"As the chickens were busy gobbling up the pancakes and oatmeal on the porch table and dad was running around like a wild man, your mom was making her entry into the world in a small log cabin at the end of Company Creek road”. This was how my uncle Laurence Courtney remembered the day. At eight years old, Laurence was the oldest of the four children, Laurence, Curt, June and Ray born to Hugh and Mamie. Below is the full story of that morning."
By Mike Barnhart
|Grandma Courtney (Mamie Moore) and Mike's
sister Mary Barnhart 1942
That day marked the beginning of my connection to the Stehekin Valley but we need to back up another 104 years to 1814 when white men first started coming to the valley. It was that year that Alexander Ross of the Northwest Fur Company arrived and had hopes of finding and establishing a route between Fort Okanogan and Puget Sound via Cascade Pass. Travel was so difficult that he eventually turned back and abandoned the idea. It wasn’t until the 1880s that another official expedition explored the valley, this time by the U.S. Army.
Trappers and prospectors began moving into the area and in 1882 Lt. Henry Pierce brought a
small party of men from Ft. Colville, over Purple Pass and down into the valley. His primary goal was to gain knowledge about the area and the Indian encampment at the head of the lake. With the help of an old prospector and a Native American guide, he successfully found a route across the pass and down to the coastal region but a road was never built.
|Rouses Camp (Basin Creek)
|Trost Cabin, North Fork of Bridge Creek
With more families moving to Stehekin, the need for a school became apparent. Since there were children all the way from Moore Point, seven miles down lake, to Stehekin, classes were held in several locations during those early years. Eventually a school was built near the Field Hotel and Daisy Weaver was one of the first teachers.
|Steamer Stehekin loading wood
In 1927 a concrete dam was built at the lower end of the lake to help control flooding and provide
electric power. Its completion raised the lake 21 feet causing the removal of the Moore and Field hotels. The Moore Hotel was later rebuilt on higher ground but the materials from the Field were salvaged and used to build the Golden West Lodge and what was known as the ‘white house’, a rooming house at the present Stehekin landing site. A new road was built along the end of the lake and down to Purple Point where the passenger boats would now dock instead of at the Field Hotel.
|Stehekin School near Field Hotel.
Teacher Daisy Weaver in the doorway, Olive Field to her left.