Asotin County is in the Southeast corner of Washington State. The County was officially chartered on November 12, 1883 when Territorial Governor William Newell approved the law. Asotin County was formed out of the eastern portion of Garfield County. The Snake River is the eastern border of Asotin County and Nez Perce County Idaho, Whitman County borders to the North, Garfield County to the west, and Wallowa County Oregon to the South. Asotin County is approximately 641 Square Miles in size.
The Nez Perce tribes were the original settlers of the area that would become Asotin County. The Nez Perce were nomadic tribes and traveled from the South East of Washington State to the Rockies in Colorado where they would hunt buffalo. Has-shu-tin in Nez Perce means eel which is where the name Asotin originated.
Lewis and Clark arrived in Asotin County in 1805. Initially as the expedition was heading towards the Pacific Ocean. In 1806 on the way back to Missouri Lewis and Clark camped near what today is known as Chief Timothy State Park.
In the 1850’s an Indian reservation was established in the area that would become Asotin County. Later in the 1860’s the reservation was moved to Idaho. Even without the reservation the area had a large population of Native Americans.
The late 1870’s brought settlers to the area. In the area that became known as Anatone was known as a trading center. The town of Asotin was formed in 1880 in 1883 Asotin was named the county seat.
Agriculture grew rapidly during the 1890’s Wheat and barley along with plum, apple and peach orchards grew rapidly.
The Lewiston Clarkston bridge opened in 1899 and this led to the creation of Clarkston. Today Clarkston is the largest town in Asotin County.
During prohibition Asotin County had many illegal stills that created moonshine. The remote rugged topography helped keep the stills hidden. The rugged nature of the county also slowed the modernization of the area. Cars were not common until the 1930’s and electricity did not arrive in some areas until the 1940’s
With the introduction of irrigation county continued to develop a large agricultural presence. In 1965 the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River began construction. In 1975 the Port of Clarkston was opened. The port is the 2nd most inland port in the United States.
Today there are approximately 22 ,000 people who live in Asotin County.
Things to do in Asotin County
Checkout the Asotin County Fair & Hells Canyon Rodeo. Enjoy the rodeo, parade, cowboy breakfasts, and do not forget the kids rodeo. Held the last weekend in April.
Take a jet boat ride through Hells Canyon. The deepest river gorge in the United State. There is bound to be a tour exactly right for you. Jet boats a bit too much? Enjoy a float on the Snake River.
The mild winter weather will allow you to take in a round of golf. There are several golf courses in Asotin County for you to get in a mid-winter round.
Enjoy some of the local wines. Enjoy a wine tour through the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA. Sample some of the region’s top-rated wines.
Cross the Snake River and visit Lewiston Idaho. Here is a link to Wikipedia for Lewiston.
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