In the beginning there was a large irrigation district which necessitated the birth of more town in Grant County. It was simply too far to run into Quincy or Moses Lake for supplies. The government decided to build but the people's opposition to a federally built town was high. This prompted the Bureau of Reclamation to open up the land for bidding.
Three men met and were talking in a Quincy pharmacy, twelve miles from the open acreage. These men, an attorney, a contractor, and the pharmacist came upon the idea of bidding on this land. Chosen as their representative, the pharmacist, Charlie Brown, placed their bid. As luck would have it, after both the contractor and the attorney had moved from the area, Charlie Brown was informed by the Bureau of Reclamation that he had been awarded the bid.
Charlie Brown had been left holding the bag and yet he won. Some would have turned back from the challenge, but not Charlie. Born to the owners of an old fashioned grocery, in Rockwood, Oregon, on March 23, 1903, attending school in the area and then going on to North Pacific College in Portland where he earned a degree in Pharmacy, Charlie Brown was a human dynamo. He always had to be doing something; he was a dreamer whose dreams often would succeed. Charlie invested his own money into the 339 acres which had nothing except for a deserted dilapidated farmhouse and quite a lot of dust. Mr. Wolf, the City Planning instructor at the University of Washington, laid out the town structure for the roads, lights and water system, and in essence, a city was born.
A man with the Bureau of Reclamation asked Charlie Brown what he was going to name his town and then he went on to say, "Why doesn't somebody get smart and name a town after our first president?" Recognizing that the state of Washington was the only place that could do such a thing, Charlie decided to follow the man's advice and his town became George, Washington.
The town was dedicated on July 4, 1957. Present for the occasion were several dignitaries, including
Albert Rosellini who was then the governor of the state. Some Hawaiian friends of the Brown's provided the entertainment. Also making its appearance was the first one-half ton cherry pie. A huge Dutch brick oven was built especially for the pie which took three hours to bake and another four to cool.
With five drug stores, a chain of shoe stores, and a gift and import shop in Honolulu, Mrs. Brown surely felt that she and her husband had enough to do but Charlie's dream of a small town, in the desert, with a wholesome environment for growing families must have reached her because soon, she was putting in as much effort into building George as her husband. Together they built several of the many businesses that got the town going.
The first business the Browns started was Martha's Inn which quickly became a favorite stopping place for truckers and tourists. Today, Martha's is the meeting place for the local residents; it would be impossible to count all the business deals that are taking place around the tables at Martha's.
The Browns also began several other businesses which were eventually sold to others as George began to populate. Soon there was grocery, a furniture store, a real estate office, beauty and barber shops, and a Post Office which was an independent station and has now become a substation of Quincy.
Who came to live in George, Washington? Certainly, there were farmers in the outlying areas, but who made up the core of the population? The Brown's, of course, and some others who had moved In from neighboring communities and still-more. Many of the twentieth century pioneers were the builders and operators from Wanapum and Priest Rapids Dams. Soon the town had a population of 300 people and in 1961, just four years after its dedication, George was incorporated.
Today, George, Washington operates with a Mayor - Council form of government. The positions in the city are: Mayor and five Council Members; City Clerk, City Attorney, and Public Works Director. The city contracts with for a Planning Athority which deals with the zoning for houses, roads, and the like. Charlie Brown was, naturally, the first elected mayor of George.
Not only does George boast of a Colonial Market and Martha's Inn to reflect upon images which the name of George Washington conjures, the street names are from the many varieties of Cherry trees. The main boulevard is Montmorency, named after the variety which, according to legend, was the same that George Washington chopped down. There is also Royal Anne Avenue, Richmond Avenue, Van Avenue, Nanking Avenue, Naden Avenue, Deacon Avenue, Windsor Avenue and Bing Avenue.
There are four churches in George today. In order of their establishment, they are the Lutheran Church, the the Assembly of God Church, the Spanish Assembly of God church, and a spanish Charismatic church. Land was also donated by Charlie Brown to build the George Elementary School which now has grades Kindergarten through Third.
Land for a city park was also donated and made use of by the community, as was the lot on which the community hall was built. The community hall is a very busy spot in George, it was built by the townspeople and outlying area people themselves. The building of this structure perhaps helps to illuminate the spirit of the people to be found in George. As with any small town, there is a feeling of closeness, of community. When something needs to be done, the people band together to see the job through. Whether it is baking the Fourth of July Cherry Pie or Washington's Birthday Cake, or building a Community Hall or an oven for the pie, George is a close-knit community who would like to see their town succeed.
Charlie and Edith Brown are gone now but their spirit remains. George, Washington will exist and it will grow. For some the town is a rest stop in traveling, but to the people who live here it is the town that Charlie built that is, very simply, a good place to live.