Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Longview and Kelso, Washington"
Includes ... Longview ... Kelso ... Monticello ... Freeport ... Catlin ... Monticello Convention ... Cowlitz River ...
Image, 2007, Longview, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Welcome to Longview, Washington. Image taken January 28, 2007.


Longview and Kelso ...
Longview, Washington, and it's neighbor city Kelso, are located at the confluence of the Cowlitz River with the Columbia, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 67. Upstream is Cottonwood Island and Carrolls, Washington, and downstream is Mount Solo and Fisher Island. Downstream also was once Mount Coffin, a native burial location mentioned in the journals of early explorers. Across the Columbia is the community of Rainier, Oregon. Rainier is connected to Longview by the Lewis and Clark Bridge, named after Lewis and Clark who passed through the area on November 6, 1805, and again on their return on March 27, 1806.

Longview ...
The community of Longview, Washington, was the first planned city in the Pacific Northwest. It is located between the Columbia River and the mouth of the Cowlitz River, a location where once was the early community of "Monticello", one of the first settlements on the Cowlitz. Monticello was destroyed during a flood in 1867.
"... In 1919, Kansas City lumberman Robert Alexander Long's Long-Bell Lumber Co. purchased stands of timber in Cowlitz County from Weyerhaeuser and he made plans for a large mill to process logs for the domestic and foreign markets. The mouth of the Cowlitz River offered both rail connections and deep water for ships. Long spent $2.6 million in 1922 to buy up 14,000 acres consisting of 245 separate pieces of property for the mill and for a community where the 4,000 workers and their families -- an estimated population of 12,000 to 15,000 persons -- could live. ... Construction of dikes and drainage canals to protect the valley from floods cost another $3.25 million. Long went deeply into debt to build his new logging and milling operations and the planned community. ..." ["HistoryLink.org" website, 2006]
The City of Longview was dedicated in July 1923, and in February 1924 it was incorporated and a municipal government was established. The Longview Mill began operations in June.
"... In June 1924, the Long-Bell mill opened as the largest lumber producer in the world. It featured special catwalks so that visitors could view the giant logs being fed into the saws. Weyerhaeuser opened a mill of its own next to the Long-Bell facility in June 1929 and became the area's largest employer. Mount Coffin, on the site of the Weyerhaueser mill, was dynamited for gravel and for building stone. The Longview Fibre Mill turned wood waste into pulp and paper. ..." ["HistoryLink.org" website, 2006]
In 1956 Long’s heirs merged with International Paper, and in 1960, the Long-Bell Lumber plant, once largest in the world but now no longer profitable, was closed and demolished.

Today the City of Longview is still heavily into timber. It is connected to Rainier, Oregon, by the Lewis and Clark Bridge, providing great views of Longview. Head west out of Rainier on Highway 30 and Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens will rise as a backdrop to the Washington city.


Kelso ...
Kelso was platted on the east bank of the Cowlitz River.
"... The first American to settle in the future Cowlitz County was Scotsman Peter W. Crawford (1822-1883), who took a Donation Claim on the left bank of the Cowlitz near the mouth of the Coweeman on December 25, 1847. In 1884, he platted a city on the site, which he named after his home in Scotland, Kelso. Other settlers took up claims across the Cowlitz and farmed the bottomland. They formed the communities of Freeport, Catlin, and Monticello. ..." ["HistoryLink.org" website, 2006]

Early Longview and Kelso, including Monticello, Freeport, and Catlin ...
The earliest settlements in the Longview/Kelso area were Kelso, Monticello, Freeport, and Catlin, followed by Longview (1920s).

From the Washington Secretary of State website (2007), Cowlitz County:

"... Monticello, one of the first towns in the area, was located near the mouth of the Cowlitz River. Two years after founding the town, Darby Huntington hosted the Monticello Convention in his home. On November 25, 1852, 44 delegates signed the petition requesting Congress to create a separate territory north of the Columbia River. Monticello became the County Seat when Washington Territory was established in 1853. The town grew as a transportation stop between Vancouver and the Puget Sound area when the most efficient means of travel was by boat, but it was frequently flooded. In 1867 a devastating flood destroyed most of Monticello, and by the 1880’s almost nothing marked the town site. About a mile or so up the Cowlitz River from Monticello, Nathaniel Stone established the town of Freeport on his Donation Land Claim. In June 1866, Freeport was the second County Seat of Cowlitz County. Although the town was located along the river and subject to flooding, it remained prominent for a number of years. Today Freeport is part of the City of Longview. ..."

