water.”
For many years, Chief Silico Saska’s campsite, which was located at the congruence of the Columbia and Entiat rivers, was composed of cattle pens, horse corrals and crude homes, and it became the gathering place for traders by land or water. In 1896, Chief Silico Saska sold the town site of Entiat to white settlers. Settlers such as J.G. Ely, C.C. King, C.E. Hedding, William Wolf, James Clayton Bonar, David Farris, F.E. Knapp, Axel Erickson, Frank Marion Sanders, and Daniel Clinton Wolf were the first to build wooden structures on the town site creating stores for provisions, confections, a tavern, a barber shop, postal service, a school, and a hotel.
First Town SiteThis first town site was constructed on the north side of the Entiat River about one-half mile west of the Columbia River. C.A. Harris built the first sawmill up the Entiat Valley which was later purchased by Charles Gray and the mill dam was developed in 1908 by T.J. Cannon to provide electricity to the valley and Waterville.
Two other sawmills, Kellogg and Mott, were built in the area, and offered jobs to the residents.
The first school, the Harris School, was sited on what we now call Devil’s Elbow, just off the present day Hedding Street. The Union High School was built beside the Harris School in 1906. Telephone lines were constructed by F.E. Knapp and David Farris in 1908 and reached 13 miles up the Entiat valley.
In the early years, ferries traveling from Orondo across the Columbia River to Entiat and from Wenatchee to Entiat were a vital part of settling the area and transporting goods. Some of the settlers planted orchards which became a flourishing industry and offered employment for many of the settlers. Between 1902 and 1906, the Christian Church and the Quaker Church were built, the latter of which was used as a school house during the week.