Washington: Columbia County

Columbia County (pop. 4,078) is the third-least-populous county in Washington. It reached its peak population of 7,128 in 1900.

Columbia County in 1909

The county is named for the Columbia River; the Snake River, a Columbia tributary, is the county’s northern boundary.

Snake River Bridge at Lyons Ferry (1927)

The county seat of Columbia County is the city of Dayton (pop. 2,526).

Washington’s oldest working courthouse (1887)

Dayton has the oldest surviving railroad depot in the state. It dates from 1881.

Now a museum

The restored Liberty Theater in Dayton was built in 1921. It now has a mixture of films and live performances.

147 seats and a balcony

In the town of Starbuck (pop. 129), the former Bank of Starbuck (1904) is now City Hall.

The coffee company is named for the character in “Moby Dick.”

The Blue Mountains and Umatilla National Forest are in the southern part of the county.

Oregon Butte Lookout

Ski Bluewood is an alpine ski area in the Blue Mountains, southeast of Dayton. It has a vertical drop of 1,125 feet.

NEXT: WALLA WALLA COUNTY

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Washington: Garfield County

Garfield County (pop. 2,266) is the least-populous county in Washington. It is one of six Garfield counties in the U.S., all west of the Mississippi and all named for James A. Garfield, the 20th president.

Garfield County is in a wheat-growing area. Its population has declined steadily from a peak of 4,199 in 1910, as farms have gotten larger and farmers have gotten fewer.

Wheat fields south of Pomeroy

The oddly shaped Garfield County is bordered by the Snake River on the north and Oregon on the south.

The county seat of Garfield County is the city of Pomeroy (pop. 1,425) – the county’s only city.

Downtown Pomeroy

The Garfield County Courthouse was built in 1901 in Late Victorian style.

It replaced a wooden courthouse that burned down.

The Seeley Theater in Pomeroy is undergoing restoration.

Built in 1913

A collection of metal animal sculptures can be found along Highway 12, a few miles east of Pomeroy.

Also an alligator, shark, and eagle

NEXT: COLUMBIA COUNTY

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Washington: Asotin County

We begin our virtual trip through the 39 counties of Washington in Asotin County, located in the far southeastern corner of the state. This is the route that we’ll be taking.

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“Asotin” (pronounced “us-OH-tun”) is derived from a Nez Perce word meaning “eel creek.”

A wheat-growing region

The county is bordered by Oregon on the south and by the Snake River and Idaho on the east.

The county seat of  Asotin County is the city of Asotin (pop. 1,251), fourth-smallest county seat in Washington.

On the Snake River

Six miles north of Asotin is Clarkston (pop. 7,229), the county’s largest city. Clarkston is at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, across the Snake from Lewiston, Idaho.

Clarkston on right

Clarkston and Lewiston, in the Lewis-Clark Valley, were named for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who explored the area on their 1804-06 Corps of Discovery Expedition.

They never set foot on the Clarkston side.

Clarkston’s ZIP Code of 99403 is the highest ZIP code in the contiguous United States.

The Lewis-Clark Valley is considered the Gateway to Hells Canyon – the canyon on the Snake River between Oregon and Idaho that is North America’s deepest river gorge.

7,993 feet deep

Fields Spring State Park is in the southern part of the county. It has the only two teepees in Washington state parks – available for campers for $30 per night.

Accommodating up to six persons

NEXT: GARFIELD COUNTY

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