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Ephrata

Settled in 1882 by the Egbert brothers as a horse-breeding concern and platted in 1902 by J. Cyrus, Ephrata was the center of a fruit belt, where irrigation was carried on by means of wells—hence the name, given by the Great Northern Railway, after the Palestine village of Ephrata (Ephratah in the Old Testament), the predecessor of Bethlehem, which also irrigated from wells. The 1917 Grant County Courthouse, designed by Spokane architect George H. Keith, and the 1938 Bell Hotel, which hosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, along with other prominent politicians, are both state- and national-register listed buildings you can visit here.

At the extreme southern end of the Grand Coulee, this town is the operational headquarters of the Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency directly responsible for the development of the vast Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. The excellent crops produced in the area demonstrate the fertility of the soil of decomposed lava rock, and indicates the abundant production to be realized from the land when adequate water is widely available. The town is a center of activity for the region, and its brick courthouse, banks, and business houses reflected a growing prosperity.

The last great round-up of wild horses in the state occurred in this part of the Big Bend Country on April 23, 1906, when about 300 cowboys rounded up and drove approximately 2,400 head of horses south to the mouth of Crab Creek. Here they were corralled and shipped to the Bad Lands of the Dakotas. It is told that a few of these deported horses, under the leadership of a white-maned stallion, escaped and came back to the isolated coulees and rocky valleys.

Today, you can visit the 1917 Grant County Courthouse, a Neo-Classical Revival-style structure fronting C Street NW between First and Division Avenues and the more modest 1938 Bell Hotel, at the corner of Division Ave. and Basin Street/SR 28, a three-story brick building famous for housing executives and workers involved in the construction of Grand Coulee Dam as well as for visits from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, and other prominent politicians.