The history of Moxee has been passed down through the years in stories shared by local families and historians. Many of these memories and stories were published in the booklet “Mook-see Moxie Moxee The Enchanting Moxee Valley Its History and Development” by Alice Toupin, which is where we sourced the following information.

The Moxee Valley was originally named by the native Yakama tribe as MOOK-SEE meaning “land of the tules”. The valley’s fertile land was given this name for the abundance of tule reeds in the area. At the time, tule reeds were used for weaving such things as baskets and mats. The name eventually evolved to Moxie and finally to Moxee as the city has been known now for over 100 years.

Historical - Building a Moxee Water Line in 1911

Before 1910, when the town first began to develop, there were no sidewalks or paved streets and no utilities such as phone, electricity, and water service. What the city has always had is a strong community working together to create a better tomorrow. One of the first reported stories of this is when Moxee residents worked together to build wood sidewalks. The sidewalks began on Naches Ave and carried onto Iler St, which was then considered the main street of the town. Unfortunately, the wood sidewalks began to come apart. This prompted a local, Alex Rivard, to contact his neighbors asking them to share in the expense of their replacement. The group decided to replace them with new concrete sidewalks. The next project was dirt streets being replaced by gravel streets to reduce dust and to fill mud holes.

Also came the installation of utilities. The first telephone in the Moxee Valley is said to have been brought into a single home in 1905. Later came the Moxee Telephone Company which extended service to more of the Moxee Valley. Electricity was first introduced to Moxee in 1911 when Pacific Power and Light Co first ran lines from Yakima to Moxee City.  Water was first piped into the city in 1911 from a 1,300’ well drilled by Leon Charron Sr.  Today we are currently served by 3 wells, 2 of which are artesian, with a 4th well being drilled in spring 2020.

By 1920, local businessmen felt more revenues would need to be brought in to keep the town progressing. That is when it was decided to begin the steps to incorporate the town. By 1921, Moxee City was incorporated with a population of just over 300 and a populated area of less than ¼ square mile. The first mayor, Mayor Arthur J. Toupin, was elected and served a 2-year term.

Moxee has been the “Hop Capitol of the World” since the 1930s when farmers were growing more hops per acre than any other part of the world. Hops were originally introduced to the Valley in the late 1800s. Since then, the hop industry has played a huge role in the growth and development of the Moxee Valley. In the early days hop cultivation was all done by hand.

Harvest time required hundreds of people who came in from all parts of the state to collect this perishable crop within a 30-day period. In August 2019, a hop sculpture, designed by a local metal artist, Primo Villalobos, was erected at the Moxee City Park in honor of those early farmers and pickers of hops and the rich history hops has brought to Moxee.

Local businesses have always contributed to the of development Moxee. During the 1940s a group of businessmen decided there was a need for a local city park and a community pool.  In 1947, the Moxee Commercial Club was formed to help carry out the plans for the development of both the park and pool.

By 1948, the Club decided to help fund the building of the pool by holding a community festival. It was planned for early August after most of the hop work was finished for the season. After several years, the needed funds of approximately $50,000 were raised to complete the community pool.

The festival known as the “Moxee Hop Festival” is still celebrated on the first weekend in August. The Moxee Hop Festival, the park, and the pool are all still enjoyed by the local community and visitors who come and enjoy the facilities, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the community that is still very present to this day.

These websites offer additional glimpses into the history of Moxee:

Moxee  – Wikipedia
The Moxee Company – HistoryLink
Native American Tribes and History in Moxee – American Indian
A Penny Per Pound – Historical information on Hops in Moxee