Old Molson State Bank building as it looks today
The once boom town of Molson was started in 1900 by George B. Meacham, promoter and John W. Molson, investor. Molson operated the largest brewing company in Canada and owned the Molson Bank, with branches in every province in Canada.
Soon many mining claims were staked and the townsite was platted. Before long the townís population reached 300 souls. Buildings could not be built fast enough and many had to live in tents. Before long the Molson Town Site Company built several buisness buildings. Soon there was a newspaper, drug store, dance hall, livery barn, three general stores, three saloons, and assay office. A blacksmith provided ferrier and metal working services; a bank where a small business loan could be taken out to open up another business; and a doctor acted as the main source of medical service for everything from splinter removal to surgery. Hotel Tonasket, named after the great Okanogan Indian Chief, was a three-story hotel complete with a two-story outhouse.
Since prospecting failed to develop much promise, the Molson Company withdrew its backing. After Molsonís first boom busted, its population dwindled fast. In June, 1901 there were 13 souls living in Molson.
By 1903, though homesteaders were moving in, there were little difference in the town. It served as a stopping off place for stages, and some trade from settlers moving into the area.
Early in 1905, with the news that the route of the railroad was definitely coming through Molson, things started booming again. In the meantime, J.H. McDonald filed on 160 acres for a homestead, that 160 acres also included 40 acres that the Molson Town Site Company was developing into the Old Town of Molson. The Tonasket Hotel and other buildings were already on this land.
On April 15, 1909 McDonald published a notice for all persons living or residing or doing buisness on said tract of land or any part thereof to depart fore with from said land and to stay off.
When it became evident that clear titles could not be obtained a New Molson was platted near the railroad tracks. Disgusted citizens founded New Molson half-a-mile north. People, buisness, post office, everything moved to the New Molson site. Its railroad station, elevation 3,708 feet was the highest in Washington State. New Molson mushroomed, but the glory was short lived, as the depression took its toll. The railroad was taken out in the mid 1930s, and New Molson became a quiet agricultural community.
Old Molson faded away, but its memories of those old glory days still linger on in those old weathered, worn buildings, where the GHOSTS refuse to surrender.
The Molson red brick school museum, in the fifties had an average daily attendance of 110 to 120 pupils. Today visitors can tour the old red brick school, and enjoy the many exhibits and splendor from the boom town days. About two blocks from the old school is another part of Old Molson Museum. This part of the museum is where the original boom town of "Old Molson" once stood, with assay office, bank building, old homestead cabins, saloon, law office, machine shed with equipment, a few smaller structures, windmill and a great deal of other old relics from the bonanza years. Volunteers from the Molson Historical Society will assist you with any questions you may have.
And oh yes, Please donít leave until you have had a chance to sample one of their daily fresh baked homemade pastries, with a hot cup of there fresh brewed coffee, all this in the old brick school house. So folks, kick back awhile, and enjoy the boom town days of yesteryear, Old Molson.
New town of Molson, 1911, view looking across railroad tracks