Moses Lake, Washington

Moses Lake, Washington
—  City  —
Aerial view of Moses Lake & Potholes Reservoir
Coordinates: 47°7′16″N 119°17′18″W / 47.12111°N 119.28833°W / 47.12111; -119.28833Coordinates: 47°7′16″N 119°17′18″W / 47.12111°N 119.28833°W / 47.12111; -119.28833
Country United States
State Washington
County Grant
 - Total 12. sq mi (30.9 km2)
 - Land 10.2 sq mi (26.4 km2)
 - Water 1.8 sq mi (4.5 km2)
Elevation123 1,070 ft (326 m)
Population (July 2011)
 - Total 657,234
 - Density 1,511/sq mi (567/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT fhfh (UTC-7)
ZIP code 98837
Area code(s) 509
FIPS code 53-47245[1]
GNIS feature ID 1512481[2]
Moses Lake War Memorial

Moses Lake is a city in Grant County, Washington, United States. The population was 20,366 as of the 2010 census.[3] Moses Lake is the largest city in Grant County.



Moses Lake, on which the city 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".[4] To the south of the town is the Potholes Wildlife reservation that has a number of seep lakes and vast amounts of migratory birds and other fauna natural to the area.

WAMap-Moses Lake.png


Before the construction of Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in 1941 and Larson Air Base in 1942 the area was largely barren. Native Americans knew the area as Houaph, which meant willow. Chief Moses was leader of the Sinkiuse tribe from 1859 to 1899, and was forced to negotiate with white settlers who began to settle in the area in the 1880s. Under pressure from the government, Chief Moses traded the Columbia Basin land for a reservation that stretched from Lake Chelan north to the Canadian border. The government quickly realized that was a mistake and later traded again for what is now the Colville Tribes’ reservation. The new settlers named the lake in honor of the chief, however, and established a small town in 1911 they called Neppel, after a town in Germany where one of the settlers had lived. The first settlers established fisheries and farms — some of the first exported items were carp, jackrabbits and fruit — but irrigation attempts failed and settlers left at about the same rate as they came. When the town was incorporated and renamed Moses Lake in 1938, the population was estimated at 301 people. Arrival of the air base in 1942 and irrigation water pumped from Grand Coulee Dam in 1955 offered newcomers a reason and a way to settle in an area that previously had little to offer other than good fishing and a place to water sheep and cattle. Moses Lake was quickly transformed into a hub for a vast region where transportation, agriculture and recreation came together. The air base was built to train World War II pilots to fly the P-38 Lightning and B-17 Flying Fortress, two planes that were essential to the war effort. The base was closed after the war ended, but reopened in 1948 as a U.S. Air Force base and test area for Boeing’s B-47 Stratojet and B-50 Superfortress. The B-47 tests led to development of modern commercial jetliners still used today. Fighter jets were stationed there to protect Grand Coulee Dam to the north and the Hanford site to the south. Boeing still uses the airport as a test and evaluation facility for its aircraft. Japan Airlines used the airport as a training area from November 1968 until March 2009. The old air base is now owned by the Port of Grant County and home to Grant County International Airport, Big Bend Community College and several businesses. Farmers, meanwhile, had developed new methods to irrigate water from the lake and from the Columbia River and began planting expansive irrigated acreage. When the Columbia Basin Project was completed in the mid-1950s, farms expanded by thousands of acres, growing potatoes, corn, onions, carrots and sugar beets. In little more than a decade, Moses Lake’s population grew from 300 to 2,679 in 1950. Today, the population is 20,366.

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, the U.S. Military and NASA.[5] Columbia Pacific Aviation now handles charter passenger service to and from Moses Lake.[6]

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 Public Library, showing its distinctive hyperbolic-paraboloid roof



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
  • Park Orchard Elementary

Middle schools

  • Frontier Junior High School
  • Chief Moses Middle School

Private schools

  • AIM School (Kindergarten and 1st Grade)
  • Glenn J. Kimber Academy
  • Moses Lake Christian Academy
  • Crest View Christian School

High schools

Learning Centers

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



Historical populations
Census Pop.
1940 328
1950 2,679 716.8%
1960 11,299 321.8%
1970 10,310 −8.8%
1980 10,629 3.1%
1990 11,235 5.7%
2000 14,953 33.1%
2010 20,366 36.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[1] 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 per square mile (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. It should be noted that the population of the Moses lake School District board boundaries service area is 39,664 (people living in the district).

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.


Unlike nearby Seattle, Moses Lake has a very dry climate, and is sometimes called a desert.

Moses Lake, WA climate is warm during summer when temperatures tend to be in the 80's and somewhat cold during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 30's.

