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Chapter 6

Before the North Cascades were set aside as the Washington Forest Reserve in 1897, only a few individuals took on the mighty mountains as a place of settlement. Here and there a forlorn miner, refusing to leave when the bust came, or a hosteler, providing shelter for a variety of travelers, made a clearing in the forest and erected his cabin. Although few in number, these pioneers were, often as not, fascinating characters, solid as the mountains around them. Great stories have grown around the memories of the more colorful ones: the innkeepers and the hermits.

Only two areas of the park complex attracted settlers: the upper Skagit River and the Stehekin drainage at the head of Lake Chelan. Mining excitement stimulated the settlement of the pioneers in both areas. Their stories begin with the 1880s.

Before then, in the early 1860s, the first settlers began clearing the forests around the mouth of the Skagit. By 1871, logging was an important activity on the lower river. But not until two great log jams were removed from the river in the late 1870s, did settlement creep up the banks. In 1878, David Batey and Joseph Hart established themselves at what later would be called Sedro. Mortimer Cook arrived in 1885 and opened the village's first store. Mrs. Batey is said to have suggested naming the community Cedros. Cook agreed, hut changed the spelling to Sedro so that it would be unique.

By 1886, Sedro had a post office. By 1889, a railroad reached it, assuring it a permanency. Philip A. Woolley started an adjacent community in 1890, allowing it to be named after himself. Woolley also grew around its sawmills; it also served as headquarters for the Bennett coal mines, six miles away. The two towns grew rapidly and their borders quickly reached each other. In 1898, they incorporated as one town, combining their names into a compound that was as unique as Cook could have wished. Today, Sedro Woolley, still involved with the lumber industry, serves as the gateway to the Skagit River country. The National Park Service maintains its park headquarters in the town. [1]

Other communities developed along the Skagit, such as Birdsview (called after Birdsley Minkler), which got a post office in 1880; and Concrete, founded by the Portland Cement company about 1905. When steamers began plying the river during the Ruby Creek gold rush, a group of men undertook to develop a town near the head of steamer navigation. They planned to call their metropolis, which was to be near the confluence of Bacon Creek and the Skagit, Portage City. This city never got beyond the planning stage, however, probably because of the quick collapse of the Ruby Creek rush. [2]

At the height of the first gold rush, in July 1880, officials established voting districts in the mining area. This action disclosed that the total population of the stretch between Goodell's Landing and the mines on upper Ruby Creek stood at 519, of whom only 77 were bona fide settlers having the right to vote. [3] N. E. Goodell, from Portland, Oregon, had set up a store for miners at Goodell's Landing in 1879. This location was the head of canoe navigation on the river. From there on miners had to pack their supplies over a rough trail. Goodell's first season as a storekeeper resulted in a loss. Still optimistic, he planned next to build a hotel at the Landing.

About 1880, a new store, established by Clothier and English of Mount Vernon, opened at the Landing. Its success is unknown. [4] During the summer months of 1893 and 1895, a third store, or trading post, began at Goodell's Landing. The proprietress of this temporary establishment was Mrs. Lucinda Davis, assisted by her two sons, Glee and Frank, and a daughter, Idessa. Mrs. Davis was a Pennsylvanian who had divorced her husband in Colorado, and who had moved to the North Cascades to live on her brother's homestead near the mouth of Cascade River. Her brother, George S. Leach, had drowned just a few months before her arrival. Glee Davis, today a resident of Sedro Woolley, says of the Goodell store: "We didn't own anything though, a little trading post at Goodell. We sold mining supplies, and we run that the summer of '93 and '95." [5]

Following Mrs. Davis as storekeeper at Goodell's Landing came August (Gus) Doan, who had migrated from Germany by way of the Dakotas. In 1893, he had built a small cabin just below Goodell's Creek, and in 1897 bought the log cabins at the Landing from Harry Dennis. After these structures burned in 1901, Doan began building a two-story, log way-station, which he completed in 1905. It is said that this inn, which burned in 1913, was located at the Seattle City Light Department's later Newhalem Camp.

