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Omak

Cut by the curve of the Okanogan River, is the largest town in the north-central part of the State. The compact and solidly built business district fronts on the main highway. Across the river were warehouse-lined railroad tracks and old straggling streets.

When the town of Omak was platted in 1907 the name of the post office which had previously been Epley was changed to Omak. The name is from the Native American word Omache, meaning good medicine or plenty, which was given to a nearby creek and lake. This was altered to Omak at the suggestion of postal authorities, who preferred brevity to history.

The Omak Stampede, a two-day festival and rodeo, remains a popular event, and is held the second weekend in August.

Images

1914 view of the Omak depot and a Great Northern Railway train. Photo by Curtis & Miller.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Ca. 1930 view of downtown street ready for pavement in Omak.

Source: Washington State Archives

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

US Post Office

Built in 1941, the Omak Post Office is significant on the local level as a legacy of the Federal public works programs of the Depression era. The Colonial Revival building is an example of a small town single-purpose post office. As Omak’s first and only federally-constructed post office and having been built during the Depression, the building symbolizes not only the Federal presence, but also that government’s assistance to Omak through its public buildings programs during a period of national economic emergency. Finally, it is a legacy of the efforts of local citizens in obtaining their Federal building.

Shellrock Point

Shellrock Point, a huge grayish-white rock, with towering granite intrusions from the period when the Okanogan Highlands rose from the ocean bed.

Pogue Flat

Pogue Flat, once 5,000 acres of productive apple orchards. These fruitful orchards, in what was once barren desert, were the direct result of one of the first irrigation projects undertaken by the United States Reclamation Service, in 1906. Feeding of the life-giving water began in 1910. In April and early May the valley was a fairyland; apple blossoms, with their beautiful tints and sweet aroma, contrast with drab hillsides and the pungent odor of sagebrush. During June and July the trees were thinned; crowded clusters and crossed branches were removed, insuring a larger and more nearly perfect fruit. In the hot summer the apples developed rapidly; their cheeks are reddened by the cool nights of September and the light frosts of early October. The pickers, on high step-ladders, filled their great canvas bags. The fruit was then transported to the packing warehouse, sorted, wrapped, boxed, labeled, and stored in large cold-storage plants for shipment. Cultivation was started by Joseph I. Pogue, a pioneer physician who first came to the country in 1888 and established orchards with an irrigation system. The name is in his honor.