Colfax, Washington

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Colfax
—  City  —
Colfax, looking southeast
Location of Colfax, Washington
Coordinates: 46°53′3″N 117°21′49″W / 46.88417°N 117.36361°W / 46.88417; -117.36361Coordinates: 46°53′3″N 117°21′49″W / 46.88417°N 117.36361°W / 46.88417; -117.36361
CountryUnited States
StateWashington
CountyWhitman
Area
 • Total1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)
 • Land1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation1,972 ft (601 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total2,805
 • Density1,650.0/sq mi (652.3/km2)
Time zonePacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code99111
Area code509
FIPS code53-13785[1]
GNIS feature ID1533329[2]
 
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Colfax
—  City  —
Colfax, looking southeast
Location of Colfax, Washington
Coordinates: 46°53′3″N 117°21′49″W / 46.88417°N 117.36361°W / 46.88417; -117.36361Coordinates: 46°53′3″N 117°21′49″W / 46.88417°N 117.36361°W / 46.88417; -117.36361
CountryUnited States
StateWashington
CountyWhitman
Area
 • Total1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)
 • Land1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation1,972 ft (601 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total2,805
 • Density1,650.0/sq mi (652.3/km2)
Time zonePacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code99111
Area code509
FIPS code53-13785[1]
GNIS feature ID1533329[2]

Colfax is the county seat of Whitman County, Washington, United States.[3] The population was 2,805 at the 2010 census. It is situated amidst wheat-covered hills in a valley at the confluence of the north and south forks of the Palouse River. U.S. Route 195, which forms the town's main street, intersects with State Route 26 at the north end of town; in the past, Colfax also lay at the junction of three railway lines. It was named after Schuyler Colfax, the vice president from 1869-73.

Contents

History

Palouse Indians were the first known human inhabitants of the Colfax area. White settlers arrived in the summer of 1870, and soon built a sawmill. A flour mill and other businesses followed, and Colfax soon grew into a prosperous town. Originally, pioneer citizen James Perkin called the settlement "Belleville" in honor of his girlfriend; when he found a new love, he changed the town's name to Colfax[4] for then-Vice President Schuyler Colfax.[5]

Colfax was officially incorporated on November 29, 1873. In 1889-90, the town vied with several other finalists to become the site of a new state agricultural college, present-day Washington State University. The honor ultimately fell to nearby Pullman, 15 miles (24 km) southeast.

The early history of Colfax was distinguished by prominent lynchings in 1894 and 1898.[5]

Until passed by Pullman at the 1930 census, Colfax was the largest city in the county.

Notable natives

Either born, raised, or made Colfax their home:

Geography and climate

South fork of the Palouse River in early autumn, at the end of the dry season

Colfax is located in southeastern Washington at 46°53′3″N 117°21′49″W / 46.88417°N 117.36361°W / 46.88417; -117.36361 (46.884033, -117.363668),[8] at an elevation of 1,962 feet (598 m). The nearest cities are Spokane, Pullman, Moscow, and Lewiston/Clarkston. The area is geologically interesting, lying in the midst of the fertile Palouse country in the middle of the Columbia River Plateau, with the Rocky Mountains to the east, the Channeled Scablands to the west, and the Snake River to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.3 km²).1.7 square miles (4.3 km²) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water. The Palouse River, confined for flood control to a concrete bed that reduces it to an eighteen-inch-wide stream during the dry season, runs through the middle of town, parallel to Main Street.

Colfax has a four-season continental climate (Köppen Dsb), with hot, dry summers, cold winters, and a rainy season that generally runs from autumn til spring. The annual rainfall averages less than 20 inches (510 mm) a year. This climate, together with the deep, rich palouse topsoil, makes for near-ideal wheat growing conditions.

