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About The Town of Darrington

"A sense of security seemed to come from these mountains; it was like living in the hollow of the cupped hand of God." ­­Jean Bedal Fish

1. How did Whitehorse Mountain get its name? 

There are several stories, the most common is that when viewed from the north (a good place is Highway 530 about 2 miles north of town) the viewer can see a horse’s head. The ears are the peaks of the mountain, the horse is facing roughly east. Another common story relates that early pioneer Fred Olds lost his white horse on the mountain. A neighbor remarked to him that a snowfield on the mountain “sure looks like your old white horse.” The beauty of the mountain is indisputable, regardless of which story is correct. (Source; History of Snohomish County Vol. 1, edited by Wm. Whitfield 1926)

2. How did Gold Hill get its name?

Gold Hill, or Gold Mountain, is named for the many mining claims that were located on this prominent feature southeast of town, across the Sauk River. In 1900 there were about 100 claims located principally on the northern end of the mountain. Evidence of this early mineral exploration can still be found. (Source; History of Snohomish County Vol. 1, edited by Wm. Whitfield 1926)

3. How did people get to Darrington before the Highway?

There was a rough track between Arlington and Darrington along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River as early as 1889, but the first freight to arrive via Arlington on 4 wheels was in 1899. Prior to this people and goods were transported by canoe, foot and packhorse. In 1922, Standard Oil opened the first gas station, “an auxiliary supply station for gasoline and stove oil”. The road was still gravel between Oso and Darrington into the 1940’s and was administered by the State of Washington as a secondary Highway beginning in 1957. (Sources; History of Snohomish County Vol. 1, edited by Wm. Whitfield 1926, WSDOT records and Darrington, Mining Town/Timber Town by Elizabeth S. Poehlman)

4. When was the first school built in Darrington?

The first school was built in 1893. In September 1892, a petition was filed with the Snohomish County superintendent. The petition was heard on October 22, 1892, and approved, and District No. 64 was born. To help the new district get started, the county gave the board of directors $94.80. (Source; History of Snohomish County Vol. 1, edited by Wm. Whitfield 1926)

5. When did Darrington get its reputation as a great place to enjoy outdoor activities?

Always known for its spectacular scenery, the first tourism brochure was published around 1925 by the Darrington Improvement Club, it was titled, “Darrington, Where the trails begin”.

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