Bridge in Tekoa

A Tiny Town Worth the Stop

A travel log is a departure from my usual style, but today, I feel inspired.

This is my third trip to the tiny town of Tekoa in three weeks as we continue to support family through a health crisis.

Highway Tekoa

As the crisis has ebbed,  yesterday afforded me what I thought was going to be a quick walk in a refreshing blast of November sunshine.  I have been carrying my camera on all these trips, but this was the first time I took it out of its bag.  In truth, I’ve been a little nervous about this moment.  I’m less than a month out from cataract surgery on both eyes … couldn’t help but wonder what I might see (or not see) through the camera as my vision has literally been flipped, and I’m still adjusting to a whole new way of seeing.

Whether my photography has changed will be judged by those who view it, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the inspiration that bursts forth from Eastern Washington and her small towns. I have photographed this area dozens and dozens if not a hundred plus times and never, never cease to find some new beauty that I want to capture.

Tekoa, in particular, is a town that captivates me each and every season.

As I wandered up main street at 10:00 AM on a Saturday morning, I thought, “What a worthy sojourn for anyone within an hour or so drive.”

Tekoa WA

A leisurely breakfast at the Feeding Station … shopping in the Thompson Barn Store (it is impossible to leave without purchasing a new treasure) … coffee at Eclairs … the charm of the town’s drug store … old houses and old cars … a drive out to Lone Pine to see what is possibly the only all wood grain elevator left standing in the state … a dash into the grocery store to purchase locally roasted Tobra Coffee … antiques if you happen to catch the proprietor or two working in their shops.  All are the making of a restorative Saturday morning.

So yesterday … for at least an hour … I forgot about infections and broken hips and helicopter airlifts in the middle of the night. I pushed out memories of being pulled over by the one cop awake in the entire county at 1:30 in the morning and running over deer on I-90 and almost hitting another coming out of Colfax at 2:30 in the morning.  I forgot about doctors’ appointments and prescription orders and following up with friends and family. For an hour, I absorbed a boat load of vitamin D and enjoyed one of the greatest places on God’s green (and yellow and red and golden) earth.

Tekoa Sites
A lonely car on the edge of town, enjoying the view.
Station Wagon_1525
The old car dealership on main street is now used to restore classic cars.
Thompson Barn Chandelier_0293
I didn’t have a picture of the Thompson Barn Store on main street, but this is a pic from inside the barn itself; a venue used for hosting special events. (Photo taken earlier in the year.)
Lone Pine Elevator
Somehow, even though I grew up in the region and come back often, I did not know that this elevator existed until two years ago. It is located a few miles outside of Tekoa.

 

Tree by Rodeo_1557
Whimsical tree by the creek … you’ll find this behind the Iron Horse Arena (near the trestle bridge).
View from a Barn_0303
This is also from the Thompson Barn … what a beautiful view for a reception or special family gathering. (Photo taken earlier in the year.)

 

Main Street Tekoa
The Feeding Station. One of our favorites for breakfasts and Chicken Tuesdays.

 

Tekoa, Washington
Former Railroad Line, just outside of town.
VTN_1535
A true farm town is marked by its possession of a vast number of John Deere tractors.
VTN_1508
Start with the bridge … end with the bridge. Can never get enough shots.

Thanks for sharing my walk and a very special place.  Hope you visit Tekoa one of these days … just keep in mind that the County Sheriff loves the town too and fervently protects its citizens from errant speeders … even at 1:30 in the morning! On my behalf, I was going 36 in a 25 mile an hour zone right at the posted sign. On the sheriff’s behalf, he didn’t give me a ticket given my mission.  I love small towns!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 thoughts on “A Tiny Town Worth the Stop

    1. Thank you, Patrick. I’m glad you enjoyed them. I have tons more from many different seasons and trips … may have to do another post dedicated to Tekoa one of these days. There are treasures like the theater and Slippery Gulch with its famous egg toss that I didn’t mention.

  1. This is where I went to kindergarten, that old car dealership (dorsey Chevrolet) is where my parents worked. I love this community.

  2. We lived in this beautiful little town for 28 years. Husband started. Out coaching the Tekoa Tigers then they became Tekoa Nighthawks. Nothing was like basketball from this small city. The sidewalks were rolled up during the State Tournment. Ghost town during this event. Never had to lock up our houses.

    1. Betty, I remember Coach Cox. I graduated from Oakesdale in 1980 (grew up in Farmington). I believe my class was the last of the Panthers and the rivalry between OHS and THS was fierce. I remember one of our last rival boys’ basketball games in the Tekoa gym … my voice hurt for a week from yelling so loud over. That gym could generate the fan noise, for sure. I remember that it ended up being a one point game but can’t remember who won!

  3. My husband was stopped for “rolling” through a stop sign in Tekoa. The officer didn’t give us a ticket but did tell him “you never know when you are going to run into a cop in Tekoa who is bored to death.”

