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Wenatchee, Washington is a smaller sized city of 70,000 or so located at the confluence of the Wenatchee River and the Columbia in the geographic center of the state (the precise center is ten miles southwest of Wenatchee). The community is really two townships, Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, located in two different counties that are divided by the Columbia River. The main industry is agriculture, particularly apple orchards. Other industries include electrical generation and aluminum smelting.

Unlike the climate of Western Washington, Wenatchee's climate is arid. Being nested in the rain shadow of the east side of the Cascade Mountains there are blue skies 300 days of the year. Irrigation from the Columbia River and her tributaries allows for the large amount of agriculture.

Wenatchee's history dates back almost 12,000 years. Archeological digs have uncovered Clovis artifacts and other ancient artifacts enlightening us to the fact that people migrating during the last ice age settled in Wenatchee. Some believe that the people who remained became the Yakima Indians. The Yakima inhabited this area for ten millenia. The Columbia provided an ample supply of food. They took refuge from the flooding river on the plateau or in high up caves in the coulee walls. In the late 1800s, with manifest destiny in mind, the white man came and settled the land for himself.

The aforesaid confederated tribes and bands of Indians hereby cede, relinquish, and convey to the United States all their right, title, and interest in and to the lands and country occupied and claimed by them, and bounded and described as follows...
-- The Yakima Treaty

On October 5, 1931, Clyde Pangborn with co-pilot Hugh Herndon landed his plane, the Miss Veedol, in the hills of East Wenatchee and became the first person to fly non-stop across the Pacific Ocean. The 41 hour flight from Sabishiro Beach, Japan won him the Harmon Trophy symbolizing the greatest achievement in flight for the year 1931.

In 1936, with the completion of Rock Island Dam, Wenatchee was protected from the summer flooding of the Columbia River as well as having a nice reservoir from which to irrigate corps. Orchards could be planted closer to the river and in no time Wenatchee became the apple capital of the world.

The Apple Blossom Festival, which takes place in the spring, has become Wenatchee's largest attrition. People from all over the Western United States come for the quazi-Mardi Gras atmosphere of the weeklong festivities. Another big attraction is the ski resorts in the mountains. Mission Ridge is only 20 minutes away and the Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass ski areas are an hour plus.

Wenatchee also has the reputation for being the Prozac capital of the world. PBS did a documentary about this called Welcome to Happy Valley which chronicled a particular psychologist, self proclaimed the "pied piper of Prozac," who handed the stuff out like it was candy on Halloween (he has since lost his license to practice).


Sources:
http://wenatcheevalleymuseum.com/
ftp://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/wa/indians/treaties/yakima.txt
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/programs/categories/info/1318.html

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