Pe Ell, Washington

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Pe Ell is a town in Lewis County, Washington, United States. The population was 657 at the 2000 census.



Pe Ell was officially incorporated on March 9, 1906.

There have long been several versions of how Pe Ell was named, none of which can be authenticated. One of those versions, and the more accepted one, is that the name comes from the attempts of the local Indians to pronounce the first name of an early French-Canadian settler, Pierre Charles, who was an ex-Hudson Bay employee. This version has it that the Indians could not pronounce Pierre, and their attempts turned it into Pe Ell. Another version is that P and L were the first initials for Pierre Charles and his Indian wife. Two words were made from the initials: “Pe Ell”. Another distinct version is that Charlie Pershell, a Frenchman, settled in the area and married an Indian maiden. The Indians found it difficult to sound out the “sh” in Pershell so it became Pe Ell.[3]

Pe Ell was incorporated March 5, 1906, though the earliest settlers date back to the mid-1800s. In 1855, a homesteader named Peter P. Ells lived near the current underpass on Highway 6, near the present location of the New Harvest Church on Mauermann RD. He is believed to the one of the first, if not the first, homesteaders in the area. On the census map was listed as Peter P. Ells [P. Ells].It was fitting that the taxman (census takers) would say they were going to P. Ells. His ethnicity was listed as neither white nor black. In 1897, the North Pacific Railway built a railroad depot in the town. In 1907 Pe Ell's population was around 1,000 -- larger than it is today. The rich agricultural and timber resources of the region attracted farmers, millworkers, and loggers. By 1909, the town had a bank, three dry goods stores, two general stores, three grocery stores, two barber shops, five saloons, four hotels, a newspaper, a blacksmith, and even an opera house.

Home of the 2010 state of Washington 2B basketball Champs


Pe Ell is located at 46°34′17″N 123°17′49″W / 46.57139°N 123.29694°W / 46.57139; -123.29694 (46.571415, -123.296842).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 657 people, 248 households, and 174 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,099.7 people per square mile (422.8/km²). There were 289 housing units at an average density of 483.7/sq mi (186.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.15% White, 0.30% African American, 2.28% Native American, 0.91% Asian, 0.61% Pacific Islander, 1.07% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.28% of the population. 23.5% were of American, 15.1% English, 12.8% German, 9.9% Irish and 8.5% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.

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