Orient Washington


In light of Halloween I thought I’d introduce a ghost town to you. Boo!

Orient Washington was named so because the town was originated by placer miners who just happened to be Oriental.  

My Children go to this town to attend a little school house. It is (according to some) the oldest operating school house in Washington state. The date on the front it 1910.


Here is a picture of City Hall; I put this little pic in just so you would believe me (it’s the only enhanced photo in here)


That plaque is on this building….


And now… here is the front of the old post office. My guess is it shut down in the 1040’s when the last boom happened in town.


I love this town! Orient is the town I adopted. The people are very real. Very few of them actually live in town and thus, it still carries it’s ghost town status. I had heard that 150 or so live there but I personally, think that is an exaggeration.

It seems everyone in Kettle Falls and Colville have huge egos. Joe call’s it “Big Fish Little Pond Syndrome.” I must agree. The rural farmers who wander into these towns are pretty nice but the locals are annoying.  I get the impression that most people in Kettle Falls and Colville are envious of land owners so they tend to be rude to the “outsiders.”

A prime example was this little girl was bullying one of my daughters – she always did this in front of groups of other girls just to add the nice bitter sting of public humiliation. Instead of actually punishing the little girl her teacher from Kettle Falls took Sami aside and told her all the reasons she should feel sorry for the little girl. (Her daddy moved to Alaska – left the family and etc…etc…) Eventually the teacher who I’m sure was drinking martini’s with the mother on a regular basis – decided it was in the best interest of all to keep my daughter in at recess so she would not be bullied by the little brat in the playground.

You have to deal with that kind of stuff. When I discussed with the principle why this was completely unfair and punishing a child who did nothing wrong. (She had not even punched the little girl in the nose like I wanted her too.) His response was, “we’ll we try to be fair to outsiders but we are a tight nit community.”

So….. I moved all of my kids out of their school. We landed in Orient and I couldn’t be happier. Anyone comes this way I highly recommend not passing Go not collecting your $200 dollars and just putting your kids in Orient.

On Halloween to get some of these hard working kids some candy, they do “trick or trucking.” This is a tradition where we all drive in with our trucks, kick the tailgate down and hand out candy to the kids. They can go to the dozen houses in town or just wander through the parking lot and pick out candy.

p.s. even tho it’s a ghost town and an old mining town there are real live people here and they are in my opinion the best people in Washington state. Just don’t get offended if the hand shaking yours is calloused.


109 Responses to “Orient Washington”

  1. 1 jeri

    thak you ive been through the area a little bit ago ( 1967 ) and was looking to return there to live this is the best ive read and sounds like a nice one thank you

  2. Hi Jeri, thanks for your comment. I do have to say these people are salt of the earth types and so far I’ve liked everyone I’ve met. So if you don’t mind the snow (or if you prefer it) it’s a wonderful place to settle down.


  3. 3 Herb

    Funny to run across this site, I have lived in Orient all my life. When you get a chance, open up the city hall doors and you’ll find a little piece of history inside.

  4. that’s funny Herb! Now I’m dying to know…. we have considered many options of what might be inside… from an outhouse to just tools. Now we must open it. I’ll update on the site what is inside.

  5. 5 Becky Jones

    Hi, I grew up on Kelly Hill and attended Orient Schools from 3rd to 8th grades in the early 1970’s. I still remember the last day of school in the little park down the street from the school, me and Cindy always won the three legged races. When we took walks around the “block” we would stop at the principles house behind the school and pick a stock of his rhubarb to chew on. Did you know the woods behind the play grounds are haunted? Or so I was told as a kid. My friends and I were Cheerleaders for the Bobcats and we had fun cheering on our boys in the cold gym. I learned to play the flute, clarinet and saxophone in the little basement music room from Ms Lakin. We had wonderful warm donuts once a week in the lunch room. Back then you didn’t need to stop at the border to go into Canada, you just waved at the border “guard”. It is good to know that there are people there who love that little town as much as I did growing up in it.


    • 6 Doug

      Becky, I’m guessing that my sister and you attended school together in the early 70’s. She still has her class photos. My dad worked for the US Forest Service and we lived in USFS housing near the Eslick oad intersection.

      • 7 Sheila Page

        HI Doug and Becky. I remember your name Becky (Cummings right?) You were one of Candie’s friends. I am a Page girl. Pretty cool. Good memories.

