As the town has dwindled in size and enthusiasm, many of the sons and daughters of the pioneers, as well as some of their

grandchildren, have grown up and married and moved away, there being little but sentiment to hold them in the near-dying

community. Aging and broken in spirit, the older residents have settled into a lethargic nostalgia for previous days and have

kept Lyle barely in existence. Those of their descendents who remain ply various trades to meet the community's needs, and life

goes on softly.

Newcomers come occasionally and are received graciously, and some have settled here and remained. The ranchers and

farmers of the surrounding area also keep some elements of trade in existence--the grocery store, three service stations and

garages, a farm-equipment agency, a tavern, a cafe and, from time to time, a barber shop.

"Greater Lyle" includes Appleton, Klickitat Heights, Hartland and High Prairie. Also, in some ways, it includes the

Dallesport-Murdock communities, some of whose citizens shop in Lyle and attend Lyle churches. Lyle sends its younger

children to the Dallesport Grade School. Glenwood to the north is also a "part" of Lyle, since many Lyle families are related by

blood to Glenwood families. Claus Staack, the father of Muriel West, first settled in the Glenwood community in earliest times.

The Hathaways of Glenwood also have relatives in Lyle, and Frank Lyle, a descendent of James O. Lyle, now lives in

Glenwood community.

Thus Lyle is really many communities, related on a larger scale to many more, in neighborly Klickitat County, enjoying the

regard and goodwill of all. Threads of kinship with a shared past knit them into one.

No story of Lyle is complete, however, without mention made of Frederich Balch, a young writer of the mid-19th Century,

author of "The Bridge of the Gods", his best remembered work. Genevieve Whitman, his young sweetheart who died at an

early age, was also the subject of another of his works, "Genevieve." He spent some time in the James O. Lyle home. At the

age of 30 years, he died and was buried in the Lyle-Balch Cemetery which still bears his name. By his request, his grave

marker is of a native, local stone. The Balch School, now abandoned and standing on the Marshall Hamm property west of

Lyle, was also named in his honor. Frederich Balch did not live here long, but he left a lasting imprint on Lyle.

A roster of those who have died in Lyle during the present century is also revealing of its history. Even more revealing is a

list of the remaining Pioneers-sturdy stock, which tell much by voice and by implication of how the West was built of the raw


One of the staunchest of those is Frank Bradford. Then, there is Kamma Clark, who was born in Denmark. Frank Hewett

and Frank Jewell remain, as does Mrs. Homer (Lola) James, Mrs. James E. West (Muriel), and Dessie Hewett, once a teacher

in the old Balch School and postmaster of Lyle for a time. Dessie is Frank Hewett's aunt, now living in Goldendale, and his

sister, Ethel Gaddis, lives in Portland. Two of Frank's brothers also are living, Archie and Harry, and, another aunt, Lula

Hewett. The grandparents, Ellis and Esther Hewett, came to Lyle in 1879.

It would be impossible to cite the history of everyone in Lyle, but many were raised here and can tell of the old days from

experience or family hearsay. Many descendents of the original Pioneers abound in numbers. The Sorensen families and

relatives comprise a large number, for example.

The Song of the Rivers tells the names of the dead with loving reverence. James O. Lyle, Ellis and Esther Hewett, Henrietta

and Oscar Mogren, Byrd J. Clark, Homer James, Alrona Davies, Edith Sorensen, John Daffron, Adam Hylton, Russell and

Grace Niblock, Olaf Baker, George Cox, Claus Staack, Carl Stump, Emma Axtell, Anna Omeg and many others, some of

whom died here and others who drifted away to die elsewhere. Their names tell the History of Lyle, in themselves. Names like

Buck and Thoren and Sorensen and Coppick and Tuthill and White and Witt and Burroughs are also woven into the story;

Rutledge and Baker and Hoover and Krall and Wall and McNabb, to name a few more. Ralph Hamm and his wife came

down from Pendleton to ranch on land west of Lyle. I. A. DeBois settled by Rowland Lake. The list could go on and on.

The Song of the Rivers is subdued, now, since the mighty dams have quieted and contained it. The copper-skinned men still

fish in the waters, but even that is being curtailed by the white men. There is a tragic sadness in the once wild and free song

known so well to ages past. But there is much more in the Song then the memories of the years. There is also hope for the

future, and faith that the children of the Pioneers will carry on their work, faith and Lyle.