Shafer Museum hosts presentation
The town of Methow may look like a sleepy wayside on the way to the upper valley from Pateros, but the area has a long, rich history that remains vital to this day.
Four Methow residents whose grandparents and great-grandparents were among the earliest founders of the community in Methow will share their stories and memories at a special program organized by the Shafer Museum on April 29 and 30.
Pete Bolinger, Keith Stennes, Bob Tonseth and Mary Dunbar Webb (whose family were the Healams) have helped the museum gather historic photos and documents. They will share their memories about the town and the lower Methow Valley through narration of a 50-minute video slide show that will be screened at the presentation. They’ll also be on hand to answer questions.
Their ancestors were instrumental in building the town, its schools, a water and irrigation system, orchards, and the road along the river.
Methow-area residents show a notable sense of community — five of the nine families who lived in the area in 1934 are still there today.
The mining camp established near Methow in 1982 flourished at first. Within a year, it had a general merchandise store, a blacksmith shop, a barbershop, school, sawmill, assay office and 300 residents. Optimistic miners set up crushing equipment and the village grew to four general stores, two hotels, a restaurant, a saloon, and a meat market, according to the museum’s history of the area.
But their hopes proved overblown and the mining camp was mostly deserted by 1898. Still, many of the miners stayed and established homesteads and orchards, building the town of Methow.
The museum focuses on the period from the 1880s through the 1940s, to give people an appreciation of the past and an understanding of how it has influenced the valley to this day, said Shafer volunteer Sharon Sumpter.
A book that details the history of the community, compiled by the museum, will be available for sale. There will be time for questions and answers and to look at an exhibit of Methow photos.
Both presentations are identical. They are on Friday, April 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Methow Community Center in Methow (east of Highway 153, near the post office — follow the signs), and on Saturday, April 30, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Twisp Valley Grange in Twisp. The presentations are free. Donations are welcome.