      • 8 Elizabeth

        Whoa! My parents live there now! I grew up there in that old ranger station form 1996 to 2013:)\

  6. Hi Becky

    I loved what you wrote here. Just reading, which I did weeks ago, left me speechless. I’m so glad you visited. (p.s. I had an idea the woods were haunted… only because I saw this group of kids wiggling back there in the dead of night. They reminded me of that book the boxcar children that I read when I was a kid…) After watching them I was overcome with wanting to write a book about them. I’m not sure if I will but I got there was something special going on. Thanks for your visit.

  7. pps i knew any response I made was going to sound trite… and darn it.. it did.

  8. 11 Krystle

    Hey all,
    I love Orient. My mom moved there when I was really small and I attended Orient from Preschool to the 8th grade, when you must move to a new school. This place is wonderful!!! My mom actually still lives there, in the town and I have a sister that is in the school system right now and my little brother will be there in two years. I “graduated” from Orient in 1999. I played all the sports that I could, basketball, baseball (until it was shut down), volleyball, cheerleading and the famous Orient Unicyclists. I still go back on most weekends to visit my familyand I still believe it a wonderful place to live. We used to explore the whole town in a day and it was never a problem because we knew everyone in town. If you want to see what Orient used to be like “back in the day”, Ruth Lakin wrote a book called Kettle River Country and there is a chapter about Orient in there. It is by far the longest chapter in the book, because Orient used to be the biggest town around. Come to think about a previous comment, I have lived there for almost my whole life, and I do not think I even know what is in the City Hall building. I will have to check on that tomorrow.

  9. Thanks for a little more insight on the little town Krystle. Most citified kids don’t believe that our kids get to start unicycling next year. (it’s envy I hear in their voice – I’m sure.) I have two twin daughters there and a young man. I’ll look into Lakin’s book because I do find the history facinating here. (When you hit the local BB game a lot of it sounds it’s touched with a tad bit of gossip and I’d love to read something more published on it.) What I really love is all about the flexibility. Nick (my oldest) actually started the band this year by simply owning a sax – and they in turn are learning they can make a differnce. And how cool is that? What more could a parent want? We’re very blessed that much I do know. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

  10. 13 Krystle

    I went home for Easter today and I walked over and checked out the “city hall” building. I opened it up and inside was an old firehose rolled up on big red wheels. There were also some red water buckets that they used to use when putting out fires. It was really cool to see that there is actually something historical inside, and not just a building full of tools.

  11. That is just wicked cool! Thanks for letting us know Krystle. The mystery has been solved! (For anyone who decides to visit the little town stop by the local store to see historical pictures. It’s also the only town I know of where you can buy a soda, a birthday card and a rock pick at the same store.) So far one of my favorite memories of the town was when we were house hunting we were welcomed into the town by two little girls sitting on the rock croppings you drive by to get into town. They were just waving at us (and I assume all the other cars) on a warm spring afternoon. You don’t get a much better welcome than that!

  12. 15 Kris

    I visited Orient this past October. My brother-in-law and Sister-in-law bought 80 acres and built a house. I really love the area. They want us to buy 20 acres from them and come out and build. We live in VA right now. I love the People Place, the Kettle river, how it is nestled right in with the mountains.

  13. It is really nice – my only recommendation is that when you build (if you build) I’d try and make sure you consider the shadows of the mountains. (Especially if you like gardening.) Your certainly welcome!

  14. Hi, this is me again. I just read the rest of comments and notice Krystle wrote on there. I grew up with her. She was my best friend when we were little. We use to (think we were) trapping deers and stuff at her mom’s old house. It was a wonderful place to grow up. We all had so much fun. And you’re kids will love being able to grow up there. So, good for you for moving there.

  15. I dont think my first comment ever got posted on here, but you probably know my Dad by now. Especially if you know Joe. I was born and raised there in Orient and Kelly Hill. I live in Tacoma now, but will be coming home to get married. That area is absolutely beautiful. Its a great place and I loved finding your website. And those were great pics. I dont know who you are, but if you know my dad and you see him (Paul) say, hi.