  4. Edith, my mom warns me all the time, and I’m glad to say that I usually heed her advice. This particular night I was hurrying to get to the Colfax hospital where my mom was quite ill at the time. (She’s much better and back in Tekoa now.)

  5. Grew up in Tekoa. Don’t know what you have until you leave it behind. Many happy times and great friends. Miss it.

    1. Becky, I never thought the day would come, but I am yearning to move back to Eastern Washington and settle again into one of the small towns. I have loved living in Western WA for 30+ years but the pull to return “home” gets stronger every year. I understand what mean about missing it.

  6. I spent a lot of years growing up in this tiny town. My grandparents, Julius and Vera Graff owned a big green house next to the river. They are buried in the cemetery there. As is my great uncle Earl Blair and my great grandfather Tandy Blair. There are generations before them too, Warwicks and Hokinsons.

    I attended that old school house when I as a little kid for a year. I got lost on the way home from school. Hard to do in such a small town.

    What a wonder story and set of pictures. It’s where I’m from in a funny sort of way.

    Thanks

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this. One of my greatest childhood treasures was that of growing up in the nearby Farmington with my grandmother a mile away. I attended the brick schoolhouse in that town, and even though I didn’t get lost coming home, my sister and I managed to get in trouble a time or two for wandering where we weren’t supposed to. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  7. Tekoa is my Mom’s hometown and I grew up spending many a summer’s day playing with the kids that lived there, catching enough crawdads to fill up 3lb. coffee can out of the creek, exploring in the neighboring pea, grain and lentil fields. I really appreciate your photographs and they bring back so many memories of my childhood, my Grandparents, Harry & Buela Hollenbeck and my Aunt Ione and Uncle Norman.

    1. What great memories; I’m glad you shared them. When my children were younger, I took them to Tekoa for every summer. Some of their favorite memories are of swimming lessons at the Tekoa Pool, ice cream at the Feeding Station, and horse back riding with family friends. As young adults, they now take their friends to Tekoa whenever possible, and they dream of coming back to the area and restoring an old home. I love that they love small town life.

    2. Hollenbecks were our neighbors, and Ione cooked at school with my grandma Claudia. I remember playing with Hollenbecks grand daughter (?) when I was very young. I don’t remember her name, just that she had the most beautiful long red curly hair. My parents still live in Tekoa.

  8. Ahh, small towns, where your mom and dad know what you did before you get home! I was the last class to graduate as a Tekoa Tiger.

    1. Sally, I was in the last class as an Oakesdale Panther … we probably shouted across the gym at each other in some of our earlier high school days during some very fierce basketball games. As for mom and dad finding out things before getting home … so true! One time a friend and I decided it would be fun to put rocks in the drop slot at the Post Office. Unfortunately a bee was attached to one of those rocks and stung the Post Mistress when she pried the rock from the box. Boy, did we catch it the minute we walked in the door.

  9. I grew up in Tekoa and still return several times a year to visit friends. The grade school is pretty much the same. Amazing how the hallways appear shorter and the coat hangers are so low. Always seemed so big when I was a student 1-8 grade. Many funny memories and stories created during those years. I recall the harsh winters and getting snowed in. Many times we had to follow a snow plow to town where we stayed for several winter months. It was exciting for a country kid to get to walk to school during those months, I have some fond memories of those years. My parents went to school in Tekoa as well and have had their stories to share with us. I have an uncle resting at the Goldenrod Cemetery and many neighbors an family friends as well. Tekoa is a special place to me. I still get back for Slippery Gulch when I can.

    1. Wonderful memories, Lynda. Thank you for sharing them. Two years ago, I had the opportunity to attend my first Slippery Gulch in over 20 years. The entire main street was lined with people in the egg toss. When I was a kid, SG was the place to be on the 4th of July. I lived in Farmington, and to us, Tekoa was 2nd to the big city. I felt important whenever I had saved up enough money to shop at the Five and Dime on main street or when we got to go to the bowling alley. I suppose it’s easy to romanticize small towns and what seemed like simpler days, but in the tensions of our present world, I do which we could turn back the clock a bit to a time of more small town living.

  10. I went to school from grade 2 to grade 12
    in Tekoa.
    lived in the country between Tekoa and
    Farmington,
    Gradeuated in 1961 , the last class of
    the old highschool.
    many fond memories

  11. Just got back home from my classes 50 year reunion in Tekoa . Class of 1966 had a great time. Thank you Tekoa for being a great place to grow up in and re-visit whenever I can.

    Bill Edwards

  12. I love seeing the picture of the grain elevator. It was on our property out in Lone Pine. I loved growing up on the farm. What a great childhood it was! Everyday was an adventure whether it was playing hide and seek in the Lone Pine cemetery, climbing up the rafters in the grain elevator, building forts in the old red barn, or long walks on the railroad track. I love Tekoa and our family farm.

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