The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 provided a system of extension services supplied in cooperation by the land-grant universities around the country. It was a very good idea. So good, in fact, that Washington state had already thought of it. A year earlier…

In 1913, Washington’s legislature passed an act enabling counties to hire agents and established an office of the director of extension at the State College (now WSU). Even prior to that, the college’s faculty would travel out to some of the state’s more remote communities like Omak, Waitsburg, and Fairfield in a train with cars filled with demonstration materials, visual aids, even animals. Entire towns would turn out to welcome them.

Waiting for Extension
In the early years of Extension, the college delivered its expertise by train. Often entire towns, like the people of Waitsburg in this photograph, would turn out to welcome the agents and the Washington State College train. Courtesy WSU Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections

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WSU Extension