Enumclaw is founded in 1885.

  • By Mildred Andrews
  • Posted 12/04/1998
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 417
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The city of Enumclaw, Washington, comes into existence in 1885 when the Northern Pacific Railroad routes its transcontinental line through Frank and Mary Fell Stevenson's homestead. Enumclaw nestles on a high plateau in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, about midway between Mount Rainier and Seattle.

The Northern Pacific Railroad routed its transcontinental line through Frank and Mary Fell Stevenson's homestead after they offered cleared, level land for a siding. The Stevensons filed plats for a townsite, built a hotel, and gave away neighboring lots for Fell's Saloon and for Blake, Eckhart & Sims general store.

A local settler reportedly coined the city's name, after a railroad official urged the choice of something with an ending other than "-ville." According to legend, Indian warriors had fled from "Enumclaw," their word for the thunderous roar from within a nearby volcanic peak that they honored as sacred ground.

With an estimated 1996 population of 9,500 (U.S. Census Bureau), Enumclaw proclaims itself the "Gateway to Mt. Rainier," which rises majestically about 50 miles to the southeast.


Nancy Irene Hall, In the Shadow of the Mountain: a Pioneer History of Enumclaw (Enumclaw: Courier-Herald Publishing Company, Inc., 1983); Louise Ross Poppleton, There Is Only One Enumclaw (Enumclaw: Poppleton, [1980] 1995); Women's Progressive Club, Pioneer History of Enumclaw, typescript, 1941, Enumclaw Public Library; U.S. Census Bureau Website (http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/metro-city/scts96/sc96t_WA.txt).

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