  16. Hi Jennifer, actually I think you can contact Krystal @ Gonzaga University (if that helps.) On the GU Webpage you can look up students via their last and first name. And you can shoot her an email. I have to say I don’t think we’ve met Paul – but I’ll keep a lookout for him. Every Paul I meet I’ll say, “Hey is your daughter Jennifer?” It would be a nice way to break the ice. I’ve been looking for Kelly Hill as a lady has asked me to provide photographs for a book she is writing. I’ve told her yes, so sometimes soon you may see more photos of that area. Anyway lots of good wishes and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!!

  17. 20 Bonnie

    The old post office was Nortons grocery store and was still operating in the 50’s. City Hall was used as a place to watch and report any airplanes flying over the area. There were only 2 phones in town, so a lot of people took turns sitting in that building and reporting to the Civil Air Patrol.

    • 21 Robert Nelson

      Just checking. I went to Orient Grade school in the early 50’s from the Kelly Hill area. Knew an slightly older Bonnie West?
      Robert Nelson

  18. Wow Bonnie thank you for that information. (I’ll add it to the page) that is really cool!

  19. 23 Michelle Stephenson

    Hey there
    My son Micah just found this googling it. Friends (knowles)of ours own acreage near the bridge there in Orient. We have been camping there twice in the last 3 yrs, unfortunately won’t make it there this year. We love the town. There is a manufactured home in the town across from the bus barn we have seriously been considering for some time. I would love to teach at the school. We love hearing the ghost stories of the bus driver and the old cook haunting the school. WE’ve been through the mines and such on old thought. Been to the old miners cabins out there too as well as doing the whole floating down the river where my oldest found a old miners hat at the bottom. We enjoy the People’s place for our showers and daily ice cream while there. Nothing beats the friendliness of the people there. We have not come across anyone who wasn’t. The one year we were there for Old Thought Daze in August and loved the parade. =) Warm fuzzy thoughts. Our friends have the book mentioned before and we have the cookbook. We are constantly looking for more info about the history of the place.
    Thank you
    Shellie S

  20. 24 micah

    I love all the people in orient. i have heard rumors that the elamantry is haunted.we go on are friends property[knowels]

  21. I found your blog while doing some research for a Google Document project. I am virtually exploring highway 395 in anticipation of a travel adventure sometime next year.


    Hopefully that link will work to get you to the document, in the event you are interested.

    Thank you for the insight and the nice pictures. You have given me a few points of interest to visit when I eventually pass through Orient.


  22. 26 Amy

    I think the best years of my entire life were when I lived in Orient! Talk about gorgeous scenery… We bought 12 acres near the Kettle River in 1999 and lived in tents the first Summer there- we were called, “The Meadow Family” back then. We had an abundance of wildlife travel through our property, bears, deer, eagles and more. My sons, Zac and Jake (both now grown, married, living in Mexico), loved to roam the woods and swim in the river and Pierre Lake- the great outdoors was their playground. Ruth Lakin’s book (mentioned above) is an excellent reference about local history for the region (nice lady). The Orient School is the best school, and Patti (then Lyman, now Kahl), started the Unicycle Club at the school and also had the kids involved in youth circus events. Tara Holmes was a teacher when my kids attended, now a fantastic principal (another really neat lady!). The memories are really flooding back, after running across this site- thanks!

  23. Hi Micah & Michelle, thank you for sharing your memories with us. I have heard of the Knowles and I’m quite sure I’ve met them at some point. It’s a little difficult to not meet everyone eventually… but everyone is down to earth that we rarely trade last name. That is a gorgeous spot on the Kettle river I’m envious! Especially of the story of finding the old miner hat. I’ve visited a few of the old mining caves myself and I’ve actually ran into tons of old cabins when I was geocaching with the kids. This place never fails to amaze me for the wonders that you find right in the middle of the forest. My daughter was the princess of Orient in Old Thought Daze this last August. I meant to blog of it but thought she’d get embarrassed. Hey stop by I’ll try to do more on the little town, this tiny thing is totally worth mentioning more often. Meanwhile, I’m not sure what place your talking about (is it the manufactured home owned by Barb and Ron Casebeer?) If so that’s a neat location. Hugs & hope you and Micah come back again!