Doan's way-station stood within the national forest. In 1908 he applied for a claim. However, the Skagit Power Company, then interested in the hydro-electric potential of the Skagit, wanted this same land and asked the U. S. Government to acquire it. Although the U. S. Forest Service strenuously argued against Doan's application, the innkeeper finally received a patent for his claim in 1912, one year before fire destroyed the roadhouse. After Doan's death, Seattle City Light purchased the land through condemnation proceedings in 1920. The community of Newhalem now occupies the area. [6]

When a flood destroyed her home on Cascade River in 1897, Mrs. Davis decided to move up the Skagit to Cedar Bar, near the mouth of Stetattle Creek. The second "boom" along the headwaters of Ruby and Thunder Creeks presented her with an opportunity to operate an inn for traveling miners. Next to the cabin of Charlie Moses, an elderly Indian trapper, the Davis family built a log cabin in 1898. Fire destroyed this inn in 1901; but a new, larger house replaced it. Then, in 1907, the family built a third structure, larger than its predecessors.

After Glee Davis filed a claim for the land in 1906, a forest ranger inspected the property. He reported that Davis sold hay for $100 per ton, and meals and beds for 50¢ each. He added that the beds "were all very crude so that many travellers do not like to stop here." The next few years saw a lengthy discussion on whether or not the land should be patented. Forest Supervisor Charles H. Park recommended against the application. In the end, the Davis family won, although the final papers were not signed until 1917. Shortly afterwards, the two brothers enlarged the road house to eleven rooms. Then, in 1929, Seattle City Light had the land condemned in order to construct the Diablo Dam. The Davis family moved to Sedro Woolley, where Mrs. Davis died in 1930. Glee Davis worked for the U. S Forest Service for a number of years before retiring in Sedro Woolley. [7]

The town of Diablo and the dam of that name occupy the general area of Cedar Bar today. Both are dedicated to the production of hydroelectricity. The setting is appropriate, for here, seventy years ago, the Davis brothers produced their own hydroelectricity According to Glee, "We had power in various stages from 1900 on." He described the first plant as a "power house on 'Stetattle' Creek in 1900; just had a small plant there to run a grind stone and stuff." Later he installed a Pelton wheel on a small creek in the vicinity and "got some pipe and I piped down to the Pelton wheel. Well, that didn't make too much power then, so we decided to go down the creek and bring a bigger flume down." Glee and his brother built a 2,000-foot flume. Using water from Stetattle Creek, they operated a generator that they got from the abandoned Chancellor mines on Ruby Creek. This generator is described variously as 1/4 and 1-1/4 horsepower. It produced sufficient electricity for house lights and a sawmill; and the water irrigated a garden.

Today Seattle City Light has reconstructed the Davis power house (exterior only). On the outside is a waterwheel that is said to be an original one from the Davis plant. City Light also has placed an information sign at the site that describes the history of the plant. [8]

Farther up the Skagit, beyond Diablo Canyon, lived two of the more colorful characters of the region: John McMillan and Tommy Rowland. McMillan came from Ontario, Canada, arriving on the Skagit in 1884. While his original intention was mining, he soon settled on the remote Big Beaver Creek. Here he made a living by packing supplies from Fort Hope, British Columbia, to the Ruby Creek developments and by trapping. According to those who knew him, he acquired a companion by bringing from Canada a half-breed girl named Gordan to his cabin.

At least two stories exist as to the ending of this first marriage. The more colorful version tells how McMillan went down to the coast to get some supplies and to taste anew the benefits of civilization. When he returned several months later, he found his wife entertaining her numerous Indian relatives. McMillan kicked out the whole clan and sent them packing to Canada, including his wife and child. Later, he married a white woman, Emma Love, in Seattle, who came up the river to live with him. The other story tells simply that when McMillan married Emma Love, he then quietly sent his first wife home.

