Before that the town was known as Jawbone Flats, a sandy, hardscrabble terrain populated by sagebrush. As to how that name came about, according to one local legend a freezing winter slew a herd of cattle, with their bleached jawbones discovered in the spring. In a more benign version, it’s because the land resembled the shape of a jaw when viewed from the hill to the north.
William Clark never set foot in Clarkston, but the town adopted the name of the famous explorer who camped nearby. The residents of 1902 liked it better than the other suggestions — Lewiston or Concord.
The book “Clarkston,” part of the Images of America series, features black and white historical photos from the town’s first century. The photos were collected by Jeri Jackson McGuire of Spokane. McGuire was born in Lewiston and lived there until 1968. The majority of the photos are from the archives of the Asotin County Historical Society, the Nez Perce County Historical Society and private collections.
Photos include small captions of explanation. One of the earliest shows the ferry people used to cross between Clarkston and Lewiston until the first bridge was built in 1899 connecting the cities. Another shows an encampment of tepees in what is now downtown.
One chapter focuses on the project to irrigate the city, giving rise to fields of long-gone fruit orchards. Another is devoted to the expansive white sandy beaches that drew hundreds to the riverside every summer before the dams were built. A public bathhouse was maintained and the city paid a lifeguard. Bing Crosby can be seen visiting the Clarkston Golf & Country Club around 1950, land formerly a cemetery.
There are also photos of schools, families, various homes and more.
McGuire will sign copies of the book from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at And Books Too, 918 Sixth St., Clarkston and and 7-8 p.m. at the Asotin County Library in Clarkston.
(“Images of America, Clarkston,” by Jeri Jackson McGuire, 127 pages, Arcadia Publishing, $21.99)
— Jennifer K. Bauer