Buckner Homestead Historic District

In 1889, William Buzzard selected a home site a couple miles upriver from the head of Lake Chelan along a bend in the Stehekin River. The remote area later served as the home and commercial orchard of the Buckner family, and the orchard, buildings, roads, and other features that remain on the property still reflect the homestead's development. Today, the Buckner Homestead Historic District continues to express the history of early settlement and agricultural development in the North Cascades.

It was not long before the Buckner Homestead became a place well-known for both its delicious apple crop and family hospitality. Summer or winter, valley residents who passed by were always welcomed into the Buckner home... from the NPS Buckner Homestead Historic District Cultural Landscape Inventory report, p. 31

Tire tracks wear away grass in the driveway, leadidng to a wood and stone garage on the right
Road to the garage at the Buckner Homestead.

NPS, 2012

The Buckner Homestead Historic District is located on a horseshoe bend of the Stehekin River in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Although it's just a few hours from major metropolitan areas, the homestead feels years away. The remote property, located in the North Cascades of central Washington State, can be accessed by boat or plane service from Stehekin.

The 160-acre homestead was first developed by William Buzzard, an early settler to the Stehekin Valley, between 1889 and 1910. During this period, Buzzard built a small log cabin and cleared many acres of land for pasture and cultivation. He sold the homestead to William Van and May Buckner in 1910. The Buckners made many improvements to the property, including the establishment of approximately 50 acres of fruit trees and construction of several buildings and structures to support both residential activities and orchard operations.

Black and white image of an aging wooden cabin with vines on the side and a rock chimney.
A 1971 view of the Buzzard Cabin (left) and the Root Cellar (right) shortly after the NPS acquired the property

NPS/National Register of Historic Places nomination form

Characteristics of the landscape help to convey the history of the site. These include natural systems and features, spatial organization, circulation, constructed water features, vegetation, buildings and structures, and archeology. The features associated with these landscape characteristics contribute to the feeling and association of the property.

The rich history that has defined and shaped the property is also displayed through a number of buildings and structures associated with the site's development, including the Buckner/Garfoot House, Chicken House, Brooder House, Smoke/Delco House, North orchard outhouse, Privy, Packing shed foundation, Playhouse, Barn/Shop, Wood Shed/Harness Shed, Root Cellar, Milk Separator, Swimming pool, Sundial and two picker cabins.

A green orchard contains a scattering of trees with short trunks and open branching.
The historic orchard trees associated with the Buckner Homestead are maintained to reflect the character of apple trees planted before 1945, like this open-bowl form.

NPS, 2012

Other landscape features, including the existing orchard and cleared pasture area, help defind homestead's historic character. The location, design, setting, materials and workmanship of all of these features convey the character of the homestead as it appeared during the historic period

Today, the Buckner Homestead continues to play an important role in expressing the history of early homestead settlement in the Stehekin Valley, and it remains as the only example of an intact homestead complex within the boundaries of the North Cascades National Park Complex.

A small, square wooden building with a peaked roof and one door in a wooded area
The milk separator (1916) is one of several structures associated with the development of the property, demonstrating the agricultural history of this self-sufficient homestead. Water was was diverted here from a nearby irrigation channel to assist with milk/cream separation and preservation.

NPS, 2012

The Buzzard Cabin was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, while the Buckner Homestead Historic District was listed in 1989 as part of the “Historic Resources of North Cascades National Park Service Complex” Multiple Resource Documentation effort. The property is locally significant for its association with early settlement and agricultural development in the Stehekin Valley at the turn of the twentieth century.

The Cultural Landscape Inventory, completed in 2016, builds on this documentation to more accurately convey the historic occupation, use, and development of the homestead by William Buzzard and the Buckner family.

Quick Facts

  • Cultural Landscape Type: Historic Vernacular
  • National Register Significance Level: Local
  • National Register Significance Criteria: A
  • Period of Significance: 1889-1955

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Last updated: September 20, 2019