Darrington, in the foothills of the Cascades northeast of Everett, was home to the Sauk and Suiattle tribes until white miners in search of gold and silver arrived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Though some deposits were found, the real money in this area was in logging.
Swedish, Irish, Welsh, and Norwegian loggers, plus a very large group from North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, founded a community that still reflects its ethnic origins, especially the North Carolinians, who take great pride in their Tarheel heritage and mountain music.
Darrington, backdropped to the southwest by the 6,563-foot summit of Whitehorse Mountain, is located in a low pass separating the Sauk River from the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. A collection of old buildings occupies the streets.
Prominent among these is the Trafton School, a two-story white clapboard structure built in 1907. The town has a run-down feel, as if it were just waiting to be discovered by the next wave of out-migrating Seattleites in search of a peaceful place to escape the city life. With a setting like this, that shouldn’t take long.
For up-to-date information on trail conditions, campgrounds, fishing, and other outdoor activities, contact the Darrington Ranger Station (0.5 mile north of town, 360/436-1155, www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition