Submitted by Mary Willey, Borderlands Historical Society
OROVILLE – The small but mighty group of the Okanogan Borderlands Historical Society is busily working on our annual display for the Depot Museum.
This year we are recognizing the many civic, fraternal and service organizations that existed in the North County prior to 1950. Some of these are still going strong today). We have come up with lists of these secret, and not so secret societies, and the number of them is astounding. In addition to large organizations like the Masons and the I.O.O.F., there were lesser-known groups like the Women of Woodcraft, literary societies and bands!
If you, or your family members are or have been associated with any local groups and would like to see that group represented in our display, we’d love to include them (history, pictures, or memorabilia is welcome if you’re willing to loan items). You can catch the working crew Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Depot, or contact our Executive Director, Kay Sibley, at 509-476-2476 or leave a message at 509-560-1028.
The display this year also features local Native Americans and First Nations, a collection of sad or flat irons, some mechanical toys, women’s accessories pre-1930, a switchboard comparable to what was used in Oroville’s early days, and our wonderful model train.
Our railroad room contains a large number of Great Northern artifacts, many specific to our Depot. We also have a nice reference section for people who are looking for information about the history of the area, mining, Enloe Dam and more.
In addition to our annual display, we are working on getting the Visitor Information Center set up for the tourist season, planning fundraising events and trying to schedule some larger projects. We are greatly in need of members and/or volunteers. If you have an interest in local history, a desire to learn more about the area and its history, or are looking for a project to occupy some of your spare time, OBHS is the place for you. Monthly meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month, at 4 p.m. at the Depot.
We are extremely ambitious for such a small group. In addition to getting ready for our May Day opening, our short-term plans include new fencing for our back lot, cleaning and organizing the McDonald Cabin and adding lighting to a shed.
Our long-range plans include installing a heat pump for the Depot, extending our roof on the west side of the Depot to create a covered display area, and hopefully, assisting with preservation of Okanogan Smith’s cabin and orchard site.
With all of these exciting projects in the works, we are always grateful for donations. You can see what we’re up to on our website at www.borderlandshistory.org, and check out the Visitor Information site as well at www.orovilleinforcenter.xyz. If you are a local business owner who provides lodging or food, we’d like to be sure to include you in our listings. You can contact us at P.O. Box 867, Oroville, WA. 98844.
Come see us on May Day! We’ll have our extra good ice cream available for donations, a brand new display, and smiling faces to greet you.