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Yakima County Attractions

Parent Category: Washington Counties
Created: 11 January 2016

Population:  247,687

Area:  4,311 square miles

County Seat: Yakima

OVERVIEW

Yakima County, located at the south-central part of Washington State, has the population of 247,687 people (as of 2014 census). The total area of the county is 4,311 square miles, that makes it number three in the state, and it takes as well the second place in the state by its land area, which is 4,295.40 square miles.

The diverse landscape of Yakima County includes gorgeous densely forested mountains in the western part of the country (together with Mt. Adams, which having the height of 12,281 feet is the tallest peak in the county and the second-highest mountain peak in the state), and lovely river valleys at the center and in the south of Yakima County, as well as rolling hills and wide meadows, covered mostly by arid sagebruch in the eastern part of the county. Such diversity allows the county to offer its residents and visitors an exceedingly wide range of various recreation opportunities.

Yakima County is an agricultural county, being the leading producer of hops, apples, peppermint, corn and grapes in Washington State. The county’s manufacturing is also based on food processing.

The name of the county originates from the Yakama tribe. The name has several different interpretations. One of the interpretations is “well-fed people”. Another popular version of county’s name interpretation is “runaway”, which regards to a story about a young daughter of a Chief of the tribe, who ran away from her home, leaving the tribe after breaking its rules. 

HISTORY

The territory of Yakima County was initially inhabited by various Indian tribes, sharing one common language, among whom were Yakama people. The first non-Indian settlement in that area was a Saint Joseph Catholic Mission, which was created in 1847 near Ahtanum Creek, approximately 15 miles southwest from the nowadays Yakima city.

In 1855 Indians and Euro-Americans signed a Treaty, creating a reservation, disputes over which led to Yakima War. 

The creation and quick development of the county is connected with the rail line being laid by the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1880s, connecting the settlements of this region with other parts of the country. 

A new irrigation system, created by the government in early 1900s was a crucial event in the development of agriculture in Yakima Valley.

COUNTY SEAT

The City of Yakima, located at a point of two rivers (Naches River and Yakima River) joining is the county seat of Yakima County. It is the county’s largest city and it ranks number nine among the state’s largest cities (by population).

When in 1880s the Northern Pacific Railroad was building the rail road in the area, they could not create the first station at the place of the original town of Yakima as the area, where it was located was swampy with the ridges located nearby, which prevented the easy development of the railway. That is why they decided to create a new station several miles north from Yakima town. In 1884 the station was opened and the place was named North Yakima. A lot of Yakima town residents didn’t agree with such placement of the station. To resolve this conflict the Northern Pacific Railroad offered free plots of land in North Yakima for those, who wanted to move there. This led to a great number of people moving to North Yakima, the population of which grew up to 1,200 people in 1885.

After the incorporation of the city in 1886, the county seat moved to North Yakima. But in 1918 the city was renamed into Yakima.
In 1890 it was decided to make Yakima a site of Washington State Fair, which was a great event for the development of county’s economy.

The city was proud to receive an All-American City Award in 1994 as well as in 2015.

ATTRACTIONS

The Yakima Valley Museum

You may find the Yakima Valley Museum in Franklin Park of the Yakima City. The museum offers its visitors a great number of exhibitions, describing the history and culture of Yakima Valley, the life of the first pioneers of this area and development of the fruit growing and processing industry. The museum contains great collections of artifacts, clothing, arts and crafts of Native Americans inhabiting this area. 

Children underground provides various constructive play areas, educating programs and interactive displays for kids.

Yakima Greenway

The Yakima Greenway is a unique 18-miles paved trail, which connects different parks, picnic areas, playgrounds, lakes and of course the access ways to Yakima river, giving the visitors an opportunity for various outdoor recreation and activities in the Yakima Valley. Besides being a great place for wildlife watching and other interactions with nature, the Yakima Greenway is a place for holding some annual events and various programs. 

 

Information: Svetlana Baranova

 

 

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