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The name is one version of a Native American tribal designation, Smeetheowe, and is said to mean sun. Explorer and fur trader David Thompson used this designation in 1811.

The town’s one short street bordered by twin rows of lofty shade trees. A sign noting the “Bolinger Homestead 1892” hangs on an aging wood-frame building on the west side of the road. Although converted to a garage, local lore suggests that this building was W.A. Bolinger’s first residence in Methow, a town he essentially created by opening a store here in 1899. A later, more substantial house constructed entirely of granite remains standing adjacent to the early homestead.