The Art on The Line storefront project began with three custom-made historical maps of north Okanogan County. Lisa Middleton of Great River Arts re-printed these century-old maps from digital copies of the rare existing originals and hand-colored the true-size reproductions.
The Washington map of 1876 (not yet a state) went up in early May in the Gazette-Tribune window to announce the project. You don’t have to be a history buff to be fascinated with the towns and cities of territorial days on this map.
We are especially proud of the colorful North Half Homesteaders’ map of 1900 made just for 49º North Artists. Never widely distributed, this map is priceless for the names of the original Native American families holding allotments when the north half of the Colville Reservation was opened to non-Indian settlement.
At first glance, the highly-detailed Okanogan County map appears to be rather bland. This undated, unsigned map—probably made around 1920—is the first road map of the county and includes settlements long-forgotten, never were. Highway 97 was still just a theory.
The first plat map of the “new” settlement christened “Oroville” by the U.S. Post Office dates to 1906. About the time that the buildings of Ragtown were relocated to an official townsite. It is clear that respectability and progress—49º North Artists as declared on the map– replaced the wide-open frontier encampment, but hard to say whether there was any improvement in a railroad town with seventeen saloons.
At least one of these 100-year-old maps can show you some history about your own place, maybe where your great-grandfather’s homestead was located. Might even lead you to some of the stories behind the carefully-drawn (pen and ink, by the way) lines. And there are stories, going back to the Ice Age.
You can see the full-size maps in a window of the Old Laundromat building, soon to be back at the Gazette-Tribune windows. If nose-to-the-glass isn’t comfortable, 49º North Artists can also supply an 11×17-inch print of each of these maps to study at home at your leisure.
Contact us on our website, www.49northartists.com for purchasing and delivery information.