Okanogan Smith: Father of the Commercial Apple Industry
Hiram F. "Okanogan" Smith
Hiram F. "Okanogan" Smith, the father of the commercial apple industry in Washington State, made his home here in Oroville. A true innovator, he originally worked in the newspaper world, type-setting and later working with the likes of Horace Greeley. Intrigued by the possibilities of the 1849 gold rush, he followed the "Go west, young man, go west" manifest destiny slogan and tried his hand at mining in California, later traveling to the Oregon Territory and into Canada. On the banks of Lake Osoyoos he ran a trading post, freighted mail, started the first apple orchard, and raised other soft fruit and vegetables as well. An entrepreneur, he had a hand in many early businesses, continued to be involved in mining, early electrical power ventures and other commercial interests. He became a territorial and later a state legislator.
The third, and only existing cabin of Okanogan Smith, built in the 1870s, stands in it’s original location at the edge of the remains of his orchard. Currently covered by a building nearly as old, the cabin is much in need of preservation. We, at OBHS, in partnership with the landowner, plan to put a protective covering over the building and make it accessible to interested visitors. The orchard and cabin are on the National Historical Register, and we’d like to ensure that the cabin and orchard are preserved for the future.