Wenatchee, Washington

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Wenatchee
City
City of Wenatchee
Skyline of Wenatchee, 2009
Skyline of Wenatchee, 2009
Flag of Wenatchee
Flag
Nickname(s): Apple Capital of the World
Location of Wenatchee inChelan County and Washington
Location of Wenatchee in
Chelan County and Washington
Wenatchee is located in USA
Wenatchee
Wenatchee
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 47°25′24″N 120°19′31″W / 47.42333°N 120.32528°W / 47.42333; -120.32528Coordinates: 47°25′24″N 120°19′31″W / 47.42333°N 120.32528°W / 47.42333; -120.32528
Country United States
State Washington
County Chelan
Established 1811
Incorporated January 7, 1893
Named for Wenatchi tribe
Government
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Mayor Frank Kuntz
 • Council Wenatchee City Council
Area
 • City 8.04 sq mi (20.8 km2)
 • Land 7.77 sq mi (20.12 km2)
 • Water 0.27 sq mi (0.70 km2)
 • Urban 31.373 sq mi (81.256 km2)
 • Metro 1,870 sq mi (4,843 km2)
Elevation 780 ft (237 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • City 31,925
 • Estimate (2013[2]) 32,701
 • Density 4,108.8/sq mi (1,586.4/km2)
 • Urban 67,227 (US: 412th)
 • Urban density 210.45/sq mi (81.256/km2)
 • Metro 113,438 (US: 334th)
 • Metro density 22.90/sq mi (8.84/km2)
 • Demonym Wenatcheeite
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 98801
98807
Area code(s) 509
FIPS code 53-77105
GNIS feature ID 1527897[3]
Website www.wenatcheewa.gov

Wenatchee (/wɛˈnæ/ US dict: wĕ·năt′·chē) is a city located in north-central Washington and is the largest city and county seat of Chelan County, Washington, United States.[4] The population within the city limits in 2010 was 31,925.[5] The population was 33,070 at 2014 Estimate from Office of Financial Management. Located at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers near the eastern foothills of the Cascade Range, Wenatchee lies on the western side of the Columbia River, across from the city of East Wenatchee. The Columbia River forms the boundary between Chelan and Douglas County. Wenatchee is the principal city of the "Wenatchee–East Wenatchee, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area", which encompasses all of Chelan and Douglas counties (total population around 110,884). However, the 'Wenatchee Valley Area' generally refers to the land between Rocky Reach and Rock Island Dam on both banks of the Columbia, which includes East Wenatchee, Rock Island, and Malaga.

The city was named for the nearby Wenatchi Indian tribe. The name is a Sahaptin word that means "river which comes [or whose source is] from canyons" or "robe of the rainbow". Awenatchela means "people at the source [of a river]". The city of Wenatchee shares its name with the Wenatchee River, Lake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee National Forest.

Wenatchee is known as the "Apple Capital of the World" due to the valley's many orchards. The city is also sometimes referred to as the "Buckle of the Power Belt of the Great Northwest". The "Power Belt of the Great Northwest" is a metaphor for the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. Rock Island Dam is located nearest to the middle of this "belt", and so was labeled the "Buckle". This saying is printed at the top of every issue of Wenatchee's newspaper, the Wenatchee World, and is no longer in common use elsewhere.[6]

History[edit]

Prehistoric era[edit]

Archeological digs in nearby East Wenatchee have uncovered Clovis stone and bone tools dating back more than 11,000 years, indicating that people migrating during the last Ice Age spent time in the Wenatchee area. The Columbia River and nearby mountains and sagebrush steppes provided an ample supply of food. Clovis points are on display at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center[7] and research findings are available through the Wenatchee World.[8]

Early settlers[edit]

As early as 1811, fur traders from the Northwest Fur Company entered the Wenatchee valley to trap and trade with the Indians. In 1863, Father Respari, a Catholic priest, began his missionary work with the Indians. He was followed some 20 years later by Father De Grassi, who built a log cabin on the Wenatchee River near the present town of Cashmere. Throughout the 19th century other white settlers came to homestead the land. Wenatchee was platted in September 1888 and officially incorporated as a city on January 7, 1893. The 1900 U.S. Census counted 451 residents.

