One of the earliest settlements in Pierce County. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s Nisqually Journal of Occurrences for April 26, 1849, records the entry, “Two plows sent to Spannuch and one to Muck.” When or why the name was modified is unknown. By the 1940s, the town had a post office, stores, taverns, and a creamery. Most of the business structures were false-fronted with high windows. A few modern structures mingle with the gray and weather-beaten older buildings.
Today Spanaway is an unincorporated suburb of Tacoma, often identified together with the more urban, less wealthy Parkland; however, some local musicians have seen fit to single out the town: Spanaway is mentioned in “The Needle Has Landed,” a song from Tacoma native Neko Case’s CD Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, and is the title of an album from Tacoma alternative pop/rock band Seaweed.