Article ID: CBB001421793

“Where Dollars Grow on Trees”: The Promise and Reality of Irrigated Farming in Central Washington, 1890--1910 (2014)


Washington's orchard output grew dramatically after the arrival of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railways in 1885 and 1893, respectively. The railroads and local real estate boosters promoted central Washington's desert as an orchard paradise, "where dollars grow on trees," but the reality was far different. While prospective growers had been told that lush orchards were a simple product of nature, irrigated farming required a large input of capital, a high degree of horticultural expertise, and lots of hard work. The conflict between nature and the manmade landscape was evident in the efforts of growers. Instead of being a place of easy wealth, novice orchardists were often frustrated by their new landscape and the pressure to conform to industrialized methods. Although the Washington apple industry was ultimately successful, many growers struggled and failed due to lack of capital and expertise.

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Authors & Contributors
Whayne, Jeannie M.
Bromyard & District Local History Society
Pini, Barbara
Dale-Hallett, Liza
Panelli, Ruth
Verdon, Nicola
Agricultural History
Australian Journal of Politics and History
Journal of British Studies
Economic History Review
Research in the History of Technology
Journal of Global History
Louisiana State University Press
Bromyard & District Local History Society
McGill-Queen's University Press
University of Georgia Press
Auckland University Press
Economic botany; plant cultivation; horticulture
Labor and laborers
Grain crops; Cereals; Grasses
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
Early modern
18th century
United States
West Africa
Arkansas (U.S.)
Bureau of Plant Industry (United States)
United States. Office of Indian Affairs

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