Ritzville draws me and requires two more postings. There are several people that are working to save what they can of historic Ritzville. They do not always agree on what should be done but recapturing some of what the town was is uppermost in their minds. Old buildings have been privately purchased or donated to civic restoration committees. The hope is to make them profitable, yes, however it is of equal importance to reenergize the community and to honor its past. I won’t name names because I don’t know them all but the groups involved include: the Ritzville Downtown Development Assoc., the Chamber of Commerce, and the Ritzville Public Development Association. There are similar people in most of the other communities that I have visited.
Adams County Bank Bldg. (301)
Dennis Chamberlin owner of Uniquely Washington took me upstairs in the German American Bank Building that now houses Columbia Bank. He and others are working to restore the space that housed, among other things, a large community room, a dental practice, and a judge’s office.
Gilson Bldg: Morning light, historic bldg. perfect shadow of streetlight. What more could I ask for? There is very little traffic in the historic section especially shortly after sunrise [little traffic anywhere except on the freeway that bypasses here]. I watch my step, back into the intersection and frame my picture – no problem, however, at moments such as this I completely focus on the task at hand and usually have no sense of time. Eventually I take the photograph, mentally remerge and realize that a pickup has been patiently waiting for me to get out of the middle of the intersection. I apologize. The driver smiles and says, “no problem”. He then remarks on this wonderful old building and says that he is glad that I am ‘working’ on them. I love these small towns with their very patient and caring people.
It is difficult to find views in most small towns without a grain elevator or its shadows appearing somewhere. Although the grain complex in Ritzville is prominent, it is more common to have at least one church steeple somewhere in the background. Churches in Ritzville are noteworthy not only for their number but also for their stature. Only a few are in buildings that originated with another purpose; most are in large, built for their purpose sanctuaries. How a community with a population of between 1,700 and 1,800 is able to support 11 large churches I do not know. [Do the math that is just over 160 people per church!]