Archives West Finding Aid
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Irrigation Branch Experiment Station Records, 1910-1979
Overview of the Collection
- Washington State University. Irrigation Branch Experiment Station
- Irrigation Branch Experiment Station Records
- 1910-1979 (inclusive)19101979
- 59.5 linear feet of shelf space, (60 Boxes)
- Collection Number
- Archives 200 (collection)
- Contains annual reports; field notes, research records, and research reports; general correspondence collected by the station superintendent and others in one or more separate filing systems.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open and available for research use.
Historical NoteReturn to Top
Yakima Valley State Representative Ina P. Williams introduced legislation to create the Irrigation Experiment Station on March 13, 1917. The station was to be operated by the College of Agriculture of the State College of Washington. In early 1919, the station was established in Benton County, north of the Sunnyside Canal near Prosser, Washington.
In its first year IES employed 115 men and women, almost all of whom were day laborers. The first superintendent was Roy P. Bean, an animal scientist working in Dairy and Animal Husbandry, who was appointed on May 1, 1919. Irrigation water reached the fields on May 24, 1919, and potatoes, corn, and millet soon began growing as the station's first crops. In 1923 IES added two straw-loft poultry houses with a capacity for 250 hens each. The swine herd was started during 1921 with the purchase of five Duroc-Jersey sows. Cattle came to the station in 1922 when IES bought seven Holstein heifers. In 1924 twenty Lincoln-Merino ewes were purchased from two Prosser citizens.
The experiment station went on to produce large crops and herds in order to fully research the needs of agriculturalists in the state. Its goals included giving attention first to the production of crops under irrigation; second, to the principles and practices involved in the proper use of irrigation water; third, to the disposal of pasture and home grown feed by pasturing dairy cattle and hogs and by feeding sheep, beef cattle and poultry; fourth, to horticultural problems with special reference to tree fruits and potatoes." (Director's Statement, 33rd Annual Report, Washington Agricultural Experiment Station, pp. 5-6.)
On July 11, 1929, Roy Bean was killed by a dairy bull. He had been connected with the station since its establishment and under his supervision two-hundred acres of typical sagebrush land was developed into a well-planned experiment station, rendering effective service to irrigation agriculture," stated the IES Annual Report for that year. Harold P. Singleton succeeded Bean as Superintendent of IES.
The Washington State legislature halved IES's appropriation during the depression and reduced its staff. Some of the livestock had to be sold and salaries and wages were reduced by twenty percent. Although many thought the station faced closure, Governor Clarence D. Martin assigned it an additional $8000 from his emergency fund. Economic conditions improved starting in 1935 and as they did IES added more staff, faculty, and programs. C. Emil Nelson started work in the new plant pathology section, specifically with plant diseases. In 1942 J.D. Menzies became the first designated Plant Pathologist.
In 1937 the station began to produce hybrid corn seed for sale to farmers. Doing so had required the addition of new facilities for drying, shelling, and storage. Eventually the corn seed program supplied corn for all the farmers in the Yakima Valley.
Along with the Washington Agricultural Experiment Station at Pullman and the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla, IES began experimenting with vegetable crop varieties, fertilizer use, and management practices. The project, led by Walter Clore, lasted eight years. AES supplied guard salaries, the penitentiary supervised laborers and guards, and IES supervised field operations and record keeping.
From 1939 to 1945 the station also conducted research on processing adaptability studies of fruits and vegetables. In 1940 this research included work involving processing by freezing. In 1951 the whole processing laboratory transferred from Pullman to Prosser, along with its staff, Dr. A.M. Neubert and George Carter. The program moved again in 1965 to the Western Washington Research and Extension Center.
After the war the Bureau of Reclamation began operating pre-development farm units in the Columbia Basin for crop trials, later were called "Development Farms." The U.S.D.A. and IES worked with the Bureau of Reclamation on these units, concentrating mainly upon horticulture for small fruits and vegetables; they later also researched erosion control and irrigation. Both H.P. Singleton and J.D. Menzies worked as directors of these units.
A greenhouse facility, long sought after for research purposes, was finally added in 1946 and is still in use today at the Prosser station. In 1945 the Poultry Disease Committee suggested that the station establish a diagnostic laboratory to research diseases in poultry. Three years later a laboratory was functioning, but only lasted until 1952 when no veterinarians could be found to fill the researcher position.
