Pullman, Washington

Last updated

Pullman, Washington
WSU BryanTower.jpg
Bryan Tower on the Pullman WSU campus at twilight
The Lentil Capital
HIGH Tech, HIGHER Education, HIGHEST Quality of Life -
Whitman County Washington Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Pullman Highlighted.svg
The location of Pullman in Washington
Coordinates: 46°44′N117°10′W / 46.733°N 117.167°W / 46.733; -117.167 Coordinates: 46°44′N117°10′W / 46.733°N 117.167°W / 46.733; -117.167
CountryUnited States
State Washington
County Whitman
Incorporated April 11, 1888
  Type Strong Mayor–Council
   Mayor Glenn Johnson
  Total10.93 sq mi (28.31 km2)
  Land10.93 sq mi (28.31 km2)
  Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
2,352 ft (717 m)
 (2010) [3]
(2019) [4]
  Density3,157.29/sq mi (1,219.01/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code 509
FIPS code 53-56625
GNIS feature ID1531905 [5]
Website pullman-wa.gov

Pullman ( /ˈpʊlmən/ ) is the largest city in Whitman County, located in southeastern Washington state within the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest. The population was 29,799 at the 2010 census, and estimated to be 34,506 in 2019. [6] Originally founded as Three Forks, the city was renamed after industrialist George Pullman in 1884. [7]


Pullman is noted as a fertile agricultural area known for its many miles of rolling hills and the production of wheat and legumes. It is home to Washington State University, a public research land-grant university, and the international headquarters of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. Pullman is eight miles (13 km) from Moscow, Idaho, home to the University of Idaho, and is served by the Pullman–Moscow Regional Airport.


In 1876, about five years after European-American settlers established Whitman County on November 29, 1871, Bolin Farr arrived in Pullman. He camped at the confluence of Dry Flat Creek and Missouri Flat Creek on the bank of the Palouse River. Within the year, Dan McKenzie and William Ellsworth arrived to stake claims for adjoining land. They named the first post office here as Three Forks. In the spring of 1881, Orville Stewart opened a general store and Bolin Farr platted about 10 acres (4.0 ha) of his land for a town.[ citation needed ]

Pullman was incorporated on April 11, 1888, with a population of about 250–300 people. [8] It was originally named Three Forks, after the three small rivers that converge there: Missouri Flat Creek, Dry Fork, and the South Fork of the Palouse River. In 1884, Dan McKenzie and Charles Moore (of Moscow) replatted the site and named it for American industrialist George Pullman. [7]

On March 28, 1890, the Washington State Legislature established the state's land grant college, but did not designate a location. Pullman leaders were determined to secure the new college and offered 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land for its campus. Idaho Territory had established its land grant college in 1889; the University of Idaho was to be in neighboring Moscow. On April 18, 1891, the site selection commission appointed by Washington's governor chose Pullman. On January 13, 1892, the institution opened with 59 students under the name Washington Agricultural College and School of Science. It was renamed the State College of Washington in 1905, more commonly known as "Washington State College," and became Washington State University in 1959. [9] [10]

In 1961, Pullman became a non-chartered code city under the mayor–council form of government. The city has an elected mayor with an elected seven-member council and an appointed administrative officer, the city administrator.


The hilly terrain of the Palouse, which surrounds Pullman Palouse hills northeast of Walla Walla.jpg
The hilly terrain of the Palouse, which surrounds Pullman

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Pullman has a total area of 9.88 square miles (25.59 km2), all of it land. [11] The city is in the eastern part of Whitman County in southeastern Washington, approximately 65 miles (105 km) south of Spokane and 22 miles (35 km) north of Lewiston, Idaho.

The city is situated across several loess hills which characterize the Palouse Prairie, formed from windblown sediment over an estimated period of over one million years. [12] This prairie region, the Palouse, is noteworthy for its fertile rolling hills where winter and spring wheat, barley, lentils, and peas are grown. These hills provide a variety of elevations across the city, from 2342 to 2575 ft (714 to 785 m) above sea level. Downtown Pullman is situated in a valley between these hills. Within the Pullman city limits, the Missouri Flat Creek and Paradise Creek both join the South Fork of the Palouse River. Pullman sits in the watersheds of the Snake River and the Columbia River.

