A community on the Columbia River east of Marcus in west central Stevens County. When established in 1888 it was named Young America after a nearby silver mine. On May 1, 1893, it was platted as a town by the Consolidated Bonanza Mining & Smelting Company as Millington. It was later renamed for Chester S. Boss, first postmaster and storekeeper, and John Berg, a pioneer.
The tour follows the river, winds between narrow benches, rising to rugged hills, dotted with pine and tamarack, or western larch—a graceful tree with long, slender branches thickly covered with short needles. In the autumn, these needles turn a rich golden brown. Another tree occurring in the upper valley is the western yew—its tough-fibered wood was esteemed by the Indians for making paddles and other smaller articles. Much of the rock in this region is granite, which was forced upward under great pressure during the Pleistocene age.
Vegetation between Kettle Falls and the Canadian Border has been stunted, or in some cases destroyed, by fumes from a large smelter at Trail, British Columbia. These fumes tend to follow down the valley of the Columbia, settling to the ground along the way, especially when humidity is high. Farmers in northeastern Washington sought compensation in the 1920s and 1930s from the owners of the smelter for damaged orchards and ruined fields. With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the farmers took their complaint through diplomatic channels and some damages were awarded by an international tribunal, but concern over pollution caused by the smelter continued into the 1940s.
The international attention given to this dispute did not disrupt the production of lead concentrates—today, Trail’s Cominco smelter is the world’s largest zinc and lead smelting complex.
Seldom out of view for any considerable length of time, the green-blue river flows between sloping banks. When the water is low in late summer, these sandy banks and jutting bars resemble ocean beaches.