  24. Hi Amy, again I’m thrilled that you stopped by. I think the unicycling program is a perfect example of this little town. They ice skate and ski in winter. Unicycle and do fencing in spring. The school keeps the kids really busy but in really unique ways. Many people in the community volunteer their time to teach a small group of kids and on very little money. Tara Holmes is wonderful, fair and very compassionate. Every child that graduates from her school she takes a personal attachment too. My son did really well at the graduation ceremony and she still contacts him all the time including announcing it in the school bulletin when he hits the Dean’s List at KFHS. She is very proud of her kids. p.s. with so many suggestions I’m totally getting that book! Thank you for visiting and feel free and share any of your memories with us. I love reading them!!!

  25. 29 Bonnie Peters

    I hope to visit Orient. My Uncle Frank was involved in a mining operation in the area in the 1929-1930s. I think his labor was paid for in stock. At any rate I have the old, worthless stock certificates from Acme Consolidated Mines,Inc. and the Sol Mining Company which I believe were in that area. I think it would be interesting to see the area where the mines were located. I hope I can make it this sunmner. Bonnie Peters

    • Bonnie, stop by .. it’s worth the visit especially if you look for old mines. Many are shown on local maps and seeing the falling cabins, and dug out mines are fun. (well… at least for the nerdy type like me)

  26. 31 Katie

    Our Family bought the Old Ranger Station outside of Orient in 1984. My Kidergarten teacher was Mrs Ruth Lankin, and 14 years later my little sisters would be Betty. I loved how Orient the town “used” to be. Where Zeda’s had gas and penny candy, and schwans Ice cream. Then she put in the Restraunt. The town had a country smalltown feel to it. I get a kick out of how the Post Office is somebodies house :). And how the Medical Clinic stuck around because people pulled together and went in for anything and everything when it was under review (was going to close due to lack of patients). For such a smalltown they put on some “Huge” festivals. 4th of July is a madhouse in the streets! Trunk or Treating, and Harvest Festival, and First Thought Days with the newly added Mud Bogs. It is beautiful up there, with Lake Pierre, Lake Summit, and just the Colville National Forest in General. It’s fun just going up in the middle of the forest on the logging roads, and getting lost. You could wind up in Curlew or Northport :). That little town was a great place to grow up. I miss the way it use to be!

  27. 32 Luke

    My great Grandfather helped build the Orient school. Also my Grandfather was the Principal in Orient, he was killed in the preschool basement wen the concrete colapsted on him. My father owns a ranch just north in Laurier and my mother works at the Laurier Boarder Port Of Entery. I went to school in Orient until my 5th grade then i transferred to Kettle Falls. Its a great town everybody knows everybody and everybody calls ya friend.

  28. 33 Paul Merkel

    Reading through some of these post I recognize some of the happenings and names. I grew up in Orient and left there in 1983 when I was 20. My sister and cousin still live there and I visit yearly. I have to say that growing up in Orient was the greatest experience ever. If you have ever seen the movie Stand By Me, it could have been filmed in Orient in the late 60’s, although we never found any dead bodies in our ventures. I will say that I know what is in the City Hall, or at least what used to be, an old hand drawn fire cart with about 500 feet of fire hose on it like the kind you see in the cartoons, only it is no joke. Someday I plan on returning to Orient for good because it is the greatest place on earth.

    • 34 Sheila Page

      I remember you, Paul. I use to run around with Steve Adams. You were Delvin’s friend…. Much OLDER than us! lol

      • 35 Paul merkel

        hi Sheila, I remember you and yes I was much older than you, I think a couple years older than Candi. Steve was younger than me too, Delvin and I were in the same grade. Good to hear from you.

  29. 36 Bill Miller

    I just came upon this link today and it brought back a lot of old memories. I went to school in orient in the very early seventies and have nothing but the fondest memories of the school and the people I knew there.
    Mr Jones was our principle then and Mrs Varney was my 3rd and 4th grade and all time favorite teacher, tough as nails and a heart of pure gold. I remember Mrs. Moore who taught 1st, 2nd, and I believe kinder garden, all in the same class room. We used to have the best school carnivals and in the spring the field meets over at the city park.
    My family had 10 acres across the bridge next to Mcdonalds farm so we would ride the bus to school. What was so great was everyday after school the bus would stop at the little store and let the kids jump off and buy candy for the ride home. Some of the kids were on the bus for well over an hour so it was a nice treat.
    Although I now live in Arizona I still have a lot of family up that way and will be visiting them this summer and you can bet I will be visiting my old school again.