According to Robert Hitchman in "Place Names of Washington" (1985, Washington State Historical Society):

Kelso: "Small city on the east bank of Cowlitz River, and including West Kelso on the river's west bank, opposite Longview, southwest Cowlitz County. It was named for Kelso, Scotland, by Peter Crawford, who claimed land here on December 25, 1847. In 1882, the railway station was called Wallace's by Northern Pacific Railway Company."

Monticello: "This vanished town was on the Cowlitz River, on the present site of Longview, south Cowlitz county. It was the first town in the county and an important place. It was named by H.D. Huntington who lived here in 1852, for his home town in Indiana. An alternate name was Mount Solo."

Freeport: "An old town (which now is included in Longview), southwest Cowlitz County. It later was called Catlin. The name was established by Nathaniel Stone who owned a Donation Land Claim on this site, and was in honor of Freeport, Indiana, his former home."

Catlin: "Old town on Cowlitz River, across from Kelso, southwest Cowlitz County. It occupied part of the area which now is Longview. The present town of West Kelso is adjacent to the Donation Land Claim which was owned by Seth Catlin and his wife in the 1860s. in 1889, Catlin named the settlement Marysville for his wife. The name was already applied to a town in Snohomish County, so "Catlin" was chosen by popular vote. The Catlin claim was absorbed by Long-Bell Lumber Company when Longview was established."

Longview: "First planned city in Pacific northwest, on a delta at the confluence of Cowlitz and Columbia rivers, southwest Cowlitz COunty. Planned and built in the 1920s, it was named for the founder, R.A. Long, of Long-Bell Lumber Company."

Longview in 1924 ...
Aurora People Visit Washington's Magic City

"On Sunday last Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Miller and son Alvin drove to Prescott, Oregon, to visit their son ...

From Prescott Alvin and his father drove to Rainier and crossed the Columbia on the large steam ferry, "Oregon," to Longview, Washington. There were fifteen autos and ten motor cycles on the ferry at the time.

Longview was a surprise -- to see such a number of fine buildings, the beautiful Hotel Monticello and another nearly as large, the Broadway, both of which would be an honor for a city much larger than the new town of Longview.

The several new stores are very attractive, large, and beautifully constructed. Their streets are wide, and in fact this town has every appearance of becoming a good sized city in a short time."


Source:    "Aurora Observer" (Aurora, Marion County, Oregon), May 15, 1924, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2018.


Early Images ...

Penny Postcard, Cowlitz River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Cowlitz River at Kelso, Washington. Penny Postcard, Undivided Back (1901-1907), "Tow Boat, Cowlitz River, Kelso, Wash.". E.C. Kropp, Milwaukee, made exp. for Dunham & Abbott. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Kelso, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Birds-eye view of Kelso, Washington, and the Cowlitz River. Penny Postcard, Divided Back (1907-1915), "Bird's-eye View of Kelso and Cowlitz River.". E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee. Postmarked April 1910. Handwritten date on back: April 19, 1910. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Cowlitz River, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Kelso-Catlin Bridge, Cowlitz River, Kelso, Washington. Penny Postcard, Divided Back (1907-1915), "Kelso-Catlin Bridge (draw open) Cowlitz River.". Postmarked October 1909. Sprouse & Son, Importers and Publishers, Tacoma, Wash. Made in Germany. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


Longview and Kelso, etc.

  • Columbia and Cowlitz Railroad ...
  • Cowlitz River ...
  • Cowlitz River Smelt Runs ...
  • Lewis and Clark Bridge ...
  • Longview to Rainier Ferry ...
  • Monticello Convention ...
  • The Otters of the Allen Street Bridge ...
  • Views from Oregon Highway 30 ...
  • West Kelso Mural ...


