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.

Whitman County, Washington

Whitman County Education, Geography, and History

Whitman County, Washington Courthouse

Whitman County is a county located in the state of Washington. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 44,776. The county seat is Colfax, and its largest city is Pullman. The county was formed out of Stevens County on November 29, 1871. It is named after Marcus Whitman, a Presbyterian missionary who, with his wife Narcissa, was killed in 1847 by members of the Cayuse tribe.

Whitman County comprises the Pullman, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Whitman County Name

Marcus Whitman, a Presbyterian missionary who was killed by members of the Cayuse Native American tribe.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Whitman County History

Whitman County, located in southeastern Washington, has a population of 40,740 (2000 Census) and a land area of 2,159 square miles. The county was formed on November 29, 1871, and is named after Marcus Whitman, the missionary killed (along with his wife and other followers) by Cayuse in 1847. Whitman County is in the Palouse country, and is bordered by Spokane County to the north (and a small part of Lincoln County at its northwest corner), by Adams County to the west (and a small part of Franklin County at its southwest corner), by the Snake River to the south, and by the Idaho state line to the east. The county has a primarily agricultural history, with an emphasis on wheat (today it ranks first in wheat production among Washington counties and second among counties in the nation); it was also known for its fruit orchards along the Snake River before the 1970s, when lakes inundated them upon completion of the Little Goose and Lower Granite dams. Although agriculture remains significant, today higher education plays a larger role: Washington State University (WSU), located in Pullman, reported 18,690 students enrolled on the Pullman campus in 2005 and is the single largest employer in the county. Pullman, with a population in 2000 of 24,675 (which includes WSU's student population), is the largest town in Whitman County. The county seat, Colfax, recorded a population of 2,844 in the 2000 Census.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,178 square miles (5,640 km2), of which, 2,159 square miles (5,593 km2) of it is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) of it (0.84%) is water. It is part of the Palouse, a wide and rolling prairie-like region of the middle Columbia basin.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Spokane County, Washington north
  • Benewah County, Idaho northeast
  • Latah County, Idaho east
  • Nez Perce County, Idaho southeast
  • Asotin County, Washington south/southeast
  • Garfield County, Washington south
  • Columbia County, Washington south
  • Franklin County, Washington southwest
  • Adams County, Washington west
  • Lincoln County, Washington northwest


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