Monday, October 20, 2014

Okanogan County Trivia.... How Much Did You Know?

Bits from Okanogan County HERITAGE, published by the Okanogan Co Historical Society

Summer, 2006, page 18:  The territorial legislature in January, 1888, passed an act creating Okanogan County. It was cut off From Stevens County and originally comprised all the territory west of the Columbia River clear down to the Wenatchee River.  There was some verbal wrangling over which town would become the county seat; Conconully was eventually chosen at a general election on 6 Nov 1888. “For $25 a month a building for courthouse purposes ….was rented.”

By 1892 the white population of the county had reached something over 2500 according to the census roll; the majority of the population was centered around three mining towns, Ruby, Conconully and Loomis. The big silver slump and the great nation-wide business panic of 1893 hit the Okanogan mining camps severely. That, coupled with the completion of the Great Northern railway through the Wenatchee valley and the beginning of regular steamboat navigation on the Columbia River from Wenatchee north, brought Chelan, situated at the foot of Chelan Lake forward as a county seat aspirant, and on 2 October 1894 a petition was brought forth to change the location of the county seat to Chelan. This was finally accomplished in 1889.

Winter, 2006, page 13:  “Minding Mine’s Monikers,”  was a light hearted look at the extremely varied and intriguing names that the old-time miners tacked onto their Okanogan County mines. Most were named after the ladies in their lives…. Names completely through the alphabet from Caroline to Virginia. Next mines were named for the elements:  Gold Ace, Gold Bar, Gold Creek, Gold Dust, Gold Zone, etc.  In the minority but still found were names of cities ranging from big places like Chicago and New York to Kalamazoo, Peroria and Sonora.  The most humorous mine names were the hopeful ones:  Just In Time, Hardscrabble, Olentangy (??), I Live Here and the funniest, Woo Loo Moo Loo (after a town in Australia).

Summer, 2008, page 13:  “Tracing the Origin of ‘Omak’” ……… According to Robert Hitchman’s Placenames of Washington:  “The name origin if form the Indian word, ‘Omache,” meaning “good medicine’ or ‘plenty,’ which was applied to a nearby creek and lake. This was altered to ‘Omak’ at the suggestion of postal authorities, who preferred brevity to history.  The earliest map of the area to reference the name was in 1882, Lt. H.H. Pierce’s “Map of the Indian Trail From Old Ft. Colville to the Skagit River,” which names it ‘Omuk.’ For the next few years, it was ‘Omach’ or ‘Omuk,” and for a brief period after 1900 it was ‘Omache.’ By 1903 the spelling had changed to ‘Omak’ and that stuck.
Name origin from Wikipedia:

The name derives from the Okanagan language place name ukʷnaqín.[1] An alternate explanation from Washington proposes "People living where you can see the top", ostensibly of Chopaka Peak in the Lower Similkameen.[2]

Did you realize?  The Canadian verson is the word is Okanagan; in the U.S. it's Okanogan

Here are some views of the Columbia River heading north from Grand Coulee Dam. This area was flooded with miners in the years just prior to 1900. They panned in the many small rivers that join the mighty Columia.

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