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There was once a large center of activity in the Swauk Basin of upper Kittitas County. The place is called Liberty. Liberty was once the most action packed place in Kittitas County. At least it was for a while after gold was discovered in Swauk Creek. Like many gold camps the place boomed and ebbed over the years. Unlike some other places it never quite went completely bust. It came close, and fortunately for some it didn’t. It still exists today as a living ghost town.
The Liberty story has been told before in various ways. This telling of the story revolves around the end of Liberty’s role as an active mining community and its close call with complete destruction. It is about four Nicholson brothers and their store, the last post office in Liberty, and the people who later saved the mining camp as a historic site to show the next generation what came before.
My thanks to Fred Krueger for preserving Liberty history in the form of oral interviews of old time miners and for his encouragement to write history in my own way. That is, to simply preserve history, not to rewrite it. Thanks also to Pattie Nicholson, Robert Nicholson’s wife, and Warren Leyde, Freida Nicholson’s nephew, for graciously sharing family documents and pictures that made this story possible.
Wesley C. Engstrom
gold mining, Washington State
Environmental Policy | Mining Engineering | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social History | United States History
Engstrom, Wesley C., "Liberty's Last Post Office: A Story of a Gold MIning Camp in Washington State" (2016). Works by Local Authors. 3.
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