Ghost towns and historic town sites are scattered all over Okanogan Country. Some still look much as they did a century ago and some are only old foundations whispering of past glories. If you are very quiet walking through a ghost town you can almost hear the old-timers telling stories and the celebratory ruckus coming from the saloons.
Ruby Townsite, the old Ruby City aka “Babylon of the West,” was one of the most famous mining towns in the Northwest and was the county seat for 11 months. Today, stone foundations are all that remain of a city that once included six general stores, plenty of saloons and several hotels.
“Loomistown”, first settled as a ranching town around J.A. Loomis’ trading post, became another of the great Okanogan mining towns with eight saloons and two dance halls. Today Loomis is a quiet country road with some turn-of-the-century homes still in use.
The Loomis to Similkameen to Oroville loop takes you past the ghost town of Nighthawk (registered with the Historical Society as a ghost town) and the old Enloe Dam. Nighthawk was not only a mining town but was also a supply center for the mines in the area.The Nighthawk hotel, original schoolhouse, a mining office and old mill are all still standing – relics from the first decades of the twentieth century. The Enloe is a picturesque de-commissioned dam (on the National Register of Historic Places) that looks almost like a natural waterfall
First orchard. Hiram Francis "Okanogan" Smith, generally regarded as the county's First Citizen, settled near present-day Oroville, in the 1860s. Grass and field crops flourish with the natural rainfall in the area; however, orchards require additional water. Smith, with true pioneer resourcefulness developed an irrigation system for 24 acres of apples and eight acres of peaches, pears and grapes. Five of his old, gnarled trees were still producing in 1990 and the original orchard added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
The Old Molson ghost town and Molson School Museum are a treasure trove of days gone by. Full-scale buildings, farming and mining equipment await you in Old Molson, while a restored classroom, the original school library and wonderful displays of hand tools, household artifacts and photographs can be found in the Molson School Museum. Many memories linger in these old, weathered buildings.