In an almost forgotten corner of the Okanogan County remains what is left of the once historic town of Chesaw. In the early days this town was on the edge of greatness in the mining world.
The name of the town is unusual. Placer gold was discovered before the turn of the century in the area. The result was a stampede of miners into this mining district. When the miners arrived to their surprise they discovered numbers of Chinese miners already in the area. One of the most prominent of them was a former placer miner called "Chee Saw". He had a small ranch and store not too far from the diggings. The white miners soon began purchasing their supplies from the Chinese merchant. Before long the phrase "Chee Saw’s" became a byword for fair prices and honest deals, and eventually it evolved into simply "Chesaw" the name the town bears today.
By the turn of the century the region had become a lodestone for hard rock miners and fantastic discoveries were made. Chesaw quickly developed into a substantial mining town. By 1910 there were forty buildings in Chesaw.
But those years were short lived. The assays simply didn’t carry their values, and one by one, most of the mines were abandoned. So Chesaw like so many other hard luck mining towns declined. As the years have passed the buildings lining main street have slowly disappeared. The abandoned ranches, deserted mines, are a reminder of those days past when gold was king in the Okanogan Highlands.
Chesaw's boom town days included two hotels, a large 3 story livery barn, a black smith shop, two department stores, one hardware store, a barber shop, post office, an assay office, three saloons, a bank, and three grocery stores
This is one of the few remaining false-fronted buildings in Chesaw today
The Chesaw school was built between 1905-06. Teachers in those days earned around $35 a month. During World War II the school was torn down.