|Elevation||515 ft (157 m)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||2586742|
Use of the name Onalaska in the United States
The name for the community comes from the poem, "The Pleasures of Hope" by Scottish poet Thomas Campbell. Onalaska, Washington, Onalaska, Wisconsin, Onalaska, Arkansas and Onalaska, Texas are all historically connected to one another through the lumber industry.
The Onalaska School District provides the community's education.
- Onalaska Elementary/Middle School is the community's public elementary/middle school
- Onalaska High School is the community's public high school
Onalaska was built around the inland mill established by the Carlisle Lumber Company in 1909. The smokestack near Carlisle Lake is the last trace of one of the most successful mid-sized sawmills in Washington State. At its peak in 1929, company inventory numbered over 20 million board feet of lumber — enough to stretch all the way to the Panama Canal.
The mill employed a sizeable number of Japanese and Japanese Americans. They lived north of today's State Route 508 and east of Carlisle Avenue. The streets, which ran parallel to Carlisle Avenue were called Oriental Avenue, Nippon Avenue and Tokyo Avenue.
According to "Onalaska", a history of the Carlisle Lumber Company by Vic Kucera the 1940 census showed 62 people of Japanese descent living in Lewis County. Because of their experience in the mill, the local Japanese-Americans were sent to directly to Tulelake camp in California to help with its construction, Kucera writes. The Army needed their help to finish the camp where they would spend the war.
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