Lewis County churches may be more historically important than you ever imagined. Did you know we have the oldest church building still standing in the state of Washington? Or that we are the site of the first church building and first permanent mission in Western Washington? [more…]
Posts Tagged With: Chehalis
We live in one of the most gorgeous counties in the state. The numerous lakes, the rivers that change with glacial runoff, our mountains – all of the natural beauty gives us not only excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, but these scenic backdrops make for great family photographs as well. [more…]
“If you walk into The Pearl Café when they open for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. you’ll be treated to the enticing aroma of freshly baked desserts. You’ll second-guess your decision to have breakfast and actually think about just eating the goodies instead.” [read more on Lewis.Talk.com]
In politics, have you heard it said that politicians go “stumping” or make “stump speeches”? This phrase came from the 1800’s when politicians would go around from town to town making speeches. They literally stood on huge tree stumps so that they could be easily seen and heard. In Chehalis, Washington we have our own replica of one of those stumps. It’s called the McKinley Stump.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “How the heck do you have a “replica” of a stump?” Well, the original tree was from the Pe Ell area (pronounced just like the letters – P. L.). It was cut down in 1901 and the stump was transported by railroad to Chehalis because President McKinley was supposed to come through the area and give a speech. The stump was 28 feet around and 8 feet tall cut from a tree that was 350 years old. Unfortunately, the appearance was cancelled because McKinley’s wife got sick, then shortly after that he was assassinated so never actually got to appear on the stump named for him.
A president did actually get to “stump” on the stump though. In 1903 President Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech from the stump. A president-to-be also spoke from the stump. In 1907, while Secretary of War and before he was elected president, William Taft stood on the stump and gave a speech.
The original stump along with a gazebo was located at the intersection of West Street and Market Blvd. in Chehalis. At one point someone attempted to burn it so concrete was poured into it to try to preserve it, and it was moved to Recreation Park in the hopes it would be better protected.
Then in 2007, while making plans to move the stump to the Lewis County Museum located at the old railroad depot, it was discovered that the tree was so rotted through with ant damage that it could not be saved. Weyerhauser, a lumber company, donated a new stump from an old growth tree to stand as a replica for this time in history.
You can now see the “McKinley Stump” under a covered structure, outside the Lewis County Museum located at 599 NW Front Way, Chehalis, Washington. Picture the President of the United States standing on the stump, speaking without any electronic equipment such as a microphone, in all kinds of weather, to huge crowds of people. It must have been a very exciting event to look forward to. Imagine the disappointment of hoping to see President McKinley, then the excitement again when President Roosevelt actually came to town.
Understandably it is also a bit strange to have a “replica” of a stump that was named for a man who never spoke from it. But it was an exciting time for the area and most small towns like to be able to show that they are important in history and worthy of prominent politicians’ attention. The McKinley Stump stands today as that icon for Chehalis, Washington.
If you’re looking for a flat, relatively short walking or bicycle trail in southwest Washington then the Willapa Hills Trail will be perfect for you. Part of the Rails to Trails System, the trail is built on the footprints of an old railroad. It actually runs 56 miles from Chehalis to South Bend but at the moment a couple of trestles are not usable and not scheduled to be replaced until 2014. However, this is where the relatively short part comes in. The trail is 5.2 miles from Chehalis to Adna so a round trip is just over 10 miles. Of course you don’t have to go that far if you don’t want to.
Beginning behind the Centralia-Chehalis Steam Train, there is plenty of parking as well as restroom facilities (better than a port-a-potty, less than running water). As soon as you get on the trail you immediately pass over the Newaukum River via an old railroad bridge. If you’re lucky you might see the otters that sometimes frequent the area.
Continue on the flat trail enjoying the country scenery, the flowering trees, and massive green fields of the farms. Pass over the Chehalis River on another old train trestle. Often you can see families down at the river swimming or rockhounding.
The trail crosses a couple of roads, but it’s easy to see what little traffic there is and cross safely. Careful though – if you decide to go as far as Adna, you will need to cross Highway 6. You want to be sure to get near the corner where you can easily see traffic in both directions before you cross. Or if you decide to turn around, you’ve had a nice walk or ride just going that far.
Once you cross over Hwy. 6 you pass through some nice wetlands where the birds welcome you with beautiful sounds. You’ll pass by a private man-made lake that is used for waterskiing competitions, then behind the Adna High School. Just past the school there is another parking lot for the trail and there are more restrooms at this spot. Cross over Bunker Creek Rd. to the last part of the trail which ends at the unusable trestle.
With such an easy trail, it’s great for taking the kids for a walk, teaching little ones how to ride a bike, going slow and enjoying the views, and admiring the great old houses. On weekends you might even get to see the steam train out for a run.
From I-5 take exit 77. Turn left at Riverside Drive, then a slight left on SE Newaukum Ave. Take a left on SW Sylvenus, then a right on SW Hillberger Rd. to the parking lot. You can also just follow the signs to the steam train, but instead of turning into the parking lot for the steam train, continue south on the road until you enter the parking lot for the tail. You will have passed the entrance to the trail as you enter the parking lot.