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Enumclaw, Washington

Coordinates: 47°12′09″N 121°59′39″W / 47.20250°N 121.99417°W / 47.20250; -121.99417
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City of Enumclaw
Aerial view of Enumclaw
Aerial view of Enumclaw
Flag of Enumclaw
Location of Enumclaw within King County, Washington
Location of Enumclaw within King County, Washington
Coordinates: 47°12′09″N 121°59′39″W / 47.20250°N 121.99417°W / 47.20250; -121.99417
CountryUnited States
PlattedOctober 31, 1885
IncorporatedJanuary 27, 1913
 • TypeMayor–council
 • MayorJan Molinaro
 • Total5.17 sq mi (13.40 km2)
 • Land5.17 sq mi (13.40 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
761 ft (232 m)
 • Total12,543
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,356.92/sq mi (910.02/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code360
FIPS code53-22045
GNIS feature ID1519366[4]
City Hall and Municipal building

Enumclaw (/ˈnəmklɔː/ EE-nəm-klaw) is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 12,543 at the 2020 census.[2]

The Enumclaw Plateau, on which the city resides, was formed by a volcanic mudflow (lahar) from Mount Rainier approximately 5,700 years ago.[5]



The name Enumclaw is derived from the Sahaptin word /inɨmɬá/, meaning "he who makes noise", from to /ínɨmn/, "to neigh, bray, sing", and /-ɬa/, "he who".[6] Sometimes it is said that "Enumclaw" translates as "place of evil spirits", apparently referring to Enumclaw Mountain, located about 6 miles (9.7 km) to the north. According to legend the mountain's name was derived from an evil incident that occurred there, or to the occasional powerful windstorms from the east that affect the region.[7][8][9] Native American mythology tells the story of two brothers – Enumclaw and Kapoonis – who were turned into thunder and lightning, respectively, by their father. The City of Enumclaw says the name means "thundering noise".[10]

One of the first white settlers in south King County was Allen L. Porter. In 1853, he claimed a 320-acre (1.3 km2) parcel on the White River, about three miles (5 km) west of the site of Enumclaw. He maintained a troubled relationship with the local Smalkamish tribe (some of the ancestors of the Muckleshoot tribe) for some time, and in 1855 his cabin was burned to the ground. Porter, who had been warned in advance by a friend in the tribe, hid in the woods until they had left. After warning the settlers at Fort Steilacoom, he left the area, moving to Roy. He would never return to Enumclaw.

Enumclaw itself was homesteaded in 1879 by Frank and Mary Stevenson. In 1885, the Northern Pacific Railroad routed their transcontinental mainline through the site, accepting their offer of cleared, level land on which to build a siding. Confident that the area would grow, the Stevensons filed a plat with King County that same year. They built a hotel and gave away lots for a saloon and a general store.

At first the people called the town 'Stevensonville' after the founders, who soon refused the honor. One resident suggested 'Enumclaw,' which was the name of the strange sawed-off promontory north of town. The name's uniqueness gained favor with the locals.

On January 11, 1895, Mount Baldy, a small peak above the town, "erupted" with tremendous fire and smoke, although no losses or damage were reported, and the conflagration was minimized by residents.[11] Throughout the 1880s and 1890s the area was farmed for hops. When the hops crop failed due to pests and economic downturn, the residents turned to dairy farming, which has been a mainstay ever since. The first census listing Enumclaw in 1900 put the population at 483 people.

In the 1890s, the Northern Pacific Railroad rerouted their line through Palmer, a few miles to the east of town. In 1910, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad routed a branch line through Enumclaw.

The city was incorporated on January 27, 1913. In 1929, a much-anticipated route to Eastern Washington was opened across the Naches Pass Highway. In the 1950s Enumclaw Insurance Group greatly expanded its business and the home office became a major employer in the town. The company is an insurer doing business in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah.

In 2005 the Enumclaw horse sex case occurred on a farm five miles (8 km) northwest of Enumclaw towards Auburn, in unincorporated King County.[12] A Boeing aerospace engineer named Kenneth Pinyan from Gig Harbor died after receiving anal sex from a horse at the farm.[13] The case and the surrounding media attention led to Washington State banning bestiality.[14]

Old Enumclaw High School, built in 1921


Farmland and Boise Ridge by Enumclaw

The city is located in the midst of flat, level farmlands and dairy farms in the east Puget Sound lowlands. The flat geography in the middle of mountainous territory is due to the ancient Osceola Mudflow from nearby Mount Rainier.

The city is unique in the fact that it is landlocked by farm preservation on three sides[15] and by protected forest lands to the east.[16] The city is nestled against the Cascade foothills.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.27 square miles (11.06 km2), of which, 4.26 square miles (11.03 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.[17]

While Enumclaw is entirely located in King County, the city owns some park property within the boundaries of Pierce County.[18]



This region experiences very warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F (22 °C). According to the Köppen climate classification system, Enumclaw has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[19] Enumclaw typically runs about 5 degrees warmer than Seattle in the summer and 5 degrees colder than Seattle in the winter. The city of Enumclaw is generally above the fog while the area to the West of the city can see dense fog due to the proximity to the Green and White Rivers as well as Lake Tapps. Snow is moderate with a typical year seeing about 6 to 8 inches total.



