In the early 1900s development of the Spokane Valley was driven by land speculators. With a modest investment in infrastructure and a far-flung advertising campaign, small land management companies believed they could turn otherwise low-value land into productive and profitable agricultural property.
One such speculative venture was the Vera Electric Water Company, responsible for Vera Pump House #1 which was hand-dug in 1906.
The Vera Electric Water Company was established in 1908 by Donald K. McDonald, A. C. Jamison, and Andrew Good, local real estate entrepreneurs. McDonald named this new company after his daughter. As the land filled up with apple orchards, the town of Vera was incorporated.
Vera Pump House was hand built using stones dug up during the construction of ditches; these stones were also used in historic local homes. It is believed that the prominent masonry craftsman, Hans Vinge, built the pump house stone structure. The pump itself lies over one hundred feet below ground. Vera Water and Power operates this pump to this day.
How we became publicly-owned and non-profit utility
Originally, Vera purchased its power from the electric railroad that ran from downtown to Liberty Lake. Then, Vera purchased power from Washington Water Power. In the mid-1930s, Vera reorganized as an irrigation district, making Vera a public agency instead of a privately-owned corporation.
On Jan. 1, 1946, Vera signed on as a customer of the Bonneville Power Administration to take advantage of the low-cost power generated by the Columbia River dams.
Our 100-year anniversary was celebrated on April 25, 2008.
From 1907-1908, Vera's No. 1 Well was dug by hand, providing irrigation and domestic water to small farms and mini orchards in Spokane Valley. The No. 1 Well still provides 3,000 gallons of water per minute to Vera's system when required.