|Name||East, Adam H.|
|Othernames||Adam Harley East|
|Places of residence||
Moses Lake, WA
Soap Lake, WA
|Father||William J. East|
|Mother||Martha Ann Bratton|
Born: October 26, 1871 in Kansas.
Died: October 27, 1956 at Soap Lake Nursing Home, Soap Lake, WA.
It was once predicted that "tourists and scientists from all over the world would visit" the Adam East Collection. East started collecting Native American artifacts as a child after an archaeologist friend, Harry Bagbee, stayed with East's family for a few months. Bagbee taught young East to search for "evidence of lost Native American societies." East would collect any rocks or bones that appeared to be altered by humans, at one time East had 2,200 items.
When East was 18, the majority of his collection was stolen. He remarked that "this put a damper on my enthusiasm for several years, and I would not go into the fields." In 1900, East made friends with an archaeology student and began searching the field again and started up another collection. His employment in real estate and gold and uranium mining projects required him to travel to other states and South America. This allowed East to also expand his collection in these new locations at the same time.
In 1911, East moved to Wenatchee, WA and described the area as "the home of the finest arrow points of the Stone Age." He spent his free time exploring the Columbia River Basin collecting projectile points, mortars, pestles, axes, net weights and other stone artifacts. His collection was housed in the Gem Stone Silica Co. building on Wenatchee Avenue where several people visited it daily.
Even though East did not have an archaeological degree, he was a part of archaeological projects in addition to collecting artifacts and was recognized as a "Professor of Archaeology." He corresponded with curators from around the country such as Professor Hall from the Washington State Museum and was visited by archaeologists such as Roy Chapman Andrews who complimented his collection. East wrote papers about the archaeology of the Columbia River, the purpose of archaeology, and on his migration theories of early humans into the United States. He made maps of the areas he explored and remarked that he had mapped the "Columbia River from the Canadian line to Portland on the Washington side of the river, and have quite a bit of it completed on the Oregon side." East also gave lectures on the archaeology of the Columbia River to such groups as the Kiwanis Club of Wenatchee and the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce.
East organized the Columbia River Archaeological Society in 1921 and discussed archaeological finds and theories with its 35 members. The Society investigated sites along the Columbia River looking for Native American artifacts and campsites. The members wanted to prove that the Columbia River area "to be older as far as man is concerned than any other part of the Two Americas. The Columbia River was a path in the migration from Asia to the south, and before the people of Yucatan built their wonderful temples and pyramids, this Columbia River region was peopled." An article was written about some of the Society's finds in The Illustrated London News in 1934 which featured photographs of East's collection. The Society was praised for their "valuable work" in collecting and bringing to light the "richness" of the Columbia River.
East also worked to save the petroglyphs that line the sides of the Columbia River to Priest Rapids and any artifacts from being destroyed from a proposed dam site. He felt, "We should save this history of a past race of Columbia River people. We must save these wonderful picture rocks. It would take so little to take out the best of these while we have the machinery on the job. Place them where they will not be destroyed or defaced and where they can be another attraction to the traveling public. "
East searched out buyers for his collection and in 1927 offered his collection to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City who did not have the funds to buy it. In 1930 he told the National Research Council he would "part with [his] collection for $25,000" and made this offer to the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma who declined. The money would be used to fund his research of early humans and his archaeology work. He believed "America is the cradle of the human race, and that Asia was settled from a migration of aboriginal Americans across what is now Bering Strait, at which time there was a land connection. The Columbia River was the great path of migration, and the highest part of the Stone Age is found in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho." In 1931, East offered his collection to the City of Seattle for $12,500 but they declined.
He then searched out a place for his collection, which he felt was "a real representative collection of the Columbia River Basin," to be displayed. He was very proud of his collection stating, I have hundreds of prize specimens you will not find in any other collection." East felt that if a location was not obtained for his collection before he passed away, it would be dispersed and removed from the state of Washington where the majority was found. He wrote letters to the State Parks and Recreation Commission in the early 1950's looking for sites such as Vantage or Fort Okanagan for the collection to be housed. East had offers from Kansas City, Missouri to house his collection, but he felt that it should stay is eastern Washington since most of it was collected there.
