When I first arrived in Washington, I heard a lot of strange-sounding names of places. And I wondered where they came from. Naturally I did some investigating.
Wenatchee. This is the name of a city in Washington in Chelan County. It’s interesting how the city got its name. The area was inhabited for thousands of years by an indigenous people called the Wenatchi. A nomadic culture closely bound to nature, they interacted with other tribes. Their diet consisted mainly of salmon, roots, berries and nuts.
Peshastin. This is a small unincorporated community in Chelan County. Similar to Wenatchee, several Indian tribes also inhabited this area long before the European settlers arrived. Before the white man arrived, the area’s inhabitants were the forefathers of the Sioux, or Cherokee, or Iroquois.
Chelan County. In 1899 the counties of Kittitas and Okanagan combined to form Chelan County. The name comes from a Chelan Indian word meaning “deep water.” This is mostly a reference to lake Chelan.
Douglas County. Created in 1883, it is named after U.S. Senator Steven Douglas of Illinois. He was the chairman of the U.S. Commission on Territories when the Territory of Washington was created.
Tumwater. This is an Indian word meaning “strong water” or “falling water.”
Cashmere. The original name was Mission. The name change occurred in 1904 and was named after the Vale of Kashmir in northwest India. However it was given the Americanized spelling instead.
Dryden. This town is named after Canadian horticulturalist and Minister of Agriculture John Dryden.
Monitor. Formerly known as Brown’s Flat, in 1902 the name was changed to honor the USS Monitor that fought for the Union Navy during the American Civil War.
I live in East Wenatchee in Douglas County where there are two main bridges that connect this city to Wenatchee in Chelan County.
The Senator George Sellar Bridge was built in 1950 in order to carry U.S. Route 2 across the Columbia River. It was named after Washington State Senator George L. Sellar. The original name was Columbia River Bridge.
Odabashian Bridge is the second bridge and was formerly known as the Olds Station Bridge. it opened in 1975 and was renamed in 1991 for Richard Odabashian, a state transportation commissioner from Cashmere.
That’s it for geography and history for today.
Have a great Sunday!