Adams is first in a series covering Washington’s 39 counties, including how they got their names.
Adams County, named for the second president, John Adams, is a landscape of pastoral hills, farmland, and vast skies in the southeastern part of the state. It was founded in November, 1883, by the Territorial Legislature, six full years before Washington became a state.
Unlike the densely populated counties in the West around Puget Sound, Adams County offers plenty of elbow room. With an area just under 2,000 square miles and a population of about 20,000, Adams certainly fits the criteria of a rural county. In fact, in terms of population, it ranks 31st among Washington’s counties.
Since it is a rural county, farming is a central part of life for many of its people. A great variety of crops are grown in Adams, including corn, apples, potatoes, and wheat. The farmers who grow the crops take great pride in what they do, and thanks to their dedication, Adams ranks as one of the top wheat producers in the state.
However, agriculture is not all that Adams County has to offer. Every year in mid-March, thousands descend upon Adams to witness the migration of sandhill cranes traveling through the countryside for the Annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival. This festival brings in substantial amounts of money from tourists, and it also strives to raise awareness for conservation efforts and protection for sandhill cranes. These beautiful birds are a gem of the American West and Great Plains regions.