Colfax is the county seat of Whitman County, Washington, United States. The population was 2,805 at the 2010 census. Take a look below for our list of 20 fascinating and fun facts about Colfax, Washington, United States.
1. The population is estimated at 2,911 per the State of Washington Office of Financial Management in 2018 making Colfax the second largest city in Whitman County behind Pullman.
2. It is situated amidst wheat-covered hills in a valley at the confluence of the north and south forks of the Palouse River. U.S. Route 195, which forms the town’s main street, intersects with State Route 26 at the north end of town; in the past, Colfax also lay at the junction of three major railway lines.
3. It was named after Schuyler Colfax, the vice president from 1869–73.
4. Palouse Indians were the first known human inhabitants of the Colfax area.
5. White settlers arrived in the summer of 1870, and soon built a sawmill.
6. A flour mill and other businesses followed, and Colfax soon grew into a prosperous town. Originally, pioneer citizen James Perkins called the settlement “Belleville” in honor of his girlfriend; when he found a new love, he changed the town’s name to Colfax, for vice president Schuyler Colfax.
7. Colfax was officially incorporated on November 29, 1873. In 1889–90, the town vied with several other finalists to become the site of a new state agricultural college, present-day Washington State University.
8. The honor ultimately fell to nearby Pullman, fifteen miles (25 km) southeast.
9. The early history of Colfax was marred by prominent lynchings in 1894 and 1898.
10. The city incurred significant flooding in 1910 in early March.
11. Until passed by Pullman at the 1930 census, Colfax was the largest city in the county.
12. Among the town’s other amenities are Leonard Jennings Elementary School, Colfax High School, Whitman Community Hospital, multiple retirement facilities (Hill-Ray Plaza, Whitman Nursing Home, and The Courtyard), Paul’s Place Assisted Living, eleven city parks, a skateboard park, a swimming pool and a public library.
13. As the county seat, Colfax is also home to the Whitman County Courthouse and the Whitman County Jail.
14. The local government consists of a seven-member city council and a mayor (currently G. Todd Vanek, in his second term).
15. The population has hovered near 3,000 since 1910.
16. As of the census of 2010, there were 2,805 people, 1,236 households, and 718 families residing in the city.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Colfax lies at the intersection of U.S. Route 195 and State Route 26, which provide onward connections to Seattle, Spokane, and Pullman.
20. The city is infamous for speed traps, with a 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) speed limit on US 195 within city limits, and increases enforcement during Washington State University events, including football games.