Pullman is situated across four major hills which divide the city into nearly equal quarters. These are:

Military Hill is named for the Pullman Military College that opened its doors in 1891 and burned down in 1893. [13]


Pullman's climate is classified as dry-summer humid continental (Köppen Dsb), using the 0° threshold for mean coldest winter month; it nearly qualifies as having a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb). This climate is typified by hot, dry summers followed by cold, snowy winters with short transitional seasons in between. Due to the rain shadow effect of the Cascade Range to its west, clear skies occur regularly throughout the year and rainfall is drastically less frequent in comparison to cities west of the mountains. Clouds of any variety are especially scant between June and September, which contributes to a diurnal temperature variation that is much higher during the summer compared to winter. Pullman has an annual average of 20.41 inches (518 mm) of precipitation. [14] The normal monthly mean temperature ranges from 25.1 °F (−3.8 °C) in December to 67.7 °F (19.8 °C) in August. [14] The lowest temperature recorded in Pullman is −32 °F (−36 °C) on December 30, 1968, while the highest is 110 °F (43 °C) on August 4, 1961. [15]

Climate data for Pullman–Moscow Regional Airport, Washington (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present [lower-alpha 1] )
Record high °F (°C)59
Mean maximum °F (°C)49.8
Average high °F (°C)37.7
Daily mean °F (°C)31.6
Average low °F (°C)25.6
Mean minimum °F (°C)7.4
Record low °F (°C)−29
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.67
Average snowfall inches (cm)9.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)14.011.512.311.
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source 1: NOAA [14]
Source 2: National Weather Service [15]


Historical population
1890 868
1900 1,30850.7%
1910 2,60298.9%
1920 2,440−6.2%
1930 3,32236.1%
1940 4,41733.0%
1950 12,022172.2%
1960 12,9577.8%
1970 20,50958.3%
1980 23,57915.0%
1990 23,478−0.4%
2000 24,6755.1%
2010 29,79920.8%
2019 (est.)34,506 [4] 15.8%
U.S. Decennial Census [17]

In 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek selected Pullman as the "Best Place to Raise Kids" in Washington. Factors included affordability, safety, a family-friendly lifestyle, the quality of Pullman High School, the presence of Washington State University, and the natural environment of the area. [18]

2010 census

As of the census [3] of 2010, there were 29,799 people, 11,029 households, and 3,898 families living in the city. The population density was 3,016.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,164.5/km2). There were 11,966 housing units at an average density of 1,211.1 per square mile (467.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 79.3% White, 2.3% African American, 0.7% Native American, 11.2% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 1.9% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 5.4% of the population.

There were 11,029 households, of which 17.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.5% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 64.7% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.88.

The median age in the city was 22.3 years. 11.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 51.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.7% were from 25 to 44; 10.5% were from 45 to 64; and 4.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.3% male and 48.7% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 24,675 people, 8,828 households, and 3,601 families living in the city. The population density was 2,740.8 people per square mile (1,058.6/km2).

The racial makeup of the city was:

Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.86% of the population.

The 2000 Census found 9,398 housing units at an average density of 1,043.9 per square mile (403.2/km2). There were 8,828 households, out of which:

The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city, the population was spread out as follows:

The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females, there are 104.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,652, and the median income for a family was $46,165. Males had a median income of $36,743 versus $29,192 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,448. About 15.3% of families and 37.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.0% of those under age 18 and 3.6% of those age 65 or over.


Washington State University is the largest employer in both Pullman and Whitman County. [19] [20]

As part of the Palouse Knowledge Corridor, companies associated with an expanding high-tech industry are at the city's north end, anchored by Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), the largest private employer in the region. [21] [20] The lab company was founded by Edmund Schweitzer, a Ph.D. graduate of WSU. [22] SEL and other firms are within the 107-acre (0.43 km2) Pullman Industrial Park, run by the Port of Whitman County. [23]

Pullman Regional Hospital opened on Bishop Boulevard in late 2004; [24] [25] its predecessor, Pullman Memorial Hospital, was on the WSU campus and shared facilities with the student health center. [24] [26]



Since 1989, Pullman has been home to the National Lentil Festival, a major community event celebrating the lentil legume grown in the surrounding Palouse region. The festival includes a lentil cook-off, Friday night street fair, Saturday parade and music in the park, and more. It is held in Reaney Park on the August weekend before fall semester classes start at WSU. [27]


College sports are popular in Pullman, with most support centered on the Washington State Cougars who compete in the Pac-12 Conference in NCAA Division I. [28] The football team plays at Martin Stadium, and their in-state rivals are the Washington Huskies, with whom the Cougars play an annual rivalry game, the Apple Cup. The women's and men's basketball teams play at Beasley Coliseum, and the baseball team at Bailey–Brayton Field. Moobery Track hosts track and field, and historic Bohler Gymnasium (1928) is the home of women's volleyball. The challenging 18-hole Palouse Ridge Golf Club opened in 2008, an overdue upgrade of the nine-hole WSU course.

