Vera Pump House No. 1

In the early 1900s development of the Spokane Valley was driven by land speculators. With a modest investment into infrastructure and a far flung advertising campaign, small land management companies believed they could turn otherwise low-value land into productive and profitable agricultural property. One such speculative venture was the Vera Electric Water Company, responsible for this handsome stone structure.

The Vera Electric Water Company was established in 1908 by Donald K. McDonald, a local real estate entrepreneur. Among McDonald's other business ventures was the very similar Modern Electric Water Company, and the town of Opportunity. McDonald named his new company after his daughter. He gave potential buyers free tours of the now-irrigated land in an open topped automobile at blistering speeds of 35 miles per hour. Forty acre tracts sold for $600. As the land filled up with apple orchards, the town of Vera was incorporated.

Pump houses, such as this one, were hand built using stones dug up during the construction of ditches, these stones were also used in early local houses. The pump itself lies nearly one hundred feet below ground. Each pump operated continuously to provide the necessary irrigation, with electricity provided by the Washington Water Power Company. Vera operates to this day, though it no longer serves the agricultural sector.