Riverside, WA fire fighting vehicle.
Riverside, Washington is a small town in Okanogan County, located right along both Highway 97 and the Okanogan River. It’s primarily an agricultural based community with one small block of businesses, a nice little park, and some surrounding homes. Anyone loving getting off the main road and getting a look at an example of what’s left of real small town America should take the few minutes it takes to experience Riverside.
The entire area that Riverside takes up is just under a full square mile. In town is a small grocery store that years ago was an true Old West saloon. There’s also a locally famous retail establishment there known as Detro’s Western Store. This cute little historic store is home to a fine selection of everything you could hope to find in a western store. There’s a fine selection of ropes, western apparel, cowboy hats, Old West style toys, and of course cowboy boots. If you have kids, take a minute to read the historic marker across the street while the little ones play in the park.
Exploring North Central Washington’s small towns is a great way to learn more about the region, have a fun time, and come away having visited somewhere you may have never been to before. It’s truly a worthwhile experience.
Riverside, Washington is a small town located in Okanogan County, approximately seven miles north of Omak. It sits right on the Okanogan River and has a unique history. It’s worth a quick drive off the highway to take a look at it and stop and maybe even buy something at one of the few small businesses there.
Here are five fun facts about Riverside, Washington.
As Far As You Go
When you’re driving up Highway 97, you pass Riverside, Washington and continue north to Oroville and eventually the USA – Canada border. Years ago though, when riverboats were going up and down the Okanogan River, the town of Riverside was the furthest north you could make it before having to stop.
The Riverside Airport?
The town of Riverside barely makes up one full square mile in area. But within its boundaries sits an airport owned and operated by the Omak City Council of nearby Omak, Washington. Though it’s located in Riverside, it goes by the name of the Omak Municipal Airport.
What’s In A Name
A little over a decade before it was officially incorporated in 1913, the town that would become Riverside was first platted in 1902 and was originally known as Republic Landing.
Having been officially incorporated in 1913, Riverside had a population of 209 people during the 1920 U.S. Census, its first as a town. It’s lowpoint came in 1950 when it had just 149 residents. It “exploded” in population in 2000 when 348 people were counted as living there. That number lowered back down to 280 though by the 2010 census a decade later.
You’re Not Welcome Here
Visitors driving through the area are of course welcome to take a detour and drive into or through the small town of Riverside. Over a century ago though there was a man who wasn’t so welcome. Frank Watkins was an outlaw in the Pacific Northwest and made Riverside his home for a time. When he turned up shot and killed one day, the local townspeople disapproved of him so much that though they buried him, they chose not to bury him inside the town’s cemetery. His grave is still there, up on the hill above the cemetery, fenced off and hundreds of feet away from his fellow residents of Riverside.