600 Cotlets Way, Cashmere, Washington
This museum and pioneer village traces life as it has been lived in this area for more than 9,000 years.
Touring the museum, one marvels at the ingenuity of the Native Americans. Visitors learn, for example, that 5,000 years ago they practiced a form of brain surgery using fermented herbs similar to penicillin. No less impressive are the tiny beads carefully drilled with primitive stone tools, the basketry, and the fine leather and feather work.
The Hudson’s Bay Company display gives a vivid view of what went on in the fur business here in the early 1800s. You not only see an assortment of trade goods but also learn the rates of exchange: a one-foot-high metal bucket, for instance, bought a one-foot-high stack of fur pelts. There are 20 authentic log cabins, all over 120 years old, in the village. Each is amazingly complete, down to the stacks of period-labeled canned goods on the shelves of the general store and the books and inkwells in the schoolhouse. Many buildings have fascinating stories. The jailhouse was originally designed as a home by an escaped convict. The waterwheel used for irrigation, incorporating the drive shaft of an old Columbia River paddle steamer, is a nationally recognized symbol of the pioneers’ ingenuity. There is so much to see here that you may wish to bring a lunch; a picnic area overlooks the village and a river. To avoid crowds, visit in Apr., May, or Oct.
Open daily Mar. – mid-Oct.; Fri. – Sun. Nov. – mid-Dec. Admission charged.