The first name was Pato, by the Northern Pacific Railway. In 1887, it was changed to the present name, for one of the official’s daughters. Mrs. Davis noted that it was never more than a flag station.
It is important today as the site of the diversion dam of the Roza Irrigation Project, from which waters flow southwest through 90 miles of ditches, canals, flumes, and three tunnels cut in solid rock. The Roza irrigation division, beginning here, is a narrow strip, containing 72,000 acres of fertile land extending to Benton City, 56 miles to the southeast. Irrigated at an estimated cost of $195 (1940s) per acre, the soil on the benchland ranges in altitude from 700 to 1,200 feet. The storage basin is north of the city of Cle Elum in the lakes and streams feeding the Yakima River and its tributaries.
Today, the Roza Irrigation Project remains an essential water source for the Yakima Valley.
The history of the Roza Project goes back to 1918, when a board of engineers made extensive investigations. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved an allocation of $5,000,000 of FERA funds for the inauguration of the Roza project. Work was started early in 1936.