ABOUT TOWN: Located in Beecher Valley along the Chase Pass Highway, Lawson is a historic community and important economic community for the valley. The town is located about 18 miles northwest of the county seat, Chaneville, which is the largest community in the county. Lawson is the second most populated town in the county behind Chaneville. It is also home to one of the county's biggest tourist attractions, which is its historic western downtown, left unchanged from it's pioneer days.
Lawson's location in Beecher Valley place it in a rain shadow, so the community see's more dry and sunny days then most other towns in the county. The historic downtown is left unchanged from it's historic past. Buildings have been kept up and line Pioneer Street, the town's main street. Many shops and attractions line the street. There are numerous museums to explore with historical data on the surrounding area and the mining history. There are two principle exits off the Chase Pass Highway, and both have modern shopping conveniences including fast food and strip malls. Located on Lawson Hill is a community Safeway store, the first major grocery store chain one will see if heading east from Surprise Valley, nearly 80 miles away.
Located on Lawson Hill above the old historic downtown is "Pioneer Village" which is a collection of historical homes and houses from the pioneer days. Some homes are open for the public to view, and others are lived in. Near Pioneer Village is the historic Cason smelter, which melted down materials found in mines in the surrounding area.
Foothills Medical Center is a small hospital located in town, and serves most of the remote communities around Lawson. After Surprise Valley, there is no hospital or medical clinic for 80 plus miles. The community of Peak relies on this medical center or the one in Surprise Valley. A small landing strip is located a mile south of town. The town's police services are provided by the Lawson Town Marshal, which is a glorified name for the tourists. It is a small police force that chooses the name "marshal." They also have a mock station in old town that is open to the public with a historic police car parked out front. Tourists can go into this station and lock themselves in the jail and check out historic artifacts on the town. The town has a fire department.
The town is located only 18 miles from the county seat, and some people commute to Chaneville. A County bus line (Chane County Transit) runs from the county seat to Lawson, but does not head over the pass.
LOCATION: Located in Beecher Valley along the Chase Pass Highway, Lawson is a historic community and important economic community for the valley. The town is located about 18 miles northwest of the county seat, Chaneville. The Rapid River flows a few miles from town. The town's elevation is 932 feet above sea level.
HISTORY: In 1860, Gunther Oreman founded Lawson by building a general store. The following year, a cluster of buildings were built around his store, and that helped form the towns main street. In 1863, a smelter was built providing more jobs to the area. A bid for a railroad was completed that year, but instead the rails ran to the north of town by Simon and Ridgeway. Still, materials were loaded off the tracks in Simon and sent to Lawson to be melted down in the smelter. In 1900, Lawson had a population of 1,290 people. It served as the county seat until 1920 when Chaneville was elected as the new county seat. Lawson has since been an important town for Chane County.
ATTRACTIONS: Historic downtown and Pioneer Village are nice attractions. he Cason Smelter is open for tours. Hiking and other recreation is well known in this area.
(Chase Pass Highway and Exit E1 leads to the towns main fast food and modern shopping area.)
(Exit E2 in Lawson.)
(Historic Downtown Lawson.)
(An Aerial of Lawson. Chase Pass Highway can be seen to the right of this image.)
(Downtown Lawson and Pioneer Village on Lawson Hill.)
(Lawson's community Safeway grocery store.)
(Historic Downtown Lawson is a principle tourist site for Chane county.)
(In Pioneer Village, historic churches and a school can be seen with a sweeping view overlooking old downtown. An old cemetery is also located on the hill with gravestones from the pioneers of the town.)