The area known as Sequim (pronounced SKWIM) is a modern city on the Olympic Peninsula within Clallam County Washington. It has a population of approximately 28,000 residents according to the 2018 census (City and surrounding supported area). It is a city located along the Dungeness River at the base of the Olympic Mountains and its rain shadow receiving less than 16 inches of rain a year. Even though it has about the same rainfall annually as Los Angeles, California it is located to some of the dampest temperate rain forests in the U.S. They call the area “Sunny Sequim” or “The Blue Hole of Sequim”. It actually has a more humid than expected climate, with fog, sun, cool breezes, and pleasant temperatures. It boasts a Mediterranean coastal climate with low rainfall, extreme summer temperatures, mild winters with little snowfall (often none at all) with the highest temperature recorded at 99 degrees Fahrenheit and the lowest at -3 degrees. It has a diverse biological spectrum with Western Red Cedars, Douglas-Firs, Black Cottonwoods, Red Alders, Pacific Madrone, Bigleaf Maples, Lodgepole Pines, Garry Oak, and many other trees usually larger than normal. This attracts the lumber industry to the area. There are also wide areas of open oak-studded prairies with excessively drained gravelly sandy loam soils historically though much of this has changed due to local agriculture. The city is most well known for growing lavender commercially making it the “Lavender Capital of North America” and only rivaled in the world by France. It is also know for the Dungeness crabs caught in the area.
Squim has a diverse history, with Paleontological remains of 14,000 year old Mastodon found with an embedded bone point demonstrating hunters were active in the area from as long as 14,000 years ago – being the first hunting weapon found dating pre-Clovis. (Archaeological excavation by Carl Gustafson in 1970) The S’Klallam (“the strong people”) tribes inhabited the area as the first known peopling pre-European. They named the area “Sequim” meaning “a place to go shoot” meaning good hunting and abundant game.
Europeans came to the area with George Vancouver’s exploration in 1790 alongside Manuel Quimper. The first settlers came in 1850 to the Dungeness Valley near Dungeness, Washington. They developed the lands to farmlands and arid prairies they nick-named “the desert” due to the lack of rain and dry weather. They developed irrigation canals in the 1890’s expanding farmlands. Settlers incorporated the area as “Sequim” in 1913 consisting mainly of farms, dairy farms, and other agriculture. At the end of World War I it was added by the railway via Port Angeles and Port Townsend carrying wood, lumber, and products.
Tourists are attracted to the area for the lavender, Dungeness crabs, and a massive herd of Roosevelt Elk.