Spanaway, Washington

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Spanaway is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 21,588 at the 2000 census. Spanaway is an unincorporated near Tacoma, and is often identified together with the more urban, less wealthy Parkland.

Etymology: The Hudson's Bay Company, headquartered at Fort Nisqually, had control of this region until 1863. Company maps and journals show the company's subsidiary, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, raised cattle, grain, and sheep at "Spanueh Station" on the south and east shores of "Spanueh Lake." Local folklore offers more colorful but false etymology, which unfortunately has been carried into numerous historical accounts. Research in 2010 revealed that Spanueh is the Hudson Bay Company's spelling of "Spadue," from the native Lushootseed dialect, which means "dug roots" referring to an area where camas and other edible roots can be found.

The first white settler to take a donation claim, Henry de la Bushalier, tried to rename the lake after himself. That faded away with his death one year later. In 1890 the area was renamed "Lake Park" as a planned community by the Lake Park Land, Railway and Improvement Company, which bought all the nearby land east of the lake and built a rail line to its "recreation mecca" on the shore of "Spanaway Lake." When Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899, tourists would take the train to its terminus in Lake Park and pick up a motorcade for the rest of the two-day journey to Mount Rainier, making Spanaway the original "gateway" to Mount Rainier.

Although the U.S. Board on Geographic Names recognized the community of "Lake Park" in 1897, it had to very belatedly reverse its decision in 1970 to accept common usage: Spanaway (Spanueh).

The song "The Needle Has Landed" from Neko Case's CD Fox Confessor Brings the Flood mentions Spanaway in passing. Tacoma alternative pop/rock band Seaweed also released an album entitled Spanaway. Long Island, NY band The Movielife also has a song called "Spanaway".



Spanaway is located at 47°5′52″N 122°25′26″W / 47.09778°N 122.42389°W / 47.09778; -122.42389 (47.097887, -122.424016).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.7 square miles (22.6 km²), of which, 8.3 square miles (21.6 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²) of it (4.25%) is water.

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