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Index, Washington
Index and surrounding mountains viewed from the Index Town Wall Trailhead
Index and surrounding mountains viewed from the Index Town Wall Trailhead
Location of Index, Washington
Location of Index, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Snohomish
Incorporated October 11, 1907
Government
 • Type Mayor–council
Area
 • Total 0.23 sq mi (0.59 km2)
 • Land 0.23 sq mi (0.59 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
577 ft (176 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 178
 • Estimate 
(2019)
211
 • Density 917.39/sq mi (354.70/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
98256
Area code 360
FIPS code 53-33175
GNIS feature ID 1521157

Index is a town in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. The population was 178 at the 2010 census.

History

Prior to settlement by westerners, the Skykomish Indians lived in the area between Sultan and Index. They spoke Lushootseed; fishing the Skykomish River was an important part of their economy.

Logging and lumber booms in the latter half of the 19th century led to the growth of minor settlements in the eastern part of what became Snohomish County in 1861. A gold strike in 1889 at nearby Monte Cristo fueled another influx of prospectors and settlers. The town is named for nearby Mount Index.

Index was officially incorporated on October 11, 1907.

Geography

Index is located in the western foothills of the Cascade Mountains; the summit of Mount Index is located 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the town. The Index Town Walls, granite cliffs up to 500 feet (150 m) high, are located on the north edge of the town. These walls are a major destination for rock climbing, and are especially well known for a variety of high-quality cracks for climbing. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.23 square miles (0.60 km2), all of it land.

Index is located on the North Fork Skykomish River, just above its confluence with the main channel of the Skykomish River. The Skykomish River's Sunset Falls, a nearly 300-foot-long (91 m) granite chute that drops some 100 feet (30 m), is located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) from the town (though on the South Fork Skykomish River).

The town is located 1 mile (1.6 km) north of US Highway 2, approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of Stevens Pass. The BNSF railroad, formerly the Great Northern Railway, runs through the middle of the town. And was once an important stop for the mining (particularly Monte Cristo and Galena) and timber activities north of its location.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 417
1920 412 −1.2%
1930 381 −7.5%
1940 217 −43.0%
1950 211 −2.8%
1960 158 −25.1%
1970 169 7.0%
1980 147 −13.0%
1990 139 −5.4%
2000 157 12.9%
2010 178 13.4%
2019 (est.) 211 18.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
U.S. Census Estimate (2019)

Index has a small population of around 200 permanent residents, many of whom are retirees or work locally, alongside seasonal residents living in vacation homes. The town's population has declined since its peak in the 1890s of 1,000 residents.

2010 census

As of the 2010 U.S. census, there were 178 people, 80 households, and 44 families living in the town. The population density was 773.9 inhabitants per square mile (298.8/km2). There were 116 housing units at an average density of 504.3 per square mile (194.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.5% White, 1.7% Asian, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.5% of the population.

There were 80 households, of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.3% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 1.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.0% were non-families. 41.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 3.02.

The median age in the town was 42 years. 22.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.1% were from 25 to 44; 35.5% were from 45 to 64; and 12.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 47.2% male and 52.8% female.

Culture

For many years, the Red Men Hall fraternal lodge, the largest building in town, served as the center for social life.


Economy

The local economy has switched from extraction industries to tourism. Paradise Sound maintains a recording studio called Studio X where Jerry Cantrell and The Walkabouts have recorded albums.

Education

The Index School District serves the town and surrounding areas in the southeast corner of Snohomish County. It has a single combined elementary–middle school with an enrollment of 28 students and three full-time teachers as of 2020. The school building was constructed in the early 1950s, replacing an earlier high school and separate middle and elementary schools, and renovated in 2019. Since the closure of Index's lone high school in 1955, students are bussed to Sultan High School.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Index is located 1 mile (1.6 km) northeast of U.S. Route 2 (US 2), which connects Everett to the Skykomish Valley and Stevens Pass. The town is connected to US 2 by Index–Galena Road, which continues northeast into the Wild Sky Wilderness, although a flood in November 2006 washed out a section and has not been repaired.

The town's road bridge over the Skykomish River North Fork was built in 1922 and rehabilitated in 1981. It was replaced by a new bridge in 1999.

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