The U. S. Forest Service did not attempt to remove McMillan from the forest reserve as it had other squatters. Nor did McMillan ever bother to apply for a claim. He was so isolated in his valley that the authorities simply ignored him. The old trapper died in 1922 and was buried near his cabin. For a time the Forest Service used the cabin and the outbuildings as a guard station. Today, all lies in ruins. McMillan's grave marker, entangled by undergrowth, still stands. [9]

Tommy Rowland, "a nice old Irishman," also arrived on the upper Skagit in the 1880s. He built his cabin and outbuildings at today's Roland Point, almost directly across today's Ross Lake from the mouth of Big Beaver Creek (see note 9). Prospecting and growing hay and vegetables occupied most of his time. He also demonstrated an interest in religion, eventually naming his homestead "New Jerusalem" and himself as the "Prophet Elisha." As Glee Davis says: "He used to put on a lot of acts on his religious fanaticum [sic]." Davis went up once to help Rowland bale hay. But the Prophet had decided that he was not supposed to speak for three days and three nights, and would not talk with Davis.

A rare story, somewhat undocumented, tells how Rowland persuaded some dudes to finance a deep-water diver who would be able to gather gold visible on the bottom of a nearby stream. The diver arrived with his equipment, but soon left in disgust when he came up with only a few handfuls of rock. It is said that the diver's equipment lay abandoned on the creek bank for a number of years.

Eventually, Rowland entered a mental hospital. But he soon escaped and returned to his New Jerusalem. Later, officials had him taken back to receive the care he needed. Some of the area's elders today say, with a knowing wink, that Tommy was about as crazy as a fox. Who else could have persuaded investors to deep-sea dive in a shallow creek? Ruins of his cabin, barn, and root cellar are still to be found near Roland's Point. Nearby lies a small meadow that may have served as his vegetable garden. The Forest Service used these buildings too as a guard station. [10]

Another miner whose cabin once stood within today's park was George Holmes. He lived on Ruby Creek about one-half mile west of the Panther Creek junction. Not only was Holmes one of the few successful miners, he was one of only two Negroes known to have been in these mountains. He had been a mason by profession but, after a dispute with his union, arrived on the Ruby in 1895. Holmes leased the Original Discovery mine and is said to have taken $7,000 in gold from it. He got along very well with his fellow miners and neighbors, such as John McMillan. But he left the mountains in 1924, and no one heard from or about him again. [11]

Two or three other pioneers of the upper Skagit demand notice. One of these was Remi (Jack) Durand, a prospector, miner, and trapper. For twenty years, 1895-1915, he worked on Thunder Creek during the summers. In 1893, he built the structure today called Middle Cabin, a spot well-known to hikers along Thunder Creek. A gentleman named Captain Randolph should also appear in the narrative. At the time of the first gold rush on Ruby Creek, prospectors found the trail through the Gorge Canyon (now Gorge Lake) extremely difficult. Randolph "improved" the trail by cutting a few footholds in the rock wall. He also built a cabin across this path and, according to Glee Davis, miners had to enter through one door and go out another. Randolph charged them a 50¢ toll for this privilege. [12]

Today, two towns, Newhalem and Diablo, lie within Ross Lake National Recreation Area. They house the employees of the Seattle City Light Department. At the lower ends of Diablo Lake and Ross Lake are resort centers. But of the pioneer homesteads only ruins are left. In June 1906, the U. S. Congress passed the Forest Homestead Act. Homesteaders who had lived on their lands for five years before 1906 could claim up to 160 acres providing no valuable timber was included. The land usage had to be primarily agricultural. Those squatters who failed to qualify could, possibly, be given an annual special-use permit. As noted earlier, very few homesteads on the upper Skagit qualified, and these got their patents only after considerable difficulty. Later, when this section of the river became the location of hydroelectric dams, these homesteads were acquired through condemnation proceedings. [13] Today, Davis' reconstructed power plant, the ruins of McMillan's and Rowland's cabins, and Durand's Middle Cabin are about all that is left of the short period when a few hardy spirits carved small holdings in the forests of the upper Skagit.

The North Fork of Cascade River also attracted a few pioneers. Will Leach, a second brother of Lucinda Davis', built his cabin about one mile above Mineral Park, which had a small store for miners and is today a Forest Service campground. The exact site of Leach's cabin has not yet been established; its location was very close to today's park boundary. The house gained local fame when Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot stayed overnight on a visit to the North Cascades just after the establishment of the Washington Forest Reserve in 1897.