Staff increases were common well into the sixties at every level and unit. Programs were also added, including programs in hops research; Aides Programs; fruit breeding; fruit fly control; outlying testing; irrigation engineering; virus diseases; breeding, diseases, and cultural practices with process peas; cherry fruit fly control; and, potato breeding. The results of such programs were regularly shown to area and state farmers at Feeders Days, Field Days, and Special Exhibits Days at Prosser Station.
The Interregional Research Project (IR-2), following years of planning, began operation on July 1, 1955. The project aimed to "assemble desirable clones of deciduous fruit trees, verify their virus freedom, maintain these clones in an isolated repository and distribute propagating materials to scientists or regulatory officials for research or for release to industry." The group would also conduct research and thermotherapy. Funds were provided by the U.S.D.A. and the Prosser station was the national headquarters. Begun on August 1, 1955, the unit soon became the national leader in research on detection and behavior of viral diseases among fruit trees.
Forage seed research produced three new projects, as well: Environmental Effects on the Genetic Stability of Forage Crops Seeds; Cultural and Management Practices in Forage Legume Seed Production with Alfalfa and Red Clover; and, Physiology of Seed Production in Forage Legumes with Alfalfa and Red Clover.
Still other new programs at the station were the Nematology Program and the Potato Disease Program, unique in that it was the only such project wherein the growers provided all the funding for the employment of faculty and non-faculty personnel. The station also did research in green beans and pears.
Dean L.L. Madsen, of the WSU College of Agriculture, C.A. Svinth, Director of Washington Agricultural Extension Service, and Mark T. Buchanan, Director of Washington Agricultural Experiment Station, determined in 1960 that the Irrigation Extension Service Center for Irrigation should be based in Prosser, too.
By 1988 the Superintendent of the station was Lindsey Faulkner. The main research areas continued to be Irrigation, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The Irrigation Branch Experiment Station records cover materials collected and filed at the station between 1910 and 1979, This includes annual reports, field notes, research records and reports, and general correspondence originally collected by the station superintendent and others in one or more separate filing systems.
The following container list is not a complete list of all folder titles; such a list would be so large as to be unwieldy. The list is basically a box-by-box list that specifies the first and last folders within that container. Generally this terse presentation should not be a problem for the user because the records consist chiefly of materials arranged by order of date or of alphabetical subject files. Thus, the user can generally deduce the location of a folder of correspondence or a report, provided, of course, the user has the name of a correspondent or the date of a report available from another source.
If a complete list of folder title is desired, the user is advised to consult the last folder in the records. This folder contains a handwritten document, used internally when arranging these records; it lists almost every folder in the entire body of records.
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
Restrictions on Use
Copyright restrictions may apply.
Irrigation Branch Experiment Station Records, 1910-1979 (Archives 200)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Due to the multiple filing systems used at the station and general disarray of the files upon receipt, they have been re-organized in chronological and alphabetical order according to title into three series.
Series 1: Annual Reports, contains annual reports filed chronologically and alphabetically by title.
Series 2: Research Documents, contains field notes, research records, and research reports. These are filed chronologically and alphabetically by title. Also included are special project reports filed numerically.
Series 3: General Correspondence, consists of general correspondence collected by the station superintendent and others in one or more separate filing systems. Annual and research reports in this series are draft copies. Files which had no date were filed at the end of the series.
At the end of Series 3 is a complete files list for all three series.
Records of the Irrigation Experiment Station at Prosser, Washington, were transferred to Washington State University Libraries in 1978 and 1981 (UA78-19 and UA81-03).
The records were processed by Harvey Young and Patricia M. Hall from 1987 to 1988.
