Saturday, July 10, 2010

The American Old West in Winthrop Washington

You are looking at the Winthrop Hardware store in Winthrop, Washington. I believe it burned down a few years ago. But rose from the ashes, rebuilt.

Winthrop has a history of rising from the ashes. Much of Winthrop was destroyed by fire in 1893. And then re-built. Back then, Winthrop was a mining town.

Placer gold was discovered in the State Creek District in 1868.

The gold brought in a rush of settlers. One of them was Ben Pearrygin. Nearby Pearrygin Lake State Park is named after him.

Guy Waring is credited with founding and naming Winthrop. Theodore Winthrop was an adventurer/traveler and popular 19th century writer. Winthrop was a Yale graduate. Guy Waring was a Harvard graduate. His roommate at Harvard was Owen Wister. Owen Wister wrote The Virginian after a honeymoon visit to Winthrop to visit his Harvard roommate.

Winthrop holds the record for the coldest temperature ever measured in Washington. Minus 48 degrees on December 30, 1968.

Winthrop used so be in a very isolated location in Washington. Not easily accessed. Seen by few.

Then in the 1960s the North Cross State Highway was being built to connect Western and Eastern Washington via a new pass over the North Cascades.

By the late 1960s the economic turnaround of Leavenworth was well known. Anticipating a flood of tourists Winthrop decided to become a theme tourist town too. But not a Bavarian mountain village, like Leavenworth. Winthrop decided to build its them on its past and become an Old American West theme town. It was already well on its way to that theme, naturally.

The North Cross State Highway opened in 1972. Soon turning Winthrop into a popular tourist town.

I like visiting both Winthrop and Leavenworth. I think Winthrop may be my favorite of the Washington theme towns. I'm a sucker for anything American Old Westish.

Winthrop is now a popular, easily accessed, destination for cross country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, river rafting, fishing, golfing, horse riding, camping, sight seeing and shopping.

Sun Mountain Lodge is close to Winthrop. From Sun Mountain Lodge, in summer, you'll find a lot of miles of mountain bike trails. In winter you'll find miles of cross country ski trails.

The picture of Sun Mountain Lodge gives you a good idea of the scenery that surrounds Winthrop, with the Cascade Mountains to the west.

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