Rufus Woods, for more than forty years publisher of the Wenatchee Daily World, has often been called the "High Priest of the Columbia River." No person deserves the title more.
From the editorial platform of the World, Woods tirelessly promoted Wenatchee and north central Washington. For decades he pegged his brightest hopes for the region's future on a huge Columbia River dam in the isolated Grand Coulee region.
Woods got his dam, but not the Wenatchee boom he desired. The project was possible only because of federal financing. With that financing came federal control of the system, including a vast maze of power lines emanating from Grand Coulee's hydroelectric plant that sent its electricity to larger cities such as Portland and Seattle. Even so, Woods's beloved home grew during his lifetime, and much of that economic development can be attributed to his single-minded effort to boost the region. In Rufus Woods, award-winning historian Robert E. Ficken has produced a lively biography of one of the Northwest's most infulential publishers.
Robert E. Ficken is the author of numerous books and articles about the Pacific Northwest, including Washington: A Centennial History (with Charles LeWarne), The Forested Land: A History of Lumbering in Western Washington, and Lumber and Politics: The Career of Mark E. Reed. He has won the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Award from the Forest History Society and the Charles M. Gates Memorial Award from the Washington State Historical Society. He lives in Issaquah, Washington.