A street in Winthrop, WA, circa 1940

On May 28, 1897, the Methow Trading Company of Winthrop, Okanogan County, is formally incorporated under the laws of the State of Washington. Capitalized by Eastern investors, it is an expansion of a mercantile venture started in 1892 by Guy Waring (1859?-1936), considered the father of Winthrop. The company acquires land and plats the town in 1901. For several decades, under Waring as president, the Methow Trading Company supplies townsfolk, ranchers, and miners with the necessities of life and occupation. It establishes branches in other towns in the Methow Valley and in mining camps in the Cascades. Gradually these fail, until only the store at Winthrop remains. The company loses additional money on Waring's pet project, an apple ranch. In 1916 Waring gives up control of the company and in 1924 resigns altogether. The company goes into a long period of liquidation until its demise in 1934. The failure of Waring's ventures in Winthrop obscures his overall contribution to the survival of a precarious frontier town in the remote Methow Valley.