Onalaska, Washington

Onalaska is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Lewis County, Washington, United States. Onalaska is located along Washington State Route 508. Onalaska has a post office with ZIP code 98570.[2]

Onalaska, Washington
Onalaska, Washington is located in Washington (state)
Onalaska, Washington
Onalaska, Washington
Coordinates: 46°34′47″N 122°42′37″W / 46.57972°N 122.71028°W / 46.57972; -122.71028Coordinates: 46°34′47″N 122°42′37″W / 46.57972°N 122.71028°W / 46.57972; -122.71028
CountryUnited States
515 ft (157 m)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)360
GNIS feature ID2586742[1]

Use of the name Onalaska in the United StatesEdit

The name for the community comes from the poem, "The Pleasures of Hope" by Scottish poet Thomas Campbell. Onalaska, Washington, Onalaska, Wisconsin, Onalaska, Arkansas and Onalaska, Texas are all historically connected to one another through the lumber industry.[citation needed]


The Onalaska School District provides the community's education.

  • Onalaska Elementary/Middle School is the community's public elementary/middle school
  • Onalaska High School is the community's public high school


Onalaska was built around the inland mill established by the Carlisle Lumber Company in 1909. The smokestack near Carlisle Lake is the last trace of one of the most successful mid-sized sawmills in Washington State. At its peak in 1929, company inventory numbered over 20 million board feet of lumber — enough to stretch all the way to the Panama Canal.

The mill employed a sizeable number of Japanese and Japanese Americans. They lived north of today's State Route 508 and east of Carlisle Avenue. The streets, which ran parallel to Carlisle Avenue were called Oriental Avenue, Nippon Avenue and Tokyo Avenue.

According to "Onalaska", a history of the Carlisle Lumber Company by Vic Kucera the 1940 census showed 62 people of Japanese descent living in Lewis County. Because of their experience in the mill, the local Japanese-Americans were sent to directly to Tulelake camp in California to help with its construction, Kucera writes. The Army needed their help to finish the camp where they would spend the war.

The Lewis County Museum in Chehalis has an exhibit honoring the Japanese and Japanese American internees.


External linksEdit