A high railroad embankment divides Kiona (Ind. “brown hills”) into two strikingly contrasting sections. Scattered on the hillside above the tracks between the station house and a large group of sheep pens, old weather beaten structures are framed against a background of desolate, sage-covered desert. Below the hill the buildings are sprucely painted, the houses are neat, and a few trees are growing. Originally the town was named Horseshoe Bend, for the bend in the Yakima River at this point. It was established in 1885 as a way-point by the Northern Pacific Railway when it built through the area. The first name used was Horseshoe Bend because of the sharp bend in the Yakima River. The present name is said to be derived from the Indian word for brown hills, and is descriptive of the surrounding landscape.
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