Still farther up the North Fork, near Gilbert Creek, Gilbert Landre (spelled many different ways) built a cabin in the early 1890s. Although a miner himself, Landre built his establishment as a hostelry for other miners. Known then and now as "Gilbert's Cabin," the ruins still stand. Although local citizens undertook to restore it as a historic monument in the 1950s, only the walls and a collapsed roof remain. [14]

The city of Chelan is by no means within the national park complex. Yet its founding and history are very much intertwined with the park's history and must be noted in order to understand the history of Stehekin and, in a following chapter, of transportation in the area.

The Astorians, in 1811, learned about Lake Chelan from the Indians as the fur traders traveled up the Columbia to found Fort Okanogan. [15] Undoubtedly they visited the shores of the lake that year or soon after. The U. S. Army's establishment of short lived Camp Chelan on the lake, in 1880, has already been noted. Not until the discoveries of minerals on the North Fork of Cascade River and in Horseshoe Basin in the late 1880s, did a stimulus exist to establish a community at the southern end of the lake. Located less than three miles from the Columbia, with the lake itself providing an easy passage of 55 miles into the heart of the high country, the south shore was destined to become a supply center for the mines in the Stehekin drainage.

The year 1886 appears to mark the beginning of settlement. Among those who came then were William Sanders, an ex-guide; Henry Dumke, a placer miner; and Ignatius A. Navarre, a civil engineer and destined to become a prominent resident. Sanders and Dumke reached the upper end of the lake by way of Methow River. While descending one of the many canyons draining into the lake, their one horse died in a fall. That canyon still bears the horse's name, Prince. At a nearby creek they fashioned a dug-out of sorts, thus giving the creek its name of Canoe, and proceeded down the lake. Dumke soon erected a sawmill on the lake near Crane's Falls. However, he experienced several mechanical failures and the sawmill never got into actual operation.

Judge Navarre settled on the west side of the lake's outlet, at Rose Beach. His home marked the beginning of Lakeside, at first a separate community from Chelan, which lay on the east side of the outlet. Also on the east side of the lake, in the general area of what is now called Wapato Point, a community of Chelan Indians, under the leadership of Chelan Jim and Wapato John, lived quietly on their homeland. With the beginning of white settlement, these original settlers swiftly adapted to a farming-ranching economy.

Mining activity resulted in the rapid growth of both Chelan and Lakeside. A list of settlers in 1888 included Sanders, Dumke, Navarre, Frank Mowrey, R. H. Lord, Augustus W. Cooper, William Feickert, L. H. Woodin, Albert Spader, and J. W. Horton. The townsite of Chelan was laid out in 1889 (although paperwork errors delayed the settlers from getting their titles until 1891). A post office opened in 1890. That same year, Chelan had three general stores, a hardware store, a drug store, three hotels, a blacksmith shop, a sawmill, a shingle mill, a planing mill, several carpenter shops, and, oddly, only one saloon. Lakeside, or Lake Park, was a little smaller, but it had the steamer landing because of deeper water.

In 1892, Chelan County was carved out of Okanogan County. Not until 1902, however, did Chelan incorporate as a town. Along with supplying miners and lumbering, Chelan developed such other industries as apple growing and tourism, it being the departure point for boat trips up the fiord-like lake to Stehekin. [15]

The mineral discoveries of the late 1880s also gave birth to Stehekin, at the head of Lake Chelan. Several of the first settlers were prospectors, some bringing their families; others engaged in supplying the men at the mines in the back country. Among the earliest settlers were: John W. Horton, miner, 1885; George Hall, hotel man, with two daughters; Dan Devore, prospector, packer, and guide, 1889; Bill Buzzard, miner and homesteader, who wore a black fedora with a bullet hole through it, 1889; M. E. Field, hotel proprietor, the first representative from Chelan County to the State Legislature, and the first postmaster, 1892; F. F. Keller, prospector and the first sheriff of Chelan County; and the W. F. Purple family, 1892.

