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About Winthrop

Winthrop is a town in Okanogan County, Washington, United States. It is east of Mazama and north of Twisp. The population was 349 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.

History

Winthrop was officially incorporated on March 12, 1924. 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 1800's.

In the spring of 1868, placer gold 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. 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.

Owen Wister, Waring's Harvard roommate, wrote The Virginian, American's first western novel, after honey-mooning in Winthrop. 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.

Local attractions

Winthrop is known for the American Old West design of all the buildings in town, making it a popular tourist destination. The town theme idea was inspired by the example of Leavenworth, Washington, which in turn was heavily based on Solvang, California. Winthrop is a popular cross-country skiing site, with over 100 miles of groomed trails. Other popular activities include rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, horse-back riding, hunting and fishing, golfing, spectacular sight-seeing and other outdoor activities.
Events include the Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival, the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, live theatre and many art galleries.

Winthrop is home to the oldest legal saloon in Washington state.

The North Cascades National Park -- with its pristine forests and stunning views -- borders to the west.

A smokejumper base is also nearby, located between Winthrop and the nearby town of Twisp.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²), all of it land. Winthrop has a lake, called Pearrygin Lake, that is a popular swimming hole as well.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 349 people, 185 households, and 101 families residing in the town. The population density was 398.8 people per square mile (153.1/km²). There were 242 housing units at an average density of 276.6/sq mi (106.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.28% White, 0.29% African American, 0.29% Asian, and 1.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.87% of the population.

There were 185 households out of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.4% were non-families. 40.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.89 and the average family size was 2.50.

In the town the population was spread out with 20.1% under the age of 18, 3.4% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 33.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 83.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $25,417, and the median income for a family was $33,333. Males had a median income of $31,389 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,649. About 16.3% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.3% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.


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