Chehalis is a city in and the county seat of Lewis County, Washington. The population was 7,259 at the time of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lewis County. Take a look below for 25 amazing and interesting facts about Chehalis, Washington, United States.
1. Incorporated in 1883, Chehalis was primarily a logging and railroad town, with a shift towards farming in the mid-20th century.
2. The city has bolstered its economy in the 21st century with a focus in manufacturing and warehousing.
3. The city has several distinct historical areas and boasts 11 locations on the list of National Register of Historic Places, more than any other region in Lewis County.
4. The Native American Chehalis people described, using their language and pronunciation, a location and village in present-day Westport, Washington that translates to American English as “place of sand” or “shifting sand”.
5. Early non-native explorers of the Pacific Northwest vocalized the words as “Chehalis” and proceeded to describe the original inhabitants as such.
6. The town of Saundersville, Washington, named after S.S. Saunders on whose donation land claim it was founded, began to officially use the word “Chehalis” in 1879 to denote its location to the Chehalis people and the Chehalis River.
7. The translations were also fitting for the growing town due to the muddy bottomland along the Chehalis River which had long vexed stagecoach travelers on the Washington arm of the Oregon Trail between Kalama and New Market (now Tumwater).
8. Chehalis began as a settlement around a warehouse beside a railroad track in 1873, when the Northern Pacific Railroad built northward from Kalama to Tacoma.
9. Northern Pacific’s decision bypassed the town of Claquato, then the county seat. This allowed Chehalis, in 1874, to become the central location for Lewis County government.
10. That same year, a store was added to the warehouse, and a courthouse and several houses were constructed.
11. Chehalis was incorporated on November 23, 1883.
12. Logging soon began in the nearby forests. Lumber workers of Scandinavian, English, and Scots-Irish descent arrived and settled in the neighboring valleys.
13. In 1940, the chief local industries were: dairying, poultry raising, fruit growing, milk condensing, fruit and vegetable packing, brick and tile manufacturing, coal mining, portable house manufacturing, and fern shipping.
14. Begun as a settlement in 1853 by Lewis Hawkins Davis, who originally named the area Davis Prarie, the town grew quickly to include Claquato Church, a cemetery, hotels, and several stores and was, for a time, the largest populated town between the Columbia River and Olympia.
15. By 1858 the town would become the county seat for Lewis County until that designation was transferred to Chehalis in 1874.
16. Claquato is no longer a recognized town or municipality, and is considered a neighborhood outside the Chehalis city limits.
17. While described as a ghost town as it was officially vacated in 1902, the area has been populated since its inception.
18. Translated from the Chehalis Native American language, Claquato means “high prarie” or “high land”.
19. Chehalis borders the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds, which hosts an annual state fair, usually in August.
20. The city hosts a yearly, June-to-October, Community Farmers Market of Chehalis in its historic downtown.
21. The Veteran’s Memorial Museum, originally started in Centralia in 1997, is based in the city. The museum contains a volumetric library of military history, and visitors can participate in direct interactions with visiting United States war veterans as well as browse thru a 9,000 square foot gallery.
22. A swap meet mall, Yardbirds, is a local landmark known for its large, metal and wood sculpture of a black bird.
23. Chehalis is served by Interstate 5, the main north–south freeway in Western Washington, which connects the city to Seattle and Portland. The freeway also carries a section of U.S. Route 12, an east–west highway that continues to Aberdeen and across the Cascades to the Yakima River Valley and Tri-Cities. State Route 6 terminates in Chehalis and travels west to a junction with U.S. Route 101 in Raymond, located on Willapa Bay.
24. Twin Transit provides public transit service to Chehalis and neighboring Centralia, with connections to other communities.
25. The Chehalis–Centralia Airport (CLS) is located within the city limits. The airport is a single runway, public use hub for air travel in Lewis County. First begun as a small airfield in 1927, it is bordered by the local shopping district and I-5 and is approximately one mile west of the Chehalis downtown district. It is the largest of the three airports within the county.