Our Past | 1986: The sounds of early Orondo

Selected by Karen Larsen

It appears like John H.D. Smith was an older man at the time this piece was published in the Feb. 27, 1986 edition of the Waterville Empire Press. He looks back to memories, probably of his childhood, and overwhelmingly of the sounds that framed his early life in Orondo.


Orondo As I Knew It

By John H.D. Smith

A change of noises was evident as times changed in the Orondo community. The first stage was the steamboat, the second was the building of the railroad to Oroville. The change was made necessary by the construction of Rocky Reach Dam before the river was raised by the dam.

From the house where I lived, we could hear the roar of the rapids. My Uncle George built a flume down Corbely [sic] Canyon. As soon as the sun went down, I could hear the frogs begin to croak. It seemed there were about a million of them.

Nearly every hour, day and night, we could hear one of the two bells on the Orondo Ferry being rung by someone wanting to cross the river. From the Entiat side, the whistle of George Gray and Sons saw mill and the Entiat school bell could be heard.

Due to changes in irrigation, wells being drilled and hammering could be heard day and night. Even spray machines had a different noise. Each irrigation pump was an individual.

Before we had “stock-law district,” there was the noise of livestock grazing on the hills, the clatter of cow bells and the bleating of sheep.