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About Tenino

Tenino is a city in Thurston County, Washington, United States. The population was 1,447 at the 2000 census.

History

Tenino was officially incorporated on July 24, 1906, though it existed as a rural community since the mid-1800s. Initially, American settlers were attracted to the open prairies created and maintained by local natives through controlled burns to cultivate camas root, a staple food source. Records indicate the initial settlers' community centered on the prairie approximately 1/2 mile south of the present town. Early residents named their first post office and school "Coal Bank," in the 1860s, a reference to a nearby coal outcropping.

The name Tenino came into use in the 1870s. It is reputedly a Chinook Indian word, which means "fork in the trail." It refers to the site where the Cowlitz Trail between The Columbia River and Puget Sound split, branching to Budd Inlet at Olympia, Washington and Commencement Bay respectively.

Some writers assert Tenino was named after either a train locomotive or a railroad survey stake with the numbers 10-9-0. Art Dwelley, former editor of the Tenino Independent and avid local historian, found no such locomotive or survey marker designations but discovered references to the area as "the tenino" in regional newspapers predating the arrival of the railroad. When the Northern Pacific Railway arrived in 1872 they adopted Tenino as the name of the new station. It also appears informally as "T9O", which reflects the way it's pronounced.

In the late 1800s a number of sandstone quarrying companies began shipping building stone, used in many regional buildings including the Old Capitol Building and the old Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia, Denny Hall at the University of Washington, Seattle, the Pittock Mansion in Portland and several post office buildings, including at The Dalles, Oregon. The US Government also used stone from these quarries to construct coastal jetties at Westport, Washington and elsewhere. The quarries declined in the early 1900s when many builders switched to concrete.

Logging, sawmilling, and coal mining were also well established industries in the area. However, as the timber played out and railroads switched to diesel in the mid 1900s, these industries declined. While Tenino retains its historic business core, the town now serves largely as a "bedroom community," many of its citizens commuting by car to larger cities such as Olympia and Tacoma for work.

Geography

Tenino is located at 46°51′24″N 122°51′01″W / 46.856745°N 122.850290°W / 46.856745; -122.850290 (46.856745, -122.850290).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.2 km2), all of it land.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,447 people, 575 households, and 396 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,720.3 people per square mile (665.1/km2). There were 615 housing units at an average density of 731.1/sq mi (282.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.53% White, 0.83% African American, 1.17% Native American, 3.11% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.94% from other races, and 2.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.80% of the population.

There were 575 households out of which 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,526, and the median income for a family was $41,208. Males had a median income of $31,058 versus $25,972 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,244. About 5.0% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.4% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.

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