Be a Family Again

The History of Watson's Resort and Shadow Bay

It has been well over 100 years since J. Howard Watson first set foot on what would be Watson's Harverene Resort. It was a winter day on Feb. 8, 1892 when J. Howard Watson, a long time newspaper man, posted his claim on property located at First Creek. Within a day, work had begun on the foundation logs for his home.
Shadow Bay, as J. Howard liked to call it, was the place he would call home for the rest of his life. A homestead was filed in 1896 and the final approval of the homestead was granted in 1902.

J. Howard Watson

During J. Howard Watson's short life, he worked for such Newspapers as the Washington Post, the Chicago Daily News and Tribune, the Seattle Times and the Seattle P. I., just to name a few. J. Howard traveled west when he and two other partners started the Spokane Spokesman. This newspaper later combined to become and still is today the Spokesman-Review.

J. Howard was also active in the political life. In 1892, J. Howard served as Vice Pres. of the Chelan Falls Water Power Company, but due to the unexpected death of the primary financer of the Company, the C.F.W.P.C was short lived.

In 1895, J. Howard Watson was appointed by Gov. McGraw to the Washington State Road Commission. J. Howard spent the majority of that summer exploring a feasible route over the North Cascade Mts. Although his route never came to be at that time, his choice of a route is pretty much the route of the present day North Cascades Highway.

In 1902, J. Howard Watson was selected by Gov. McBride to serve as Sec. to the Governor and from that time on, J. Howard's title was "Major".

Harold M. Watson

Harold M. Watson, the only son of J. Howard and Katherine Verene Watson would devote his life to his parents' homestead. Harverene Lodge or Harverene Landing as it was often called was a working homestead farm and orchard. (The name Harverene is derived from combining Harold's name and his mother's middle name which was Verene) It was around 1915 that Harold began charging tourists to camp and picnic at Harverene. It was also about this time that meals were served to those camping at Harverene as well as to anyone wishing to boat in. Tent cabins were also provided around this time. Hunting and fishing were major activities that were promoted.

Raising of Lake Chelan

The raising of Lake Chelan in 1928 all but wiped out the Watson Homestead. Most of the garden and orchard along the shores of Harverene Landing were flooded as well as most of the buildings. Harverene Lodge was relocated to higher ground during the raising of the Lake. For the most part, the original homestead was gone.

A New Lodge

In December of 1931, the original Harverene Lodge was completely destroyed by fire, but a new English Tudor style lodge was built on the original home's foundation.

After the new Harverene Lodge was built, Harold also began building cabins to rent out. Watson's Harverene Lodge and Resort was well under way.

Harold M. Watson suffered many tragedies and hardships in his life. In a period of nine years, Harold lost two of his four children (one died at only a few months old and the other drowned when she was three). He also lost two wives who died unexpectedly. Also during this time, Harold lost his property from the raising of Lake Chelan and lost his home to a fire, but this did not stop Harold from continuing on with his efforts.

Cabins and Cottages

Cabins or cottages were built in the 1930's and 1940's. In 1936, cottages #1, #2, #3, and #4 were built. In 1937, Harold added cottage #8 and #10. The following year cottage #7, #14 and a power house were constructed. In 1941, Cabins A, B, C, D and E were built (this is now what we call "The Point"). In 1945, #6 was added. The following year Cabins #9, #12 and #13 were built. 1949 - #15, 1950 - #16, 1954 - #11, 1955 - #17. The original store burned to the ground and a new store was built in 1956. Of the original cottages, all but around four of them are still used today. Many have been remodeled and updated but many are still pretty much in their original condition with knotty pine wall interiors that are full of charm and nostalgia.

Watson's Today

Now, over 100 years since J. Howard first posted his notice of claim on the tree along the shores of Lake Chelan, Harverene is still owned and operated by Watson ancestors. Robert H. Watson (son of Harold and Lu Watson) and his wife Barb have devoted their life to Watson's Harverene Resort just as Harold did. J. Howard's great grandson (Robert and Barb's son) Robert H. Watson Jr., and his wife Socco, are also involved with the Resort and great-great grandchildren of J. Howard and Katherine still call Harverene their home.

Today, Watson's Harverene Resort consists of 16 cottages/cabins, one mobile home rental and two poolside units (which are located in what used to be the Resort Store) as well as 55 mobile home spaces. Watson's also has moorage for 46 boats as well as 19 covered boat and RV storage spaces. Mobile home spaces are leased yearly and all but six of the other cottages are leased by the season. Watson's has seven units that are rented by either the week or by the night, depending on the time of year. Boat fuel is also sold at Watson's Resort.

In many ways, little has changed at J. Howard's "Shadow Bay" retreat on Lake Chelan. At his Doctor's advice, J. Howard came to Chelan to rest, relax and become healthy again. Today, J. Howard's Homestead is still a place to rest and relax, but instead of it being a single family retreat, Harverene today is a retreat for hundreds of families.

Come feel the history that Watson's has to offer. Take a step back in time to when life was simple and joys were easy to come by. Watson's Harverene Resort on Lake Chelan invites you to "be a family again". Said by many to be "the best location on Lake Chelan", and said by one writer to be "one of the best old time lake resorts in the state". You too can make Watson's Harverene Resort your retreat.

The Watson family and its loyal employees invite you to "be a family again" at Watson's Harverene Resort on Lake Chelan, where memories are waiting to be made.

Read more about Watson's history here >