The Greyhounds of Pullman High School compete in WIAA Class 2A in District Seven. Historic rivals are the Clarkston Bantams to the south and the Moscow Bears, in adjacent Idaho.



The Pullman School District consists of the following schools: [29]

The city's only public high school, Pullman High School (PHS) has about 700 students. It is on Military Hill. Its mascot for its athletic teams is the greyhound. PHS offers honors and advanced placement courses, along with Running Start course work through WSU and Spokane Falls Community College.

Washington State University

Pullman is the site of the flagship campus of Washington State University (WSU), a member of the Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12) in NCAA Division I. WSU is the second-largest university in the state of Washington, and is well known for its veterinary medicine, business, architecture, engineering, agriculture, pharmacy, and communications schools.


View from west of Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport MoscowPullmanAirport.jpg
View from west of Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport

Pullman is located near the junction of several major highways. U.S. Route 195 and State Route 27 travel north towards the Spokane area, passing through various towns in the Palouse, while State Route 270 follows the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail to Moscow, Idaho.

Pullman is served by the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport two miles (3 km) east of Pullman and four miles (6.5 km) west of Moscow. Horizon Air offers four flights daily from Pullman-Moscow to Seattle and four flights daily from Seattle to Pullman-Moscow. Shuttle service to Spokane International Airport is available. Major bus routes, including Greyhound, pass through Pullman.

The city is also served by Pullman Transit, which provides bus service for residents and WSU students who do not live on campus. WSU students are able to ride without fares by presenting their student ID card, as the university includes a transit fee in tuition.

Notable people


  1. Official records for Pullman were maintained at two locations near the city from January 1893 to June 6, 1998, and, since June 7, 1998, have been kept at Pullman–Moscow Regional Airport. Data coverage at the two pre-airport locations was more sporadic. [16]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moscow, Idaho</span> City in northern Idaho, United States

Moscow is a city in northern Idaho along the state border with Washington, with a population of 25,435 at the 2020 census. The county seat and largest city of Latah County, Moscow is the home of the University of Idaho, the state's land-grant institution and primary research university.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Whitman County, Washington</span> County in Washington, United States

Whitman County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2020 census, the population was 47,973. The county seat is Colfax, and its largest city is Pullman.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Latah County, Idaho</span> County in Idaho, United States

Latah County is a county located in the north central region of the U.S. state of Idaho. As of the 2020 census, the population was 39,517. The county seat and largest city is Moscow, the home of the University of Idaho, the state's flagship until 2012 and land-grant university.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Genesee, Idaho</span> City in Idaho, United States

Genesee is a city in Latah County, Idaho, United States. The population was 955 at the 2010 census, up from 946 in 2000. The city was named for the Genesee region of western New York, although it may also be a modification of the biblical Genesis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Troy, Idaho</span> City in Idaho, United States

Troy is a city in Latah County, Idaho, United States. Located in the eastern part of the Palouse region, its population was 862 at the 2010 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Colfax, Washington</span> City in Washington, United States

Colfax is the county seat of Whitman County, Washington, United States. The population was 2,805 at the 2010 census. 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. 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. It was named after Schuyler Colfax, the vice president from 1869–73.

Washington State University is a public land-grant research university with its flagship, and oldest, campus in Pullman, Washington. Founded in 1890, WSU is also one of the oldest land-grant universities in the American West. With an undergraduate enrollment of 24,278 and a total enrollment of 28,581, it is the second largest institution for higher education in Washington state behind the University of Washington. It is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palouse</span> Geographic region of Northwestern United States dominated by wheat-based agriculture

The Palouse is a distinct geographic region of the northwestern United States, encompassing parts of north central Idaho, southeastern Washington, and, by some definitions, parts of northeast Oregon. It is a major agricultural area, primarily producing wheat and legumes. Situated about 160 miles (260 km) north of the Oregon Trail, the region experienced rapid growth in the late 19th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Idaho Panhandle</span> Region of the U.S. state of Idaho

The Idaho Panhandle—locally known as North Idaho—is a salient region of the U.S. state of Idaho encompassing the state's 10 northernmost counties: Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, and Shoshone. The Panhandle is bordered by the state of Washington to the west, Montana to the east, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north. The Idaho panhandle, along with Eastern Washington, comprises the region known as the Inland Northwest, headed by its largest city, Spokane, Washington.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Martin Stadium</span> American football stadium in Pullman, Washington

