Counties with the oldest homes in Washington

Written by:
August 27, 2022
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history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize.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 according to 2020 5-year estimates. Ties broken by the highest percentage of homes built 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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Williamborg // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Franklin County

- Median year homes built: 1992
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.9% (1,403 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 38.5% (11,029 homes)
- Total homes built: 28,618

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Steve Morgan // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Clark County

- Median year homes built: 1991
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.4% (8,162 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 28.2% (52,470 homes)
- Total homes built: 186,317

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Joe Mabel // Wikicommons

#37. Thurston County

- Median year homes built: 1989
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.8% (5,720 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 29.5% (34,874 homes)
- Total homes built: 118,035

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Jelson25 // Wikimedia Commons

#36. San Juan County

- Median year homes built: 1989
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.3% (751 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 26.3% (3,748 homes)
- Total homes built: 14,252

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SounderBruce // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Snohomish County

- Median year homes built: 1988
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.3% (16,588 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 26.8% (84,021 homes)
- Total homes built: 314,090

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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Island County

- Median year homes built: 1987
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.1% (1,713 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 21.8% (9,206 homes)
- Total homes built: 42,270

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Ian Poellet // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Mason County

- Median year homes built: 1987
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.9% (1,656 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 23.6% (7,961 homes)
- Total homes built: 33,784

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MrX // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Kittitas County

- Median year homes built: 1987
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.7% (3,312 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 27.9% (6,762 homes)
- Total homes built: 24,226

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Adbar // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Jefferson County

- Median year homes built: 1986
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.7% (1,643 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 23.7% (4,457 homes)
- Total homes built: 18,794

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Nick Kelly / Faithlife Corporation

#30. Whatcom County

- Median year homes built: 1986
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.9% (11,689 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 24.7% (24,164 homes)
- Total homes built: 98,000

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Irra // Shutterstock

#29. Grant County

- Median year homes built: 1985
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 3.7% (1,394 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 25.6% (9,731 homes)
- Total homes built: 38,083

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Dcoetzee // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Kitsap County

- Median year homes built: 1985
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.7% (8,728 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.6% (23,386 homes)
- Total homes built: 113,730

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Kevmi // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Ferry County

- Median year homes built: 1984
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.4% (334 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 21.4% (973 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,541

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SounderBruce // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Pierce County

- Median year homes built: 1984
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.9% (34,768 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 24.0% (84,302 homes)
- Total homes built: 351,346

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BrandonHansen18 // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Stevens County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.8% (1,935 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 22.2% (4,863 homes)
- Total homes built: 21,954

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Joe Mabel // Wikicommons

#24. Skagit County

- Median year homes built: 1983
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.2% (7,146 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 23.4% (12,693 homes)
- Total homes built: 54,317

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formulanone // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Benton County

- Median year homes built: 1982
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 3.0% (2,319 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 27.6% (21,406 homes)
- Total homes built: 77,486

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Thayne Tuason // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Douglas County

- Median year homes built: 1981
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.6% (1,474 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 26.9% (4,633 homes)
- Total homes built: 17,234

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Bouldernavigator // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Okanogan County

- Median year homes built: 1981
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.4% (2,660 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.5% (4,556 homes)
- Total homes built: 23,338

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U.S. Geological Survey // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Skamania County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.9% (469 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 24.2% (1,437 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,937

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Neonstar // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Clallam County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.2% (3,058 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.8% (7,402 homes)
- Total homes built: 37,367

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kan_khampanya // Shutterstock

#18. King County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.6% (110,177 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 23.1% (220,034 homes)
- Total homes built: 952,344

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Jennifer Gottwald // Wikicommons

#17. Chelan County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.7% (4,860 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.9% (7,619 homes)
- Total homes built: 38,193

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Walter Siegmund // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Wahkiakum County

- Median year homes built: 1980
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.3% (406 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 21.5% (478 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,223

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Ruthven78 // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Pend Oreille County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.1% (1,004 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 22.0% (1,830 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,323

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MagicalT // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Klickitat County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.5% (1,648 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.8% (2,205 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,626

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Ron Reiring // Wikicommons

#13. Spokane County

- Median year homes built: 1977
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.6% (32,075 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.4% (44,862 homes)
- Total homes built: 219,964

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Sam Beebe // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Pacific County

- Median year homes built: 1977
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.5% (2,692 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.1% (2,621 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,312

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Steven Pavlov // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Lewis County

- Median year homes built: 1977
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.5% (6,213 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.1% (6,042 homes)
- Total homes built: 35,426

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Ilyaunfois // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Whitman County

- Median year homes built: 1977
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.7% (3,735 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.8% (3,968 homes)
- Total homes built: 21,078

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Williamborg // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Asotin County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.0% (1,411 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.2% (1,430 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,078

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Michael S. Shannon // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Yakima County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.2% (11,757 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.2% (13,579 homes)
- Total homes built: 89,354

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Sam Beebe // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Cowlitz County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.1% (6,328 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.8% (7,105 homes)
- Total homes built: 44,970

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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Adams County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.7% (981 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.6% (906 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,684

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Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Grays Harbor County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.9% (8,358 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.0% (5,859 homes)
- Total homes built: 36,572

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Squarestate7 // Wikicommons

#4. Walla Walla County

- Median year homes built: 1973
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.4% (5,075 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.5% (4,606 homes)
- Total homes built: 24,871

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Publichall // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Lincoln County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.2% (1,536 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.8% (1,026 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,094

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John Stanton // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Columbia County

- Median year homes built: 1961
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.5% (794 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.2% (373 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,174

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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Garfield County

- Median year homes built: 1952
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.8% (450 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.3% (158 homes)
- Total homes built: 1,189

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