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E.T. Pybus: The Steve Jobs of Wenatchee


Before he became Wenatchee’s “Man of Steel,” industry builder and pioneer E.T. Pybus established a thriving blacksmith shop in a booming farm community. The shop quickly morphed from village blacksmith to wagon and harrow repair, sheet metal fabrication and building parts for United States World War II military operations.

“Pybus was the Steve Jobs of Wenatchee in terms of how fast he could adapt his business to changing consumer demands,” said museum education coordinator Selina Danko. “He was never content with the status quo.”

This ability to adapt to the changing needs of his customers is reflected in the vision behind the development of Pybus Market, now the heart of what community leaders hope will be a thriving waterfront business enterprise.

Pybus is one of five historical figures featured Feb. 22 during the Wenatchee Valley Museum’s People of Our Past program.

Like Jobs, Pybus’ formula for success in business came from the people he chose to work with.

“The best thing I ever did was to surround myself with young men. Without them I never could have succeeded. I have the best crew in the world – not only the three livewires who head my departments, but there are more than 50 other keen and loyal workers,” he said.

Pybus, portrayed by local actor Don Collins, is one of five historical North Central Washington characters presented by the museum this winter. The rest of the lineup includes Colockum mail- order bride and pioneer Nellie Cox, portrayed by veteran actor Sue Lawson; Dryden pioneer rancher and author Dora Tibbits, portrayed by Kathy Smithson; civic leader John A. Gellatly, portrayed by Marv Gellatly; and railroad baron James J. Hill, portrayed by Bill Murray.

Each actor will perform three times during the day with a culminating evening meet-and-greet gala starting at 6 p.m. Performances at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are by donation. Tickets for the evening event are $20 and include historically-themed heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, live music and a chance to mingle with the characters following the performance.

For more information about the People of Our Past program, contact Selina Danko at 888-6240 or

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