Why Did Washington State's Smallest Town Change Its Name In World War I?

The smallest incorporated town in Washington State was once forced to change its name. You'll be surprised why the name change was so important at the time of change.

Marlin/Krupp welcome sign, June 21, 2021 HistoryLink photo by Phil Dougherty
Marlin/Krupp welcome sign, June 21, 2021 HistoryLink photo by Phil Dougherty
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The Interesting Story Behind The Name Change In Marlin Washington

The smallest incorporated town in Washington State is Marlin Washington but the town was also known by another name on its inception - World War I brought a name change to the small town.

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You see Marlin Washington is also known as Krupp Washington.

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google street view
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According to historylink.org, Krupp is a town in Grant County, Washington and the population of Krupp was 48 at the 2010 census.  

Although legally incorporated as Krupp, the town is more commonly known as Marlin, which is the name of its post office.

The article continues:

Elections are held there under the name of Marlin, Washington, and they are the same locale. Krupp has the lowest population of any incorporated municipality in Washington.

Krupp was first settled in 1871 by John Marlin, Krupp was incorporated on January 7, 1911.

The name of the post office was changed from Krupp to Marlin during World War I in order to avoid negative associations with a large, well-known munitions plant in Germany.

To this day, Krupp is known primarily by the name of its post office, rather than its official name; something of a town "nickname" if you will.

I'm sure the residents of Krupp/Marlin know this but it's an interesting story from an era when names mattered.

The story gets more interesting because back in 1918, the town had lots of residents of German descent and the residents (all of them) still choose to make the name change.

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The town of Krupp is still the legal name because the residents never made the name official with Washington State but you can see the town name still celebrates both names.

So now when you drive through Krupp, you see the dual name road sign and the reason for it.

You can read more details about Krupp Washington here

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