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Yelm is in southeast Thurston County, Washington about 60 mile south of Seattle. The name "Yelm" is said to come from the Coast Salish word Shelm or Chelm, meaning "heat waves from the sun", referring to heat mirages. The Yelm Prairie was originally inhabited by the Nisqually and provided good pasture for their horses. Locals refer to Yelm as the "Pride of the Prairie". At the beginning of this century, Yelm had the distinction of having one of the highest rates of growth in the state. Now the population is tabulated close to 10,000.

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