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East Wenatchee

This town lies at the east end of an early steel bridge spanning the Columbia River connecting it to Wenatchee, which became a leading apple producer once irrigation hydrated the land.

Spurred on by the construction of several irrigation projects, the once barren land of the Wenatchee Valley was quickly developed into a leading agriculture area. The newly watered valley was planted with fruit trees, and Wenatchee and the surrounding area quickly became one of the world’s largest producers of apples. One of the earliest farmsteads to be a part of this boon was the Gensinger Farmstead.

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Gensinger Farmstead

Gensinger Farmstead is historically significant as a representative example of an early farmstead in the community of East Wenatchee. Edward and Okle Gensinger took advantage of the new opportunities in the valley and planted many crops, among them cherry, apricot, and peach trees. By 1930, business was good, and the Gensingers decided to incorporate their business, naming it the Columbia River Orchard, Inc., with a capital investment stock of $75,000 and Ed and Okle as the main stockholders. Incorporation papers state that the purpose of the company was to lease, acquire, hold, cultivate, plant, improve and develop farms, ranches, plantations and more for the purposes of growing fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. For unknown reasons in May of 1944, the corporation was dissolved. The vernacular Colonial Revival Home the Gensingers built circa 1912 is typical of dwellings that were constructed in the Wenatchee valley in the early part of the 20th century. The house is 1 1/2 stories and has three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. Architectural details are limited to the main façade, which boasts a wraparound porch supported by Tuscan-style columns, closed rafters with simple frieze boards and drop shiplap siding. The windows are a variety of one-over-one double-hung wood sash units and multipane windows. Inside the home are original lath and plaster walls, door and window trim. The main floor consists of large open spaces divided by a screen of fluted columns, which separate the parlor area from the living room and the living room from the dining room. The kitchen, remodeled in the 1930s, contains wood Art Deco-inspired cabinets. Also on site is a three-bay garage that sits directly south of the home, and a small bunkhouse/tackroom. Unique to the site are the retaining walls along the highway and that line the edges of the driveway. The walls are comprised of stacked river rock, carefully placed in a staggered pattern, then mortared and capped with concrete.