Apple field bins are stacked high at a processing facility in Wenatchee.

Continued growth[edit]

The Great Northern Railway completed its railroad line between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Seattle in 1893. Its route through the Wenatchee Valley was significant to the development of this region. The railroad not only provided passenger travel to and from Wenatchee, but it provided for freight service for shipments of wheat, apples, and other products to out-of-state markets.

By the early 20th century the Wenatchee Commercial Club, now the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, was advertising the region as the "Home of the World's Best Apples." The tree fruit industry provided the economic backbone for the region for a century and still is an important source of revenue. The Wenatchee Valley also boasts one of only two aluminum smelters remaining in the Northwestern United States at the ALCOA plant that expanded production in March 2011. Other growing areas of the regional economy are tourism and information technology.

Wenatchee Fire Station No. 1 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

On October 5, 1931, Clyde Pangborn and his copilot Hugh Herndon landed their airplane, named the Miss Veedol, in the hills of East Wenatchee, and thus became the first aviators to fly nonstop across the Pacific Ocean. The 41-hour flight from Sabishiro Beach, Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, Japan, won them the Harmon Trophy for the greatest achievement in flight of 1931.

In 1936, with the completion of Rock Island Dam, Wenatchee was protected from the summer flooding of the Columbia River, and the first of 14 hydroelectric projects on the Columbia began generating electric power. The reservoirs thus generated also made it possible to irrigate hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland in the Columbia Basin.

Modern era[edit]

In 1975, the headquarters of Stemilt Growers was moved from nearby Stemilt Hill to Olds Station, Wenatchee. The company grows, packs and ships tree fruit and would go on to become the largest fresh market sweet cherry shipper in the world.[citation needed]

Every year from the last week of April through the end of the first week of May, Wenatchee hosts the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival, which probably brings in the largest number of people Wenatchee sees annually, with the exception of all the migrant workers coming in to pick the crop.[9] It features 2 relatively large parades, the Apple Blossom Youth Parade on the last Saturday in April and the Apple Blossom Grand Parade on the first Saturday in May, a food fair representing cuisine from around the world, and a traveling carnival.

According to CNN's Money Magazine, Wenatchee had the second fastest forecast real estate value growth for June 2006–June 2007 in the country. On July 29, 2013, a large wildfire spreading over 31 miles (50 km) south of Wenatchee occurred, affecting over 40 nearby homes.[10]

Geography[edit]

The Wenatchee River, just before it flows into the Columbia.

Wenatchee is located at 47°25′24″N 120°19′31″W / 47.42333°N 120.32528°W / 47.42333; -120.32528 (47.423316, -120.325279)[11] at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia rivers in the Columbia Basin, just east of the foothills of the Cascade Range. Nestled in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, there are blue skies 300 days of the year. Irrigation from the Columbia River and her tributaries allows for the large amount of agriculture in Wenatchee and the surrounding areas.

The city of Wenatchee is bordered by the Wenatchee River on the north, the Columbia River to the east, and the Wenatchee Mountains to the south and west. These ridges and peaks form a wall around the western and southern sides of the city. Hiking trails abound. The sage-steppe ecosystem of the foothills is especially beautiful in spring.

Although there are numerous jeep trails and forest roads out of Wenatchee to the south and west, most are too rugged to be passable by most vehicles. Because of this, the city of Wenatchee proper has only two entrances and exits which can be used by passenger cars; the North Wenatchee Avenue Bridge (North End Bridge) to the north, and the Senator George Sellar Bridge (South End Bridge) to the south.

While Colockum Pass is listed as a route out of Wenatchee (via the south end of the city on most maps produced by the Washington State DOT), and is a potential exit from the Wenatchee area, the route is clearly labeled as not being suitable for passenger autos, though its initial sections provide access to a railroad bridge at Rock Island and farther south the Rock Island Dam, both of which can be used in emergencies.

Another potential exit road leads north from the Mission Ridge Ski Area to an intersection with an unimproved road that extends west to U.S. Route 97 (via the ghost town of Liberty) or north into Cashmere; again, this route is (when shown at all) marked as not suitable for passenger autos.

