Molson, Washington

John Molson, of the Molson Brewing family from Montreal, made a speculative investment by funding a mine centered town in 1903, just south of the Canadian border in central Washington State.  The mine failed within one year because the land the town was on was claimed by a farmer, but the town moved and still carried on, with its’ new lifeblood coming from a railway line which made a stop in the town.

I had no idea what our family was going to see as we made an outing on one day of our summer vacation at Lake Osoyoos.  I wasn't even planning on taking my SLR camera along, but on a whim right before we left, I quickly put the 50mm lens on my 5D and grabbed a spare battery.  It's a good thing I grabbed that spare battery, as I shot enough to drain the remainder of what was left in the camera.  I had no idea just how much I would enjoy this day.

The old ghost town had many farming and mining machines lined up outside the old buildings.  As a mechanical engineer, I was especially curious to see just how simple these machines were.  They reminded me of many school problems from my days in college.  Simple gears, belts, chains, and almost everything steel was cast.  The styles of the day were so interesting photographically.  Since so many parts were cast, intricate designs were incorporated into many of them.  Some of these complex patterns in heating stoves, heating radiators, an early cash register as well as many other things, were striking photo subjects, especially when they were near window light.  There were whole buildings on display, some which still had the board walks out front of them.  Some of these buildings also included period signs and advertisements, which had naturally suffered from some weathering.

The Molson high school is an old brick building that graduated between half and one dozen students per year. The school included a gymnasium in the basement, still with the 60's era hardwood basketball floor and hoops, an assembly hall and auditorium in the top floor, a science room (including a table of elements that was missing many elements I remember being on the table from my high school chemistry class), and a few classrooms, each full of period artifacts.  The school's overgrown playing field had a wood pole and mesh baseball backstop in the playing field, which reminded my dad of those that he grew up playing baseball on.  There were no soccer goal posts as are now seen at every playground and school.  Baseball was definitely America's favorite pastime in this now past era.

The ghost town left me with the overwhelming thought of all the conveniences that the last century has brought us, especially now that we have entered in and almost take the jet, computer and plastics ages for granted.  Only a century ago, which is still very recent in the scope of history and time, our ancestors had to work so much harder each and every day to put food on the table, and keep a dry roof over their head.  I don't envy them but for the simplicity of it all compared to our modern lives.