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It was founded in 1888 by an Icelandic family named Nielson, who established a store and developed an excellent well from a natural spring. In 1890, the name chosen by the Northern Pacific Railway is said to be the Icelandic word for spring or small watercourse. Three local explanations for the town’s name state that it was for a woman cook who accompanied railroad construction crews; for Jenny Lind, the singer known as the Swedish Nightingale, or for a woman who once alighted from a train to take a look at the town.

The town is spread out in a hollow on both sides of Nielsen Coulee, which protects it slightly from the winds which blow steadily from the west. The town was an important shipping point, and was the southeast gateway to the Grand Coulee irrigation districts. Handsome brick and masonry buildings line the streets of Lind’s compact downtown.

Two Nielsen brothers settled here in 1888 and platted the town in such a manner that the initial letters of its street-names spell out their surname. The Lind Leader claims to be the oldest paper in the county; in 1935-6 it was given the award of excellence in its class by the Washington Press Association.