As we know, in the late 1800’s there was a gold rush in western America. If most gold seekers headed out west to California, Canada and Alaska, Washington was perfectly settled in the middle. So, while they were heading up to Canada for their chance at glory, they were bound to stop in Washington.
Some glorified Okanogan even called this area the “El Dorado of the North”, and of course, within a short burst of time, various mining camps were set up along the mountain side, one of them being Barron.
It was 1894 when hundred of hopeful gold miners came here to get rich, because they wanted only one thing: gold. It was supposed to be the discover they had all been waiting for, hidden just below the surface in a narrow valley, the Eureka Lode.
Try to imagine hundreds of excited miners, who traveled for days by steamship, canoe, horseback, by any means available to them at that time, and then on foot to get to the new town of Barron, Washington, in search of gold.
At its peak Barron boasted a hotel, several saloons, and stores which serviced about 2500 miners.
Working as a gold miner was no easy feat, but the promise of riches tempted lot of men.
They lived in tents scattered on the hillside and were supplied by the town, which consisted of only a store and a tavern. Of course, they came here to get rich, even if most ended up working for a daily wage that included $2.50, meals, and a bed made of tree branches. And of course, only two years later Barron was deserted: miners began to leave the area for the lure of the gold fields of Alaska, and soon it became a ghost town.
The little veins of gold quickly disappeared underground and maintenance costs were just too high. However, the gold fever was never cured and small mines came and went for the next 40 years.
Today Barron is one of the most intact ghost towns in the state: there are several standing cabins and several collapsed and many of mining shafts and entrances are still accessible.
Also the valley is scattered with wooden structures and mechanical rests of the gold mining days, including mining carts and rails, steel tanks, hoppers, machines, and above all an interesting train-sized inline 6 cylinder diesel engine.
This is of course a summertime activity…you won’t see much if it’s covered in snow! However, this is private property. The owners don’t care about guests, but giving a nice look to prevent possible vandals, which as we know, are very usual in every abandoned place.
A curiosity? Barron is named after Alex Barron who was the first miner to discover the gold in this area in 1893.