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Quincy

This is another town to which the Columbia Basin irrigation development contributed new life, where previously farmers and ranchers struggled to flourish. Two significant structures remain of the early settlement, the vernacular Reiman House, once the anchor of a 20-acre farmstead, today home to the Quincy Valley Historical Society & Museum, and Saint Paul’s German Lutheran Church, which underwent a move and a complete restoration and is a community gathering place.

Prior to the irrigation project, the sun beat down on shadeless streets, and pungent winds with the odor of sage swept up from the canyon and coulee. It was anticipated that as the fifties advanced and irrigation arrived, a refreshing moisture would hang on the air, and rich green growth would come to the fields. This part of the Columbia Basin was, for years, a land of promise and a graveyard of hopes. Despite the lightness of precipitation, which is seldom more than six inches annually, productive farms and flourishing stock ranches have been maintained on the deep soil, rich in nitrates, lime, and magnesium. Scattered along the highway are ghost farms with their deserted houses, weather-beaten barns, and uprooted skeletons of fruit trees, a tragic residue left by settlers, who, at the turn of the century, hopefully broke the land and waited for the promised irrigation to materialize. The dream which they dreamed too soon finally became a reality.

Directly south of the town are the rugged hummocks of Frenchman Hills, scene of unsuccessful attempts to strike oil, across a treeless rugged plateau. Westward lies the long line of the Wenatchee Range, blue in the haze.

Images

1939 photo of an abandoned farmhouse 1 mile east of Quincy, by Dorothea Lange.

Source: Library of Congress

Historic view of the NRHP listed Reiman House.

Source: Washington Dept. of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Reiman House

The Reiman House, built by Samuel Reiman, Sr. shortly after he purchased the land in 1904, was once the anchor of a 20-acre farmstead. The house is a simple vernacular design which features both Queen Anne and Classical Revival detailing, added essentially to an American Foursquare building form. The home represents the social and economic rise of many turn-of-the century farm families in Central Washington. Within the Quincy, it is one of a handful of surviving early 20th century houses and is the best-preserved example of the group. Today it houses the Quincy Valley Historical Society & Museum.

St Paul’s German Lutheran Church

Before the construction of a church building, Quincy was served by a traveling itinerant pastor, Reverend Christian Mack, a Lutheran missionary. On a circuit, Rev. Mack would arrive by horseback to conduct services for the community every couple of weeks, at first in private homes and later in the school house. David Richardson, a citizen of the community, donated a piece of property on the SW corner of Second Avenue and B Street SW for the construction of the new church. After many decades of use and multiple owners, the church fell into disrepair around the turn of the 21st century. In 2007, the church was purchased by St. Paul Lutheran Church and gifted to the Quincy Valley Historical Society as a landmark of Quincy and a symbol of the community’s strong heritage of faith. The church was moved five blocks from its original location to where it stands today on the site of the Reiman House. After a complete restoration, today the church is available for use by the community.