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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Colfax, Washington

Found this on Wikipedia and thought that it would give a better picture of what Colfax was like since both of my Maternal Grandparents lived there.,_Washington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colfax is a city in Whitman County, Washington, United States. It is situated amidst wheat-covered hills in a valley at the confluence of the Palouse River's north and south forks. Route 195, which forms the town's main street, intersects with Route 26 here; in the past, Colfax also lay at the junction of three railway lines. It is the Whitman CountyGR6 seat and was named after Grant's Vice President, Schuyler Colfax. The population was 2,844 at the 2000 census

Palouse Indians were the first known human inhabitants of the Colfax area. White settlers arrived in the summer of 1870, and soon built a sawmill. A flour mill and other businesses followed, and Colfax soon grew into a prosperous town. Originally, pioneer citizen James Perkin called the settlement "Belleville" in honor of his girlfriend; when he found a new love, he changed the town's name to Colfax.[1]

Colfax was officially incorporated on November 29, 1881. In 1889-1890, the town vied with several other finalists to become the site of a new agricultural college, present-day Washington State University; the honor, however, ultimately fell to nearby Pullman.

The population reached 3,500 in 1903, and has hovered near 3,000 ever since.[2]

Colfax notables
Either born, raised, or made Colfax their home.

Dinsmore Alter, astronomer and meteorologist
Yakima Canutt, rodeo champion and Hollywood stuntman
William La Follette, politician, U.S. House of Representatives from Washington
Abe Goff, politician, Republican U.S. House of Representatives from Idaho
John A. Kitzhaber, Governor of Oregon, 1995-2002.
Morten Lauridsen, composer of classical music
Virgil T. McCroskey, 1876-1970, an amateur conservationist who created two state parks: Steptoe Butte state park in Washington and Mary Minerva McCroskey State Park in Idaho. A pharmacist until 1920, McCroskey owned the Elk Drugstore on Main Street, the facade of which still bears his name.
Kate Bigelow Montague, (5 May 1885 - 30 October 1984) A novelist, author, and journalist. She also made amateur travel films of primarily southeast Asia, Europe and North America ca. the mid to late 1930s.[3]
Robert Osborne, Hollywood historian and journalist, prime-time host of Turner Classic Movies. As a teenager, he worked at The Rose, a long-defunct movie theater in downtown Colfax, and broke both arms while putting Elizabeth Taylor's name on the marquee.[4]

Geography and Climate

Colfax is surrounded by steep aeolian hills, often harboring wheatfields; this one lies just outside town on the south sideColfax is located in southeastern Washington at 46°53′3″N, 117°21′49″W (46.884033, -117.363668)GR1, at an elevation of 1962 feet. The nearest cities are Spokane and Lewiston/Clarkston. The area is geologically interesting, lying in the midst of the fertile Palouse country, with the Rocky Mountains to the east, the Channeled Scablands to the west, and the Snake River to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 km² (1.7 mi²). 4.3 km² (1.7 mi²) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water. The Palouse River, confined for flood control to a concrete bed that reduces it to an eighteen-inch-wide stream during the dry season, runs through the middle of town, parallel to Main Street.

Colfax has a four-season climate, with hot, dry summers, cold winters, and a rainy season that generally runs from autumn til spring. The annual rainfall averages less than 20 inches a year. This climate, together with the deep, rich palouse topsoil, makes for near-ideal wheat growing conditions.

Community resources

Tourist attractions

The Codger Pole is a chainsaw-carved monument by master carver Jonathan LaBenne. It is located on Main Street and commemorates a 1988 rematch, 50 years after the original 1938 game, between archrival football teams from Colfax High School and St. John. At 65 feet tall, it is the largest sculpture of its type in the world, and consists of portraits, carved into five upended red cedar logs, of the 51 players involved. The players are shown in old age but are wearing the football uniforms of the thirties.
The Perkins House, on Perkins Avenue, is a meticulously restored Victorian home built in 1886. The original owner was James Perkins, a leading pioneer citizen. The Perkins family occupied the home until 1968, by which time it was sadly dilapidated and slated for demolition. In 1970, the Whitman County Historical Society assumed ownership and began restoring the house, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Behind the house is a log cabin, built in 1870, where Perkins lived for sixteen years. This cabin is the oldest standing structure in Whitman County. The house is open for tours from May to September, on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Colfax Golf Course and Country Club is a nine-hole course beside the river on North Palouse River Road.
McDonald Park, located immediately north of the golf course, consists of playing fields surrounded by a paved walking/jogging path. Regional baseball and softball tournaments are hosted here.
The Colfax Trail is a three-mile path converted from a disused railway line. It begins at a gravel quarry off Highway 26, just beyond the town's western limit, and follows the Palouse River westward, traversing cow pastures, pine woods, wetlands, and basalt cliffs.

Public services, businesses, and churches
Among the town's other amenities are a public school, a library, and a hospital, several city parks, a skateboard park, and a swimming pool. As the county seat, Colfax is also home to the Whitman County Courthouse and the Whitman County Jail. The local government consists of a seven-member City Council and a mayor (currently Norma Becker, serving her fifth term).

There is a small assortment of businesses, including building and farm supply stores, a medium-sized grocery (Rosauers), a pharmacy, a fitness center, a florist, a coffee stall, four gift shops, a pawn shop, and ten restaurants. Local service-based businesses include lawyers, dentists, auto mechanics, banks, and retirement homes. lists nine churches in Colfax, including one Catholic Church , one Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka LDS or Mormon), and various Protestant and non-denominational churches.

A weekly newspaper called Whitman County Gazette is published in Colfax.

Annual Events
Palouse Plowing Bee and Palouse Empire Threshing Bee– held respectively on the third weekend in April and the first weekend after Labor Day. Farmers demonstrate traditional plowing and harvesting methods in a 15-acre field five miles west of town.
Perkins House Ice Cream Social – Held on the last Sunday in June on the lawn of the Perkins House; ice cream, pie, live Dixieland music, displays, and free house tours.

The Palouse River, south fork, in downtown Colfax. This photo was taken in September, at the end of the dry seasonConcrete River Days – A summer festival held on the second weekend in July, with a parade, sidewalk sales, and many outdoor activities; so named because the Palouse riverbed in downtown Colfax has been lined with concrete for the sake of flood control, and the water descends into a narrow central channel during the dry season.
Palouse Empire Fair – Held in early September five miles west of town; a midway, a rodeo, live music, and barns full of livestock and handicrafts.
Lighted Christmas Parade– a night parade held in downtown Colfax, Mill Street, on the first Tuesday in December. Festive floats, free candy, special programs at the public library, and Santa Claus.

As of the 2000 censusGR2, there were 2,844 people, 1,191 households, and 740 families residing in the city. The population density was 657.5/km² (1,705.6/mi²). There were 1,357 housing units at an average density of 313.7/km² (813.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.16% White, 0.25% African American, 0.84% Native American, 2.07% Asian, 0.60% from other races, and 2.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.48% of the population.

There were 1,191 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 35.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 22.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years, well above the national average of 35.3--possibly due to the presence of several retirement communities. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,622, and the median income for a family was $47,589. Males had a median income of $32,188 versus $26,349 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,519. About 6.1% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.

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