Winthrop, Washington

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Winthrop is a town in Okanogan County, Washington, United States. It is east of Mazama and north of Twisp. The population was 1,916 at the 2000 census. Winthrop and Mazama recorded the coldest temperature ever measured in Washington state at −48 °F (-44.4 °C) on December 30, 1968.[3]



Winthrop was officially incorporated on March 12, 1924.[4] Native Americans were the first inhabitants of Winthrop. They lived along the banks of the Methow, Twisp and Chewuch rivers, digging camas root, picking berries, fishing and hunting. The first white men to visit the valley were trappers in the 1800s.

In the spring of 1868, placer gold [5] had been discovered in the Slate Creek District.

In 1883, the lure of gold brought the first permanent white settlers, three of which were James Ramsey, Ben Pearrygin and Guy Waring. Waring stopped at the forks of the Chewuch and Methow rivers in 1891. His family settled into the "Castle" now the Shafer Museum. Although Waring is the acclaimed founding father, the town is named after Theodore Winthrop, a Yale graduate, adventurer/traveler and gifted 19th century author.[6] The town was rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1893. Waring's original Duck Brand Saloon was built in 1891. It survived the fire and is now Winthrop's Town Hall.

In 1894, a flood carried away the bridge at the north fork of the river at Winthrop. Colonel Tom Hart rebuilt the bridge in 1895 at Slate Creek. The industry of Winthrop at this time consists of a well-equipped saw mill, several important dairies, raising cattle, and supplying the local mines with goods.[7]

Owen Wister, Waring's Harvard roommate, wrote The Virginian, American's first western novel, after honey-mooning in Winthrop. [6] By 1915, most of the mines, except for a few in the Slate Creek area, had shut down.

In 1972, when State Highway 20 was nearing completion over the North Cascades, several business people began planning for travelers passing through the town. They agreed to the idea of a western-themed restoration which still exists.

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