Tokeland, Washington

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Tokeland, Washington
Post office in Tokeland Washington 120102012.jpg
Post office in Tokeland
Pacific County Washington Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Tokeland Highlighted.svg
Location of Tokeland, Washington
Coordinates: 46°42′33″N123°59′16″W / 46.70917°N 123.98778°W / 46.70917; -123.98778
Country United States
State Washington
County Pacific
  Total0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)
  Land0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)
  Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
7 ft (2 m)
  Density379.0/sq mi (146.3/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code 360
FIPS code 53-71680 [1]
GNIS feature ID1512729 [2]

Tokeland is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pacific County, Washington, United States. The population was 151 at the 2010 census, a sharp decrease from the 194 at the 2000 census.


The town was named after Chief Toke, an Indian chief of the 19th century. [3]


Tokeland is located in Willapa Bay, by the mouth of the Cedar River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2), all of it land.

Tsunami and inland flooding

During early talks to build a tsunami evacuation tower, studies were undertaken by the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, in conjunction with several local, state, and federal agencies, that determined the Tokeland area could be hit by a tsunami 10-foot tall (3.0 m) within a range of 10 to 22 minutes after an ensuing high-magnitude earthquake. [4]


Tokeland is named after Chief Toke of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe. Toke made the area a summer home for himself and his family, and his presence was first documented there by Lieutenant John Meares after Toke approached Meares' ship in his canoe at the mouth of Willapa Bay in 1788. [5]

In 1854, J. F. Barrows settled on Toke Point, but left only a few years later. No other known settlers appeared in the area until the arrival of George Brown in 1858. [5] In 1885, Brown's daughter Lizzie, and her husband, William Kindred, built the Kindred Inn, which still stands as the current-day Tokeland Hotel. [6] When the town's first post office was established in 1894, the Kindreds operated it, and continued doing so for 17 years. Lizzie Kindred was also partial owner of the Tokeland Oyster Company when it opened in 1905. [5]

Tokeland became a popular enough destination that in 1910, a group of investors from Portland, Oregon sought to develop an amusement park there that would resemble Coney Island, although these plans never materialized. [5]

Similarly to North Cove and other towns on the north side of Willapa Bay, coastal erosion became a serious concern for Tokeland. This, combined with the overall economic pressure affecting the nation during The Great Depression, caused a decline in the area's tourism industry in the 1930s and 1940s. [5] The area's economy received a small boost starting in the 1950s, as recreational boating and fishing, combined with a surge in once-dwindling oyster harvests, rekindled many businesses. This led to the Port of Willapa Harbor making many improvements to Tokeland, including the 1974 addition of a new jetty, moorage, boat ramp, timber seawall, and fish buying station. [7]

Tsunami evacuation tower

The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe built a 50-foot tall (15 m) tsunami evacuation tower in 2022. [8] The freestanding structure was built at a cost $5 million, $1.2 million supplied by the tribal council and an additional $3.8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The tower is considered the first of its type in the United States. [9] In honor of a tribal elder who guided the project to completion, the council bestowed the tower the nickname, "Auntie Lee". [4]


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, Tokeland has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps. [10]


2000 census

As of the census [1] of 2000, there were 194 people, 89 households, and 50 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 379.0 people per square mile (146.9/km2). There were 197 housing units at an average density of 384.8/sq mi (149.1/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.21% White, 5.67% Native American, 1.03% Asian, and 3.09% from two or more races. 43.0% were of American, 14.5% Irish, 9.2% French and 5.7% Finnish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 89 households, out of which 21.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. 38.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.2% 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 2.84.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 20.1% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 18.0% from 25 to 44, 34.5% from 45 to 64, and 21.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.7 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $24,531, and the median income for a family was $30,208. Males had a median income of $14,327 versus $0 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $12,170. About 39.0% of families and 49.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 83.3% of those under the age of eighteen and none of those 65 or over.

2020 census

As of the 2020 census there were 158 people, 171 housing units, and 70 families in the CDP. There were 116 White people, 1 African American, 17 Native Americans, 3 Asians, 2 people from some other race, and 19 people from two or more races. 11 people were of Hispanic or Latino origin. [11]

The ancestry of Tokeland was 15.1% Polish, 9.8% Norwegian, 5.9% Irish, and 3.9% German. [11]

The median age was 37 years old. 29.3% of the population spoke a language at home that was a 'other' language, i.e. not English, Spanish, nor Indo-European or an asian language. 24.9% of the population were older than 65, with 20% being between the ages of 65 to 74, and 4.9% being older than 85. [11]

The median household income was $19,167, and married couples had $28,611. 23.9% of the population were older than 65. [11]

See also

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  1. 1 2 "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  2. "Tokeland". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  3. "Living, working, renewing Nature's best effort". Archived from the original on June 24, 2001. Retrieved May 21, 2023.
  4. 1 2 Zucco, Erica (August 5, 2022). "Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, partners unveil new tsunami evacuation tower". King 5 News (Seattle, Washington). Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 McCausland, Ruth. "Tokeland Hotel: A History" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2019.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. "History of the Tokeland Hotel". Tokeland Hotel. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  7. "Port of Willapa Harbor". HistoryLink. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  8. "Coastal tribe builds tsunami refuge tower in SW Washington". KATU. August 9, 2022. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  9. Libby Denkmann; Tom Banse; Jason Burrows (August 10, 2022). "Exploring North America's first free-standing tsunami tower". Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  10. Climate Summary for Tokeland, Washington
  11. 1 2 3 4 "Explore Census Data". Retrieved May 22, 2023.