As a young boy, my father regularly brought me to Okanogan County fishing, hunting, camping, and exploring the old ghost towns and historical sites from boomtown days gone by. Since that time in my childhood, the beauty and tranquility of this part of our state has inspired me. In my later years, when the history of this country beckoned to me, I began to research more about the miners, prospectors, pioneers, and old picturesque, abandoned ghost towns of the region whose yesteryears were as colorful as they were lively.
Such research and exploration directed me to talking with local folks from around my area of Winthrop, some being pioneers in their days and descendents of those pioneers, as well as volunteers from local historical museums of the surrounding area. During my researching of historical archives at the Okanogan, Shafer and Molson Museums, as well as the University of Washington, and Eastern Washington University, I was privileged to examine many antique books, and newspaper articles. In addition, the archives included hundreds of historic photos. In addition, I even spent many fun-field days over the years exploring and bushwhacking throughout Okanogan County searching for those long-lost and forgotten ghost town sites and million-dollar mines.
In 1999 I decided to share my research with other history buff’s that might be interested in this unique part of Washington State. I teamed up with website and graphic designer James O’Brien, owner of Mountain Top Productions to create and design a web site for the Internet. My vehicle of shared experience and knowledge was born: my new web site, Boom Towns & Relic Hunters of Northeastern Washington State. Since the beginning of our website in 1999 we have had over one million visitors to our site from around the U.S.A. and the world.
Years of involved research regarding the history of Okanogan County led to my next challenge, compiling and authoring a comprehensive book that everyone could enjoy. The book would be designed for the common man’s usage. My book would function as a field guide to enrich those with an interest in the history of Northeastern Washington who might be willing to wander the roads of the Okanogan countryside and benefit from a personal quest of this region’s boomtown history. For nearly two years, I worked on the manuscript. Once the writing was completed, I experienced the tedious process of getting my manuscript published and distributed.
In April of 2002 my first book, Boom Towns & Relic Hunters of Northeastern Washington, was released by my publisher and is currently available at most libraries and is carried by many bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble, Borders Books, and Amazon.com. The book can also be purchased through my website. For the past several months I have been busy working with my production company on a new challenge, the release of my color DVD video, Historic Mining Camps & Ghost Towns of Northeastern Washington, which compliments my original book. This fantastic DVD was released in June of 2004 and is available through the GhostTownsUSA website, Amazon.com, and is available at libraries and bookstores throughout Washington State.
More About the Author:
Washington State native and author, Jerry Smith, has been writing since 1998. He has been a featured guest on King 5 Television “Northwest Backroads” and has been featured in such national magazines as Gold Prospector’s Association of America Magazine (the GPAA). Jerry makes his primary residence in Western Washington and is frequently sought out to appear at book talks, book signings, trade shows, and lead guests on his Ghost Town Tours, where he provides expert testimony regarding the Okanogan history of Northeastern Washington State. He can be reached at Jerry@GhostTownsUSA.com.
An interesting recent addition to his website is “Ghost Town Report Outline” which assists school students writing reports on the history and ghost towns of Northeastern Washington a whole lot easier. Click on this link to view the report click here. Jerry also encourages reader contribution stories that he can add to his website. The stories our listed with the section under “Boom Town Tales & Historic People” and can be viewed here.