The most substantial structure in the valley was the elegant Field Hotel. M. E. Field first operated a smaller hotel, the Argonault, that he purchased from George Hall. Just when the Argonault was erected is unknown, although in September 1892, the editor of the Chelan Leader stayed in it. Field's unvarying advertisement in the newspaper was a common sight to readers in the 1890s:

The Hotel Argonault
M. E. Field, Prop.
Stehekin, Wash.

One of the loveliest spots on Lake Chelan. Superb trout fishing. At the head of navigation. Surrounded by Alpine scenery. Only three miles from the famed Rainbow Falls, 300 feet high. The health and pleasure seekers' Mecca. Every attention shown to guests and rates reasonable. [16]

Business was good, and in 1900 Field began construction of a new hotel having 24 rooms and being "lathed, plastered and painted in a good and substantial style." Captain A. J. Dexter, better known for his lake steamers, built the brick fireplace and chimney for the new building. An excursion boat took up a group of Chelan citizens to the grand ball that marked the opening of the hotel on July 18. This famed inn, known simply as the Field Hotel, was later enlarged and, by 1910, could accommodate 100 guests. [17]

The Field Hotel, hostel for the great and the unknown, had to be torn down in the late 1920s, when a dam across the outlet of Lake Chelan raised its water level. The site is now flooded. Some of the lumber and woodwork of the Field Hotel went into the construction of the present Stehekin Lodge, still operating at Stehekin Landing. [18]

During the past eighty years a number of colorful personages have left their mark on the Stehekin area. One such as Jim Scheuyeaulle, at Moore's Landing, who named his place Scheuyeaullesylvania, which he said meant "howling wilderness." An account of all the pioneering and history of this small but vital community cannot be composed within the limits of this report. Nevertheless, attention must be given to the historic structures that are still to be found in this valley.

The Stehekin School and the Kronk Cabin

As early as 1892 enough children were living at Stehekin to hold a summer term of school. A Miss Cavanaugh was the teacher. At the end of the term she returned to Chelan; but it is not known if she returned to the valley another year. During most of the next thirty years the community had a school, but not always a schoolhouse. A much beloved early teacher was Mrs. Weaver, who taught her students for $45 per month. She possibly taught in a log cabin that stood in the part of the valley now flooded because of the dam. Later, a frame shack at Moore's Resort, about seven miles down the lake and outside the park, served as a school for the children of both communities. After that time, classes met in various homes at Stehekin.

The oldest known school building still standing is the Kronk cabin, about five miles up the valley from the lake. Its name came from County Commissioner Kronk, who purchased the cabin from an earlier owner. Today, Mr. Jim Leader, a resident of California, owns the cabin and maintains it in a superior manner, being interested in its history. There are still people in the valley who attended classes in this simple but attractive log cabin.

For a time after the Kronk cabin ceased to serve as a school, pupils attended classes in a building at "Bohen's place," also near the 5-mile post. Then, in 1921, the citizens of the valley and the U. S. Forest Service reached an agreement to erect a permanent schoolhouse. The parents contributed their time and skills and the Forest Service issued a special-use permit for its construction on national forest land, just a few yards from the spectacular Rainbow Falls. Built of logs, the attractive building still serves as the Stehekin School. A one-room teacher's apartment has been added to the back of the building. It is said to be the last one-room school still in use in Washington. [19]

Buckner Cabin

Harry Buckner is a life-long resident of Stehekin. He is the postmaster, the weatherman, and the owner of a beautiful section of land within a horseshoe-bend of the river. Feature writers often refer to him as Mr. Stehekin and The Voice of Stehekin, partly because he operates a shortwave radio, often the only contact with the outside world in case of emergency, and partly because he knows a great deal about the valley's history.

