About This Place
Cowiche (pronounced Cow-witch-ee) is an unincorporated small town northwest of Yakima, Washington, near the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountain range, in central Washington State (USA). Cowiche, sometimes spelled Cowychee, is said to mean "footbridge between the valley and the mountains." The town had 428 people at the 2010 census.
The first inhabitants of the area were the Tkai'waichash-hlama, a band or tribe of Native American people who lived along Cowiche Creek. The area was settled in the late nineteenth century by farmers who relied upon crops that did not require irrigation, such as wheat, barley, rye, and grazing cattle. Homesteading in Cowiche was difficult since fields had to be cleared of volcanic rock before they could be tilled and there was little rainfall in summer. In 1906, construction began on the Tieton Irrigation Project, a division of the broader Yakima Project. Irrigation water became available in 1907, and shortly thereafter, orchards began to replace wheatfields.
Cowiche, along with the neighboring town of Tieton, is served by the Highland School district. The community takes great pride in its high school sports programs, and in 1988 their varsity men's basketball team won the Washington State A division championship. Not only that, but the boys soccer team won the state championship in 2006 and 2007.