Irrigation Branch Experiment Station (Prosser) Reports, 1919-1960 (Archives 76)
Irrigated Agriculture Research and Experiment Center (Prosser) Grapes/Wine Research Records, 1940-1984 (Archives 214)
Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center Photographs, 1919-1969 (PC 195)
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
Annual Reports: Return to Top
Research Documents: Return to Top
Research Records: W. O. Pruitt
Research Records (Legal Size)
Research Records: W. O. Pruitt
Research Records: "Officials Records of the Interregional Research Project, IR-2,"
Specific Projects, Project 1205
General Correspondence: Return to Top
Project Outlines 1910, 1915, 1919 -- Correspondence "A-B," 1925
Alkali Soils 1925 -- Correspondence "I," 1929-1930
Edward C. Johnson, 1929 -- Horticulture, 1932
Edward C. Johnson 1932 -- Edward C. Johnson, 1935
Research 1935-1965 -- Horticulture Department, 1937
Correspondence "I," 1937 -- Irrigation Experiment Station, 1938-1940
Correspondence "J," 1938 -- Correspondence "G," 1939
Correspondence "H," 1939 -- Correspondence "Z," 1939
Correspondence "A," 1940 -- Returned Seed Corn Questionaire, 1940
Rough Draft of Report to Dean Johnson 1940 -- Government Publications Ordered, 1941
President E.O. Holland 1941 -- Correspondence "Z," 1941
Correspondence "A," 1942 -- Edward C. Johnson and E.V. Ellington, 1942
Correspondence "K," 1942 -- Yakima Fruit Growers Association
Correspondence "A," 1943 -- E.L. Overholser, 1943
Correspondence "P," 1943 -- Gas Rationing Reports, 1944
Correspondence "H," 1944 -- Yakima Fruit Growers Association, 1944
Correspondence "A," 1945 -- J.D. Menzies, 1945
Missouri River Basin 1945 -- Columbia Basin Interagency Committee Meeting Minutes, 1946
County Extension Service 1946 -- Correspondence "X, Y, Z," 1946
Correspondence "A," 1947 -- Library, 1947
Correspondence "M-Mc," 1947 -- Correspondence "Z," 1947
Correspondence "A," 1948 -- Quarterly Report, 1948
Correspondence "R," 1948 -- Correspondence, 1949
Correspondence "D," 1949 -- Correspondence, "Z," 1949
Administration 1950 -- Experiment Station, 1950
Experiment Station 1950 -- Correspondence "Z," 1950
Correspondence "A," 1951 -- Irrigation Research, College and Bureau of Reclamation, 1951
Correspondence "J," 1951 -- Leonard Young, 1951
Correspondence "A," 1952 -- Correspondence "L," 1952
"Land Ownership ad Major Land Use--Columbia River Basin Area," 1952 -- Leonard Young, 1952
Correspondence "A," 1953 -- Correspondence "R," 1953
Correspondence "S," 1953 -- J.C. Knott, 1954
Correspondence "L," 1954 -- Leonard Young, Assistant to the Director, 1954
Correspondence "A," 1955 -- Leonard Young, Assistant to the Director, 1955
Correspondence "A-B," 1956 -- Crops Research, 1957
Correspondence "D-E," 1957 -- Animal Science, 1958
Annual Research Report, Parts I and II 1958 -- Aides Seminar, 1959
Animal Science 1959 -- Weeds, 1959
Agricultural Chemistry 1960 -- Wind, 1960-1962
Central Committee WSU Agricultural Advisory Board 1961 -- Irrigated Agriculture Research Center, Health Research Facilities Grant, 1961
Seminar 1961 -- Wind Erosion, includes Photographs, 1962
Agricultural Engineering 1963 -- Wind Erosion, 1963
Agricultural Engineering 1964 -- Land Use, 1965
Louis L. Madsen 1965 -- Hops Commission, 1966
Horticulture 1966 -- Superintendent's Meetings, 1966
Margin of Excellence, 1966 --Robert Kunkel
Land Allocation 1969 -- Correspondence, 1979
"Alfalfa Production Under Irrigation," by H.P. Singleton -- Works Progress Administration, Extension
Complete Files List
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Agricultural experiment stations -- Research -- Washington (State)
- Agriculture -- Experimentation
- Irrigation farming -- Washington (State)
- State College of Washington. Irrigation Branch Experiment Station -- Records and correspondence
- Washington State University. Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center -- Records and correspondence
- Washington State University. Irrigation Branch Experiment Station -- Records and correspondence
- State College of Washington. Irrigation Branch Experiment Station (creator)
- Washington State University. Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (creator)