Travel Destination – Molson, Washington, a Ghost Town
Old Bank in Molson, Washington
Travel Back in Time to Molson Washington, A Ghost Town
If you looking for an authentic ghost town road trip, this is for you! This is a wonderful place to visit for history buffs, and for families wanting to teach their children, up close and personal, about life in the early 1900’s. Seeing, touching, and experiencing first hand, is a way to make the education come alive for children.
The place referred to as a ghost town, is Molson, Washington. It is located in north central Washington State in Okanogan County, right near the Canadian border. In fact, from 9 Mile Road, near Molson, you can see the Queen’s Highway in British Columbia across a field. The latitude of Molson is 48.981N, and the longitude is -119.199W, with an elevation of 3,707 feet.
To travel to Molson Washington, one has the feeling of going back in time and a glimpse into pioneer life. It’s very rural, and non-commercialized. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Oroville (the nearest town) to Molson. Be sure when you depart from Oroville, you fill your gas tank, as there is really no place to fuel up there. The same goes for food, pack a picnic, plenty of snacks, and water, because it is very limited (if at all) in regards to getting provisions there. Plan to spend an entire day.
A person would also most likely, not want to traverse during winter months. The grade road getting to Molson is steep and treacherous. It seems every year, people tragically lose their lives, especially during the winter on those roads. Summer months can be very hot, so bring plenty of water.
Molson is technically not one town, but made up of three parts - Old Molson, New Molson and Center Molson. From the south end of Old Molson to the main street of New Molson is only about a half mile. Driving through one gets a sense of it sprawling in an unnatural way for the setting. It’s beyond the scope of this article, the history of why the town is laid out like this, but it can be researched further. Consider it your “mystery assignment”, should embark on this journey.
Old Molson, Washington
Old Molson is a group of buildings that have been restored, or relocated, to form an outdoor museum. This is one of the most popular locations, most likely where you’ll spend most of your visit in Molson. The buildings are open to the public (no charge), and you are free to look around all you want, at your own pace. A vast majority of time, you will most likely be the only people around.
In this cluster of buildings you’ll find the assay office, brought from the Poland China Mine, a restored bank building (portrayed in this photo), a lawyer’s office, a saloon and various small cabins. The Molson Community Church is across the street, and is a museum in its own right. You will also find displays of settler home environments, farming and mining equipment, and many other antique objects.
Even though the antiques are not for sale, it’s an amazing find for antique lovers and collectors.
Children love to run and play in these buildings, especially the bank. It’s probably not possible to go through that building without stopping to play bank and robbers, for adults as well. It seems to beckon a person, to go back in time, imagine what life was like, and play. The old school in center Molson also has this sense.
Center Molson, Washington
Center Molson is only two large, brick buildings. On one side of the street is the old two story school. and the other side of the street comprises the Molson Trading Company General Store. The general store is there, but not open to visitors.
The school operates as a museum May – September, and is furnished with many of the original desks, and furniture of when it was operational. Many of the original students that attended the school are still alive and thriving. It’s an amazing experience to wander through what a typical classroom in the early 1900’s looked like. Many times you will find people in the school, some of whom attended themselves, and are glad to talk about their past experiences. You don’t want to miss this one.
New Molson, Washington
New Molson is just to the north, across a dip in the road that used to be the railroad bed. New Molson has several old commercial buildings, and a few lived-in houses, and other outbuildings. A former store and an automobile repair garage are present. Not much for tourists currently in this section of town.
Molson was founded in 1900 with the discovery of gold and quickly become a boom town. However, the mines were not as prosperous as early settlers thought, so there was sudden decline in population. Later a railroad was built, and Molson was the site of the highest elevation railroad in WashingtonState. After the railroad was taken out, the area settled mostly into agriculture.
When you travel to Molson, there are also many gorgeous mountain lakes and campsites in the area. Pristine lakes that are cold, deep and very clear. Many are good for fishing, and you’ll be away from the crowds. Lost Lake and Beaver Lake are two good options for camping facilities. There’s wildlife to be enjoyed, and for people who enjoy bird watching, many different kinds of birds can be found.
Not only can a road trip to Molson Washington be fun and relaxing, it can also be a great educational experience for children.