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By Faith McClenny



Pend Oreille County Historical Society

    “Chickens Hatched in Courthouse”

This 1919 Newport Miner headline caught my eye. A little tongue in cheek- saying-lots of things get “hatched” in courthouses such as political caucuses or “town meetings” but who has heard of baby chicks hatched in the courthouse basement. It started first with two incubators and later two more were added. Soon over a thousand chicks were being hatched. The courthouse janitor was the main chicken keeper.


  It was County Extension Agent, E.E. Hupp’s idea to turn the Newport Courthouse basement into a temporary site for hatching chicks. He was always thinking of different ways that he could help farmers improve the production of their farms and farm animals. His plan was to set the incubators with eggs from pure-bred stock, hatch them and sell them at cost to farm boys and girls in 4-H poultry clubs in the county. Each member could get 25 to 50 day-old chicks to start his/her own pure-bred flock.


Erle and Gladys Hupp arrived in Newport in September 1919 to take the position as the Pend Oreille County Extension Agent. During the years he was agent, he traveled countless miles over all kinds of roads, gave thousands of demonstrations and speeches to assist farmers to improve all phases of agriculture. He was a “hands-on” agent who even helped out as a vet at times. Unfortunately, one anxious cow kicked out some of his front teeth.

 He also worked on the Washington Scattered Settlers Project. (Resettlement Project).

 He retired in 1956 but even after that he was active in civic and community affairs. He helped to organize the Pend Oreille County Historical Society and others. E. E. Hupp passed away in 1981.” He attributed the fullness and richness of his life to his interest in people and to his willingness to serve them.”

Newport Washington Courthouse

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