Because of the dangers involved in having only two points of ingress and egress into the city during an evacuation, officials have mentioned the possibility of additional bridges potentially being designed in the future over the Columbia or Wenatchee Rivers, as reported periodically by the Wenatchee World.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.04 square miles (20.82 km2), of which, 7.77 square miles (20.12 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.70 km2) is water.[12]

Wenatchee experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with cold winters and hot, dry summers.

Climate data for Wenatchee (1971−2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
(18)
66
(19)
78
(26)
93
(34)
104
(40)
107
(42)
110
(43)
106
(41)
101
(38)
90
(32)
76
(24)
67
(19)
110
(43)
Average high °F (°C) 35.1
(1.7)
42.8
(6)
54.9
(12.7)
64.6
(18.1)
73.1
(22.8)
80.1
(26.7)
88.0
(31.1)
88.0
(31.1)
77.7
(25.4)
63.7
(17.6)
46.0
(7.8)
35.7
(2.1)
62.48
(16.93)
Daily mean °F (°C) 29.2
(−1.6)
35.1
(1.7)
44.4
(6.9)
52.7
(11.5)
60.9
(16.1)
67.8
(19.9)
74.4
(23.6)
73.7
(23.2)
64.5
(18.1)
52.3
(11.3)
39.1
(3.9)
30.5
(−0.8)
52.05
(11.15)
Average low °F (°C) 23.2
(−4.9)
27.4
(−2.6)
33.9
(1.1)
40.8
(4.9)
48.6
(9.2)
55.5
(13.1)
61.0
(16.1)
60.2
(15.7)
51.2
(10.7)
40.8
(4.9)
32.2
(0.1)
25.2
(−3.8)
41.67
(5.38)
Record low °F (°C) −17
(−27)
−18
(−28)
5
(−15)
20
(−7)
27
(−3)
39
(4)
40
(4)
41
(5)
21
(−6)
19
(−7)
0
(−18)
−19
(−28)
−19
(−28)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.35
(34.3)
0.94
(23.9)
0.64
(16.3)
0.51
(13)
0.51
(13)
0.69
(17.5)
0.30
(7.6)
0.41
(10.4)
0.40
(10.2)
0.49
(12.4)
1.36
(34.5)
1.52
(38.6)
9.12
(231.7)
Source: NOAA (normals, 1971−2000) [13]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 451
1910 4,050 798.0%
1920 6,324 56.1%
1930 11,627 83.9%
1940 11,620 −0.1%
1950 13,072 12.5%
1960 16,726 28.0%
1970 16,912 1.1%
1980 17,257 2.0%
1990 21,756 26.1%
2000 27,856 28.0%
2010 31,925 14.6%
Est. 2013 32,701 2.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
2013 Estimate[2]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 31,925 people, 12,379 households, and 7,721 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,108.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,586.4 /km2). There were 13,175 housing units at an average density of 1,695.6 per square mile (654.7 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 76.7% Caucasian, 0.4% African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 17.3% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 29.4% of the population.

There were 12,379 households of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.6% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.19.

The median age in the city was 35.2 years. 26.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 10% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.2% were from 25 to 44; 23.4% were from 45 to 64; and 15.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 27,856 people, 10,741 households, and 6,884 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,049.6 people per square mile (1,563.3/km²). There were 11,486 housing units at an average density of 1,669.8 per square mile (644.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.93% White, 0.39% African American, 1.13% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 13.99% from other races, and 2.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.52% of the population.

There were 10,741 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 27.4% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,897, and the median income for a family was $45,982. Males had a median income of $35,245 versus $26,062 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,498. About 10.6% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.7% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture[edit]

Wenatchee is home to many performing arts groups including the Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee, the Wenatchee Valley Symphony, Wenatchee Big Band, Columbia Chorale, Wenatchee Valley Appleaires and The Apollo Club, to name a few. Fine artists gather and share their work in shows and among one another.[15] Music Theater of Wenatchee and Mission Creek Players present quality theatrical productions and musicals. Wenatchee also boasts the Mariachi Huenachi Band and a renowned mariachi program in the Wenatchee School District. Wenatchee High School Golden Apple Band is also a well known band. The Golden Apple Band won sweepstakes at the Washington State Auburn Marching Band Championship in the 2012 marching season. The Wenatchee Valley has a growing hip-hop scene with multiple different artists gaining popularity in recent years such as Fogey, Evolution 420, b-Rabbit, and Edge.