    • 37 Sheila Page

      Hi Bill,
      I was able to climb the big pine tree on the hill and see across the river to the McDonald’s Farm. We sometimes had up to 8 kids in that tree.

  30. 38 Betty Merkel

    This has been really interesting reading through all these memories. I see my son Paul has even responded. The original Merkel Family moved to Orient over 80 years ago when my husband Paige was about 2. My family (the Shriners) moved there in the fall of 1936. Paige and I both attended Orient School when there was still a High School there. The lower grades were on the main floor, and the 4 upper grades occupied the upstairs. The Gym was added on in 1937. My second year of school there. Paige and I married in 1954 after his stint in the Army and returned there to live 1955 when he went to work for the Washington State Dept of Hiways. His Father “Dud” had already put in his 30 years and retired. We lived in the tiny little log house on the hill behind the 395 tavern till our third child (Paul was 5 years old) then we moved into a new house Paige built just to the south of the highway garage on 395. His folks had deeded the property to us. We lived in Orient the rest of our married life. My kids all attended grade school there and one of my grandkids for a short while. My daughter still lives there, and a nephew and his family, (on the old Merkel home place).
    Before the Post office was in Nortons old store, it was further down main street in a little building all by itself. (Not City Hall as someone here said.) Mr Hacker was the postmaster then. The old Temples store, where the People Place is now was a two story block building. Over head was a big dance hall. A outside set of steps led up to it. Until the new gym was built that is where School doings, plays and community activities of all sorts were held. The People Place was built on the old basement of Temples Store. We kids used to love wondering around in the store as it contained lots and lots of old cloths, hats and shoes, from the button shoe and ladies lace up corset era. It was like walking in to a musium.
    I have lots of great memories of growing up in Orient. Too numerous to put down here. I am now widowed, and will be 81 years old in Nov. I would be happy to hear from any one if they wish to find out more.

    • 39 Irene fairbanks Carman

      Hi Becky,
      I am so happy I found this blog. I think maybe you and I were neighbors in Orient for a short while.
      We first moved to a beautiful little ranch on the Kettle river near Laurier and, of course, attended Orient School. We later moved to Orient into the old false fronted building I understand was the bank building. It was next to an old basement and Norton’s store. After a year we moved up on the hill to Lyles place. We needed more bedrooms. It was a beautiful old house. Us kids had lots of great times hiking up the hill and to the creek that ran nearby.

      We kids of Orient had wonderful, fun times swimming in the river by the bridge in summer and in the winter sleigh riding at night down the hill that was near Grandpa Vincents house. We would build a fireat the bottom of the hill from an old tire we would get from Old Andy thompson. He was such a nice man. We would roast marshmellows from Dahl’s store over that fire. Can’t imagine they tasted very good from tire smoke but it never seemed to be an issue.

      Then there was Nurse and minister Hazel House and her little church. What a dedicated soul. I could write a whole chapter just about her.

      We moved up to pierre lake on another nice little farm. There I had a horse again and was so happy.
      From there we moved back to Orient into Hills place up on the hill where I believe we were neighbors.
      I loved Orient and the country up there. Looking back we were so blessed to have experienced life there.
      I graduated from 8the grade there in May of 1957. I took my freshman year at Kettle Falls. That was when we lived in Hills old house.

      From there we moved to Cheney where my dad worked for the city water dept. Mom took a refresher course in Spokane that summer then got a job for the City of Cheney. This was quite a culture shock for me. I missed my country living so much. But, I soon made friends.

      I met my husband there in Cheney. He is a wonderful man. We have two great sons with nice familys. We ended up here on Beautiful Whidbey Island.
      Orient will always be a part of me. Even tho most of the houses left are in disaray, the magic is still there.
      I’m realizing that I could write many chapters of life in Orient.

    • 40 Barbara Charbonneau

      So nice seeing all about Orient! We too had some of the best times of our lives. The Merkel Family were so welcoming and took us under their wing, showed us all about rural living and the wonderful beauty in the Orient area. Since that time in the early 80’s we have always wanted to return. Now we are getting into our retirement years and perhaps will come back to that wonder little enclave tucked between the mountains and the rivers.

      • 41 Betty Merkel

        Hey! How good to see your comment on here. Just shows you can take your life out of Orient, but you can never really take Orient out of your life! Are you guys ever going to consider moving back to this area. I think of you often, it would be so good to see you again. As some one said above even though Orient doesn’t look like it did some few years ago (come to think of it neither do I.) there are still so many good memories there, which will never really go away, and probably get even better as we grow older. That’s what good memories do!