In 1950, All Rock Hounds Club took up a petition to the State of Washington legislature for appropriating money for the preservation of the Adam H. East Indian Archaeological Collection for $15,000. The Club wrote letters to fellow rock founds asking them to write letters to the Director of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to ask for a museum at Vantage to be called the "The Adam H. East Memorial Museum." East wrote his family that, "It will be a lot of fun for me to arrange my collection in a new museum building, and I will get as much kick out of it, as though I was in the field, collecting, as I can dream over all the fun I have had with the many experiences I have had doing it. I have many good stories connected with my collecting." The petition failed. East's several attempts to sell his collection to different institutions over the years fell through because some felt they could get similar artifacts free from the Smithsonian and that East did not use proper documentation methods of where he found the artifacts.
In October 1950, East sold his house in Wenatchee and moved to Moses Lake. He wrote to his family back east and remarked, "We intend going to Moses Lake, in the heart of that 3,000,000 acre irrigation system. First water is to be turned on in 1951. It is a wonderful sight. They are laying concrete pipes now. I stood in one, and it was eighteen feet to the top. So huge." In 1951, East had between 35,000 and 40,000 objects in his collection. He felt he was an expert on the Columbia River area compared to any archaeologist. His collection occupied a building on Stratford Road near his house and was moved to the old Moses Lake hospital's vacated men's ward in 1955. East remarked that he would call the new location, "I'm going to call it the Chief Moses Museum. I figure he was a rock hound even before I was." He always took time to talk to visitors, showing off the numerous artifacts in his collection and explaining his life's work.
In November of 1955, East and his collection were featured in an article in a newsletter of the Boeing Moses Lake Flight Center. His nephew, Glen Ross, was a 366 pre-flight mechanic at the Moses Lake Flight Center. East was invited to bring part of his collection to the flight center for interested employees to view.
At one time, East's collection occupied the Pilot Café Building on Broadway in Moses Lake. Martin Penhallick offered temporary housing for the collection in the Café while plans were started to build a museum in Moses Lake. East and Penhallick called the Café the Columbia Basin Museum and admission was free. East and Penhallick felt that the Columbia Basin Museum was, "the beginning of one of the most valuable cultural establishments in this rapidly growing city in the great Columbia Basin." In the beginning of 1953, East had "around seven tons of stone age specimens in my little museum and about a ton and a half more that did not fit in the building."
In June of 1955 East gave his collection to the City of Moses Lake and wanted to remain the caretaker as long as he could. His collection included artifacts from the Illinois area, eastern Washington, South America and an eclectic mixture of items he picked up along the way.
A new museum was built during 1956-1958 with donated labor, materials, services and cash contributions to house the collection at Fifth Avenue and Balsam Street. It was named the Adam East Museum and opened on May 1, 1958. Moses Lake residents such as Bill Bennett and W.H. Kerving loaned the new museum other Native American collections for the grand opening. The Columbia Basin Herald reported, "Moses Lake will reach another cultural milestone" with this new museum.
Adam East died at age 85 on October 27, 1956 at the Soap Lake Nursing Home, in Soap Lake, WA before the new museum named in his honor was completed. He was buried at the Wenatchee Cemetery in Wenatchee, WA.
Helen Knapp was the curator of the Adam East Museum.
In 1989, East collection was threatened to be divided and possibly lost forever. A group of citizens asked the Moses Lake City Council to retain this valuable collection and create a museum that would provide additional cultural and educational opportunities for the community. In 1990, the Museum and Art Center was officially established as a program of the City of Moses Lake's Parks and Recreation Department and moved to 122 West Third Avenue. In 2001, the Museum moved down a block its current location.
Buried in Wenatchee City Cemetery. Section B, Lot 109.
Secretary of Lake Chelan Land Company
Eastern Representative, Springfield, ILL for Furey, East, Pfau, & Gordon (owners and sales agents of orchard tracts in Lake Chelan, WA)
Member of Columbia River Archaeological Society and North Central Washington Museum (later renamed Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center)
Documented Rock Island Petroglyphs with photographer A.G. Simmer
Chairman for the Lincoln Rock Museum Committee in the late 1930s
Uncle: Wm Simpson
Clarence W. Smith, mining engineerand assayer
Larry Andereck (nephew)
Viola East (sister)
|Spouse||02/06/1895 Lola Jane Boyington at Sangamon, Illinois.|
Frank East (F.H. East)?
Child in 1900 who died in infancy.
|Caption||Adam East's tombstone.|