About Auburn WA
The community of Auburn, Washington was home to some if the earliest pioneers in King County and is situated 20 miles south of Seattle. For over 150 years, Auburn has been a center of industry and business as well as a farming community since it is also located in a fertile river valley. Auburn is situated close to the original confluence of the White and Green Rivers, both of which contain runoff water from the Cascade Mountain range. The valley was originally the home of the Stkamish, Smalhkamish, and Skopamish Indian tribes. Arriving during the 1830’s, traders and explorers were the first white men in the area.
During the 1850’s, pioneers started arriving in the valley. An ambush by Indians killed nine people including some children and women in 1855. Later in 1855, a Lieutenant William Slaughter was leading a military unit when they camped close to what is currently known as Auburn. Later that same year, a group of Indians attacked and killed two other men as well as Lieutenant Slaughter.
The only Indian reservation within the boundaries of King County, known as the Muckleshoot Reservation was established by a new treaty that was written and agreed to. Collectively, the White River tribes came to known as the Muckleshoot tribe.
The Ballard and Neely families, both pioneering families, started returning to the region. The year 1891 brought the incorporation of the community of Slaughter as a town. Although many newer residents felt uncomfortable with the name of Slaughter, there were also many older residents who considered the name of the community to be a memorial. The name of the community was changed to Auburn within two years. The first line of the Oliver Goldsmith poem contains the words Sweet Auburn, which is the namesake of the community.
In 1890, aphids destroyed most of the crops. Up until then, Auburn had been a bustling hub of hop farming. Following that disaster, the farms were primarily berry farms and dairy farms. However, up until 1962 when the Howard Hanson Dam was constructed, flooding was still a problem for the farmers in Auburn. In addition to the Mud Mountain Dam, this dam on the Green River provided controlled management of the river, which left the valley almost free of floods.
The railroad was another boon to the expansion and growth of Auburn. In 1883, a rail line was put through the community by the Northern Pacific Railroad. However, in 1902, the mode of transportation that permitted easy access to both Seattle and Tacoma was the interurban line known as the Seattle-Tacoma line. The Interurban permitted the farmers to get their crop products to the marketplace within hours after they harvested their crops. Better roads in addition to the railroad resulted in several new opportunities for new businesses in Auburn. One of these new businesses was the Northern Clay Company and another made Borden’s Condensed Milk and was known as the Borden Condensery.
Much the same as many small communities in America, all throughout the 1900’s, Auburn grew and expanded. The residents of Auburn were prosperous during the 1920’s. However, in the 1930’s the Great Depression many of the residents of Auburn in need. There was hardship for numerous local Japanese Farmers brought on by WW II when their land was taken from them and they were relocated to internment camps. During this same period of time, were sent to fight in the Pacific, and many died in various battles.
A community college and many more businesses came to Auburn during the postwar era, which was very prosperous to the community. In order to mill sheet metal skin for jet airliners, the Boing Company constructed a large factory in the area in 1963. However, as the land was converted to use by industry, many farms disappeared during this same time period. A large super mall was constructed during the 1990’s, which lured consumers from all over the Puget Sound area.
Although Auburn has been transformed to a community of large industries from a community of small farms, much of the history of the community is still intact. In 1918, a monument in the memory of Lt. Slaughter was erected and is still standing in a local park. The Neely Mansion, which was constructed in 1891 by the son of a white settler, was listed on the national Register of Historic Places after being refurbished. The downtown of Auburn sti8ll has the appearance of Main Street USA.
There are many different specialty shops including jewelry and antique shops located in the historic downtown region, which also features historic architecture. As a result of the frequent events and many different shopping opportunities, it is a popular destination for the locals and tourists alike.
Auburn is home to a thoroughbred racetrack known as Emerald Downs. There are also many different other attractions located in the region, such as:
- The White River Valley Museum
- The Super Mall
- The White River Amphitheater
- The Muckleshoot Casino
- The Iron Horse Casino