CLIMATE: Cold, Snow in Winter; Mild in Spring, Fall; Warm in Summer
BEST TIME TO VISIT: May-September
Two residents remain at town site, descendants of early settler. Other early settler descendants live in area. One ranch, the Thomason Ranch, has been owned by the same family for 100 years. Town began as a mining town and converted into a farming/ranching community. It still has its post office, general store and cafe. To reach the ghost town, take State Highway 20 from U.S. Highway 97 at Tonasket, and go East to Wauconda.Wauconda began at Wauconda Mine in 1898, relocated in 1900 to where Wauconda Community Hall now sets (built in 1914), and relocated again 1936 to present site at junction of State Highway 20/Toroda Creek Road.Rock collecting enthusiasts are encouraged to visit abandoned Sheridan Mines near old Toroda that have crystalized glass-like ingots, and copper/gold/iron containing rock. Nearby also is the White Rock Mine, a quarry that is currently being mined by a subsidiary of Crown Jewel Mines, for its chemical rock characteristics used in cereals, printing, and fertilizer.Nearby area is also well-known for its diversity of outdoor sports--Fishing, Hunting in season, Snowmobiling and relevant racing on Lake Bonaparte nearby, mountain hiking, cross-country snow skiing activities.
REMAINS: Abandoned Wauconda Mine, Wauconda Community Hall, Wauconda School, Wauconda Store/Cafe
|Wauconda was originally settled by the Hedge Brothers, who opened the Wauconda Mine. When the higher grade ore gave out, the town was moved to another site about 3 miles away, at the juncture of the Toroda Creek road and Wauconda Summit road, in 1901. There a post office that was to become Zip Code 98859, was awarded to Acting Postmaster Morgan Hill, and later awarded to Fred Gugat in a formal appointment. Wauconda was a stage station for the mail route from Chesaw, the temporary north Okanogan County seat, to Republic, the Ferry County seat, the route transversing from Chesaw to Lost Lake, to north Bonaparte Lake, to Toroda Meadows, to Wauconda, to Sweat Creek, to Republic, taking 2 days of travel time to travel approximately 60 miles. One of the later horse transfer stations was at the home location of the early Thomason Ranch, near Toroda Meadows, which was sold in 1919 for the sum of $1900 for the residence and 40 acres of adjoining land, to Joseph Tollet, with the remaining 120 acres being sold to the homesteader (Alfred B. and Lucinda Thomason) son Lonnie Thomason, my paternal grandfather.Early store owners included different generations of Van Slykes. At one time there were 6 or 7 country one-roomed schools that listed Wauconda P.O. for an address. My great-grandmother started the first church program at Wauconda in 1900 with 5 of her children and 4 of the neighbors' children and their parents, in an affiliation that was to later become part of the Nazarene Church of the USA. During the Prohibition Era of the 1920s and 1930s, an already developed industry of mountain stills became popular around Wauconda, and continued right into the 80s and 90s. Wauconda, amongst residents of north central Washington is known for its exceptional moonshine. It is not clear why this industry never did have someone take it and legalize it, but I have asked some of those that their families made it, and they seemed to get some sort of enjoyment of making it illegally, just for the fun of it!For the most part, law enforcement personnel have been disdained around Wauconda. If something happened that drew the attention of the FBI, or County Sheriff, local residents have always taken the position that those people are the ones that need being watched! Government workers are not very well trusted, in the area, for reasons unknown. At the Independence Day celebration, held at Okanogan, WA, in 1922, a local Wauconda, WA cowboy, named Virgil Vance, strapped a horse saddle onto the top of a fuselage of an old two-seater biplane behind the rear pilot position, and rode that airplane into the air on that saddle, without seat belt, parachute, or any other safety apparatus holding him onto that saddle. The airplane did two loops and twists above the crowds before landing again. Mr. Vance said later that he had never ever held onto a piece of leather so tight as he did on that ride. He never attempted another feat like that again, but went on to die of old age in 1981, fathering two daughters and one son. Submitted by: Don Thomason