THE TINY TOWN: Anatone, Washington

This time around in my series of Tiny Towns, I thought I’d look at the map and seek out the smallest town I could find somewhere in the bottom right hand corner of the state of Washington. It took awhile for the Google map to notice a tiny dot on highway 129. As I zoomed in closer with my fingers on my iPhone I finally found some buildings. There it was. Anatone, Washington. 

The tiny town with a population of….well…ah….25? Next time you drive through town, check the sign that welcomes you to Anatone. Unlike the Tiny Town of Grace, Washington with a sign that prematurely reads that their population is 12…and will always be 12,  Anatone changes their population count sign often. Giving not just the number of humans, but cats, dogs, and horses. Because Anatone is an incorporated community, the official US Census people don’t have the time to come in and do a head count. So the fine citizens in town count on their fingers and toes, and update the sign every Summer. 

A town so small they weren’t a part of another area town’s zip code. They were assigned their own, sharing it with only open land.

I went looking on YouTube for Anatone, Washington and I found a couple of 60 second videos of people driving through the main drag. But what I saw (blurry mind you) was some buildings that would be cool to photograph in black and white. There  a video of this sweet looking home in the woods for sale….from 12 years ago. And then there this video of a song about Anatone!

Anatone didn’t always have a really low count. Anatone was first settled in 1878 by Daniel McIvor and Charles Isecke. It was named after a woman who was part of the Nez Peace (Nimíipuu) Tribe that lived in the area. It was a slow growth. In 2000, they counted about 221 residents. 

Yes, it’s not much of a downtown, with a cafe’, a store, a cute church….and a few other buildings, as well as a few homes. But on the outskirts are ranch homes. For this land is a working class agricultural area. The crop of choice is wheat. 

Anatone is settled near the tri-point of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. And if you’re headed into the other states on highway 129, stop into the cafe’. There’s plenty of parking. Open the door, and smile back at anyone looking to see who’s entered. Take a seat. Enjoy a sandwich, some fries, and a soda. And take in a tiny town that’s not a tourist trap. This is small town USA with no bells and whistles. Well, there’s the bell over the cafe’ door as it opens. And the neighbor up the road on Fir Street might be whistling for dog to, “get back here!”


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