The Names of Knives

From An Illustrated History of Big Bend Country, 1904:
Ritzville was named in honor of Philip Ritz, the first settler in the “Ritzville Country.” When the Northern Pacific railroad was being built through eastern Washington Mr. Ritz secured a sub-contract for grading ten miles of the railbed in the vicinity of his land, and when the railroad people decided to locate a station they left the naming of the same to Mr. Ritz.

He decided that the station should be known as Ritzville. And Ritzville it has ever remained, although from the first, up to the present period, there has been manifested, by some people, more or less dissatisfaction with the cognomen.

Indeed, in 1887 an abortive attempt was made to change it. Among the early settlers Mr. Ritz had made some enemies. Partly for this reason, partly because many of the residents of the little town considered the name less euphonious than many others that might be selected, several of the leading men of the place met in an informal way, to discuss the matter.

It was decided that the name must be changed. Then came the more difficult task of selecting a new name. The result proved the wisdom of the old copy-book motto: “Many men of many minds.”

Each citizen present was called on to suggest a name, and, as might have been expected, each one suggested a different one. It was developed afterward that in each case the name selected by the individuals present was the name of the town in the east from which the gentlemen suggesting it had come to the western country.

An agreement could not be reached; comprise was in possible, and the name of the county seat of Adams remained Ritzville. It is possible, too, that the postal authorities might have paid no attention to the change, and equally possible that the railway company would have pursued the same course.

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‘The Names of Knives’

Camera: Spartus 35F Model 400 (c1948)
Film: Kodak Tri-X (x-1980s)
Process: HC-110; 1+200; 120min

Ritzville, Washington

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