March 5, 2008

Hover, Washington

The picture below is from a collection I was digitally archiving. The photo was taken in about 1908 and required minimal restoration. It is of the train station in Hover, Washington.

Hover, Washington

The town of Hover was named after Herbert Hover who purchased 12,000 acres of land southeast of Kennewick around the turn of the century. The town was platted in 1905, with the first post office also arriving that year. Mr. Hover had 18,000 brochures printed extolling the virtues of the area for settlement and distributed them nationwide. Hover was primarily a farming town, and it was irrigation that made intensive farming possible. Without the construction of the intensive irrigation system, began in 1888 by the Yakima Irrigation and Improvement Company, there would probably have never been any settlement in the lower Columbia Basin. In October of 1905, the Yakima Herald wrote the following: "The town of Hover thirteen miles down the river from Kennewick is, I believe, one of the most promising in that section. It is ideally located on an immense alfalfa field, which has a gentle slope toward the river. Just now with its beautiful greensward, it is indeed pretty. Our people are planning to erect a Presbyterian Church at that point. There are a number of business houses planned, with dwellings and sidewalk improvement. Hover bids fair to capture a large share of the lower Horse Heaven trade." By 1907, Hover had a population of 300 and possessed wooden sidewalks, a new school, livery stable, a 32-room hotel, opera house, saloon, railroad depot, grocery store, blacksmith shop, church, and post office. Unfortunately, in 1910, a devastating fire struck the town as described in the March 9, 1910 issue of the Twin City Reporter: "Hover was swept by flame the 5th of March, 1910. Fire destroyed the Columbia Hotel, Hover Land Company Office, Post Office and T. H. Dry’s General Merchandise store." Later on, the Opera House was destroyed by fire in 1913. Most of the buildings that were destroyed by fire never were rebuilt, and Hover began to slide into a long decline, culminating in 1954, when the government bought much of the land in Hover to make way for the McNary Dam. The rising waters of Lake Wallula ended up submerging most of the old town. Today, little exists of the original town save a few foundations and the remnants of the old canal used to bring irrigation water to the area. Submitted by: Jeremy Wells

When I scan old photographs for digitally storage only I usually scan at 300 dpi. If I am going to do restoration work I will scan at 800 dpi or more.


Anonymous said...

My Father attended Hover High School untill the Dam went in and they transfered all students to Kennewick High. He would take me down to Old Hover and show me the old foundations and tell me stories. It is one of the best memories of my childhood.

Anonymous said...

This is maylan mills. I was born in 1926 in hover and went to school there with my twin brother harlan. My dad was born in 1890 in hover. I have lots of stories of hover, but there are too many to tell now. I had a cherry orchard at hover until a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

For years, there was a "Hover Picnic" for residents of the flooded town of Hover. I remember attending several with my parents when I was much younger. My dad had a farm there which consisted mostly of various fruit trees which was purchased by the government to make way for the McNary Dam.

Anonymous said...

Continuing the above post: Talked to my mom, who also attended Hover High School, this morning and without prompting, she said she remembers twin brothers Harlan and Mahlan Mills. See above. She also remembers 3 sisters, one of whom married Hugh Harper who had 2 brothers Bill and Johnny.
Re. the Hover Picnic: The earlier ones were held in Vancouver and the later ones, 2-3 which I attended, were in Kennewick.
Re. My dad's farm: It was not actually flooded by McNary but became part of the roadbed for the relocated SP&S Railroad. I remember as a youngster going back there to pick cherries, peaches etc.

Anonymous said...

I am doing historical family research on the small towns in our area and would love some personal family histories!

Bonnie Rae said...

It was nice to see these memories of Hover. I don't have any real connection with the town, but grew up in the 1950's and '60's in Kennewick. I remember finding broken pieces of dishes, bottles, and other signs of the folks who had lived there. It seemed like touching history when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maylan,
I would love to hear some old stories about the history of Hover.
Thank you,

Maylan mills said...

Typing for my father, Maylan Mills.

I still live in Finley at 91 yrs of age and can remember many stories of Hover.
I welcome any to stop by my residence to listen and reminisce those good ole days.
I quit farming in Hover in 1995
My twin Harlan, just passed away Jan 2018 and could recall many memories of Hover

I remember my dad talking about the Indians riding horses on the hills.
Our first house had no electricity nor running water.

I live on Finley road between the park and boat launch.