Recently an article ran in the Whitman County Gazette about the tramways that many farmers in our region used in the late 1800s to get their grains to the Snake River where they'd be loaded on a boat and shipped to their final destination.
In the late 1800s Grain Chutes, Bucket Tramways, and Rail Tramways all provided alternative transportation means for getting the farmer's grain to the river. Each of these methods were effective in transporting grain into the river canyon.
This is an example of one of the pylons and what they called a grain bucket that carried the sacks of grain down a 2,000 foot decent from the cliffs above down to the Snake River below. They work similar to a ski lift, only in reverse. They were run using gravity and the weight of each of the sacks of grain. We're told that the workers used to ride down to the river in the morning and back up at night on these small platforms. What a ride that must've been! I doubt that would've been acceptable by today's work place standards.
Once the grains made it to the river, they were loaded onto steamboats and carried down the Snake River, along the Columbia River .
We've only skimmed the surface of this topic, if you're interested in learning more about the Tramways, you can read this article written by Deanna Noland.