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Spanaway, Washington

Spanaway, Washington
Location of Spanaway, Washington
Location of Spanaway, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Pierce
 • Total 8.7 sq mi (22.5 km2)
 • Land 8.3 sq mi (21.6 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)
Elevation 381 ft (116 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 27,227
 • Density 2,592.0/sq mi (1,000.8/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 98387
Area code 253
FIPS code 53-66255[1]
GNIS feature ID 1512680[2]

Spanaway is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 27,227 at the 2010 census. Spanaway is an unincorporated area near Tacoma, and is often identified together with the more urban, less wealthy Parkland.

Spanaway's main business thoroughfare is Pacific Avenue South, which is a north-south road that coincides with State Route 7 through the Spanaway area.

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, New York band The Movielife also has a song called "Spanaway".


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Surrounding communities 2.1
  • Demographics 3
  • Notable residents 4
  • Notable sites 5
    • Sites in Spanaway 5.1
    • Sites near Spanaway 5.2
  • Education 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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 Pugets Sound Agricultural Company, raised cattle, grain, and sheep at "Spanueh Station" on the south and east shores of "Spanueh Lake." Spanueh is the Hudson Bay Company's spelling of the native Lushootseed spadue, which means "dug roots" referring to an area where camas and other edible roots can be found. Lushootseed underwent a loss of nasal consonants in the 1800s, so "Spanueh" simply transcribes an older pronunciation of what is now "Spadue".[3]

The first white settler to take a donation claim by the lake, 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 from there make the two-day journey to Mount Rainier, making Spanaway the original "gateway" to Mount Rainier. The journey was made by stagecoach, with an overnight stop in Eatonville; the route was in operation as early as 1893.[4]

On April 12, 1951, Lieutenant John W. Hodgkin flew his ski-equipped Piper J-3 Cub from Spanaway Air Strip to the top of Mount Rainier (14,410 feet), establishing a world record for a high-altitude landing. He was charged in federal court with landing a private aircraft in a national park without permission and was fined $350.[5]

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).


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.

Surrounding communities


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 21,588 people, 7,659 households, and 5,820 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,592.0 people per square mile (1,000.6/km²). There were 7,963 housing units at an average density of 956.1/sq mi (369.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 71.13% White, 9.11% African American, 1.61% Native American, 6.34% Asian American, 2.12% Pacific Islander, 2.15% from other races, and 7.55% from two or more races.

There were 7,659 households out of which 40.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.0% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the CDP the age distribution of the population shows 30.0% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $46,210, and the median income for a family was $50,076. Males had a median income of $35,525 versus $26,758 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,928. About 7.8% of families and 10.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.

Notable residents

Notable sites

Sites in Spanaway

  • Spanaway Airport
  • Shady Acres Airport
  • Spanaway Park
  • Spanaway Lake
  • Spanaway Historical Society
  • Prairie House Museum
  • Lake Spanaway Golf Course
  • Classic Golf Club
  • Spanaway Park Shopping Center
  • Spanaway Village Shopping Center
  • Sunbird Shopping Center
  • LeMay Family Collection Foundation

Sites near Spanaway


Public schools in Spanaway are part of the Bethel School District.

  • Elementary schools:
    • Camas Prairie Elementary School
    • Elk Plain School of Choice Elementary School
    • Evergreen Elementary School
    • Pioneer Valley Elementary School
    • Shining Mountain Elementary School
    • Spanaway Elementary School
    • Thompson Elementary School
  • Junior high schools:
    • Bethel Junior High School
    • Cedarcrest Junior High School
    • Liberty Junior High School
    • Spanaway Junior High School
    • Cougar Mountain Middle School
  • Private school:
    • Bethel Baptist Christian School (grades K4-12)


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^ Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa; Kinkade, Marvin Dale, eds. (June 1998). Salish Languages and Linguistics: Theoretical and Descriptive Perspectives. Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 107.  
  4. ^ Early Eatonville
  5. ^ McClary, Daryl (2008-01-28). "Lieutenant John W. Hodgkin, U.S. Air Force, lands his ski-equipped Piper Cub on top of Mount Rainier on April 12, 1951".  

External links

  • Celebrate! Spanaway, website for all things Spanaway
  • Spanaway Water Company
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