The Roaring 20's:
Yakima's First Decade
February 15 - June 1997
Decade? The 1920s?
This certainly sounds strange
when 1885 is the actual date for the community's founding.
However, the city was originally chartered as North
Yakima, to set it apart from nearby Yakima City.
From the beginning these two towns-adjacent to each
other and with similar names-caused confusion.
In 1917, the United States Post Office formally requested
the two towns adopt new, more distinctive, names.
Thus, the larger and the newer North Yakima became
Yakima, and the older Yakima City became Union Gap.
Technically, therefore, the
1920s was the first complete decade for a city named
Yakima. But more importantly, today's live theatrical
and music performances, professional sports, local
media stations, colleges, and the vast fruit and vegetable
industry of the Yakima Valley all have roots in the
The 1920s In America
Women, who were eager to adopt fashionable--but
"scandalous"--knee-length skirts, obtained
the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th
Amendment in 1922.
KDKA, operated by Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing
in Pittsburgh, began the first commercial radio broadcasting,
and by the end of the decade millions of Americans
were tuned in to their favorite programs.
All liquor sales had been prohibited by the passage
of the 18th Amendment in 1919; this led to the establishment
of "speakeasies" (illegal nightclubs) and
the rise of a powerful underworld that controlled
the distribution and sale of "bootleg" liquor.
Charles Lindbergh captured the imagination of the
world when he became the first person to successfully
fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Many
people invested in the booming stock market, hoping
to turn lifetime savings into a fortune.
Also in the 1920s, two major events dashed the dreams
of many Americans and set the stage for hard times
ahead. There was disillusionment and despair
for farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and other
Midwestern states, when a prolonged drought and poor
farming practices turned productive farmland into
dry dusty fields. And in 1929, the stock market
crashed, spelling immediate economic disaster for
some and sending the entire country into the Great
Depression of the 1930s.
Today, in the 1990s, that America of the 1920s still
captures our imagination.