This Wonderful Place

“This Wonderful Place”

A Franklin County Museum Exhibit Celebrating The 1918-2019 Centennial of Novelist Zane Grey’s The Desert of Wheat

John Clement

Photographs by John Clement · Paintings by Sherryl Evans

This wonderful place was an immense land of considerable altitude called the Columbia Basin…. The Columbia River, making a prodigious and meandering curve, bordered on three sides what was known at the [Big] Bend country. Among the desert hills, near the center of the Basin, where the best wheat was raised, lay widely separated little towns, the names of which gave evidence to the mixed population. It was, of course, an exceedingly prosperous country….

Who actually were the first sowers of wheat would never be known. There were older than any history, and must have been among the earliest of the human race. …Rebekah, when she came to fill her earthen pitcher at the palm-shaded well, looked out with dusky, dreamy eyes across the golden grain toward the mysterious east. Moses, when he stood in the night, watching his flock on the starlit Arabian waste, felt borne to him on the desert wind a scent of wheat. The Bible said, “He maketh peace in thy borders and filleth thee with the finest of wheat.”  — Zane Grey, The Desert of Wheat (1919)