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Maps and Cityscapes
People and the Humanities

This week, we use our regional example cities (Tacoma, Spokane, and Butte) to observe changing cityscapes from 1940 - 1950.
We begin with U.S. Census Bureau state population numbers in the northwest, comparing 1940 with 1950. With this regional shift in population, we then take a look at the move from rural to city residence, in selected Washington and Montana cities. Following the photos of our featured cities, you will find the Census Bureau links for further research.

     Total State Populations
     1940     WA   1,736,000     OR   1,090,000     ID   500,000    MT   559,456
     1950     WA   2,378,500     OR   1,521,000     ID   588,637    MT   591,024
     
     Washington Cities
     1940     Spokane   122,001     Tacoma   109,408     Seattle   368,302    
     1950     Spokane   161,721     Tacoma   143,673     Seattle   467,591    
     
     Montana Cities
     1940     Butte   37,081     Billings   23,261     Great Falls   29,923    
     1950     Butte   33,251     Billings   31,834     Great Falls   39,214
     

Note: Butte is the most populous city in Montana in 1940, and the only city in Montana to have lost population by 1950.


Tacoma

1940 Tacoma 1953 Tacoma 1950 Tacoma

Spokane

Postcard: western approach to Spokane, Sunset Highway #10 Postcard: Spokane (late 1940s)

Butte

Butte, view down Broadway, summer of 1939.
Library of Cogress.
Berkely Pit, Butte, 1955

U.S. Census Bureau Resource Links

CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING - 1940 Census
http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/1940.htm

1950 Census
http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/1950.htm

Decenniel guide
http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/