Pasco Mayor A. P. Gray, a pioneer of the area, dies on November 14, 1931.

  • By Jim Kershner
  • Posted 5/04/2008
  • Essay 8606
See Additional Media

On November 14, 1931, Alvin Parker Gray (1853-1931), in his second term as mayor of Pasco, suffers a heart attack and dies at the age of 78 in a Pasco hospital. News reports call him the town's oldest pioneer and best known citizen. He has lived in the area since 1882, before Pasco even existed.

Alvin Parker Gray was born in Maine in 1853 and came to what is now the Pasco area in 1882 to supply timbers for the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Gray and his brother built a sawmill in Ainsworth, the precursor to Pasco, the Northern Pacific's construction camp. Gray and his brother felled trees near the headwaters of the Yakima and floated timbers downstream to Ainsworth.

After Pasco was established in 1885, Gray opened a mercantile store. A fire in 1897 wiped out the store, but he rebuilt it. He and his wife ran the store until 1926, when they retired.

He then devoted himself to public service and was in his second term as mayor when he died. Earlier in 1931, he had "attained international fame," according to his obituary, when he and a group of American mayors were invited by the French government to tour that country. Gray, the oldest mayor in America according to some reports, was elected chairman and "was a favorite of everyone" ("Mayor").

During the height of the Great Depression in 1930 and 1931, he personally supervised Pasco's "Hotel De Gink" -- the slang name for transient lodging, named  after Seattle's original Hotel De Gink.  Gray contributed "much of the money needed out of his own pocket" ("Mayor"). 


"Mayor A.P. Gray of Pasco Taken," Spokesman-Review, November 14, 1931.

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