Okanogan in North Central Washington votes to incorporate as a town on September 30, 1907.

  • By Jim Kershner
  • Posted 10/14/2010
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9598

On September. 30, 1907, Okanogan in North Central Washington votes to incorporate as a town. The vote is 74 to 1. The Okanogan County commissioners meet in the county seat of Conconully and approve the incorporation on October 14, 1907. Incorporation is officially filed with the state on October 29, 1907. In the same election Harry J. Kerr is elected mayor. Okanogan will grow into an important hub in the Okanogan River valley and in 1914 will take the county seat away from Conconully.

Becoming a Town

Earlier in 1907, the new town had just changed its name from Pogue. In its earliest days, it had been called Alma.

In the summer of 1907, Okanogan estimated its own population at about 318. The fledging Commercial Club (later called the Chamber of Commerce) started a petition to authorize an incorporation vote. On September 30, 1907, the people marched to the polls and passed the incorporation with only one dissenting vote.

Kerr became the town's first mayor. The first city council was chosen in the same election: Chris Pein, Charles Ostenberg, C. A. Lindsay, E. E. Stromgren and D. J. McDonald. Harry E. Stark was elected town treasurer. The council's first meeting took place on November 1, 1907.

One of the new town council's first transactions was to hire William Compton Brown (1869-1963) as the city's clerk and legal advisor. Brown would later become the town's mayor, a longtime judge, and an important historian of the region.

The new council also granted a saloon license to the Big Dan Saloon. Soon, however, the council had more serious business to attend to, including securing a sound domestic water supply. That job was soon accomplished through the sale of bonds.


Incorporation documents, on file at the Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington; Bruce A. Wilson, Late Frontier: A History of Okanogan County, Washington (Okanogan: Okanogan County Historical Society, 1990); Okanogan Centennial, a collection of historical articles by the Okanogan Centennial Planning Committee, published in 2007 by the Omak Chronicle, Omak Chronicle website accessed September 22, 2010 (http://www.omakchronicle.com/cent/okanoganhistory.shtml); Harry J. Kerr, A History of Okanogan (Okanogan: The First National Bank of Okanogan, 1931).

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