In 1937, Howe Sound Company built the town of Holden, Washington, to support its copper-mining operation at Copper Peak, located in the North Cascade Mountains, approximately 10 miles west of Lake Chelan. The operation produced concentrate from 1937 to 1957, during which time the town was home to a lively community featuring many families, a variety of organized recreational activities, and a public school. It was a company town, in which most property, business, organized activity, and public utilities and services were either directly or indirectly controlled by Howe Sound. After the operation shut down in 1957, the town was abandoned.
Three years later, the property was donated to the Lutheran Bible Institute of Issaquah, Washington. It subsequently became Holden Village, an independent, non-profit Lutheran retreat center. Though different in purpose and character from the community that preceded it, life in Holden Village during its formative years (the 1960s and, to a lesser extent, the 1970s), and in the 2010s, was and is similar in a number of ways to life in the mining town. This thesis argues that Holden Village, too, might be considered a company town within a loose definition of the term. The many parallels between the two communities support this argument, and point to the role of the remote setting and the environment in shaping the lives of the town’s residents.