Columbia and Cowlitz Railroad ...
The Columbia and Cowlitz Railway is a short-line railroad built by Weyerhaeuser Company but since 2010 owned by the Patriot Rail Corporation. The line was incorporated in 1925 and the rails laid between 1926 and 1928. The railroad runs an 8.5 miles route from the Weyerhaeuser Company mill in Longview to the junction just outside of Kelso's city limits. From that junction cars are switched to either the Patriot Woods Railroad (known as the Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad) where lumber is transported another 30 miles to Weyerhaeuser's Green Mountain Sawmill in Toutle, or it is switched to the Burlington Northern/Union Pacific line for transport to Portland, Oregon, or Seattle, Washington. The Columbia and Cowlitz Railway system owns seven locomotives, one caboose, and 500 freight cars.
[More]

Image, 2013, Columbia and Cowlitz Railroad, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia and Cowlitz Railroad, Longview, Washington, sporting the original Weyerhaeuser colors of yellow and black. Image taken March 8, 2013.
Image, 2013, Columbia and Cowlitz Railroad, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Columbia and Cowlitz Railroad, Longview, Washington, showing a newer mineral red color scheme. Image taken March 20, 2013.


Cowlitz River ...
The Cowlitz River winds its way through Longview and Kelso and merges with the Columbia at Columbia River Mile (RM) 67.
[More]

Image, 2006, Cowlitz River from the Kelso Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cowlitz River and Kelso, Washington, from the Allen Street Bridge, West Kelso, Washington. Image taken August 12, 2006.
Image, 2006, Allen Street Bridge, Cowlitz River, Kelso, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Allen Street Bridge over the Cowlitz River, Kelso, Washington. View from West Kelso. Image taken August 12, 2006.
Image, 2006, Cowlitz River from the Kelso Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cowlitz River from the Kelso Bridge. Image taken August 12, 2006.


Cowlitz River smelt runs ...
On February 24, 1806, Lewis and Clark wrote their first description of the Eulachon, the "Pacific Smelt" (Thaleichthys pacificus).

"... This evening we were visited by Comowooll the Clatsop Chief and 12 men women & children of his nation ...   The chief and his party had brought for sail a Sea Otter skin some hats, stergeon and a [s]pecies of small fish which now begin to run, and are taken in great quantities in the Columbia R. about 40 miles above us [Kelso, Cowlitz River] by means of skiming or scooping nets. ...   I find them best when cooked in Indian stile, which is by roasting a number of them together on a wooden spit without any previous preperation whatever. they are so fat they require no additional sauce, and I think them superior to any fish I ever tasted ..." [Lewis, February 24, 1806]

Washington's Cowlitz River and Oregon's Sandy River, both tributaries to the Columbia River, have long been famous for their smelt runs where fishermen lined the banks and could reach their limit in one dip of their nets. Unfortunately the runs have declined and the Pacific Smelt is now on the endangered list.

[More]


Penny Postcard, Columbia River Smelting, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Smelting, Columbia River. Penny Postcard, Divided Back (1907-1915), "Shoveling Smelt, Columbia River, Oregon.". Published by Louis Scheiner, Portland, Oregon. Made in the U.S.A. Card R-28824. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Box on front reads: "From The Columbia River Smelt Co., Kelso, Washington".
Image, 2016, Cowlitz River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Smelting, Cowltiz River, Longview, Washington. Overcast gray chilly day. Image taken February 6, 2016.
Image, 2016, Cowlitz River, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Bucket of Smelt, Cowltiz River, Washington. Overcast gray chilly day. Image taken February 6, 2016.


Lewis and Clark Bridge ...
The Lewis and Clark Bridge links Longview, Washington, to Rainier, Oregon.
[More]

Image, 2004, Mount St. Helens and the Lewis and Clark Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark Bridge, with Mount St. Helens, Washington. Lewis and Clark Bridge, as seen from Oregon Highway-30, downstream of Rainier, Oregon. The bridge spans the Columbia River from Longview, Washington, to Rainier, Oregon. Mount St. Helens, Washington, is in the background. Image taken February 11, 2004.


Longview to Rainier Ferry ...
From "The Sunday Oregonian", September 22, 1922 (Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016):

"... cross Columbia river by ferry, Rainier to Longview: 24-hour continuous ferry service."

According to the "Columbia County Historian Home Page" website (2018):

"... during the month of August [1923] 24,199 cars crossed the river [Columbia River] by ferry, and that the total number to date for the present year was 79,746."

Aurora People Visit Washington's Magic City

"On Sunday last Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Miller and son Alvin drove to Prescott, Oregon, to visit their son ...

From Prescott Alvin and his father drove to Rainier and crossed the Columbia on the large steam ferry, "Oregon," to Longview, Washington. There were fifteen autos and ten motor cycles on the ferry at the time."


