Ben Snipes builds a log cabin near Sunnyside in 1859.

  • By Paula Becker
  • Posted 1/24/2003
  • Essay 5109
See Additional Media

In 1859, cattleman Ben Snipes (1835-1906) constructs a small cabin in the Yakima Valley. The structure is the first cabin in the region to be built by a white person.

Ben Snipes and his brother-in-law H. H. Allen had been operating as cowboys since 1852. Eventually they would run cattle across northern Oregon, most of Washington, and parts of British Columbia. In time Snipes became the stuff of Western legend: his success was wrought out of his canny intuition regarding the fortune to be made supplying meat to hungry gold miners, and his skill at moving huge herds of cattle through raw wilderness. Snipes' cabin was a midpoint-stopping place on many of his long cattle drives.

The cabin was originally located on the plains seven miles south of what became the town of Sunnyside.

In 1953, the cabin was moved to 321 Grant Avenue in Sunnyside.


Ruth Kirk and Carmela Alexander, Exploring Washington's Past: A Road Guide To History, Revised Edition (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 53, 144; George and Jan Roberts, Discovering Historic Washington State (Baldwin Park, CA: Gem Guide Book Company, 1999), 157.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You