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  1. Hello all, After too long being absent from the online ghost town community, a recent trip out to the eastern half of the state has inspired me to start posting again. So to kick that off I'll begin with a series on dying and dead towns in the state's Palouse Country. First off... Winona, Washington Like the nearby living town of La Crosse, Winona was established as a station on the Oregon Railroad & Navigation (Union Pacific) railroad line between the Tri Cities and Spokane. Its name came from one of the lead construction engineers, who hailed from Winona, Minnesota. Home to a camp for railroad workers building the main line and a branch to Pullman, the town quickly grew, with a post office opening in 1891. By 1910 the census showed 624 residents in Whitman County's Winona precinct. Like the rest of the fertile Palouse, Winona continued to flourish in the first half of the 20th centurydriven partly by the construction of grain storage facilities by the Sperry Flour Company in the early 1920's. However, like many small farm towns, the lure of bigger communities became too strong. The 1940 census shows that the population had decreased to 410. The Winona School District consolidated with that of nearby Endicott in 1955 and the school was sold to a local resident. By 1970, Winona didn't even appear as a census location. Then disaster struck. According to a gentleman I met while visiting the town, circa 1970 an out-of-control grass fire swept through the town, destroying much of what remained. Either due to the destruction of their structures or just simply the collapse of Winona, the Union Pacific closed its depot in 1971. The post office soon followed suit, ending operations in 1973. Today, looking at census data for the precinct subdivisions in Winona, only about 20 people live in the community. Looking at the former downtown, only a handful of structures remain in a neat, if worn, little row. First on the left is Kuehl's, which apparently served as a longtime hardware and grocery store. Next is the former bank building. I was told it was built circa 1890 and is one of the oldest banks in the region. The grey, concrete structure is the grange hall which despite being long-closed still supposedly bears a mostly intact interior. The brick building farthest to the right at one time hosted a general store, and one of the last businesses to operate there was a grocery store. Just uphill from the downtown, on what was Main Street stands the former Methodist Church. Long out of operation, and now used for storage by one of the few residents, it will likely collapse soon unless the roof is replaced.
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