      • 42 Betty

        Barb..just browsing through here, I think of you so often. If you see this give me a call or email and let us know how things are going. When are you moving back???

  31. 43 Colleen Charles

    HI – We were looking thru old pictures and history of that area. My grandfather was one of the owners of the First Thought Mine around 1900. His name was John Ranahan, whose home was over in Bossburg. My uncle Michael Anderson was one of the developers of Orient and also was Editor of the the newspaper there. There home was (and I think is still there) up across the highway. We attended the 100th anniversary of Orient and enjoyed the event and all the friendly people in the town. We live in Seattle and over the years have stopped by just to check it out. The Kettle River area is so beautiful. For more history on the area you can go to the Kettle Falls Library and they have a lot of old newspapers from that era. My Uncle Hugh Ranahan was buried in the little cemetery but we could not find the grave site.

  32. 44 Colleen Charles

    Hi again – I goofed in saying that Michael Anderson was the editor – it was actually Alex Anderson his son. Also would someone remind us of the year that the 100th Anniversary was celebrated in Orient.
    Just a couple senior moments.

    • 45 Betty Merkel

      Hello Colleen, as I said on this site, I lived most of my life in Orient. My family moved from off of Kelly Hill so that I could go to school. I was 7 years old the day we moved, already almost 3 mo. into the school year. Any way one of my brothers worked at the Tirst Thought mine for a time after we moved there. I remember the Ranahan name, but probably he was not around by that time. I think that was just shortly before the IIWW broke out. I also remember the name Alex Anderson. Inger Anderson still lived in the house on the hill then. We kids used to love visiting her, she would always play the violin for us. I do think the house is still there, but hardly recognizable, since it has not been taken care of for years. When my husband and I moved back to Orient in 1955 we bought the little old log house just south of Andersons home on the hill, Orient Celebrated the 100 year of the Orient School this summer, and I was also there at the 100th anniversary of the town, I am not sure of the year either, but must have been around 1988. The town looked pretty good then. Unfortunately it has not been kept up very well for a lot of years. But there is a lot of history, and good memories still around, and tho there are only a few still around that I know anymore I still I love going back to visit since moving into Colville in 2006, after my husband passed away. Us kids also played in the building where the Kettle River Journal was printed. Nothing was locked up in those days I guess. Seems like I remember all the old printing presses and type still being in there then. We played in the old Bank building and Temples store, and Andersons grocery as well. No one said we couldn’t. A different world then, no? Would love to hear more from you, did you actually live in Orient at any time? Sincerely, Bettty Merkel

    • I guess where related Alexander is my great grand father. They own the main store during that time. My grandfather and my dad built majority of the lookout towers (wooden ones) for the forest service. And own a few claims in those hills.

  33. 47 brandy dossett

    WOW! It is so great to see so many people who know about one of my favorite towns in the state of Washington. I graduated 8th grade from Orient in 1989. My class was one of, if not the, biggest class to ever graduate from there.There were 18 of us if I remember right. Amy W, Elfphg S, Naomi B, Diana J, Brandy F (myself), Todd G, Ray G, Nathan E, Dave P, Eric L, Pat L, Howard W, and a handful more that I cant seem to recall right now)
    My father Donald Foreman, was the man who was the bus mechanic and supervisor when that new bus barn was being built. He also was a volunteer basketball and babe ruth coach there.
    I remember when the gym would be opened every Wednesday( I think) to the public for a community game of basketball or volleyball.. whatever the game was for the night. A bunch of the other kids and I would take all of the fold up padded mats, and make mazes with them. That was a fun time.
    My mom still lives up on Kelly Hill ( behind Barstow) and I get back there every now and than…
    I definitely would recommend Orient and the general area along the Kettle River for anyone who is looking for a pleasant place to settle down.

  34. 48 Gloria Crepeau


  35. 49 Yolanda

    I live in Republic wa. And I and a friend would love to move to Orient. within the next year. We both have visited and both loved it very much, Unfourtunately, I did not see any rentals available.
    Possibly one will come available.

    T live in Orient would be a pleasant change and one very much needed.

