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Welcome to Twisp!

Twisp is the Methow Valley's largest town and it is FULL of character. It has the most commercial enterprises and basic services, but it still is a rural place. Agriculture and ranching remain important parts of the local economy, but they are not large-scale employers. Today's Twisp is a place of numerous small businesses.  The Methow Valley News, founded in 1903, continues to publish weekly.  

Some locals describe Twisp as a "blue collar" town, but it's also true that the Twisp food bank is adjacent to an upscale organic food store and across the street from an old-time saloon. And the feed store is just across the alley from the Merc Playhouse, a former store where professional actors and musicians now perform.

The latest census reveals a shift to a slightly older demographic with more formal education, which may explain the galleries and local microbrews. But if you look back through Twisp's history, maybe the statement that rings most true is that it continues to be a town with something for just about everyone - which is undoubtedly why both locals and visitors alike call Twisp "the Heart of the Methow Valley.


The origins of the Town of Twisp date to July 30, 1897, when homesteader Henry C. Glover laid out and platted a town he called Glovers-Ville. That same year a small store was established, and shortly thereafter, a post office. In 1898 Glover succeeded James Colwell as postmaster of the town, which by then was called Twisp (rumors have it that it is a Native American word for wasp/yellow jacket, or the sound made by a wasp). Whatever the origin of its name, by 1904 Twisp was considered one of the leading towns of Okanogan County. A population of miners and ranchers supported a number of local businesses. The town had several general stores, a doctor who also owned a drug store, butcher shops, livery barns, a hotel, a boarding house with a billiard room, a blacksmith shop, two restaurants, a bank, a real estate office, a barber shop, two saloons, a state fish hatchery, an opera house, a weekly newspaper, and a Methodist church.

The town was incorporated on August 6, 1909, and elected its first officers. The main issues to come before the five-member town council were stock running loose, liquor licenses for saloons, curfews, and peddlers. By the 1910 census there were 227 citizens counted as Twisp residents. Electricity and the valley's first movie house came to Twisp in 1911.

In addition to fruit trees planted for personal use, many acres of apple orchards were planted in the early 1900s with commercial success in mind. And with the onset of the persistent drought it became apparent that fortunes were not going to be made by growing apples. However, there were some productive local orchards until the record-breaking (minus 48 degrees Fahrenheit) winter of 1968-1969 destroyed them. Today there are several small commercial organic orchardists as well as hobby growers who are restoring remnants of earlier orchards and planting new trees. But most large commercial orchards are in warmer locations along the Columbia River.  

Alfalfa is the dominant farm crop in the valley today. At least two and sometimes three cuttings are grown in a season.  In recent years grain crops, including emmer, an ancient wheat, have been organically grown in the Methow Valley. And many small farms are growing vegetables for local sale. The number of cattle ranchers has dwindled from the early twentieth century, but a few continue to work cattle. Sheep, pigs, and poultry are among the other animals raised for commercial sale. And a growing number of people are keeping bees and selling honey.

The opening of the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) in 1972 was an agent of significant change for Twisp and the entire Methow Valley. It brought an influx of full-time resident retirees and seasonal recreationalists, spawning an increase in jobs that meet their needs. Bicyclists and cross-country skiers have joined the hunters and snowmobilers who've been coming to the Methow for decades. 

Some Traveler Favorites!


Population: under 1000

IndustriesAgriculture, Art, Blue-Collar (automotive, construction, etc.) Tourism

Major Tourism Draw: Arts & Culture, Year-Round Recreation

Exciting News & Developments: Certified WA Creative Arts District - hasn't been publicized yet, but will in the upcoming months!

Looking for more info about Twisp? Check out their YouTube Channel here!

Fun downtown shopping
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Prolific arts scene
Access to hiking & outdoor rec
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World's Best Coffee!
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Seasonal Farmers Market
Fun Events
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Pet Friendly Lodging
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Spring wildflower blooms
Wildlife viewing
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