A Brief History of the Teanaway River Valley
Compiled by Hilary Foss
The first inhabitants of the Teanaway River Valley were members of the Yakama, Cayous and Nez Perce Indian Tribes. The Teanaway Valley was part of the summering grounds for these tribes. They came to gather food. The name Teanaway possibly had its origins in a Sahaptin word, tyawnawí-ins, meaning “Drying Place”.
1814 – Alexander Ross of the Northwest Fur Company entered the Kittitas valley looking for horses to buy from local Native Americans. He is the first white man known to have visited the valley.
1886 – Teanaway City was founded by August Hess.
Hess anticipated the coming of the railroad and lays out 90 foot wide streets, naming them Delaware, Teanaway, Cle Elum and Yakima. An 1886 newspaper, The Teanaway Bugle, states that the town had “unlimited water power and mining interests.” The paper also mentioned a two-story hotel, a restaurant, two general stores, a drug store, furniture store, cabinet shop, blacksmith, wagon, harness and shoe shops, a livery, and saloons.
Two years later, the railroad instead went to Roslyn with a junction at Cle Elum. For the next two years businesses in Teanaway City struggle trying to make a profit. They then decide to move to Cle Elum and Teanaway City folds.
Late 1800’s – Agriculture Comes to the Teanaway. The Teanaway Ditch Company constructed ditches to provide irrigation to the valley. Irrigation stretched for 50 miles and had the capacity of watering 75,000 acres of land, greatly improving crop production of hay, barley, hops, wheat, corn, vegetables, berries and other fruits. Beef cattle and dairy cows were also another important commodity raised in the Teanaway.
1902 – The Cascade Lumber Company begins operations in the Teanaway. The workers were mostly immigrant Slavs, Italians and Eastern Europeans. Falling, bucking and skidding of logs was done using only horses and human muscle power.
1903– A small amount of high-grade gold and copper ore was shipped out by the Johnson Mines. By the 1920’s, the Teanaway Mining District listed 15 claims.
1915 – Narrow-gauge rail lines were extended up the Teanaway Valley and many of its tributaries. Rail transport replaced the floating of logs down the river in spring log drives.
1917 – The company town of Casland was founded at the confluence of the North and Middle forks of the Teanaway River.
1940 – Most of the large old-growth timber had been cut by this time and harvesting of second-growth timber began.
1957 – Cascade Lumber Company merged with Boise Payette Lumber Company to become Boise Cascade Corporation.
1999 – American Forest Land Company purchased Boise Cascade Land Holdings in the Teanaway.
2013 – The State of Washington purchased all 50,000 acres of American Forest Land Company holdings and establishes the first Community Forest in WA State.