In contrast to other towns with big-box stores, Enumclaw has chosen a different path for its downtown that is filled with small local boutiques and non-chain restaurants and bistros. Several companies, including Helac, Nor-Pac Seating, Nether Industries, and Hill AeroSystems, maintain major offices in the city.[citation needed] The remoteness of Enumclaw has made the picturesque, quintessential place to work from home and enjoy a bit of county life with all the convivences With the median home valued at $753,000,[20] Enumclaw has gained many professionals, firefighters, police officers, downhill ski lovers as well as people who enjoy quick hiking access to Mt. Rainier. Enumclaw has the most dairy farms in production (16 Grade "A") within the King and Pierce County region.[citation needed] Enumclaw has celebrated its close ties with its ag community and has many farm road stands as well as a Farmers Market that runs Spring through Fall. Many restaurants feature Farm to Fork food offerings.



Enumclaw is the gateway to Mount Rainier National Park and the Crystal Mountain ski area. It is located along the Chinook Scenic Byway (SR 410), which provides seasonal access to the Yakima Valley and Eastern Washington.[21] Enumclaw has four state parks in close proximity: Nolte, Flaming Geyser, Kanaskat Palmer, and Federation Forest.[22] The Thunder Dome Car Museum chose Enumclaw as its location to build a major museum with vintage cars and paraphernalia. Enumclaw has become a basecamp for those wanting to ski at Crystal or hike Mt. Rainier during day and play at night. Enumclaw is well known for the King County Fair (the oldest county fair west of the Mississippi[23]), Scottish Highland Games, AKC dog show (largest in the nation), Sundays on Cole festival every Sunday during the summer and the huge Sidewalk Street Fair the runs the third week in July. Enumclaw, in partnership with King County is just completing the last section of bike trail and a bridge that will connect Enumclaw to Puyallup with 23 miles of trail.



According to the FBI's latest crime report (2023 data, issued in 2023), out of 281 cities in Washington State, Enumclaw is the 16th safest city for violent and property crimes.[24] The Enumclaw City Council has continued to make policing a priority by increasing the departments budget, focusing on training and equipment.


Historical population
2022 (est.)12,721[3]1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]
2020 Census[2]

In the year 2000, the center of population of Washington State was located in an unincorporated part of King County, just northeast of town.[26]

2020 census


As of the 2020 census, there were 12,543 people, 5,191 households in the city.

2010 census


As of the 2010 census, there were 10,669 people, 4,420 households, and 2,793 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,504.5 inhabitants per square mile (967.0/km2). There were 4,683 housing units at an average density of 1,099.3 per square mile (424.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.8% White, 0.5% African American, 1.0% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.9% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.6% of the population.

There were 4,420 households, of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.8% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the city was 38.9 years. 24.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.8% were from 25 to 44; 26.9% were from 45 to 64; and 14.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.

2000 census


As of the 2000 census, there were 11,116 people, 4,317 households, and 2,840 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,842.8 people per square mile (1,097.7/km2). There were 4,456 housing units at an average density of 1,139.6 per square mile (440.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.25% White, 0.79% Native American, 0.78% Asian, 0.30% African American, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.15% from other races, and 2.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.42% of the population. 16.6% were of German, 11.3% Irish, 10.3% English, 9.0% American, 7.6% Norwegian, and 5.9% Italian ancestry.

There were 4,317 households, out of which 37.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $58,019 in 2013. The average household income in the 98022 Enumclaw retail trade (draw) area was $89,481 in 2013. The per capita income for the city was $20,596. About 4.3% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over. Unemployment was at 4.30% in 2016 with 2313 blue collar workers and 4051 white collar workers.


Enumclaw City Hall
Presidential Elections Results[27]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2020 52.76% 3,884 43.93% 3,234 3.30% 243

Enumclaw has a mayor–council government that is governed by a seven-member city council. The city councilmembers are elected at-large to four-year terms with no limits.[28] The mayor is also elected to a four-year term with no limits. Former city couincilmember Jan Molinaro was elected mayor in 2017.[29]

City council meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. The agenda and Council packets are available online and at City Hall prior to the meeting.

Enumclaw is one of just three cities in Washington with breed-specific legislation limiting pit bull dogs within the city limits.[30] Enumclaw has also chosen to ban the production, distribution and sale of recreational marijuana.

The City of Enumclaw operates its own solid waste utility (garbage), water, stormwater and sewer departments. The city is unique as it is just one of two cities in Washington State that owns its own natural gas utility.

The United States Postal Service operates the Enumclaw Post Office and a regional distribution center.[31] Enumclaw is also home to a detachment for the Washington State Patrol (WSP), the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Natural Resources and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).



The town is home to the Courier-Herald newspaper. Enumclaw is also home to KGRG (1330 AM), a 500 watt AM college radio station licensed to the Green River Foundation and operated by Green River Community College in Auburn.

