The Odessa territory was first settled around 1880's by cattleman who felt the bunchgrass covered land, with Crab Creek running through the center, was one of the best rangelands in the Northwest. One such man George W. Finney, later known as the founder of Odessa, who once homesteaded land upon which the town now stands.
In 1892, the Great Northern Railroad was built through this part of the country, with a sidetrack known as the Odessa Siding. In order to attract settlers to Odessa and ensure themselves of future success, the Great Northern Railroad offered immigrants free passage and the opportunity to obtain homesteads. By 1898, Mr. Finney, realizing the potential for a town, donated his land and platted the town site. 80% of immigrants settling in Odessa are consisted of Germans from Russia. Many settlers heard of the new land through friends and relatives already living in areas south of Odessa, such as Ritzville and Colfax. These German families, living along the Black Sea and the Volga River in Russia as wheat farmers for the past 100 years, were discouraged by increasing taxes, government harassment, and forced military service. Therefore, their decisions to leave Russia and move westward were easily made. Entire families came to the Odessa area, bringing with them the German culture they strove to retain throughout the many years of hardships under Russian domination.
In October 1902, Odessa was incorporated with a population of 500. The town continued to grow reaching approximately 1200 people and remaining fairly constant over the years. These plucky pioneers and their descendants are to be commended for their thrift, industry, simplicity, and Christian beliefs. Their lives revolved around home, family, church, "Kirche, Kinder, and Kuche" (Literally church, children and kitchen).
Historical Link - 1913 Photo & Description of Mr. Bentley's Mules
Odessa Heritage Collection - WA State Library Blog
Odessa Historisches Museum - Odessa Historical Museum
The Odessa Historisches Museum, founded in April 1971 by John E. Gahringer, Jr. M.D., is situated in the heart of the Big Bend Wheat Country. The museum tells the story of the settlement and development of the towns and surrounding countryside by hardy pioneers, who were primarily of German-Russian ancestry.
Town of Odessa - EST. 1902
Odessa Railroad Depot - 1923