  36. 50 Gayle

    This last week I found an old postcard sent in 1913. The recipient was from College Place, WA. The young woman wrote to her friend, “Orient is a fine place, believe me.” That was about all the postcard said. Not knowing there was a town in the US called Orient, I began an online search. Your blog was one of few things that came up and I was delighted with all the interest in the little place called Orient. Evidently it was just as great a place from the beginning according to this new resident who wrote back in 1913. What wonderful history!!

  37. 51 BGrant

    Went visiting relatives in Orient and loooooved the place…does anyone remember “the Dahls” they ran the post office??? Would be around 2000 or so…if anyone remembers could you tell me if they are still there…I have lost touch with them and would like to reconnect.

    • 52 Betty Merkel

      Noticed someone else looking for the Dahls on here, so called the Daily’s as I had not heard anything about Ray since he retired from the PO. Bev. said he still lives in the old house. One of his daughters lives on a farm across the river, the other one lives in Colville she thought. A sister to Ray lives in Spokane. I think that is all of his family he has left.

      • 53 Betty Merkel

        Opps sorry, I should have read farther didn;t see the other posts for your answer.

  38. 54 Ian

    yes they are but they do not run the post office anymore

  39. 55 Ian

    I went to orient from 1 to 8th grade and had lots of fun. im a freshman at kettle falls highschool. I have live in orient all my life and go swimming in the swimming hole every yaer

  40. 56 shelby

    the old man is in the same place but retired,the post office is in the people place,and we are all good. Thangs change slowly on the Kettle River and we thank God for that, we have a little peace of heven. The school is being remodeld.And on the 18 th of march we will be haveing a fund raiser for the townfrom 4-7 an italian dinner, 5.00 for adult,and raffle tickets on sale now come and support our small town way of life @ the Bob Cat Cafe, aka orient inn

  41. 57 Betty Merkel

    Hi, it has been some time since I first commented here, It has been interesting to read the many added comments since. I just wanted to say, about the Dahl’s. The “old man”, refered to above by Shelby, is the second generation of Dahls who had the postoffice. Ray Dahl, (the old man) is actually the son of Marg Dahl who had the Post Office for years before him. Ray, or “Sonny”, as we knew him took it over from his mom. The Office has since been moved to the People Place and Ray has retired. Fred and Marg are both gone now. I vividly remember when he was a very small boy, so it struck me funny to hear him referred to as “the old man” I guess age catches up with all of us if we live long enough!!! Betty Merkel

    • 58 Brenda Grant

      Glad to know he is retired now…his daughters Lorna and Patti are my 2nd cousins and his wife Lou (aka Lucille) was my Mom’s cousin…I am trying to get ahold of them put don’t know where to start….is there a phone book for Orient???? so I can track them down..would really like to reach them. We visited Orient many years ago (we were there when the planes hit the twin towers and thought that we would be “stuck” there for a while as we are from Canada…thought maybe the border would shut down…silly us..lol) LOVED Orient….a beautiful place and so calming.

      • 59 Betty Merkel

        Brenda, I passed your request on to Debby Merkel because I wasn’t able to contact Ray, maybe he is away or something. Anyway she knows Patty, nobody seems to know what last name she goes by for sure. Debby said she will pass it on to her. Debby was to give her my phone # in case she wanted to know more. Patty hasn’t called, so hope she got in contact with you more directly. I will try Ray later to see if he knows anything about it. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.

      • 60 Betty Merkel

        Brends, I finely got ahold of Ray by phone yesterday. He sounds fine, was out for a walk I guess when I called earlier. He said he would let Patty know about your inquary. She works in the Bakery at Walmart in Colville where I live now. Her last name is Miller. So maybe I will run into some day here, and find out if you ever connected. Betty Merkel

      • 61 Brenda Grant

        Thank you for getting a hold of him….great that Patty is well and I hope to hear something about her soon, am also looking for other daughter of Ray’s her name is Lorna…now I know a few years back she was big time into horses ( we were both crazy horsey girls..lol) and I think she has a son and daughter, they lived outside of Orient but I know it was only about 5 or so minutes from Ray’s. I think my mom would be very interested in finding how the whole family is doing (she isn’t getting any younger…in her 70’s now) and getting in touch with them too.