Health care


Enumclaw's Virginia Mason St. Elizabeth Hospital, is part of the Catholic Health Initiatives (a seven-hospital organization based in Tacoma).[32] The hospital was included on the 2011 list of the 25 "Most Wired" small and rural hospitals in the nation for its use of information technology to support quality patient care and achieve operational efficiencies.[33] It replaced the former Enumclaw Community Hospital in 2011.[34]

Parks and recreation


The Enumclaw Expo Center annually hosts the King County Fair and the Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games,[35] among a number of other exhibitions and festivals. The Olympic Kennel Club has the 5th largest dog show in the nation each year in August. The 72-acre (29 ha) facility has many areas that are available to rent for weddings, trade shows, conventions and other special events.



The Enumclaw School District operates public schools for students living in the city of Enumclaw and nearby unincorporated areas.[36]

Elementary schools in Enumclaw and serving portions of Enumclaw include Black Diamond, Byron Kibler, Southwood, Sunrise, and Westwood. Some portions of Enumclaw are zoned to Enumclaw Middle School in Enumclaw, while some portions are zoned to Thunder Mountain Middle School in unincorporated King County.[37] All residents of Enumclaw are zoned to Enumclaw High School. Green River Community College operates a campus in Enumclaw. Mike Nelson, former Superintendent of Enumclaw School District, won the 2018 State Superintendent of the Year Award.[38]

Notable people


See also



  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Explore Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2022". United States Census Bureau. August 29, 2023. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  4. ^ "Enumclaw". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  5. ^ "About Buckley". Cityofbuckley.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  6. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  7. ^ Parker, Thomas. "Enumclaw is incorporated on February 1, 1913". HistoryLink. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  8. ^ Brokenshire, Doug (1993). Washington State Place Names: From Alki to Yelm. Caxton Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-87004-356-7. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  9. ^ Mass, Cliff (2008). The Weather of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press. pp. 160–162. ISBN 978-0-295-98847-4.
  10. ^ Visitor Information Archived November 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, City of Enumclaw
  11. ^ "Newspaper reports eruption of Mount Baldy on January 10, 1895". HistoryLink.
  12. ^ Rick Anderson (November 9, 2005). "Closing the Barn Door". Seattle Weekly. Archived from the original on August 19, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2010. "Tait, a truck driver who lives near the Southeast 444th Street farm where the death occurred, "
  13. ^ Lewis, Gerrick. "Movie tracks man's mysterious death Archived January 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." The Lantern. Monday April 2, 2007. Updated on Saturday June 20, 2009. Retrieved on October 9, 2010.
  14. ^ Mudede, Charles (February–March 2006). "The Animal In You". The Stranger. Retrieved April 30, 2006.
  15. ^ "Farmland Preservation Program - King County".
  16. ^ "Washington Forest Protection Association — One Voice Blog". Archived from the original on December 19, 2015.
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  18. ^ Pierce County Profile, Section 2 Archived September 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, 2-7.
  19. ^ "Enumclaw, Washington Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)".
  20. ^ Butch (July 22, 1922). "Real Estate Market Trends in Enumclaw, WA". Coldwell Banker. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  21. ^ "Chinook and Cayuse Passes". wsdot.wa.gov. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  22. ^ "State Parks - Visit Enumclaw". visitenumclaw.com. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  23. ^ Burchi, Max (July 5, 2024). "King County Fair in Enumclaw is back and looking to grow". Kent Reporter. Kent, Washington: Kent Reporter + Sound Publishing, Inc. + Black Press Media. Retrieved July 13, 2024.
  24. ^ "Enumclaw again makes Top 20 Safest Washington cities list". The Courier-Herald. April 7, 2023. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  25. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  26. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State: 2001". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 12, 2001. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  27. ^ King County Elections
  28. ^ "City Council". City of Enumclaw. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  29. ^ Hanson, Kevin (December 20, 2017). "Wright picked to fill vacancy, returns to Enumclaw council". Courier Herald. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  30. ^ "Chapter 7.08 PIT BULL DOGS". Codepublishing.com. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  31. ^ "Post Office Location - ENUMCLAW Archived July 16, 2012, at archive.today." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on September 28, 2010.
  32. ^ "Hospital to operate under new name - Enumclaw Courier-Herald". Pnwlocalnews.com. September 20, 2010. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  33. ^ "St. Elizabeth Hospital Is Among 'Most Wired' In Nation". Franciscan Health System. July 21, 2011. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  34. ^ Mudede, Charles (July 22, 2015). "Revisiting the Town of the Most Famous Horse Sex Death in Recorded History". The Stranger. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  35. ^ "Seattle Scottish Highland Games Association". Sshga.org. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  36. ^ 2020 Census – School District Reference Map: King County, WA (PDF) (Map). United States Census Bureau. p. 2 (PDF p. 3/5). Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  37. ^ "Boundary Map Archived August 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Enumclaw School District. Retrieved on September 28, 2010.
  38. ^ Hanson, Kevin (November 20, 2018). "Nelson honored as state Superintendent of the Year". Courier Herald. Retrieved February 14, 2020.