The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum temperature of 88.20 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 21.70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and fairly limited during winter with an average difference of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

The annual average precipitation at Moses Lake is 7.69 Inches. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. In mid-summer though, it is not unusual for a month or six weeks to pass without any measurable rainfall.[7] The wettest month of the year is December with an average rainfall of 1.19 Inches

Climate data for Moses Lake, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 61
Average high °F (°C) 34
Average low °F (°C) 22
Record low °F (°C) −22
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.83
Source: The Weather Channel[8]


Moses Lake's economy in the past has been mainly supported by the vast amount of agricultural business there. However in recent years Moses Lake and its surrounding area has experienced a considerable amount of growth in manufacturing & technology. Due to the availability of affordable power & inexpensive land many companies have moved to the area, including REC Silicon (one of the world’s largest manufacturers of polysilicon, used in solar panels), as well as tech companies including Microsoft, Yahoo and Intuit who have built large data storage facilities in Moses Lake and other nearby cities. Moses Lake has also attracted some alternative fuel companies, such as Washington Ethanol & Washington Biodiesel.

BMW, in partnership with the SGL Group, broke ground in July of 2010 to begin construction of a $100 million carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Moses Lake. Hiring of approximately 80 permanent employees is set to begin in 2011 and should increase to 200 full-time positions.

Local Media


Every late May during Memorial Day weekend the Spring Festival is celebrated. The festival includes carnivals & parades as well as many other family activities.

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. The FieldTurf portion of the field is completed and the first game held on the new turf was a soccer game between the Moses Lake Chiefs and the Wenatchee Panthers. The Football team opened the completed stadium on September 12, 2008.

Larson Field is located off of Broadway and is host to the Moses Lake Pirates of the West Coast League. Other teams in the league's East Division include Coeur d'Alene, Kelowna, Walla Walla and Wenatchee. The West consists of Bellingham, Bend, Corvallis, Cowlitz (Kelso - Longview) and Kitsap (Bremerton).

Sister cities

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

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 and a street named after Moses Lake in Yonezawa.

Prominent people from Moses Lake

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

  • Jason Buck - NFL Defensive Lineman - born in Moses Lake July 27, 1963
  • Matt Cedeño - Actor - born in Moses Lake November 14, 1973
  • Ryan Doumit - MLB catcher for the Minnesota Twins - born and raised in Moses Lake
  • Clarence Gilyard Jr. - Actor who played in Matlock and Walker, Texas Ranger - born there December 24, 1955 who
  • Dave Heaverlo - MLB Pitcher - born in Ellensburg, Washington but grew up in Moses Lake
  • Joe Hooper - Medal of Honor recipient in Vietnam
  • Evel Knievel - Daredevil - lived in Moses Lake for some time[9]
  • Reid Stowe - Sailor, Adventurer - born January 6, 1952, on Larson Air Force Base near Moses Lake
  • Martha Thomsen - Model - born in Moses Lake January 25, 1957
  • Kirk A. Triplett - PGA golfer - born in Moses Lake March 29, 1962
  • Joseph J. Tyson - Roman Catholic bishop of Yakima diocese
  • Bryan Warrick - NBA player of the Washington Bullets, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Indiana Pacers - born in Moses Lake
  • Caitlynn Lawson - contestant on So You Think You Can Dance (season 8) - born in Moses Lake [10]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Moses Lake (Washington) — Moses Lake Ciudad de los Estados Unidos Moses Lake War Memorial …   Wikipedia Español

  • Moses Lake Pirates — Team Information Location Moses Lake, Washington Ballpark Larson Field League West Coast League …   Wikipedia

  • Moses Lake High School — Location 803 Sharon Avenue East Moses Lake, Washington, USA Information Type Public Principal Josh Meek Enrollment 2,100 Color(s) Maroon and Gold …   Wikipedia

  • Moses Lake — For the city, see Moses Lake, Washington. Moses Lake Aerial view from the north (2009). Moses Lake is at lower left and the Potholes Reservoir at center …   Wikipedia

  • Moses Lake North, Washington —   CDP   …   Wikipedia

  • Moses Lake North (Washington) — Moses Lake North Lugar designado por el censo de los Estados Unidos …   Wikipedia Español

  • Moses Lake — Moses Lake, WA U.S. city in Washington Population (2000): 14953 Housing Units (2000): 6263 Land area (2000): 10.181717 sq. miles (26.370525 sq. km) Water area (2000): 1.755336 sq. miles (4.546299 sq. km) Total area (2000): 11.937053 sq. miles (30 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Moses Lake North — Moses Lake North, WA U.S. Census Designated Place in Washington Population (2000): 4232 Housing Units (2000): 1278 Land area (2000): 6.138330 sq. miles (15.898201 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000):… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Moses Lake North, WA — U.S. Census Designated Place in Washington Population (2000): 4232 Housing Units (2000): 1278 Land area (2000): 6.138330 sq. miles (15.898201 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 6.138330 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Moses Lake, WA — U.S. city in Washington Population (2000): 14953 Housing Units (2000): 6263 Land area (2000): 10.181717 sq. miles (26.370525 sq. km) Water area (2000): 1.755336 sq. miles (4.546299 sq. km) Total area (2000): 11.937053 sq. miles (30.916824 sq. km) …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

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