Source:    "Aurora Observer" (Aurora, Marion County, Oregon), May 15, 1924, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2018.


Map, 1928, Auto Ferry Rainier to Longview, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
1928 Historical Map detail, Columbia County and Cowlitz County, showing "auto ferry" route between Rainier, Oregon, and Longview, Washington. Original Metsker Map courtesy "HistoricMapWorks.com" website, 2018.


Monticello Convention ...
From the "HistoryLink.org" website (2007), the Encyclopedia of Washington State History:

"... In 1851, settlers north of the Columbia met at Cowlitz Landing and petitioned Congress to form a new territory separate from Oregon Territory. When no action was taken, delegates met again in the home of Harry Darby Huntington (1811-1882) at Monticello in November 1852 and drafted another plea for a new territory to be called Columbia. This resulted in H.R. 348 creating Washington Territory. ..."

Image, 2007, Monticello Convention sign, Longview, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Monticello Convention sign, Longview, Washington. View of Monticello location, looking north from moving car on Washington State Highway 432. Image taken January 31, 2007.
Image, 2007, Monticello Convention locaion, Longview, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Monticello Convention location, Longview, Washington. View looking north from the side of Washington State Highway 432. Image taken February 17, 2007.
Image, 2007, Monticello Convention sign, Longview, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Monticello Convention sign, Longview, Washington. Image taken February 17, 2007.

"1852, Monticello Convention, Birthplace of Washington Territory"


The Otters of the Allen Street Bridge ...
Sculptures of native wildlife reside on the four corners of the modern-day Allen Street Bridge which crosses the Cowlitz River between Kelso and West Kelso. Jumping rainbow trout known as "Rainbow Splendor" live on the east side of the bridge, while the sculptures on the west are an owl known as "Sunriver Sentinel", and a pair of curious otters called "Bert and Ernie". "Rainbow Splendor", "Sunriver Sentinel" and "Bert and Ernie" were created by artist Rip Caswell.

Image, 2006, Kelso, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Otters, Allen Street Bridge, West Kelso, Washington. Image taken August 12, 2006.
Image, 2006, Cowlitz River from the Kelso Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Otters, Allen Street Bridge, West Kelso, Washington. The Cowlitz River is in the background. Image taken August 12, 2006.
Image, 2006, Kelso, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Otters, Allen Street Bridge, West Kelso, Washington. Image taken August 12, 2006.
Image, 2006, Kelso, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Otters, Allen Street Bridge, West Kelso, Washington. Image taken August 12, 2006.
Image, 2006, Kelso, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Otters, Allen Street Bridge, West Kelso, Washington. Looking towards West Kelso. Image taken August 12, 2006.


Views from Oregon Highway 30 ...
Good views of Longview and the Lewis and Clark Bridge can be had from Oregon Highway 30 as it rises from Rainier to Green Point.

Image, 2012, Green Point, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View from Oregon Highway 30 as it climbs from Rainier up to Green Point. Image taken October 1, 2012.
Image, 2005, Steaming Mount St. Helens and Longview, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Steaming Mount St. Helens, the Lewis and Clark Bridge, and Longview, Washington. View from Oregon Highway 30, just west of Rainier, Oregon. Image taken January 2, 2005.


West Kelso Mural ...

Image, 2006, Kelso, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wall mural, West Kelso, Washington. View taken through front car window, resulting in some glare. Image taken August 12, 2006.
Image, 2006, Kelso, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wall mural detail, West Kelso, Washington. View taken through front car window, resulting in some glare. Image taken August 12, 2006.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards", with the "Penny Postcard" being a popular way to send greetings to family and friends. Today the Penny Postcard has become a snapshot of history.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 6, 1805 ...





Clark, March 27, 1806 ...




Vancouver PlainsReturn to
Menu
 






*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:
  • City of Kelso, Washington, website, 2006;
  • City of Longview, Washington, website, 2006;
  • Columbia County Historian Home Page, 2018;
  • "HistoryLink.org" website, 2006, 2007, "The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History";
  • Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;
  • Historic Oregon Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016;
  • Washington Secretary of State website, 2007, Cowlitz County;
  • "wikipedia.org" website, 2013, "Columbia and Cowlitz Railway";


All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
/Regions/Places/longview_kelso.html
August 2016