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B Street

The Notorious Playground of Coulee Dam

Lawney L. Reyes

Publication Year: 2012

A memoir in the form of stories about the notorious street of shops, restaurants, bars, and brothels where the workmen who built the Grand Coulee Dam spent their recreational hours and their wages. As a young boy Lawney Reyes wandered B Street with his little sister while their Indian mother and Filipino father eked out a living running a Chinese restaurant. The stories are set within the wider context of the history and culture of Native Americans whose villages were flooded and whose way of life was irrevocably altered by the dam.

Published by: University of Washington Press

Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. vii-

Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xviii

Iwant to acknowledge the stories told to me by my dad, Julian, after I had grown up. They reinforced my memories of those early years. Harry Wong also shared stories about living in Grand Coulee. Much later, Dewey Hall told me of his adventures and good times when he worked and played...

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Introduction: The Grand Coulee

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pp. xix-xxii

Adetermined wind swept up the coulee, moving dust and debris as it went. Small whirlwinds formed here and there, defined by the dust they carried. They zigzagged up the sloping hill from one spot to another to the bench above. They lingered briefly, whipping sagebrush and...

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1. Moccasin Telegraph

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pp. 3-16

Early in the morning, during late spring of 1934, Antoine Paul saddled two of his horses, a bay and a black, which he always kept in a small corral near his cabin. He was a tall, lanky man of twenty-one years. He had straight...

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2. The Town Hall

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pp. 17-24

On Friday night, shortly after 6:00 p.m., people began arriving at the General Store. They were quiet and serious as they entered the building. There was no lighthearted horseplay or laughter as there usually was at large gatherings. Everyone seemed to sense that a...

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3. Family Planning

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pp. 25-40

Julian Reyes and his wife, Mary, attended several town hall meetings in Inchelium during the summer and fall of 1934. They listened closely to what was said but still could not believe all that they heard. They discussed the matter at length with others. After all of the talk, there...

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4. B Street

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pp. 41-48

Entrepreneurs began arriving in Grand Coulee even before construction of the dam was approved in 1933. Most came from different parts of the state of Washington. Their goal was to set up businesses to cater to the thousands of men they knew would be moving into the area...

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5. Working Stiffs

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pp. 49-62

When the nation received the news that a large dam was to be constructed at Grand Coulee, hundreds, then thousands, of young men from across the country journeyed there seeking employment. The Depression had hurt nearly everyone, and people were hungry and...

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6. Pretty Ladies

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pp. 63-76

The business of women selling their services to men is nearly as old as humanity itself. Almost every society in the world has experienced this type of behavior at one time or another. Traditionally, upper social circles...

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7. Woo Dip

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pp. 77-93

Julian and his family got little sleep that first night they spent near the Grand Coulee Dam construction site. Dewey was the only one who slept through all the noise from the huge machines that operated nonstop twenty-four hours a day. Julian and Dewey were up...

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8. Show Business

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pp. 94-102

Julian and his family got little sleep that first night they spent near the Grand Coulee Dam construction site. Dewey was the only one who slept through all the noise from the huge machines that operated nonstop twenty-four hours a day. Julian and Dewey were up...

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9. The China Man

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pp. 103-119

The Greyhound bus arrived at the small station in Grand Coulee in the early afternoon. It had made its daily trip from Spokane and was en route to Nespelem and then to the Okanogan Valley farther west. Harry Wong stepped from the bus carrying a wellworn suitcase and a decrepit violin...

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10. Ceremony of Tears

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pp. 120-138

Most of the work on the dam was completed toward the end of May 1940, and Harry learned that a number of Indian tribes who once fished at Kettle Falls planned to have a farewell gathering at the site. They wanted to do this before the river rose, and that time was...

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Epilogue

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pp. 139-152

Toward the end of 1940, the dam was nearing completion. Daily progress was clear from just viewing the dam. Everyone was awed by the size of the huge concrete structure. When the construction reached this stage, the men knew that work forces would be reduced...

Resources

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pp. 153-155


E-ISBN-13: 9780295803340
E-ISBN-10: 0295803347
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295988535
Print-ISBN-10: 0295988533

Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Colville Indians -- History.
  • Colville Indians -- Government relations.
  • Colville Indian Reservation (Wash.) -- History.
  • Grand Coulee Dam (Wash.) -- History.
  • Water resources development -- Columbia River Watershed -- History.
  • Grand Coulee (Wash.) -- History.
  • Grand Coulee (Wash.) -- Ethnic relations.
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