Goldendale, Washington

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Goldendale is a scenic rural agricultural city in and the county seat of Klickitat County, Washington, United States,[3] near the Columbia River Gorge. The population within city limits was 3,760 at the 2000 census. A nationally known point of interest is north of town, Goldendale Observatory State Park. The valley area in which Goldendale is located has sweeping and dramatic views of the Cascade Range Mountains 40 mile to west and the Simcoe Hills to the north.



In 1872 the town was given its name by the early homesteader John Golden. The Golden House is still viewable at Columbus and Collins St. in downtown Goldendale. In 1878 Goldendale became the county seat. Other early towns in the county were White Salmon, Lyle, Bingen, Glenwood, Dallesport and Bickleton, all still in existence. Goldendale was officially incorporated on November 14, 1879.

Goldendale has remained the employment, business, commercial and banking center for the valley and, as the county seat, is the location for Klickitat County's courts and government offices. In recent years this small community has suffered from severe economic decline. After a local aluminum plant that once employed many residents closed, the small community struggled economically. The loss of tax base has taken its toll on the funds available for maintaining the city's infrastructure. In recent years there has been an interest in installing wind turbines that would generate power. While it has provided some jobs, this industry has not been the economic solution for which many residents hoped.

On June 9, 1918, William Wallace Campbell, Director of the Lick Observatory in San Jose, CA, and astronomer Heber Curtis journeyed to Goldendale to view a total eclipse. The purpose of the observation was to photograph the sun's corona and the apparent distorted placement of stars due to the sun's gravitational pull on those star's rays while passing by the sun. Lacking proper equipment and instead only using multiple cameras Campbell and Curtis were unable to confirm stars' deflection. However, by November 1919, their efforts would be vindicated by British astronomers and Einstein's Theory of Relativity was confirmed.


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