Near the Buckners' house is a log cabin that goes back almost to the beginning of Stehekin's history. William Buzzard, of Spokane, came into the valley in 1889, homesteaded the Buckner property, and built this cabin. The Chelan paper reported in 1899 that "Mr. Buzzard has a very attractive ranch on the Stehekin, that takes in the famous Rainbow Falls, which are over 300 feet high." Harry Buckner's father later purchased the section and it has been in the Buckner family since. An outstanding feature is the huge, stone fireplace built on the exterior. One-half the building is log; the other half is board and batten. It is an excellent presentation of the early pioneering days of the valley. [20]

Courtney Cabin

About five miles up the valley, on the west side of the river, stands another pioneer cabin, owned today by Curt Courtney. Possibly built by an early settler named McComb, the cabin became the home of the Courtney family. As the number of young Courtneys increased, additional space was found by adding frame rooms to the original log cabin. Today, the log portion, although run-down, is the better part of the house. The frame additions have deteriorated considerably over the years. Near the cabin is an earth-covered root cellar having a small wooden structure above ground that serves as an entrance. Like the Buckner and Kronk cabins, the old Courtney place is a representation of the beginning of settlement in this remote valley.

Several other structures at the head of the lake should be noted before moving up the river to Bridge Creek. Across the road from Harry Buckner's driveway, Mrs. Lydia George, assisted by a Mrs. Rice, managed the Rainbow Lodge as early as 1909. Before that, both ladies had been cooks for miners farther up the river. Some of the buildings of Rainbow Lodge still stand. Henry Buckner, an uncle of today's Harry Buckner, built the inn.

At Weaver's Point, on the west side of the lakehead, the remains of a dugout against a hill and of a fireplace are said to still exist. In 1902, the Washington Legislature appropriated money for a fish hatchery at Stehekin. The first hatchery stood near the Field Hotel, on land now underwater. In 1917, the State built a new hatchery at Rainbow Falls. The structure consisted of an open frame surmounted by an A-type, shingled roof. Later, when the State abandoned the hatchery, the citizens of Stehekin acquired it and by adding walls, a floor, and a chimney converted it into a comfortable community hall. It stands across the road from the schoolhouse. [21]

Besides the pioneers and their cabins and historic hotels, many famous personages have visited Stehekin over the years. Although they cannot be readily identified with existing structures, their visits have added greatly to the lore of Stehekin. Clara Barton, when head of the American Red Cross, came on a sight-seeing steamboat excursion in 1891. Gifford Pinchot, the Chief Forester of the U. S. Forest Service, visited on an inspection trip in 1907. He put up at the Field Hotel. The Chelan Leader, on August 26, 1898, announced another well-known guest:

Mr. and Mrs. Owen Wister, of Philadelphia, are visiting his old Harvard college chum, Mr. Guy Waring, at Winthrop [east side of Cascade Mountains, Wash.]. They expect to visit Lake Chelan . . . coming via Twitsp [then a common variation of Twisp] and Bridge Creek to Stehekin, Mr. Geo. L. Thompson acting as guide.

The paper did not report further on the Wisters' travels. Old-timers in the valley say that Wister made the visit. They wonder today if perhaps he acquired the germs of some of his future stories on that trip. Another visitor was Julian E. Itter, an artist of some note, who came to the valley repeatedly. He painted a panorama, 20 by 200 feet, of Horseshoe Basin for the 1904 St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition. [22]

In the chapter on mining, note was made of cabins in Horseshoe Basin and elsewhere at the mines. A number of other structures stood along the Stehekin above the settlements at the lakehead, especially at Bridge Creek. The first, up-valley ranger station was located at the 10-mile post, below the present ranger station at High Bridge. Today, one may still find a corral and a cleared piece of ground. Here too are traces of the old trail that climbed to Coon Lake and on to Bridge Creek.

When the Chelan editor reached the junction of Bridge Creek and the Stehekin in 1892, he found one house occupied by Bayard Wilkison and his wife. Their store tent stood nearby, wherein they had a post office. The editor also saw one or two tents in the area. Five years later, the paper reported that a falling tree had crushed a cabin belonging to B. D. White and George Young at Bridge Creek. None of the four men, one of whom was Dan Devore, then in the cabin was seriously hurt. Still later, in 1904, Ada Anderson stayed overnight at Bridge Creek in a "little way house" that was "kept by an intelligent Swiss woman--a bit of the human flotsam stranded in the Northwest." Her bed was "curtained with blankets from the general room."

