Centralia Railroad Depot
Railroads were king in the mid- to late 1800's, when Centralia was founded. The line which was built northward to connect Seattle with Oregon ran right through the town, and in 1912 the now historic Union Depot was built. The Depot serves as a reminder of the boom Centralia experienced during the early 1900's. Between 1900 and 1914 the population increased by almost 400%. Today, the Depot is used by both Amtrak passengers and as a rest stop for local transit passengers. Thanks in part to a Heritage Capital Projects grant from the Washington State Historical Society, the Depot has become one of the best looking buildings in downtown Centralia, and residents, city officials and Amtrak personnel are rightfully proud of the historic structure.
Historically, the residents of Chinook and neighboring communities used the elementary school facilities for a meeting and gathering place. The classrooms of the school were also used as education and training spaces for non-profits and social services. But in modern times, only the ball fields could safely remain open. Both the school and gymnasium had deteriorated to the point that they could not be used. With limited formal activities and resources; the community needed a facility for not only adults but the children. Thanks in part to a Heritage Capital Projects grant from the Washington State Historical Society, the Gym is now a beautiful event center providing community space for weddings, family gathering, sports, and more.
The Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver was a headquarters and primary supply depot for fur trading operations, but surprisingly employed more people at agriculture than any other activity. Though it originally represented British territorial interests, it made American settlement in the Pacific Northwest possible. Even those who wished it gone praised the hospitality and assistance they found there. The subsequent U.S. Army post at the site - known as Columbia Barracks, Fort Vancouver, or Vancouver Barracks depending on the era -housed and supported thousands of soldiers and their families for over 150 years. Thanks in part to a Heritage Capital Projects grant from the Washington State Historical Society, visitors continue to make personal connections to the people, places, stories, and collections represented at Fort Vancouver.
Port of Kalama Transportation Interpretive Center
Opened in November, 2014, its exhibits track
Kalama’s first inhabitants, the Cowlitz Tribe, and the settlers that followed including renowned Oregon Trail writer Ezra Meeker. Displays illustrate how Kalama’s particular landscape gave birth to a booming transportation system impacting the area both culturally and economically, ultimately transforming the area into its position today as an internationally-connected community. Thanks in part to a Heritage Capital Projects grant from the Washington State Historical Society, the Interpretive Center not only tells the story of how Kalama was settled, but treats visitors to artful display models and replicas.
Willapa Seaport Museum
Housing an astonishing myriad of marine artifacts, information, insight, and humor, the museum ties together displays of memorabilia from the logging industry to shipbuilding, from the lifesaving service to the Spruce Division (WWI), and from Native Americans to lightships and lighthouses. Willapa Seaport Museum is literally stuffed to the rafters with nautical bric-a-brac: figureheads, ship wheels, whale bones, souvenirs from exotic lands, scrimshaw, old telegraph radios, piratical booty, and even a bust of Teddy Roosevelt. Thanks in part to a Heritage Capital Projects grant from the Washington State Historical Society, visitors can discover the breadth and depth of the seafaring way of life.