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: Lewis County
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…]
This past weekend, March 1 and 2, the White Pass Ski Resort held their 28th annual Winter Carnival and decided to use a Wizard of Oz theme. This resulted in a fun and imaginative display of snow/ice artwork and great costumes.
Dorothy’s house was dropped on the Wicked Witch of the West.
The Snow Castle (representing the Emerald City) incorporated the characters into the set – you can see the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Toto.
You could watch the sculptor making creations with his chainsaw. A snow sculpture competition began the day, which explained why we saw people walking around with things like a snow owl and a snow dog.
The Snow Castle is also a giant slide – for free! Josh spent about four hours sliding down that thing over and over.
Since some of us older folks aren’t oblivious to the cold like Josh is, we went into the lodge to imbibe in some “anti-freeze”. While there we were entertained by “The Lollipop Guild” singing and dancing. They were quite a hit!
Other outside activities include more carnival games for the kids and vendors were set up to display and demonstrate their new snow-related products. There was a Ski Patrol Poker Run, a ski competition for kids, an obstacle course, and face painting.
Evening events include a fireworks display and parade, which unfortunately we didn’t get to see because we had to leave before they started. But we hear they were wonderful.
The White Pass Winter Carnival is very quaint and unique to see. I expected it to be much larger and completely jam-packed with people but it wasn’t. Since it was my first time going to it I don’t know if it was typical attendance or not. But I didn’t find it more packed than any other days when we’ve been there so I was pleasantly surprised because I was dreading terrible parking conditions and a huge crowd. But it was a lot of fun, not too big, and a hit with the entire family. We’ll definitely go back next year and hopefully take the grandsons!
For more information about White Pass Ski Resort go to http://www.skiwhitepass.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.
Four years ago, the Centralia Downtown Association, a non-profit group determined to revitalize the downtown area, decided to create something that would be a new fun family tradition while honoring the history of the area. Centralia, Washington has a history that includes farming, trains and friendly people.
This year was the 4th Annual Lighted Tractor Parade and from all accounts is proving to be a huge success. The night was chilly but dry. Trying to find parking near the route was like trying to get around an obstacle course. Cars were everywhere. When we finally found a spot, we started walking towards downtown and could hear cheering and yelling from blocks away. The main street (Tower St.) was already warmly lit with white Christmas lights crossing the street, but then we could see multiple-colored lights moving towards us.
People were lined up along with street, children in front where they could see the best. All kinds of vehicles were lined up down the street. Yes, many tractors but there were also old trucks, military vehicles, floats, and even bicycles. So many smiling, waving people, both on the floats and on the street. I don’t know that I have ever heard so many people cheering and yelling out to participants in any other parade I’ve been to. For some reason a nighttime parade has a very different feel to it. The sparkling lights give a different atmosphere to the celebration. Of course the requisite candy was tossed to the excited children!
There were over 50 entries in the parade, along with some business floats. According to Colleen Stewart of the Centralia Downtown Association, the only political entries allowed are simply politicians riding in a float, no vehicles advertising the particular politician.
One of the best things about a small town is knowing so many people, and it really adds to the fun of the event when you recognize friends participating in the parade.
After the parade many people stepped into one of the several delicious-smelling restaurants located in the downtown area. We popped into O’Blarney’s (which also happened to be a major sponsor of the parade) and had a hearty meal and continued to talk about how much we enjoyed the parade.
This event will certainly go on our calendar for next year, and should be even more spectacular as it will be the 5th annual event. If you want to experience some free old-fashioned fun with lots of colorful lights and friendly people, come to downtown Centralia on December 13, 2014!
For more information on the Centralia Downtown Association check out their website at DowntownCentralia.org.
Did you know that the small town of Centralia, Washington was founded by George Washington? No, not that George Washington, but the son of a slave.
Born in Virginia in 1817 to an African-American father and white mother, George was taken in by a couple named Cochran after his father was sold and his mother gave him up. In 1850 they all moved out to Oregon, then north in 1852 to what would later become Washington. However, in 1852, blacks could not own land so Washington had the Cochran’s file a claim for 640 acres (the size of property a person could get under the Donation Land Claim Act). Later, when Washington became a territory and did not bar black’s from owning land, the Cochran’s turned Washington’s land over to him.
George met and married Mary, who was also African-American and white. In 1875 they filed a plat to create the town of “Centerville” when they realized that the railroad would be coming right through the area. But they did so much more than just that. They donated land for a church and a cemetery. They enabled the town to grow, thanks to the Washington’s generosity in selling parcels of land for reasonable prices, and even on payments when necessary. Later on, during financial hard times, they helped set up resources to provide for needy townspeople and buying back land to keep it from foreclosure.