Martin Stadium is an outdoor athletic stadium in the northwest United States, on the campus of Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. It is the home field of the Washington State Cougars of the Pac-12 Conference.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pullman–Moscow Regional Airport</span> Airport in Whitman County, Washington

Pullman–Moscow Regional Airport is a public airport in the northwest United States, located in Whitman County, Washington, two miles (3 km) east of Pullman and four miles (6 km) west of Moscow, Idaho. The airport is accessed via spurs from State Route 270, and has a single 7,101-foot (2,164 m) runway, headed northeast–southwest (5/23), which entered service in October 2019. The former runway (6/24) was 6,730 feet (2,051 m) and aligned with Moscow Mountain twelve miles (20 km) to the northeast, the highest summit in the area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Washington State Cougars</span> Intercollegiate sports teams of Washington State University

The Washington State Cougars are the athletic teams that represent Washington State University. Located in Pullman, Washington, WSU is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in NCAA Division I. The athletic program comprises ten women's sports and six men's intercollegiate sports, and also offers various intramural sports.

Christopher Joseph Tormey is a former American football coach.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bert Clark</span> American gridiron football player and coach (1930–2004)

Robert B. Clark Jr. was an American football player and coach. He was the head coach at Washington State University for four seasons, from 1964 through 1967.

The Battle of the Palouse refers to an athletic rivalry in the northwest United States, between the Vandals of the University of Idaho and Cougars of Washington State University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Goodyear</span>

William Goodyear was an American football coach, newspaper editor, publisher, and politician in Whitman County in eastern Washington. He was the first head coach of the Washington State Cougars football team, holding that position for the 1894 college football season. Goodyear was also a newspaper publisher and editor. His newspapers included the Pullman Herald, the Pullman News, the Colfax Commoner in Colfax, Washington, the Palouse City News in Palouse, Washington, and the Pacific Farmers' Union. He was also active in Democratic Party politics and was the party's candidate for United States Congress in Washington's 3rd congressional district in 1908.

The Bill Chipman Palouse Trail is a paved rail trail in the northwestern United States, from Pullman, Washington, eastward to Moscow, Idaho. Completed 24 years ago in 1998, it follows the former Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way and connects the rural university towns on the Palouse across the state border.

North–South Ski Bowl was a modest ski area in the western United States, located in northern Idaho in the Hoodoo Mountains of southern Benewah County.

Palouse Ridge Golf Club is an 18-hole championship golf course in the northwest United States, located at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. On the east edge of campus on the Palouse of the Inland Northwest, it opened for play fourteen years ago in 2008 and is the home venue of the Cougar golf teams of the Pac-12 Conference.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pullman–Moscow combined statistical area</span> Combined statistical area in Washington & Idaho, United States

Pullman–Moscow, WA–ID CSA is the United States Census Bureau's official name for the combined statistical area in the northwest United States that includes the Pullman micropolitan area and the Moscow micropolitan area. The combined population of the two counties was 87,490 as of the 2020 census, and estimated at 88,186 in 2021.


  1. "Pullman City Code". codepublishing.com. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  2. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. 1 2 "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  4. 1 2 "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau. May 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau, Population Division. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  7. 1 2 "Stories to Tell" . Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  8. Bush, Julia. "Pullman Early History 1871-1892" (PDF). Pullman Early History. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  9. "New name for WSC near O.K." Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 4, 1959. p. 2.
  10. "New name near for State College". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 5, 1959. p. 18.
  11. "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  12. Busacca, A.J., 1989. Long Quaternary record in eastern Washington, U.S.A., interpreted from multiple buried paleosols in loess. Geoderma. 45:105-122.
  13. O'English, Mark (2011). "Pullman's Military College". Whitman County Historical Society. Retrieved March 21, 2020.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. 1 2 3 "U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  15. 1 2 "NOAA Online Weather Data". National Weather Service. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  16. ThreadEx
  17. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  18. Bloomberg Businessweek, December 14, 2010
  19. "About Pullman" . Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  20. 1 2 "Pullman is open for business!". Pullman Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  21. "Palouse Knowledge Corridor" . Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  22. https://www.selinc.com/aboutSEL/our_roots/ [ bare URL ]
  23. "Pullman Industrial Park". Port of Whitman County. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  24. 1 2 Dupler, Michelle (December 16, 2004). "Ready for business". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1A.
  25. Nelson, Lorraine (April 19, 1998). "New Pullman hospital aimed at efficiency". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1E.
  26. Sudermann, Hannelore (Spring 2005). "The end of an era". Washington State. (alumni). Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  27. "Home".
  28. "WSU Cougars" . Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  29. "Pullman Public School District #267 / Homepage". Psd267.org. July 19, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2012.

Further reading