We have had the pleasure of a call from Mr. H. Parker, of Washington Territory, who has given us some interesting information in regard to the resources of the great West, and more especially in regard to Walla Walla Valley, a region of remarkable fertility and mildness of climate, combining ad-advantages for manufacturing with its other attractive features. This region is one of many of somewhat similar character to be found on the Pacific slope, but has as few drawbacks, perhaps, as can be met with in any region of like extent in the United States. In the first place its climate is extremely temperate—a fact that may seem to those who have experienced the cold of the northern parts of Washington territory, as being paradoxical, but which is no more so than many other climatic peculiarities to be met with in localities no more widely separated than those in question. But little frost is experienced, and the rich bunch-grass, which abounds throughout the valley, enables farmers to winter their stock with very slender provision for the rare emergencies of cold weather, from which this valley is nearly exempt. Second, the soil is unexcelled in fertility. Wheat, oats, and barley, are grown in large quantities and of excellent quality, and corn, also, does well. Vegetables and fruits thrive abundantly, and the small labor required to cultivate the soil is amply repaid. Communication with the seaboard is easy through the Columbia Eiver, a distance of some three hundred miles. A branch road, running through the valley, will soon connect it with the Union Pacific road. There are now a number of thriving flouring mills and saw mills located in the valley, and the water-power is ample to perform all the manufacturing needed for that section. As a j future location for Woolen Mills it probably cannot be excelled by any other on this continent. The material is there, the water-power and building materials are there, and cheap Chinese labor, which has been found excellently adapted to such work, is to be had in abundance. The contour of the streams which water the Walla Walla Valley is somewhat peculiar. The tributaries of the Columbia River, which flows nearly parallel through the country like the fingers of a giant skeleton hand, unite, near their influx into the main stream, to form a stream,of considerable size. They have not worn deep channels, as is the case with many streams, and gulleys and gorges do not interfere with the full utilization of the fall, which is great, though nowhere abrupt. The advantages we have named, combined with the great salubrity of the climate, must, at no distant day, make this section one of the most thriving and populous of the fertile regions of the West. It has, at present, a thriving and inte] -ligent white population of seven or eight thousand, with schools, churches, and all the other advantages of older settle-ments. No trouble is to be apprehended from Indians, they having been all removed to reservations,and peaceful relations firmly established. Our information in regard to the Walla Walla Valley does not rest wholly upon the statements of Mr. Parker, although that gentleman gave us many new points in regard to it. It was stated to us, years ago, by a gentleman who had thoroughly explored that region, and who has since, for business reasons, settled lower down the river, that, for natural advantages of soil and climate, it would be hard to find, anywhere, a tract of country, of the same size, that could excel it. The opening of the' Union Pacific Railroad, with the projection of the Northern Pacific Road, must give an enormous stimulus to growth throughout the entire northwest, and the capital invested there now will surely be " seed sown in good ground.
This article was originally published with the title "The Resources of the Great West—Walla Walla Valley" in Scientific American 20, 24, 378 (June 1869)