The easiest place to see the continued legacy of George and Mary’s generous donations is the square block surrounded by Pearl, Centralia College Boulevard, Main, and Silver Streets. This is the land they donated for a town square. It is now known as George Washington Park and holds the Carnegie Library, along with a gazebo, and a war memorial. The townspeople enjoy summer nights in the park, listening to “Music in the Park” performed under the shade of several huge trees. This is also where you’ll see the town Christmas Tree lighting up the night all during December.
The town was renamed to Centralia in 1883 because people thought the name was too easy to confuse with many other towns named Centerville.
George Washington died on August 26, 1905. This beloved man had one of the largest funerals ever held in the town and he is now buried in Washington Lawn Cemetery, the cemetery that he provided land for. The large mural of him is painted on the side of the Key Bank building. Key Bank’s address is 201 W. Main Street but the mural is on the side facing Pearl Street. Stop by and take a look at the picture of George along with his dog in front of the door to his house. Then walk on across Main Street to George Washington Park and just stand there for a minute, thinking about how it must have been to be there over 135 years ago planning to begin an entire town. The guts and vision that it took were nothing short of amazing.
Nice job, George, nice job indeed. Thank you.
It’s the perfect family camping spot. A lake for fishing, boating, and a swimming area, a playground, tent sites, RV sites, trails – what more could you ask for? This perfect little spot is Taidnapam (pronounced Tide-nuh-pom) Park, hidden off of Highway 12 in Washington, just west of the town of Morton. It is operated by Tacoma Public Utilities and is located on the shores of Riffe Lake.
Riffe Lake is a 23 1/2-mile lake that was created in 1968 when the Mossyrock Dam was created and flooded the towns of Riffe and Kosmos. Taidnapam Park is located at the east end of the lake and has 139 RV sites and 24 tent sites. There are also primitive sites and group camps. Shower facilities are available. Prices range from $18 to $33. A boat ramp is also available and can be used without camping at the park.
But my favorite part of the park is “The Fishing Bridge,” also known as the “108 Bridge.” You can easily walk (or bike) to it from any of the camping spots. There is a section just off the parking lot that is wheelchair accessible. But wheelchairs would also not have any problems getting up the short ramp to the bridge. The bridge has a fence on both sides that is about 3 ½ feet tall, tall enough that many parents bring their children up on the bridge while they fish. There’s a picnic table nearby, as well as restrooms and the very important fish-cleaning station for all those fish you will catch!
Once up on the bridge, you just pick a spot and drop your line into the water. What you hope to catch there are called “silvers” or “land-locked salmon” but one time I caught a beautiful 14-inch small mouth bass. I was Queen of the Bridge that day! Some days you can sit there and fish all day and end up with nothing, other days within seconds of your line touching the water, you will get a hit. Some days it can be pretty crowded but since most people just drop their lines in and aren’t trying to cast out, it really isn’t too difficult to stand almost shoulder-to-shoulder to fish.
If the kids aren’t interested in fishing, they can simply walk through a tunnel under the Champion Haul Road which runs next to the Fishing Bridge, and reach the playground. There is also a roped-off swimming area but you’ll want to go early in the summer to use it. The water gets down pretty far by the end of summer.
You don’t have to camp at the campground to use the Fishing Bridge or the playground. Then you would just pay the $5 day use fee on weekends and holidays. Weekdays there is no charge! We often just run up there for the day to try our fishing luck.
Taidnapam Park is easy to get to, not too far from the nearest town, yet far enough off the highway to feel quite remote. Cellphones still work while on the bridge but when you head back to the campground, you may lose reception.
So with all the activities you can do in one spot – fishing, swimming, boating, bicycling, hiking, camping, playing – Taidnapam Park makes the ideal family lake-and-forest getaway.
Getting there (courtesy of Taidnapam Park website: http://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/parks-recreation/taidnapam-park.htm)
Taidnapam Park is about 110 miles south of Tacoma in Lewis County, near the town of Morton. From Tacoma, take I-5 south to Highway 12 East (Exit 68). Drive east on Highway 12 for approximately 37 miles (5 miles past Morton). Turn right on Kosmos Road, then left onto Champion Haul Road. Drive approximately four miles to the park entrance.
An alternate route from Tacoma is to take Highway 7 south to Morton. At Morton, turn left onto Highway 12 and drive 5 miles. Turn right on Kosmos Road, then left onto Champion Haul Road. Drive approximately four miles to the park entrance.
