Orin

Fire! From a bustling little community
to the ashes of the Winslow Lumber Company.

 

Back to the beginning. The Winslow families came as early s 1900. Orin Winslow, for whom the community was named, was among them. Other families soon followed: Sam Motheral and family, James and Annie Craft, Elmer and Edith Exley, and Ella and Robert Neeley.

The Winslow families started a sawmill when they came and it was the first of any size in this area. They chose the name Winslow for the train station. However, there is a town on Puget Sound by that name. Such a confusing state of affairs. People and freight came here, but their destination should have been the Winslow on the Coast. The station was then named Keil and the post office was named Orin.

 

 

Unfortunately, the mill burned in 1902. Undaunted, they rebuilt it. There was good reason, for there was a great demand across the United States for Ponderosa and White Pine lumber. During the winter, logs were brought from the Colville Valley area by sleigh and stockpiled until summer. Then they were floated down the river to the mill. During WWI, they hauled almost 90,000 feet of lumber a day. Winslow Lumber Co. was to become the biggest mill in Northeastern Washington at that time.

By 1909 there were two other mills in Orin, the Basin Lumber Co. and the Stevens County Lumber Co.

 

This picture shows students in the Orin School.  Their studies included reading, writing, arithmetic and history. They had only a few books, and the furniture was homemade wooden benches and tables. This seems typical for those days. The school term was for 3 months.

 

 

 

By 1912, the population was about 350. The company built a store, A. M. Merrill, General merchandise. The post office was in the same building. (Picture from 1926 with Miss Rose Dubois)

With the burning of the mill, September 29th, 1938, came a lay-off for almost 200 workers. The mill was not rebuilt. As a result, all that is left of Orin are a few scattered houses and the cement foundation of the Winslow Lumber Company. The mill had been the center of the community.

(Credits to The Last Bell, the Statesman Examiner Newpaper and the Harrigan Post Office files.)