Trouble was, my atlas was on the living-room floor in Spokane and I had no mobile reception. I kept my fingers crossed that I might spy something — anything — from the road.
Sure enough, I passed through the village of Douglas. The township was platted in 1886 and named after the county in which it is located. It was a popular spot for miners on the Gold Rush trail but a fire ripped through the town in 1891, destroying the downtown core.
A new general store sprung up in 1904, right where it sits today:
Many of the buildings are in pristine condition, kept up by the loving touch of the 31 residents of Douglas.
It’s an outdoor museum of sorts, with an old fire truck and Ford tractor sitting in front of the old blacksmith shop.
There was no one stirring in Douglas on this night, however … no one to ask about the town or how long they’ve lived there.
I jumped back into the Escape and resumed my trip back eastward.
Then, I spied my gold.
It was sitting on the side of a hill, seeming lonely in its state of dilapidation.
The faded sign reads ‘No hunters’ and there’s another on the house reading ‘KEEP OUT’.
I spy a boot, sitting on a counter and switch to my long lens.
A barn lies in a pile of sticks behind the house.
Owls hoot nearby.
Just up the hill from the house on Old Creek Road lies a brand new home. New residents love the small-town atmosphere, writes Luke Ellington on the Douglas PUD (public utilities department?) website.
“Douglas never boomed the way its pioneering founders wanted it to,” he says. “Yet, for this reason, it has retained the same charming and relaxed way of life the continues to draw new residents, customers, and enthusiasts.”
A simpler life, out of the big city, borne from a simpler time.