The residents of Zillah vote overwhelmingly to incorporate on December 31, 1910.

  • By Jim Kershner
  • Posted 5/07/2013
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 10372

On December 31, 1910, the residents of Zillah vote overwhelmingly to incorporate. The residents of the town gather in a lodge building named Woodmen Hall on New Year's Eve day to cast their ballots. The results are a landslide: 94 to 6 in favor of incorporation. On January 3, 1911, the Yakima County Commissioners certify the results of the election and send the incorporation documents to the office of the Washington Secretary of State. The documents are filed two days later, making January 5, 1911, the official incorporation date of Zillah as a town of the fourth class. The town has a population of 647 in its first official U.S. Census in 1920. The town grows steadily over the decades and becomes one of the key towns in the rich Yakima Valley agricultural district, surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and hop fields. It has a population of 2,964 in the 2010 census.

Becoming a Town

Zillah was founded in 1892, the year irrigation arrived in the area, but grew slowly in its early years. In 1910, a group of Zillah citizens decided the time was right for their small agricultural village to incorporate as a town. They gathered signatures and filed a petition with the Yakima County commissioners. The commissioners held a hearing on December 5, 1910, which was continued over to December 12, 1910, to consider this petition. During those hearings, the commissioners decided to proceed with the incorporation process, although they somewhat reduced the proposed boundaries of the town.

The board ordered an election on December 31, 1910, at one of the largest gathering places in Zillah, the Woodmen Hall. Support for incorporation was just short of unanimous: a 94 percent approval margin.

Nor was there much suspense in the races for city officers on the same ballot. Only one "ticket" was offered, "The Citizen's Ticket," and all of the candidates on that ticket were elected by about 80 percent of the vote or more. E. J. Jaeger was elected mayor and Louis B. Kuhn was elected town treasurer. Five town council members were elected: J. P. Fox, C. M. Mudd, J. E. Townsend, A. A. Hunter, and W. B. McDonald.

The Yakima County Commissioners validated the election and sent the documentation to the Secretary of State's Office, where it was officially filed on January 5, 1911. 


Sources: "In the Matter of the Incorporation of Town of Zillah," incorporation documents from the Washington State Archives, Secretary of State, Municipal Articles of Incorporation; W. D. Lyman, History of the Yakima Valley, Washington, Comprising Yakima, Kittitas and Benton County, Illustrated, Vol 1 (Chicago: S J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1919).

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