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Settlers in Alpowa Ridge and Pataha Flat in present-day Garfield County began experimenting with raising grain.
This was the beginning of the agricultural economy of county.
By the late 1860s, it was apparent that agriculture rather than mineral wealth would support the economy of the southeast Washington.
The earliest settlers were stockmen who occupied and cultivated the fertile river bottomlands, and used the hills and bench lands for grazing sheep and cattle.
Lewis and Clark traveled through on their return trip in May 1806, camping about five miles east of present-day Pomeroy.
Over the next fifty years, trappers, missionaries, and military personnel crossed the region as the struggle to control the vast Oregon Country progressed.
Located on one of the major stage routes through southeast Washington, Pomeroy emerged in the 1870s as a viable business center as the discovery of dryland wheat farming stimulated growth in the region.
In 1884, development of the town was further encouraged by the arrival of the railroad and designation of the town as the Garfield County seat. Through the first half of the Twentieth century, the downtown continued to grow and adapt to changing patterns of transportation, agriculture, commerce, and government despite the devastating fires that plagued the community.
These experimental wheat fields convinced farmers that these high table lands could be used for growing grain.The governmental buildings, the county courthouse and city hall, still maintain their historic function and are in prominent locations downtown.The District includes significant resources in the communitys history that date from 1887 to 1953 and include commercial, governmental, recreational, transportation, and fraternal building types.The trail between the communities of Walla Walla, Washington, and Lewiston, Idaho became a major stage route hauling freight, supplies, and people.The settlement around the current town of Dayton (35 miles southwest of Pomeroy) became a regular stop on the stage route to the mines. Pomeroy ventured by stage to Dayton from his home near Salem, Oregon, to work at the stage stop for a season.