Today, several signs of habitation greet the explorer at Bridge Creek. To the west of the road one sees: A cabin that appears to be not of great age; the ruins of a sawmill powered apparently by an old, steel-wheeled tractor; the debris from two or three other structures; a cabin used today by crews measuring snow depths; and a small barn and corral used by the National Park Service. On the east side of the road stand a camper's shelter; a cabin that is getting along in years; and an unidentified wooden structure that has a lengthy pipeline leading to it from a distant source of water. Undoubtedly, additional cabin sites in this area are still to be identified.

At the Bridge Creek community, the trails branched off to the several mining areas, up Bridge Creek itself and its North Fork, and up the Stehekin branching at Park Creek, Horseshoe Basin, and Doubtful Lake. The Chelan Leader reported in 1897 that a cabin, housing seven men, composed "Clagstone's Camp" someplace up on Bridge Creek. On the upper Stehekin that same year, near the junction of the river and Horseshoe Creek, stood Pershall's cabin. This structure also appears in accounts as Pershall's Camp. Whether or not it was the same cabin as Rouse's Camp, also in that area and continuing down to recent times, is unknown. Today at Rouse's Camp one may still find the outlines of structures and considerable debris, much of it modern.

The camp at Doubtful Lake, described in 1897 as consisting of two cabins, one of which had a stone chimney, at the outlet of the lake has already been noted. Here, too, a sawmill once operated. Horseshoe Basin appears to have had as much development as any of the mining areas. In 1892, Ferguson's Camp, located in the lower basin about one-half mile below the wall, consisted of one good-sized log cabin, one cookhouse, and one tent. By the next summer a report said that three cabins stood there, one boasting a window, a floor, a stove, and a number of bunks. In 1899, the Markie Mining Company bought out Ferguson and made plans to build more cabins and a blacksmith shop. The company would have needed a new blacksmith shop for Ferguson's had blown up in an accident that same year. A photograph of Horseshoe Basin taken in 1904 shows a small cabin mysteriously labeled "hunter's lodge."

These structures and doubtlessly others dotted the valleys at the head of Lake Chelan at the height of the mining boom. Most of them have collapsed under the weight of many seasons' snow. Summer floods have washed away the planks and boards. Still, today, the wanderer may find traces of the time when men lived here, usually for only a few months each summer, exploring the secrets of this mountain land. [23]

Evaluation and Recommendations

Skagit Drainage

Goodell's Landing. The exact sites of the stores (Goodell, Clothier and English, Davis) and the inn (Doan) are unknown; although such developments as Doan's claim possibly could be identified. The town of Newhalem occupies a large part of the area today, as does the Goodell Creek campground. Seattle City Light owns much of the land in the area. Because of the extensive development, recommend that the pioneer history of this area be restricted to an interpretive marker. Possibly, the National Park Service and the Seattle city Light Department would wish to cooperate on an interpretive program, inasmuch as City Light begins its own interpretive tours at Newhalem.

Davis Inn, Stetattle Creek. Here, too, extensive development has taken place. The town of Diablo, its residents also being employees of Seattle City Light, occupies the area. City Light has erected a replica of the Davis powerhouse. The waterwheel on the outside of the structure is said to be original. The Department has installed an interpretive marker near this well-maintained site, which is included on its tours. recommend that Seattle City Light continue to maintain the Davis powerhouse. Cooperation between the Department and the National Park service in developing interpretive media could result in an accurate and interesting story of early settlement, inn-keeping, and the production of hydroelectric power here in the shadow of Diablo Dam. Should the building eventually become a Park responsibility, a historic structures report is recommended.

McMillan's and Rowland's Homesteads. Seattle city Light is currently giving consideration to raising the water level of Ross Lake. Should this development occur, both the McMillan and Rowland homesteads will be flooded. In that event, the ruins of the cabins and the other structures should be examined for pioneer artifacts and structural details that would be of value in illustrating the sites in museum exhibits. Also, a decision would have to be made regarding the grave of John McMillan. Should no descendents remain who would wish otherwise, recommend that the grave be left undisturbed. McMillan loved the remote Big Beaver Valley and chose it as his place of interment.

