Do you call Manson your home? Maybe you have deep roots here, maybe you have new roots here. Creating a historical vision of Manson has been an ongoing grail for some people here in the Lake Chelan Valley. Small towns are, sometimes, difficult to know. Their history isn’t always recorded in a way that may last for future generations. Things like museums, cemeteries, and visitor centers keep records. Manson doesn’t have that. But, Manson does have a Heritage Tree to share with future generations. And it’s built in a way that it can continue to grow.
In 2011 the village of Manson, Washington, an unincorporated community in Chelan County, celebrated its Centennial. In addition to a big party with a parade and all the fixin’s, recording history was a goal of the community volunteers who produced the event. One of the projects that came to fruition is Manson’s “Heritage Tree.”
The Manson Heritage Tree was a project of the Manson Grange Community Center and our own Mountain View Lodge & Resort. Working together, a beautiful work of art honoring our founding fathers and all those calling Manson their home was born. The “Tree” is a life sized, colored and textured, metal sculpture designed by Hal Killian and Kim Ustanik, brought to life by Manson artist Mark Strain.
The “Tree” is displayed on the side of the Trout Building in downtown Manson. The trunk bears a dedication plaque honoring the native peoples and early settlers of our community. Shining, stainless steel leaves bear the names of those that have shaped Manson’s past and are forming its future. It’s a stunning work of art where the symbolism of the tree trunk really gives tribute to those who were the seeds of our roots and on whose shoulders we stand today. The shining leaves symbolize the fruit that is born of hard work and dedication.
There have been two phases of the Manson Heritage Tree, to date, with another planned for the near future. Stop by the “Tree” while you are strolling though downtown. Notice names you might recognize like N’K’whilekin “Wapato John,” Barkley, Griffith, Holden, Loops, Morehead, Morse, Stevens, Swartout and more with a loving and humble dedication that they deserve.
And if you and your family are not among the shining leaves, keep your eyes and ears open for the planned new growth of our honored “Tree.”
Writers note: We are so grateful for the Chelan Museum. It’s a “must do” if you haven’t already! It contains wonderful history for all of the Lake Chelan valley!