The Spark that Keeps the Willows Motel Fire Burning


Though now operated by someone who wasn’t intended to be its owner, Willows motel still maintains that family based essence as it has for all those years. Diana Johnson, the single mother of two boys takes care of the motel and its guests. And though it’s a now significant and one of the best known example of north east Washington American hospitality, it owes its rich and fragrant history to the town were its suited, Wilbur.

Well, there is no record of any town east of Davenport prior o the establishment of the Central Washington railroad. but one rancher in the region Wild Goose Bill Ranch owned and run by Samuel Wilbur Condin attributes and is the starting point to what would be Wilbur’s future…Wilbur’s though humble beginnings as an outpost for the rancher to merchandise and trade with the local Indians and new comers from the east went on to grow to an established town platted in April 1889. A boom period was observed from 1887 to 1891 where most of the old establishments in Wilbur were built and still remain.

Wilbur continued 6o grow due to Lumber, mining and agricultural efforts that surrounded it. The town fist tarmac road was established in 1892, the first water works established in 1901 after a massive fire gutted half of the town and it was lit in 1903 by the Wilbur electric company.

Its established and successful put up a governor of the state of Washington that is Marion E Hay who after Samuel Wilbur is the second most famous Wilbur citizen. He was governor from 1909 to1912 and first Washington state governor to live in the governor’s mansion still in use today. And through him Wilbur grew bigger and better to become Washington states premier destination in the Northeast. However when the town burnt a second time there was no one to help rebuilt it to its former stature.

Willows owes everything to the quiet yet very busy town of Wilbur, without out population and business inters Willows would not be what its today.