Washington Counties
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Washington Counties

There are thity-nine counties in the state of Washington. Washington was carved out of the western part of Washington Territory and admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. The first counties were created from unorganized territory in 1845.

Grant County, Washington

Grant County Education, Geography, and History

Grant County, Washington Courthouse

Grant County is a county located in the state of Washington. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 89,120. The county seat is Ephrata, and the largest city is Moses Lake. The county was formed out of Douglas County on February 24, 1909 and is named for US President Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant County comprises the Moses Lake, WA Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Grant County Name

Ulysses Simpson Grant, the eighteenth president of the United States.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Grant County History

Native American cultures in the area included the Interior Salish, Wenatchi, Okanagan. The first white settlers began to arrive in the mid-to-late-19th century, primarily with the goal of raising livestock. One government official described the area in 1879 as, "…a desolation where even the most hopeful can find nothing in its future prospects to cheer."

When railroads arrived they also brought new settlers, and the economy began a shift from ranching to dryland farming. This transition required the people to have ready access to water, and irrigation became a necessity. The first large-scale irrigation attempts began in 1898, but it would be years before real success.

With the influx of dryland farming, the county soon boasted access to three major railway systems; the Great Northern Railway, Northern Pacific Railroad and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. In addition, the Columbia River in this area was navigable. This allowed crops to be transported out of the area easily. Towns like Wilson's Creek, Quincy and Ephrata began to thrive.

The Washington State Legislature officially created Grant County February 24, 1909, and named after President Ulysses S. Grant. The county seat was located in Ephrata. The population in the county at the time was only about 8700 people.

Covering a total of 2,660 square miles, Grant County - located in the Columbia Basin region of central Washington - is the state's fourth largest county. It was initially carved out of neighboring Douglas County in 1909. The original (and much larger) Douglas County had been created in 1883 when the Washington Territorial Legislature formed Lincoln and Spokane counties from a larger Spokane County, then separated the new Lincoln County into Lincoln and Douglas Counties only a few days later.


Located in the heart of Eastern Washington, Grant County is home to an international airport with a foreign trade zone, industrial power rates averaging 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour, inexpensive land, low tax rates and a sizable workforce, thus making it a formidable area for industrial expansion.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,791 square miles (7,229 km2), of which, 2,681 square miles (6,944 km2) of it is land and 110 square miles (285 km2) of it (3.95%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Douglas County, Washington - north
  • Okanogan County, Washington - northeast
  • Adams County, Washington - east
  • Lincoln County, Washington - east
  • Franklin County, Washington - southeast
  • Benton County, Washington - south
  • Yakima County, Washington - southwest
  • Kittitas County, Washington - west


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