BY JOANNA BASTIAN
Now that tourist season has arrived, it’s time to break out the walking guide of Methow (the town, not the valley). The walk won’t take more than five minutes, it’s a small town. I recommend starting on a Tuesday morning so you can end your tour at the Methow Community Center with a cup of coffee, a pastry, and an earful of stories from those revered story-tellers, the Methowites, or Methowians, we haven’t decided which yet.
Start at the little white church and look across the street to a small log cabin obscured by enormous lilac bushes. That was the original schoolhouse moved from Squaw Creek to its present location. Turn to your right and stroll down the shady Main Street lined by century-old cottonwoods. W.A. Bolinger, founder of Methow, planted the trees in 1910 to mark land plots in the new town.
Circle Park is on your right, take a moment to read the historical marker describing the history of the town. Across the highway is the stone Bolinger House. This iconic landmark was built with stones collected from every county in Washington. Bolinger’s grandson Pete still lives there with his wife, Clydene. Ask Pete about the sheriff’s raid in ’56; it’s a great story.
On the side of the old Methow Store is a fading mural. Painted by Betty Gibson and a few high school kids, it tells the history of the Methow Valley.
Take a left at the post office. Stop in to check the bulletin board for any events at the Methow Community Center. Just beyond the firehouse, across the lush clover, lies the Methow Community Center – a red brick schoolhouse surrounded by lilac bushes and shady trees, overlooking the bend in the Methow River. Across the river are remnants of the first orchard in the valley, planted by Jim Robinson.
The Methow Community Center was formed in 1949, when the community decided to keep the red brick schoolhouse after classes moved to Pateros. This is still the gathering place for potlucks, picnics, memorial services, community meetings and more. Methow may not have a coffee shop, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great meal and a cup of coffee for the price of a smile.
To avoid any confusion I should clarify: The Methow Community Center is in Methow. You have not stepped into a wormhole that sucks you back up valley to the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp. Although the Twisp folks use the word “valley” to differentiate, it’s pretty much a case of plagiarism, since clearly the town of Methow had dibs on the name 30 years before. Imitation is the best form of flattery … to make it clearer, we should start referring to the community centers as Old Methow and New Methow.
Congratulations to all the graduates this year! Johnnie Duguay and Ivy Anderson are graduating from high school this month. Anne Keene from Squaw Creek is graduating from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology. She is planning on becoming a veterinarian with qualifications to treat large animals as well as smaller household pets. I wonder if she is planning on setting up a clinic in Old Methow, or New Methow …