La Grande used to be home to a commercial nitrogen plant.
“The American Nitrogen Products Company started producing sodium nitrate pellets in La Grande in 1916. The product is also known as saltpeter and is used in a number of chemical processes and as a component of explosives and as a fertilizer. The La Grande plant was the first commercially viable plant in the country.
This photograph shows both plants one and tow, the electrical service and bags of pellets (bottom left) ready for shipment.” (Per Upper Nisqually Valley)
Many in Eatonville felt the plant was built to create explosives for the war. The plant burned down years ago and there are little signs that it ever existed. But there are still a few who remember it. Martha Parrish (now 99) remembers her dad working there.
Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.
Click on image to enlarge.