The Shafer Historical Museum will present “Our Methow Home: Carlton” on March 3 and 4 in Carlton and Twisp. The first showing is Friday, March 3, at The Local Church in Carlton at 7 p.m. The second showing is Saturday, March 4, in the Twisp Valley Grange at 2 p.m. The 90-minute presentation is the fourth in the Shafer Museum’s historical series about Methow Valley communities.
Suzanne Perin, Shafer Museum director, and Sharon Sumpter, board member, will do the honors of event presentation. Sharon is the creator of the historical series, with contributions from local residents and family members of homesteaders. “The point of this series is to introduce locals to the people who lived here before, and show contrast and similarities to how things are today — get people acquainted with the valley,” said Sharon.
Previous “Our Methow Home” presentations focus on Lucky Jim Bluff in Mazama, Poorman Creek, and the town of Methow. Each presentation has a corresponding video and book, available through the Shafer Museum.
Sharon starts her research with the Methow Valley News archives that reach back to 1903. “I find an area, review census records, create family trees, and put together a video with photos, maps, stories.” Sharon has a vast set of resources in the Shafer Museum photo archives and the Okanogan Historical Society archives.
“Unique to Carlton is the community-centered mindset that continues today,” Sharon said. The town of Carlton does not have a centralized government or organized groups, but there are quiet community-driven efforts to support the small Carlton community.
Carl Dillard platted the town at the base of Texas Creek Road in 1907. The town saw an influx of migrants drawn by the homestead acts and economic opportunities through orchards, agriculture, logging and mining. There was no direct road into Carlton at the time. Routes into the valley came over the eastern hills into the town of Silver, north of Carlton.
Soon after Dillard platted Carlton, the early Methow-Barrons Road was built, paving a direct route from Pateros to the town of Barron up near Harts Pass, enabling transport to the town. From 1910 through the 1920s, Carlton had a population that rivaled those in Twisp and Winthrop. From the 1920s through the 1940s, downtown Carlton hosted many business buildings, including a blacksmith shop, creamery, livery, churches, stores, hotels and a skating rink. Orchards filled the flats on either side of the river.
The 1948 flood reconfigured the business district of Carlton. Changes in the national economy and technology of apple storage impacted the economic base of the town, and the deep freeze of 1968 ended what was left of the big orchards.
“Our Methow Home: Carlton” is filled with tall tales of characters and landmarks — some still standing today. The presentation is free, the book is $20. The Shafer Historical Museum preserves and shares the history, culture and sense of place in the Methow Valley to inspire human connection and learning. View photos, documents and images from the Shafer Museum’s archives online. www.shafermuseum.org.