Climate data for Colfax, Washington (1971-2000)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °F (°C)37.4
(3.0)
43.5
(6.4)
51.2
(10.7)
58.9
(14.9)
66.8
(19.3)
73.9
(23.3)
82.7
(28.2)
83.3
(28.5)
74.6
(23.7)
62.0
(16.7)
45.6
(7.6)
37.6
(3.1)
59.79
(15.44)
Daily mean °F (°C)30.9
(−0.6)
35.3
(1.8)
41.0
(5.0)
47.3
(8.5)
54.1
(12.3)
60.5
(15.8)
66.6
(19.2)
66.4
(19.1)
58.2
(14.6)
47.7
(8.7)
37.8
(3.2)
31.3
(−0.4)
48.09
(8.94)
Average low °F (°C)24.3
(−4.3)
27.0
(−2.8)
30.8
(−0.7)
35.7
(2.1)
41.3
(5.2)
47.0
(8.3)
50.4
(10.2)
49.4
(9.7)
41.7
(5.4)
33.3
(0.7)
29.9
(−1.2)
24.9
(−3.9)
36.31
(2.39)
Precipitation inches (mm)2.33
(59.2)
1.94
(49.3)
2.02
(51.3)
1.73
(43.9)
1.80
(45.7)
1.37
(34.8)
0.72
(18.3)
0.72
(18.3)
0.73
(18.5)
1.20
(30.5)
2.55
(64.8)
2.93
(74.4)
20.04
(509)
Source: NOAA (normals, 1971-2000) [9]

Community resources

The Codger Pole

Tourist attractions

Public services, businesses, and churches

Among the town's other amenities are a public school, a hospital, several city parks, a skateboard park, a swimming pool and a public library that was recently named among the best in Washington State. As the county seat, Colfax is also home to the Whitman County Courthouse and the Whitman County Jail. The local government consists of a seven-member City Council and a mayor (currently G. Todd Vanek, in his first term).

There is a small assortment of businesses, including building and farm supply stores, a medium-sized grocery (Rosauers), a pharmacy, a hotel, a Bed & Breakfast guesthouse, a fitness center, a florist, a coffee stall, four gift shops, a pawn shop, and ten restaurants. Local service-based businesses include lawyers, dentists, auto mechanics, banks, and retirement homes.

Switchboard.com lists nine churches in Colfax, including one Catholic Church, one congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka LDS or Mormon), and various Protestant and non-denominational churches including, Colfax Assembly (Assemblies of God), Colfax Nazarene Church, First Baptist Church, United Methodist Church, and The Community Bible Church.

A weekly newspaper called Whitman County Gazette is published in Colfax. In addition, there is a daily newspaper called "The Daily Bulletin" which consists of a one page paper with daily news and advertisements that is published in Colfax.

Annual Colfax events

Antiquated threshing techniques are demonstrated at the annual threshing bee

Demographics

Historical populations
CensusPop.
1880444
18901,649271.4%
19002,12128.6%
19102,78331.2%
19203,0278.8%
19302,782−8.1%
19402,8532.6%
19503,0577.2%
19602,860−6.4%
19702,664−6.9%
19802,7804.4%
19902,713−2.4%
20002,8444.8%
20102,805−1.4%
source:[10][11]

The population has hovered near 3,000 since 1910.[12] As of the 2000 census[1], there were 2,844 people, 1,191 households, and 740 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,705.6 people per square mile (657.5/km²). There were 1,357 housing units at an average density of 813.8 per square mile (313.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.16% White, 0.25% African American, 0.84% Native American, 2.07% Asian, 0.60% from other races, and 2.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.48% of the population.

There were 1,191 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 35.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 23.5% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 22.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years, well above the national average of 35.3—possibly due to the presence of several retirement communities. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,622, and the median income for a family was $47,589. Males had a median income of $32,188 versus $26,349 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,519. About 6.1% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.

References

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ LaFollette, Taber, The History of Colfax, Colfax History Committee, 1956, p. 8.
  5. ^ a b Majors, Harry M. (1975). Exploring Washington. Van Winkle Publishing Co. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-918664-00-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=CoWrPQAACAAJ. 
  6. ^ The California Montagues (full text)
  7. ^ Waugh, Lisa. "Oscar expert held court with Hollywood's elite", CNN Interactive, March 20, 1998 (Full Text)
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "Climatography of the United States NO.81". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. http://cdo.ncdc.noaa.gov/climatenormals/clim81/WAnorm.pdf. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 317.
  11. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Washington 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/files/SUB-EST2007-53.csv. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  12. ^ Erickson, Edith E. Colfax 100 Plus, 1981, p. 64 (privately printed)

External links