Moses Lake

Moses Lake

Moses Lake, city (1990 pop. 11,235), Grant co., central Wash., on Moses Lake; settled 1897, inc. 1938. A distribution and shipping point for the Columbia basin project, it produces are sugar, potatoes, milk, paper, rocket propellant, silicon, chemicals, and frozen foods.

Moses Lake is a city in Grant County, Washington, United States. The population was 14,953 as of the 2000 census. According to the Washington State Office of Financial Management's April 1, 2008 estimate, the city has a population of 18,310. Major attractions include the Sand Dunes ORV Park.


The lake, Moses Lake, on which the town lies, is made up of three main arms over 18 miles (29 km) long and up to one mile (1½ km) wide. It is the largest natural body of fresh water in Grant County and has over 120 miles (190 km) of shoreline covering 6,500 acres (2,600 ha). Before it was dammed in the early 1900s and then incorporated into the Columbia Basin Project, Moses Lake was a smaller, salty, shallow lake. One of its early names was "Salt Lake".. To the south of the town is the beautiful Potholes Wildlife reservation that has a number of "seep" lakes, a vast amount migratory birds and other fauna natural to the area.


Chief Sulktalthscosum, a.k.a. Chief Moses, was born in 1829 and was the chief of the tribe of Native Americans inhabiting this area. They were called Sinkiuse-Columbia (Sin-kah-you) and sometimes Kowalchina and Columbias.

Chief Moses' people lived in the Moses Lake area until he was arrested and tried for murder. In 1878, a white couple was murdered near Rattlesnake Springs by Indians controlled by Chief Joseph. The military, however, blamed the incident on Chief Moses. He was captured near present day O'Sullivan Dam and stood trial in Yakima, where he was found not guilty. Chief Moses then went to Washington, D.C., and met with President Rutherford B. Hayes. He ceded control of the Columbia Basin to the U. S. government, which then opened the area for homesteading.

Named "Neppel" in 1910, later residents voted in 1938 to rename their city to honor Native American Chief Moses, and the city became Moses Lake. The chief’s name had already been given to the lake next to Neppel, Moses Lake, and to a coulee running between Wenatchee and Ephrata. The city served the trading needs of a small group of pioneering farmers who settled on the shores of the lake.

Moses Lake has a long history with its sister city; Yonezawa, Japan. The two cities have been exchanging students every summer for over 20 years. There is a street named after Yonezawa in Moses Lake.

Larson Air Force Base/Grant County Airport

Larson AFB, five miles from the city of Moses Lake, Washington, originally was named Moses Lake Army Air Base. It was activated on November 24, 1942 as a temporary World War II training center. Major Donald A. Larson, for whom the base was later renamed, was from Yakima, Washington.

The Secretary of Defense announced on November 19, 1965 that Larson was to be closed by June 1966. Larson Air Force Base, since renamed Grant County International Airport, is now a world-class heavy jet training and testing facility used by the Boeing Company, Japan Airlines, the U.S. Military and many other air carriers from around the world.

With 4,700 acres (19 km²) and a main runway 13,500 feet (4,100 m) long, it is one of the largest airports in the United States.


Moses Lake is home to Big Bend Community College, and is home to Moses Lake High School. In addition, the school district includes eight elementary schools, two middle schools (as well as one 6-12 school).


Elementary schools

  • Midway Learning Center
  • Discover Elementary
  • Lakeview Elementary
  • Garden Heights Elementary
  • Larson Heights Elementary
  • North Elementary
  • Peninsula Elementary
  • Knolls Vista Elementary
  • Longview Elementary
  • Sage Point Elementary (still in planning phase)

Middle schools

  • Frontier Middle School
  • Chief Moses Middle School

Private schools

  • Moses Lake Christian Academy

High schools

Learning Centers

  • Family Services of Grant County / Head Start
  • Skillsource
  • Columbia Basin Job Corp Civilian Conservation Center


As of the census of 2000, there were 14,953 people, 5,642 households, and 3,740 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,468.6 people per square mile (567.1/km²). There were 6,263 housing units at an average density of 615.1/sq mi (237.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.16% White, 1.69% African American, 1.02% Native American, 1.43% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 15.44% from other races, and 3.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.41% of the population.

There were 5,642 households out of which 35.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.8% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,467, and the median income for a family was $42,096. Males had a median income of $34,945 versus $25,193 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,644. About 11.0% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.7% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.


Public utilities


In downtown Moses Lake is the Surf 'n Slide Waterpark, featuring two 200 ft water slides, an olympic-sized swimming pool, diving boards, a drop slide, zero-depth entrance, full service concessions, a 300 ft lazy river, and Washington state's only FlowRider surfing simulator.

Every late May during Memorial Day weekend the Spring Festival is celebrated.

A new event intended to be an annual event is scheduled for June, 2008. The Moses Lake Water Sports Festival is to coincide with the declaration that Moses Lake is the water sports capital of the Northwest.

Lion's Field, located Downtown near Frontier Middle School, is undergoing remodel after a voter-approved levy. As of April 2, 2008 the FieldTurf portion of the field was completed and the first game held on the new turf was a soccer game between the Moses Lake Chiefs and the Wenatchee Panthers. Unfortunately the game resulted in a loss. However, the Football team opens the completed stadium on September 12th.

Sister city

Moses Lake has one sister city, according to the Washington State Lt. Governor's list of Washington Sister Cities:

Prominent people from Moses Lake

The following people were born in Moses Lake or lived there.


External links

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