When the wind blew in 1910

July 13, 2011 

I don't know which is scarier...having your house blow away or living in the house without plumbing or electricity.

Mabton pioneer recalls house blowing away

Published on August 6, 1973
By Robert Wherry
Herald staff writer

MABTON -- "That northeaster left them standing on the porch watching the house blow away."

Mabton pioneer Alta Callaway recalls the first winter (1910-11) she spent here when W.O. Woodall's farm house "just took off" after midnight while Woodall and his oldest son watched after a wind storm.

Mrs. Callaway got her first look at Outlook when she stepped off "Sagebrush Annie," the little train that ran between Toppenish and Grandview. It wasn't much more than a turn-around for trains, Mrs. Callaway recalls.

She was 10 at the time and had just arrived from Kokomo, Ind., with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hollingsworth.

The first settlers came to Outlook in 1893 and irrigation water arrived the same year, she added.

The town was started near where the Cosy Corner Store is now and then was moved a mile south when the railroad went through so it wouldn't be on the line." Mrs. Callaway's remembers the strong winds from the northeast during that first winter.

"I've seen it get 35 below zero here during a northeaster."

Neighbors pitched in and helped the Woodalls rebuild their house.

Mrs. Callaway said there was no bridge across the Yakima River at Granger in those days and you had to ford it.

Between Outlook and Sunnyside there were only three houses and a dusty road that turned to mud when it rained in the summer.

Mrs. Callaway's father rented a span of horses and a surrey with the fringe on top to buy her wedding clothes in Sunnyside.

Her first husband, who died in the 1940s was Simpson Dosser. He came to Outlook from Centralia and was a native of Texas.

In those early days "we made our own fun," Mrs. Callaway said, recalling one store had two dance halls.

There was a pool hall called "The Blind Pig" in town. "I never was inside," Mrs. Callaway smiled.

The community post office was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Lee Sheller in 1909 and then G.C. Ide took over in 1910.

The community depot "was quite a shipping place for hay and potatoes," she said. The town also had a dress shop operated by two sisters.

The Outlook church was under construction when she arrived and was a Dunkard Church. Now it is the Church of the Brethren.

The church bell would toll for funerals. A tradition of tolling the old year out and the new year in was started back then, she said.

There were board sidewalks from the depot to the north end of Outlook. "When you stepped off you stepped into ankle deep dust," she said.

"Everyone carried water from the town well. My husband would carry water for me to do the wash before he would go to work," she said.

The year's biggest event was the Alfalfa Day Celebration with horse races, ball games, picnics and a dance. The town would be decorated with alfalfa.

Indians would set up teepees near the railroad tracks and a lot of gambling was going on blankets, she added

One of the annual summer events was families going to the Andy Wallace hop yard to pick hops. He planted the yard in 1897 and it was torn down in 1930.

Hops were picked by hand by cutting hop vines down and taking them to a shady spot to do the picking.

Pay was $1 for a box about five or six feet long and two feet deep.

One larcenous fellow and his wife had a gimmick going until he was caught. He had his wife lay down in the box and fill it up, get credit, then she would climb out and into the next box.

The ranch foreman's suspicions were confirmed when he started using a prod on each box.

Wallace, who still lives in the area, is a former county commissioner. His hop yard was between Outlook and Granger.

The owner of a dance hall, a Mr. Cottie, heard a thumping noise upstairs one Halloween. On investigation he found some jokesters had gotten a 25-year-old horse up the 22 steps to the second floor.

Mrs. Callaway said she learned to drive a Model T truck and later a Model A Ford which cost her $50. When she remarried after the death of her first husband, she sold it for $400.

Housekeeping was rougher in those days. Mrs. Callaway said she always raised a big garden and did a lot of canning on an old wood and coal burning cookstove outside under a tree.

Mrs. Callaway did her washing on a scrub board for many years.

"And we made our own soap," she added.

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