Sports[edit]

Professional sports[edit]

Club Sport League Venue Established Championships
Wenatchee Fire FC Indoor soccer Premier Arena Soccer League Wenatchee Valley Sportsplex 2008 0
Wenatchee AppleSox Baseball West Coast League Paul Thomas Sr. Field 2000 6
Wenatchee United FC Soccer Evergreen Premier League Apple Bowl 2013 0
Wenatchee Wild Ice hockey North American Hockey League Town Toyota Center 2008 0
Wenatchee Valley Rams Football Washington Football League Wildcat Stadium 2005 2

Amateur sports[edit]

Club Sport League Venue
Wenatchee Figure Skating Club Figure skating United States Figure Skating Association Town Toyota Center
Wenatchee Curling Club Curling United States Curling Association
Wenatchee Jr. Wild Ice hockey USA Hockey
Wenatchee Banshees Women's Hockey
Wenatchee Men's Hockey League
Wenatchee Packers Baseball American Legion Recreation Park

The Wenatchee Valley Super Oval in East Wenatchee is a quarter-mile-long banked asphalt oval used for local racing.

In the fall of 2008, the Town Toyota Center was completed, and hosts some professional and junior professional sporting events, in addition to touring events and expositions, and the 2010 NAHL Pepsi Robertson Cup.

Parks and recreation[edit]

Burch Mountain above Wenatchee

The Wenatchee Valley and the surrounding areas provide an abundance of sports and recreational activities for any season. There are several facilities including the [16] tennis club, an Olympic size swimming pool, an ice arena, several 18-hole and 9-hole golf courses, a 9-hole disc golf course, and countless baseball diamonds and soccer fields. There are lots of places to hike, fish and hunt, both birds and larger game. Boating and water recreation are also quite common. Many kayak, windsurf and water-ski on the Columbia. Whitewater rafting and inner-tubing is frequent on the Wenatchee River. In the winter, the mountains near Wenatchee provide great snowmobiling, sledding at Squilchuck State Park, as well as skiing and snowboarding at Mission Ridge (30 minutes drive) and Stevens Pass (1 hour and a half drive). Nordic skiing is available at the Stevens Pass Nordic Center, Leavenworth (25 minute drive), and the Methow Valley (1 hour and 45 minute drive).

The city also offers a large system of parks and paved trails known as the Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail. The 10-mile (20 km) loop which runs both banks of the Columbia River is used by cyclists, walkers, joggers, and skaters. In the winter cross country skiers and snowshoers also use the trail. The trail connects in the south at the Old Wenatchee-East Wenatchee Bridge, better known as the walking bridge, and in the north at the Richard Odabashian Olds Station Bridge. It passes through Wenatchee Confluence State Park. Much of the hillside areas surrounding the city of Wenatchee have been purchased by or have their rights held by the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust which protects them as a natural resource and as a site for hiking in the foothills. The foothills trail system along the western edge Wenatchee provides numerous short trails of varying difficulty for walking, hiking and mountain biking.

The Wenatchee Youth Circus, ("The Biggest Little Circus in the World") founded by Paul K. Pugh in 1952, continues to provide circus fans with opportunities to watch a real, live circus (minus the wild animals) with performers ranging in age from 6-18. The circus travels and performs in the summer months, practices indoors in the winter, and sets up its rigging for outdoor practices during the fair weather of springtime.

Government[edit]

Public Safety in Wenatchee is provided by three law enforcement agencies (Wenatchee Police Department, Chelan County Sheriff's Office, and the Washington State Patrol), two fire departments (Wenatchee Fire & Rescue and Chelan County Fire District No. 1), and two private ambulance companies (Ballard Ambulance and Lifeline Ambulance). East Wenatchee Police and Douglas County Fire District No. 2 (East Wenatchee) also assist with police and fire protection services within the city through mutual aid agreements.

