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Montesano, Washington


Montesano, Washington

Montesano, Washington
Location of Montesano, Washington
Location of Montesano, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Grays Harbor
 • Total 10.58 sq mi (27.40 km2)
 • Land 10.41 sq mi (26.96 km2)
 • Water 0.17 sq mi (0.44 km2)
Elevation 66 ft (20 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 3,976
 • Estimate (2014)[3] 3,861
 • Density 381.9/sq mi (147.5/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 98563
Area code(s) 360
FIPS code 53-46895
GNIS feature ID 1511681[4]

Montesano is a city in Grays Harbor County, Washington, United States. The population was 3,976 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Grays Harbor County.[5]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
    • 2000 census 3.2
  • Attractions 4
  • Notable people 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Montesano was first settled in 1852 by Isaiah L. Scammon.[6]

According to Edmond S. Meany, in 1860 the county seat of what was then called Chehalis County was moved to "the place of J.L. Scammons". Mrs. Lorinda Scammon was very religious and wished to have the place named Mount Zion. Another early settler, Samuel James, suggested "Montesano" as having a more pleasant sound and meaning about the same. The suggestion was approved and soon after a post office was secured with the name Montesano.[7]


Montesano is located at (46.985865, -123.597726).[8] It is on the north slope of the Chehalis River valley, near the confluence of the Wynoochee River and Chehalis River. The town is bordered on the North by Lake Sylvia and on the west by Sylvia Creek.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.58 square miles (27.40 km2), of which, 10.41 square miles (26.96 km2) is land and 0.17 square miles (0.44 km2) is water.[1]


This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Montesano has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[9] The summer highs are warmer than in Aberdeen courtesy of its inland position. This also renders frequent but most often minor frosts in winter, with the climate retaining a significant maritime influence.

Climate data for Montesano
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 58
Average high °F (°C) 41.8
Daily mean °F (°C) 36.0
Average low °F (°C) 30.3
Record low °F (°C) 1
Source: [10]


2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 3,976 people, 1,563 households, and 1,031 families residing in the city. The population density was 381.9 inhabitants per square mile (147.5/km2). There were 1,684 housing units at an average density of 161.8 per square mile (62.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.2% White, 0.6% African American, 1.7% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.

There were 1,563 households of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.0% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.88.

The median age in the city was 41.4 years. 21.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.1% were from 25 to 44; 28.4% were from 45 to 64; and 16.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,312 people, 1,326 households, and 879 families residing in the city. The population density was 320.4 people per square mile (123.7/km²). There were 1,408 housing units at an average density of 136.2 per square mile (52.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.99% White, 0.12% African American, 1.87% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 2.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.84% of the population.

There were 1,326 households out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,204, and the median income for a family was $42,344. Males had a median income of $41,500 versus $30,096 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,467. About 9.3% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.4% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.


Grays Harbor County Courthouse

A prominent feature of the town is the 1911 Grays Harbor County Courthouse. This is a three-story structure with a domed tower. The interior features murals of local history. Not to be missed is the dent in the front door made by the Sheriff as he fired at a fleeing felon. The motto "come on vacation and leave on probation" was coined for this Grays Harbor County city.

Bordering along the northern edge of the town is Lake Sylvia State Park. Wynooche Valley Road, the road north from Montesano which follows the course of the Wynoochee River, is the access way to the southern quarter of the Olympic National Park.

The annual Festival of Lights is a Holiday celebration that has gone strong for 22 years. Festivities include tours of decorated historic homes, a lighting contest, arts and crafts show, a children's play zone, food vendors, the jingle bell jog, a scavenger hunt, storytelling, tours of the county courthouse and murals, and a pancake breakfast. The highlight of the weekend is the Grand Parade. Other activities include the Yule Log lighting, chowder feed, and caroling.

Notable people

Citizens of Montesano are referred to as Montesanans.[13]

Reuben Hollis Fleet (6 March 1887 – 29 October 1975), born and raised in Montesano, was an American aviation pioneer, businessman and army officer. Fleet founded, among other companies, Consolidated Aircraft. Consolidated Aircraft is well known for the PBY Catalina flying boat and the B-24 Liberator bomber. During World War II the citizens of Montesano purchased war bonds to pay for a B-24 named the Spirit of Montesano.[14] In August 1946, Fleet and his sister, Lillian, bought a parcel of land in Montesano and donated it to the city for Fleet Park, named in honor of their parents. The city subsequently renamed Second Street to Fleet Street in their honor.[15]

Robert "Bob" Gaston Moch (20 June 1914 – 18 January 2005), born and raised in Montesano,[16] was the coxswain of the University of Washington varsity eight-man shell won the gold medal in the 1936 Summer Olympics[17] in Berlin by defeating the favored teams from Germany and Italy in front of Adolf Hitler.

Kurt Donald Cobain (20 February 1967 – 5 April 1994), Nirvana lead singer and guitarist, moved to Montesano with his father as a child, following the divorce of his parents in 1976. Cobain was shuttled between relatives until 1983 when he moved back to his mother's home in Aberdeen, Washington, the city of his birth, during his sophomore year of high school.

Jerry Lambert (8 August 1957), raised in Montesano and graduated from Montesano high school, is a stage, film, and television actor and voiceover artist, best known for his work on the ABC sitcom, Sons and Daughters, as well as commercials for companies including GEICO, Holiday Inn, Bridgestone, and playing a fictional Sony executive for the PlayStation brand named Kevin Butler.

The band Melvins was formed in Montesano.

Adam Bighill, a football player for the BC Lions


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ a b "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ "Montesano".  
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ Majors, Harry M. (1975). Exploring Washington. Van Winkle Publishing Co. p. 116.  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  9. ^ Climate Summary for Montesano, Washington
  10. ^ "Montesano, Washington Temperature Averages". Weatherbase. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  13. ^ The Vidette, July 5, 1962
  14. ^ "Harbor homecoming for the B-17 and B-24".  
  15. ^ The Vidette, August 29, 1946
  16. ^ "Bob Moch, Who Stunned Berlin Olympics, Dies at 90".  
  17. ^ Watson, Emmett (October 25, 1990). "Reliving an Olympic victory with crew member Bob Moch".  

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