Counties with the oldest homes in Washington

Written by:
September 12, 2021
John Stanton // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in Washington

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Washington with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built, with ties broken by the most homes before 1939.

The country’s domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Washington have the oldest homes.

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Dcoetzee // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Kitsap County

- Median year homes built: 1984
--- #2,431 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.7%
--- #1,979 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 112,709
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Nick Kelly / Faithlife Corporation

#29. Whatcom County

- Median year homes built: 1984
--- #2,400 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.9%
--- #1,408 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 96,690
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Irra // Shutterstock

#28. Grant County

- Median year homes built: 1983
--- #2,379 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 3.4%
--- #2,778 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 37,476
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U.S. Geological Survey // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Skamania County

- Median year homes built: 1983
--- #2,330 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.0%
--- #2,103 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,865
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SounderBruce // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Pierce County

- Median year homes built: 1983
--- #2,300 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.2%
--- #1,667 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 347,022
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Joe Mabel // Wikicommons

#25. Skagit County

- Median year homes built: 1983
--- #2,285 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.4%
--- #1,373 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 53,893
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Kevmi // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Ferry County

- Median year homes built: 1982
--- #2,197 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.6%
--- #1,854 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,526
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BrandonHansen18 // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Stevens County

- Median year homes built: 1982
--- #2,188 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.4%
--- #1,751 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 21,746
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formulanone // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Benton County

- Median year homes built: 1981
--- #2,142 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 2.7%
--- #2,925 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 76,241
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Thayne Tuason // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Douglas County

- Median year homes built: 1981
--- #2,069 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.2%
--- #1,907 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 17,002
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Neonstar // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Clallam County

- Median year homes built: 1980
--- #1,952 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.4%
--- #1,892 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 37,110
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Jennifer Gottwald // Wikicommons

#19. Chelan County

- Median year homes built: 1980
--- #1,913 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.5%
--- #1,368 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 37,693
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Ruthven78 // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Pend Oreille County

- Median year homes built: 1979
--- #1,792 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.2%
--- #1,559 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,260
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kan_khampanya // Shutterstock

#17. King County

- Median year homes built: 1979
--- #1,788 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.6%
--- #1,520 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 935,471
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Bouldernavigator // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Okanogan County

- Median year homes built: 1979
--- #1,779 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.2%
--- #1,392 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 23,208
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MagicalT // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Klickitat County

- Median year homes built: 1979
--- #1,776 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.6%
--- #1,364 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,424
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Sam Beebe // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Pacific County

- Median year homes built: 1977
--- #1,527 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.9%
--- #1,151 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 16,213
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Steven Pavlov // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Lewis County

- Median year homes built: 1977
--- #1,519 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.6%
--- #1,026 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 35,148
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Ron Reiring // Wikicommons

#12. Spokane County

- Median year homes built: 1976
--- #1,410 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.1%
--- #1,255 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 216,871
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Walter Siegmund // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Wahkiakum County

- Median year homes built: 1976
--- #1,388 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.4%
--- #1,040 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,149
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Ilyaunfois // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Whitman County

- Median year homes built: 1976
--- #1,384 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.1%
--- #988 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 20,841
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Williamborg // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Asotin County

- Median year homes built: 1975
--- #1,298 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.8%
--- #1,350 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,043
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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Grays Harbor County

- Median year homes built: 1974
--- #1,159 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.0%
--- #811 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 36,273
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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Adams County

- Median year homes built: 1973
--- #1,114 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.1%
--- #1,400 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,608
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Michael S. Shannon // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Yakima County

- Median year homes built: 1973
--- #1,107 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.1%
--- #1,327 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 88,698
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Sam Beebe // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Cowlitz County

- Median year homes built: 1973
--- #1,104 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.2%
--- #1,315 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 44,711
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Squarestate7 // Wikicommons

#4. Walla Walla County

- Median year homes built: 1972
--- #995 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.7%
--- #949 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 24,745
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Publichall // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Lincoln County

- Median year homes built: 1972
--- #969 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.2%
--- #627 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,050
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John Stanton // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Columbia County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #214 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.1%
--- #211 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,168
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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Garfield County

- Median year homes built: 1948
--- #33 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 39.7%
--- #94 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 1,243

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