      • 62 Betty Merkel

        Ray said Lorna is away right now. He didn’t say where, but she still lives over across Kettle River. I asume she still has a horse or two. I figured if you could contact Patti she would know more about her. I think it would be ok to call Ray directly at 509 684 6650. He is usually around when he isn’t out walking it sounded like. There is a Patty Miller listed in the phone book at 509 684 8317. You could try that as well. Hope this helps. Betty

      • I remember Lorna because she always road her horse through town. I always wished that was me on the horse. 🙂

  42. 64 barbara charbonneau

    Hi Betty! How are things with you? I loved reading all about Orient and the surrounding area, some of the most memorable times of our lives were living in the area and knowing you and Paige!

    • 65 Betty Merkel

      Barb, didn’t see this till later. So look back to your first post and read my reply. Thanks, keep in touch.

  43. 66 Jon

    I happened to stumble here looking at some pics. I was here in June 1980, and have a picture of the “City Hall” and it looks like it has been moved from where it was then, as well as painted. The plaque was wood carved, and I believe the post office was still in operation then, because that boarded up building was a store / post office / residence at the time!

    • I was there in 80 as well. The city hall was right next to the church, across the street from the post office/Marg’s house.

  44. 68 Fred & Colleen Charles

    Betty -Took a while to response. My wife Colleen was raised in what used to be Bossburg across the Columbia. Graduated from Marcus Hi in 1942. We live in Seattle and have traveled back to the area every year since the late 40’s. . Now have reached a point that we can’t do it. Really loved the whole area and think the Kettle River area so beautiful.

    • 69 Betty Merkel

      Hi Fred and Colleen, Thank you for replying. I have a neighbor just 2 apartments down from me here who graduated from Marcus too, but a few years later, I believe in “49 or “50. She was telling me that Marcus just had their school reunion the 4th of Aug. I guess they have them every 2 years usually on the first Sat. in Aug. She said there were lots of older ones showed up for it. Too bad you couldn’t have been here. My folks lived at Bossburg at one time too, but that was before my time I just remember hearing them talk about it. My husbands folks also lived there for a time I believe before setteling up on the top of Kelly Hill
      Yes, the Kettle River is beautiful even yet. These hot days we been having weekends are almost wall to wall floaters from Orient to Jones beach on the north end of Poverty Flat. I drove up to Orient to day just for the drive (my daughter still lives there) and Kettle River was THE place to be. I am too old for that now, but it still looked like fun. Tell me a little about yourself, were you both from around here then. Betty

  45. 70 Craig C.

    How long does it take to float a kayak or canoe down the river from Orient to the Columbia at Kettle Falls?

  46. 71 Betty Merkel

    Depends on the time of year. This summer it probably would have hung up somewhere. (not much to float on). In the spring the water is faster, but is so high it probably would have hung up somewhere as well. Might not make it at all either time. If all goes well, at mid fill, probably about 24 hrs d Don’t know anyone who had tried it.

  47. 72 Craig C.


  48. 73 Craig C.

    Do most people in the Orient area (south of the border) need to travel south to Barstow for gas?

    • 74 Betty

      I think most people who live in Orient probably fill up in Colville, or Kettle Falls because if they work and/or shop in that direction it is just easier, and possibly a cent or so cheaper, I don’t know that for sure as I no longer go by there all the time. Since moving into Colville though, I personally plan my fill -ups for Yokes in Kettle if I possibly can, simply because I don’t like doing it myself. They are the only ones around who still have an attendant. Orient hasn’t had a gas station in yeas, unfortunately. Laurier doesn’t have one either since the late 90s sometime.

      • 75 Marlo(Rains)Allen

        Mrs Betty ,
        When I was a little girl my family came to visit. I spent all day with you we made cinnamon rolls and bread. It was a good memory. My mom was Ramona and my Grandma was Marie Kelly Garrison. I was a curious about some family history and came across this blog. I remembered you and our day.I hope you and your family are well. Thankyou for the wonderful experience.
        love Marlo

      • 76 Betty

        Well Marlo, that has been so many years ago, but I do remember your Mom very well, and of course your grandma Marie, Thank you for contacting me. I was thrilled when I saw your massage. Please let me know more about you and the rest of the family You may email me directly if you wish. @ bscreenm@yahoo.com.

    • 77 Elizabeth

      Yes, but sadly now Barstow is going out of business there is a new gas station built closer to Kettle Falls.

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  76. 106 ali

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