Old Molson Ghost Town MuseumThere are quite a few ghost towns (most are now private property) in the Okanogan Highlands.  These that follow are the ones closest to Eden Valley Guest Ranch.

 

Bodie on Toroda Creek Road had its first cabin in 1896.  More prospectors and families came and a general store, restaurant and livery were built.  Jack Thorp had the mail route between Old Wauconda and Chesaw and changed horses there.  A hotel used also as a home was on site from 1903 to 1919.   This site is about 4 Miles North of Old Toroda and 15 Miles Northeast of Wauconda. When gold was discovered a mile north, the Waldron sawmill moved north.  Timber homes, a saloon, and an assay office were built.  In 1903, the Old Toroda post Office was moved to New Bodie.  The US Forest Service had a ranger station there for a while staffed by a Ranger Wheeler. 

Bolster was established around 1898 as there were many prospectors that build their cabins between Chesaw and the Canadian line.  With its boom in 1899 came saloons, a newspaper, stores, post office, hotel, restaurants, and livery stable. By 1916, there were only a few bachelors left.  

Bonaparte was the name of a little town about 3 miles west of Havillah and 6 or 7 miles south of Eden Valley Guest Ranch.  It was established in 1986 when the government built a flour mill, shingle mill and water powered sawmill for the Indians as negotiated by Chief Tonasket.  Just after 1900, John Hone took a farm nearby and built a store.  A post office was added in 1903 and discontinued in 1908.  The mills were dismantled and sold.  In 1923, the town-site was flooded by Fancher Dam.  A school was in operation from 1902 to 1945.  The large nearby mountain is Mt. Bonaparte.  There was another small town called Little Bonaparte on the south side of Mt. Bonaparte in the Mt. Ann area. 

Circle City was actually the place where west bound trains cooled their brakes half-way between Molson and Oroville.  Circle had a section house, an unsuccessful water tank, a blacksmith, a railroad crew cook and organization for a school in 1907.  The school was completed in 1912 and was in use until 1932 when the railroad was abandoned. Circle had dry, steep hills not conducive to agriculture.  Much of the old railroad grade later became Nine Mile Road. Visitors today can drive this route in the steppe environment and see native plants, historic markers, great views, wildlife and birds.

Kipling seems to be spread out over a few miles with Lower Kipling, Kipling and Upper Kipling.  Part of Kipling is on Eden Valley Guest Ranch property, and had its first store in 1898.  In 1900, homesteaders flocked to Hawthorne's store where they filed for land.   In 1901, Kipling had a post office for a few years, eventually ran for three years by Mrs. Shaw.  Mrs. Shaw started a Sunday school in 1901 and taught for 41 years.  The Shaw residence was 3/4 mile northeast of the Kipling site.  Kipling had a Grange (1910-1917 and 1920-1923) and a school first organized in 1894.  Records indicate a schoolhouse in 1902, with 60 students by 1913.  The school was closed in 1942 when students were sent to Molson.  Upper Kipling, about three miles east was known later as the 4-corners and still has the remains of Ed Pierre's house.  Kipling also has a cemetery.

Knob Hill was homesteaded in the early 1900s. It is about 10 Miles Southwest of Chesaw and 5 miles northeast of Havillah.  It had a school in 1903 and a Grange Hall.  The historic Knob Hill Grange Hall is now the charming lodge at Sitzmark Ski Area.  The hall was moved to Sitzmark in the early 1970's.  The Knob Hill Home Economics Club was very popular and many people belonged to it from the Havillah, Molson and Chesaw areas.  Now known as the Knob Hill Community Club, men are also active.  Their meetings are now held in Chesaw.

Lake View school was started in 1904 along Dry Gulch Road in the southern part of Eden Valley by the farmers between Havillah and Kipling. In about 1908, it had a new log schoolhouse.  This school was of short duration and the building was used as a community center for a while.  The facilities and supplies were eventually sent to Kipling, Havillah and Bonaparte schools.

Mt. Hull area north of the US Forest Service west of Eden Valley Guest Ranch had a number of homesteads in the early 1900's with a school.  The local history book, "Okanogan Highland Echos" (1962), shows one picture of 16 children and one teacher.  Some of the same children went to nearby Circle City school at a different time.  Many of the homestead names of 1900 are known by the few old timers that still live in the area.  This surrounding area of Mt. Hull expanded easterly sometime after the 1970's and many families live on this north aspect of the mountain in the trees. The Molson Chesaw Fire Department built its first fire hall in the eastern part of this area on Rawhide Road in 2009.

Myers Creek area was settled around 1900 and like other areas needed a school which was opened in April 1910. The schoolhouse burned in 1921 and school was relocated and operated until there were too few students.  This settlement was unique because John Chandler, carpenter and farmer, built a 35-foot water wheel in 1904 which provided the power for a sawmill.  The Myers Creek, and nearby Hungry Hollow pioneers, were ranchers, farmers, miners and some milled timber into boards, planks, ties and shakes. 

Nighthawk was a community established around 1902 along the Great Northern Railway 12 miles west of Oroville and about 12 miles north of Loomis along the Similkameen River.

Nine Mile The Nine Mile community was located seven miles west of Molson on what is known today as Nine Mile Road. The railroad used this route and had a siding to take on water and load commodities headed to market like wheat and cords of firewood. Nine Mile school was held in a tent until until a small structure was built in 1908.  A nice larger school was built in 1913.  The school burned in 1935 and was again held in the small building until 1938 when it closed and children were sent to Molson.  The railroad was removed in 1932.

Pontiac Ridge is an interesting area of 13 square miles just north of Beaver Canyon.  Pontiac Ridge is said to have a micro climate where it receives more moisture than the surrounding region.  The ridge was more free of spring frosts than other areas, and settlers grew produce they sold in Chesaw.  A few homesteaders came in the early 1900's and stayed a while but most the well known residents were the Auston family that came in the early 1930's.  They bought the Del Holbrook place and raised goats.  Although they trapped and had a garden they are known for a hand-made picket fence of some two and a half miles in length.

Sidley was two miles west of Molson.  This was a border town (half in Canada and half in the USA).  Shortly after 1900, the town named after Mr. Sidley, had a customs office, post office, hotel, saloon, blacksmith shop, livery barn and general store.  By 1905, Sidley got a large sawmill which also straddled the border.  That way lumber could be finished and shipped from which ever side had the best tariff advantage.  Shortly after the railroad was built, the customs office moved to Bridesville and Molson boomed again.  Mr. Sidley died in 1922.


Toroda was established about 1897 five miles northeast of Wauconda and in 1898 had a peak of 470 people.  The buildings were of logs.  The site became known as Old Toroda when it was deserted and people created a new Toroda at the mouth of Toroda Creek on the Kettle River.