Lake Scanewa (sku-NEE-wuh) is a 610-acre reservoir located in Lewis County, Washington, south of Hwy. 12 between the towns of Morton and Randle. It was created by the Cowlitz Falls Dam and is stocked with trout and hatchery salmon. Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park is located on the east end of the lake. By the way, don’t go looking for the falls – they don’t exist anymore. There is a boat launch, picnic tables and restrooms (although not much better than port-a-potties).
We like to go to the day use park because you can do so many things right there. You can fish (starting June 1) from the bank for salmon or trout. There is a small lagoon where kids can swim plus it is blocked off at the beginning of fishing season and stocked with trout for kids to catch. This year’s Kids Fishing Derby will be on Saturday, June 8.
Often you can see the trout jumping and the silver flash of huge salmon rolling around in the water. But nothing is more exciting than hooking that amazing salmon and slowly reeling it in and landing it. And nothing is more heart-breaking than when it gets loose…
You can launch your boat from the boat launch and troll around the lake or up the river, with hopes of increasing your chances of catching that big salmon.
But to really get up close and personal with the area, a kayak is the ideal method of transportation. You can get right in to the shallow tight spots that you can’t get to any way else. We even found a small stream just slightly wider than the kayaks and took a ride up it until it got too tight and we had to turn around. You feel very intimate with nature when you can do something like that.
Another fun thing to do is watch the fish delivery. To stock the lake, Tacoma Power employees must go downriver to capture the fish near Barrier Dam and load them into a big truck. They then transport the fish past the dams, which have no fish ladders, and stock them at various sites including Lake Scanewa. You can also check out Tacoma Power’s website at http://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/fish-wildlife-environment/cowlitz-fish-report.htm to see how many and what kinds of fish they stock each week.
Tacoma Power releases the fish several times a day, including on the weekend. It’s fascinating to watch the truck back up to the boat dock, open the hatch, and dump out hundreds of fish. It’s quite the sight – and quite the tease for fishermen!
Getting there: From Morton, take Highway 12 east to Savio Road (If you get to Randle, you’ve gone too far). Turn right and go to Kiona Road. Turn right and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.
From Yakima take Highway 12 west past Randle to Savio Road (if you get to Morton, you’ve gone too far). Turn left and go to Kiona Road. Turn left and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.
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.
Hwy 508 runs east-west through Lewis County, Washington, winding through hills and valleys and even an intriguingly-named “Bear Canyon”. Along the way, part of it parallels the Tilton River, named for a territorial surveyor, James Tilton.
At milepost 27, look to the north and don’t blink! You will literally miss the turn off for Tilton River State Park. It is simply a pull-off on the side of the road with room for two, maybe three cars. No road signs, no ranger booth, no port-a-potty.
You have to get out of your car and face north and then at the start of the trail, off to your left, you will see a plaque on a rock noting that the land was donated in 1994 to the State of Washington by twin brothers, William and Otto Studhalter.
The Studhalter boys were somewhat influential in the Morton area. Born in 1901 in Tacoma, sons of a Swiss father and German mother, the whole family moved to Bremer, eight miles west of Morton, when the boys were young. The twins were loggers as well as owners of a sawmill where ties were cut for the army in WWII. They donated an old steam donkey (a steam-driven winch for logging) that had been used around 1918 for the annual Morton Logger’s Jubilee. This steam donkey can be seen today in Gust Backstrom Park in the town of Morton. There is also a Studhalter Road a few miles west of the park.
William died in 1993 and Otto followed in 1997. Otto donated the 110 acres to the State of Washington for use as a state park. Later, six more adjoining acres were bought to add to the donation.
By now, you would like to see the rest of the “park” and the river. Just take a walk down the fairly well-defined trail for about ¼ mile. Careful, there are small obstacles such as tree roots. But when you reach the end of the trail and emerge from the canopy of firs, red cedar, maple, and Oregon Ash, you will see a scene right out of an old TV show – a simple rocky beach, a twisting, lazy river (known as “The Studhalter Fishing Hole”, and handmade fire pits. A beautiful place for picnics, relaxing , fishing or watching the kids play in the water. Very serene and peaceful.
But enjoy it while you can. According to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, they have decided not to further develop the park and are planning to either sell it or have another agency take over management of the land. A place that holds summertime memories for many local residents could be closed down or built up. But maybe, just maybe, the new owners will honor the last intentions of the Studhalter brothers, and leave the property as is, accessible and natural, for future generations of families to enjoy.
Getting there: From north or southbound on Interstate 5, take exit 71 and head east to milepost 27.