Gerome: A River Home
William and Grace King came to Gerome in 1893. They picked a good location at the mouth of Oropotham creek on the banks of the Columbia. Their lives were connected to the river by the rich loamy soil and by the steamboats that hauled their loads on the river. The soil was good for growing peaches, apples, cherries, berries and much more. The boats took the produce down to larger markets. Much fruit was hauled to the Colville Valley, which was too frosty to grow fruit. Wheat was shipped to Creston or Davenport after bridges and roads were built across the Spokane River. The Emerson family and Dan Layton both ran sawmills, some people cut cord wood for the steamboats and others mined.
William King was an innovative thinker and introduced the ideas of telephones, home water systems and listening to music through phonographs. He operated the first Post Office out of his store in 1903. Frank Long operated the first ferry and Melvin Mattison was the last operator.
Gerome was difficult to reach by road. The only access was a steep narrow road along the creek, then down Miller Mountain Road. The river road was built in 1913. Dean Gabber and Joe and Albert Wood using only a level and a 100 feet of wire stake it out. Other citizens put their skills to use; Carl Boawn built houses, installed water and was a "renowned chimney builder." A school was built between Gerome and Fruitland. They named it Pine View School and twelve students attended the first year. More families moved to town and the little school grew. Church was also held in the schoolhouse. In 1942 the schoolhouse was moved to Fruitland and later became the home of Virgil and Ruth Kemmerer. The waters of Lake Roosevelt now cover the original town-site of Gerome. (Pioneers of the Columbia)