Mesa Washington was established in 1902 and incorporation came 50 years later. The railroad, a BNSF mainline, cuts through the town and has contributed to the sustainment of this rural area.
Many out of town folk see the name and instantly think of the Spanish and Portuguese term meaning ‘table’ or American English ‘tableland’. The town actually got its name from the railroad who called it Mesa, pronounced Meesa. Mesa was an acronym for their supply depot the ‘Maintenance, Equipment, and Supply Area’. Mesa is one of a handful of old ‘water-drop’ towns in the vicinity that are 10-15 miles apart where the steam engines could get more water as they traveled through with their payloads.
Early homesteaders came to the area to try and have a better life. Harsh desert like conditions drove many away. Annual rainfall is about 8 inches a year with plentiful sunshine in the growing season. It wasn’t until the 1948 when the Columbia Basin Project was opened up that the town, and the area really sprung to life. Adding irrigation to a once dry arid landscape, the ground now supports farming on a massive scale. Virtually any crop a person can think of can be grown including; potatoes, apples, wheat, alfalfa, peaches, cherries, grapes. Cattle and dairy cows are also a large part of the rural economy.
Though the City of Mesa has seen boom times and bust times, the town is thriving once again. Surrounded by agriculture and sustained by the same, the town has ag related industries including a machine shop where manufacturing takes place, an electrical co-op, a fertilizer distributor, a government camp that oversees the irrigation, and an elementary school. A variety of people live in town; some just to get away from the city, others for work in the area, migrant workers who pass through seasonally, and a few that can trace their roots to the area over 100 years ago.
The surrounding landscape also has some hidden treasures of a time gone by. A homestead abandoned in the early 1900’s sits to the east of US 395, an old wind powered well sits on main street, and down by Poe Park(a marvelous place for a town of its size) sits a couple of old jail cells hearkening thoughts of the wild west.