The Fire Blowing

Last week I wrote about the camp of the Chief Moses band of Sinkiuse Indians at Rocky Ford Creek in Grant County, Washington. I related a story about a surviving member of the band (it’s then-current chief, Billy Curlew) giving a tour of the site to a forest ranger in the 1940s.

In that story, they had to cut through a sheep ranch that is no longer there. Having visited the site, and seeing no traces of the ranch, I got to wondering what happened to it and when.

This is from the Port Angeles Evening News, July 30, 1957:

Four historic buildings on the Thomas Drumheller sheep ranch near here [Ephrata, Washington] were destroyed Monday by a fire which also blackened 4,500 acres of grazing land.

The buildings, a huge hay barn, a machine shed, a shop and an ice house, were constructed before the turn of the century by Lord Blythe, and early day settler, near Rocky Ford Creek between Ephrata and Moses Lake.

The ranch house also caught fire several times but firefighters extinguished the flames.

Drumheller, whose father purchased the ranch from Lord Blythe in 1906 [a year after the camera that took this photo was made], said he was unable to make an immediate estimate of damage. He said many antiques and articles of historical value were lost.

The blaze was believed to have been started by sparks from a tractor.


‘The Fire Blowing’

Camera: Seneca Chautauqua (c1905)
Film: Kodak Tmax 100 (x-09/03); 64iso
Process: Rodinal 1+50; 12min

Rocky Ford Creek, Grant County, Washington


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