Othello, Washington

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Othello is a city in Adams County, Washington, United States. The population was 5,847 at the 2000 census. Othello refers to the city as being in the “Heart” of the Columbia Basin Project. It is located approximately 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Spokane, 180 miles (290 km) east of Seattle, and about 25 miles (40 km) south of Interstate 90, at the intersection of SR 17 and SR 26.

Othello has many outdoor recreation opportunities[3]. The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is about 5 miles (8.0 km) away with 23,200 acres (94 km2) of land for hiking, fishing, biking and wildlife viewing.[3] Othello also has a few public golf courses.[3]



The first white settlers in the area were two brothers, Ben and Sam Hutchinson, who built a cabin along the Crab Creek in 1884. An influx of homesteaders began after the turn of the century, and a post office was established in 1904. The post office was named Othello after a post office also called Othello in Roane County, Tennessee.

The Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railroad ran a track through Adams County in 1907. The railroad officially platted the town as a stop, with water to feed the boilers of steam trains. They kept the name Othello, and build a railyard and wooden roundhouse there. Although the roundhouse burned in 1919, it was replaced with a brick structure which lasted many years. Businesses and settlers continued to follow, and the town was incorporated May 31, 1910.[4] At the time the railroad was the eastern terminus of the second electrified district of the Milwaukee Road's "Pacific Extension" route, which extended up to Tacoma, Washington.

The Bureau of Reclamation located offices in Othello in 1947, which prevented the decline of this town with the decline of rail shipping after WWII. In the early 1950s, the Columbia Basin Project brought irrigation to the Othello area, increasing both agriculture and commerce. Prior to this, water came only from Crab Creek and from local wells. The water arrived via the East Canal between Billy Clapp Lake and Scootenay Reservoir in Franklin County. Once there was irrigation available, a land drawing was held in Othello. On May 31, 1952 42 names were drawn (of more than 7000 submitted) for the privilege of purchasing this newly-desirable acreage.[5]

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