Hole in The Ground, K-Town
|• Total||0.38 sq mi (0.98 km2)|
|• Land||0.38 sq mi (0.98 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||902 ft (275 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||507.89/sq mi (196.26/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1505893|
Kahlotus (//) is a city in Franklin County, Washington, United States. The population was 193 at the 2010 census. The Washington State Office of Financial Management's 2015 estimate placed the population at 190.
The first organized settlement of Kahlotus was by German immigrants, imported by the railroads, in around 1880. Among these settlers were several locally recognized pioneer families, including Hans Harder, who first platted the town in 1902 under the name "Hardersburg". The town was later renamed Kahlotus. The meaning of the word "Kahlotus" is uncertain. According to toponymist William Bright the name derives from the Sahaptin placename /kalúːt'as/. It is believed by many that it is a Native American word meaning "Hole in the ground. A third possibility is that the town was named for a Palouse tribal chief and signer of the Yakima Treaty of 1855. His name appeared with various spellings, including Kohlotus, Quillatose (by future governor Isaac Stevens), Qalatos, and Kahlatoose.
Harder's platting of the town coincided with the reinstatement of service on the Oregon & Washington Railroad & Navigation line between LaCrosse and Palouse Junction (now Connell), crossing the north end of town parallel to present-day Highway 260. Soon after, the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad began construction on a second railroad on the south shore of nearby Kahlotus lake, including tunnels through the basalt cliffs near the southeast corner of town. Kahlotus was officially incorporated on May 31, 1907. The town boomed during construction of the railroad, local legend claims that nearly 20 saloons, a bank, newspaper, brothels, and other businesses appeared to serve the rail crews.
Dryland farming has historically constituted the majority of the local economy. Relatively little irrigated agriculture occurs in the area, supported by local wells. The Columbia Basin Irrigation Project does not deliver water to Kahlotus.
In 1969, the initial phase of the Lower Monumental Dam was completed nearby, bringing more electricity and water for irrigation, but inundating the nearby Marmes Rockshelter. The dam also made the Snake River navigable, allowing grain to be barged downriver rather than being carried by train. Within a few years, the railroad through the north end of the valley was abandoned and removed. The Burlington Northern tracks along the south end of the lake bed and Devils Canyon were abandoned and removed in the late 1980s, and the right of way became part of the Columbia Plateau Trail State Park.
Kahlotus lake, near the east edge of town, was a highly alkaline, spring fed lake and was once a popular fishing spot full of bass and crappie. Several times in the early 20th century, the lake swelled with runoff and flooded the lower-lying portions of town. However, the lake shrank rapidly through the 1990s, and by 2000 only a small marshy area remained at the east end of the lake bed, far from town. Most likely, the lake disappeared due to a combination of several consecutive years of below average rainfall and increases in irrigation withdrawals within the valley.
The residents of the Kahlotus area are involved in cattle and wheat farming, as well as work for various government agencies, including the Corps of Engineers at Lower Monumental Dam, Lyons Ferry Fish Hatchery, and Coyote Ridge Corrections Facility.
The Kahlotus School District serves the area and has never had a graduating class larger than 12 in its history. The first schoolhouse was built in 1916 and was a two-story school house that housed every class from 1916–1954. The graduating class of 1955 enjoyed the new building completed in 1954 at its present site. Renovations have been completed over the years with extensive upgrades in the 1990s and 2000s. The Senior Class of 2012 only had 2 students, while the Classes of 2013 and 2014 had 3 graduates.
Kahlotus lies on the floor of Washtucna Coulee at the junction of three state highways. State Route 21 has its southern terminus in Kahlotus, from which it runs north all the way to the Canadian border. State Route 260 passes through Kahlotus as it follows the path of the coulee from Connell in the west to Washtucna in the east. State Route 263 has its northern terminus in Kahlotus, from which it extends through the Devils Canyon to the Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake River six miles south of the city. The Columbia Plateau Trail passes through Kahlotus, entering the city from the east along Washtucna Coulee before turning south into the Devils Canyon.
Being located on the floor of a coulee puts Kahlotus at relatively lower elevation than the surrounding terrain. The steep walls of the coulee rise hundreds of feet dramatically to the north and south of the city center.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 193 people, 88 households, and 56 families residing in the city. The population density was 410.6 inhabitants per square mile (158.5/km2). There were 114 housing units at an average density of 242.6 per square mile (93.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.7% White, 0.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.6% Asian, 3.6% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.3% of the population.
There were 88 households, of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.4% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.66.
The median age in the city was 47.8 years. 19.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.1% were from 25 to 44; 43% were from 45 to 64; and 12.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 53.9% male and 46.1% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 214 people, 89 households, and 51 families residing in the city. The population density was 523.2 people per square mile (201.5/km2). There were 113 housing units at an average density of 276.3 per square mile (106.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.05% White, 0.93% African American, 0.93% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 9.35% from other races, and 3.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.21% of the population.
There were 89 households, out of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.6% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 27.1% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 132.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 122.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,750, and the median income for a family was $38,958. Males had a median income of $31,786 versus $25,179 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,617. About 11.6% of families and 19.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.5% of those under the age of eighteen and none of those 65 or over.
- Phillippay, Minola C. Kahlotus is Home. Steamboat Pilot, c. 1973.
- Swart, Phillip. Hole in the Ground; Tales of Kahlotus. Seattle: Sand Hill Books, c. 1997.
- "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau. May 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 196. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
- "Kahlotus Quadrangle". usgs.gov. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- Climate Summary for Kahlotus, Washington
- United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 29, 2013.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.