Should neither site be flooded, or until they are, recommend that both be maintained as they are. Decay has advanced to the stage where restoration is impossible. Reconstruction is not recommended. Although subject to vandalism due to their remoteness, nonetheless recommend that the underbrush be cleared away at McMillan's (there is none at Rowland's), that McMillan's grave be maintained, and even that modest interpretive markers be installed. McMillan's Point is a favorite stopping place for Ross Lake boaters, as well as a trailhead. Rowland's site is a little more difficult to discover. With evidence of maintenance at the sites, along with some description of what these places are, the back-country visitor might tend to be less destructive of the remaining ruins. These ruins will last many more years, giving mute testimony to two colorful lives and of a time when there was still space to be a hermit.

George Holmes. Recommend that the story of this successful black miner be told in museum exhibits and in literature.

Middle Cabin. No historical recommendations are made for the somewhat dilapidated Middle Cabin. Its principal use today is that of a shelter for hikers. Should the Park's policy be to maintain shelters in various parts of the park, recommend that this structure be improved upon and that it continue to serve in that function.

Will Leach's Cabin, Cascade. Recommend no marking or interpretation for this site. Should its exact location be determined, recommend only that it be entered on the historic base map.

Gilbert's Cabin. Although close to the road along the North Fork, Cascade River, this cabin ruin is not visible to today's passerby. Few visitors are aware of its existence. Yet, access to it could be easily developed at a moderate cost. Of all the historic structures in the Skagit drainage enumerated in this report, Gilbert's Cabin, although in a state of ruin, is the one most readily subject to rehabilitation. It is the only remaining representation of the several early inns and stores, as well as the home of a prospector, to be found today. Recommend that it be stabilized, that a trail to it be developed, and that an interpretive marker be installed. Also recommend that it be entered on the list of Classified Structures.

Stehekin Drainage

Field Hotel. The site of the Field Hotel is now under water. Some of the building's materials are said to be incorporated in the present Stehekin Lodge. The history of the Field Hotel is an important element in the history of Stehekin. Recommend that its story be told in publications and museum exhibits.

Stehekin School. As long as this structure continues to serve as a school, recommend that an interpretive marker continue to identify the building, as is now the case. Should, in the future, the school be discontinued or replaced, recommend that the structure be preserved and interpreted. It is not a typical "little red school house," but it is an excellent example of the swiftly-disappearing era when most rural Americans received their first education in one-room schools. Recommend, further, that it be classified as a historic structure and entered on the National Register.

Kronk Cabin. The Kronk Cabin is an excellently maintained building that illustrates both pioneer settlement and the oldest structure in the valley that has served as a school. Recommend either that it be acquired or that a cooperative agreement be reached with the owners for the interpretation and continued maintenance of this structure. Recommend that it be entered on the list of Classified Structures.

Buckner Cabin. This structure, in need of rehabilitation, is a prime example of the earliest homesteading in the Stehekin valley. Its unique stone chimney and its two types of construction—log and frame--combine to produce a handsome but simple pioneer home. Recommend that it be restored, refurnished, classified as a historic structure, and placed on the National Register.

Courtney Cabin. Recommend that this good example of pioneering in the Stehekin Valley also be restored, classified as a historic structure, and entered on the National Register. At this time, it would seem that only the original log section of the cabin and the root cellar should be preserved. The later, frame additions are wholly dilapidated and restoration of them seems hardly possible.

Other Structures. Recommend that the fish hatchery, now the community hall, not be classified as a historic structure. It is not the original hatchery, and its appearance. and function have been greatly changed. Its best function would seem to be its continued role as a community center. Recommend that none of the ruins and building sites at Bridge Creek or along the Stehekin be entered on the list of Classified Structures. Interpretive markers could be placed at Bridge Creek and Rouse's Camp, to describe the role played by these places in the mining era. Recommend that the rubble be removed from all these sites and that useful artifacts be collected for museum interpretation.

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Last Updated: 11-Jun-2008