Is Zillah Washington Really Named After Godzilla?

When you hear the name Zillah Washington, you might do a double-take, thinking it sounds suspiciously like the name of a certain giant lizard monster that's wreaked havoc on movie screens for years. 

By Toho Company Ltd. - Scan of the original photograph, Public Domain,
By Toho Company Ltd. - Scan of the original photograph, Public Domain,

Where Did Zillah Washington Get Their Name? Was It Godzilla?

But is it just a coincidence, or is Zillah really named after Godzilla?

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Comedians for years have made a point to talk about the Church of God-Zilla in their routines and that alone makes Zillah interesting for such a small town in Washington State. I'll visit that great story in the future but let's talk about Zillah and Godzilla first

Zillah WA
By Orange Suede Sofa - My very own camera, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Zillah is a small town in the state of Washington, located in Yakima County.

It was incorporated in 1891, and like many towns in the area, it owes much of its early growth to the flourishing apple orchard industry and the recent completion of the Sunnyside Irrigation Canal.

So where does the name Zillah really come from?

It'll surprise you that a little girl throwing a fit is the reason for the name "Zillah"

Zillah was founded by Thomas Fletcher Oakes, the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad after his daughter would scream and cry when traveling to the new townsite.

Her name was Zillah Oakes and her dad promised that if she quit screaming and crying, he'd name the town after her.

credit: youtube/TVW
credit: youtube/TVW

Oakes went on to be Zillah's mayor and Zillah was officially incorporated in 1911.

So if you ever wondered where the name Zillah came from, you now know a little girl throwing a tantrum was the cause, and in a sense, you could call her a little "Godzilla" on a rampage but alas not our favorite movie monster Godzilla.

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