Education[edit]

Public K-12[edit]

The former Carnegie Library, also listed on the NRHP, is now home to the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival.
Wells House, another NRHP building. Its former grounds are now home to Wenatchee Valley College.

Public K-12 education in Wenatchee is provided by the Wenatchee School District#246, which also serves the communities of Malaga, Olds Station, South Wenatchee, Sunnyslope, and Wenatchee Heights. The city is served by seven elementary schools which provide education from kindergarten through Grade 5. Columbia, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Mission View, Newbery and Washington Elementary schools provide instruction within, or near, the city limits of Wenatchee, whilst Sunnyslope Elementary provides instruction in the orchard and suburban hills of Sunnyslope, north of Wenatchee. Students then progress to one of the city's three middle schools, Foothills, Orchard, or Pioneer Middle Schools, which provide Grade 6 through Grade 8 instruction within the City Limits. All Wenatchee middle schools transfer their graduating student body up to Wenatchee High School, which operates Grade 9 through Grade 12, with the option for students to enroll in Running Start and attend Wenatchee Valley College for grades 11 and 12, or attend North Central Skills Center in Olds Station. The School District does maintain Westside High School, an alternative high school, and the Valley Academy of Learning, which is an alternative education program where parents play the active role in education of their children.

Wenatchee Internet Academy[edit]

In 2006, the Wenatchee School District#246 began offering students of Wenatchee High School and Westside High School the ability to take selected classes online at the Wenatchee Internet Academy. These classes employ use of Moodle and Blackboard software packages for managing the distance learning program. All classes are designed by educators at Wenatchee High School and operated by local instructors within the Wenatchee School District.

Private K-12 Instruction[edit]

The city is also supported by numerous private schools, most of which are religious, including Children's Gate Montessori School (Pre-K - K, Non-Sectarian), Cascade Christian Academy (K-12 Seventh Day Adventist), The River Academy (K-12 Non-Denominational/Christian), St. Joseph Catholic School (Pre-K-5 Catholic), St. Paul's Lutheran School (K-5 Lutheran Church). [1]

Higher Education[edit]

Wenatchee is also the home of the North Central Educational Service District, serving all of north-central Washington, and the Wenatchee Valley College, a two-year community college with its main campus in Wenatchee and a satellite campus in Omak, Washington. Its main campus has an average student population of 3500 of all ages. Wenatchee Valley College has one of the largest community college service areas in the State of Washington, covering more than 10,000 square miles (30,000 km2). [2]

The Washington State University is represented in Wenatchee by the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, the North Central Washington Learning Center, and Chelan Co. Cooperative Extension.

Transportation[edit]

Bus lines[edit]

Transit services within Wenatchee is provided by "Link Transit", a public transit service in Chelan County and the population centers of Douglas County. Link Transit also runs intercity bus service from Wenatchee to many of the communities in the region. Wenatchee is also served by the AppleLine bus route from Ellensburg to Omak. Link Transit operates two trolley routes, one in Wenatchee and one in East Wenatchee, featuring traditional red streetcars. Link Transit has been an early adopter of electric bus technology, made economically feasible by the region's inexpensive publicly owned hydropower.

Trailways buses also stop at Columbia Station.

Aviation[edit]

The city is served by Pangborn Memorial Airport which is located about 10 miles to the east, and supports commercial flights from Wenatchee to and from Seattle on Alaska Airlines, and Yakima, Washington and Portland, Oregon on "Seaport Airlines".

Railroad[edit]

Wenatchee is in the major railroad line of the BNSF Railway (formerly Great Northern Railway) to Seattle. Wenatchee was once the eastern terminus of the Great Northern electric-driven train service (1928/1929 — 1956) on its New Cascade Tunnel route via the Chumstick Valley, which went all the way to Skykomish. There, steam locomotives or diesel locomotives replaced electric locomotives along this route, as well as having a maintenance base for the electric locomotives. Today, AMTRAK's Empire Builder passenger train serves Wenatchee.

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Wenatchee has five sister cities:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]