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Centralia Downtown Historic District
Location of Centralia, Washington
|• Total||7.56 sq mi (19.58 km2)|
|• Land||7.42 sq mi (19.22 km2)|
|• Water||0.14 sq mi (0.36 km2)|
|Elevation||187 ft (57 m)|
|• Density||2,201.6/sq mi (850.0/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1503899|
Centralia ( // ) is a city in Lewis County, Washington, United States. The population was 16,336 at the 2010 census.
Lewis County is a county in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 75,455. The county seat is Chehalis, and its largest city is Centralia. The county was created as Vancouver County on December 19, 1845, by the Provisional Government of Oregon, named for George Vancouver. In 1849, the county name was changed, to honor Meriwether Lewis. At the time, the county included all U.S. lands north of the Cowlitz River, including much of the Puget Sound region and British Columbia.
Washington, officially the State of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Named for George Washington, the first president of the United States, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by Britain in 1846 in accordance with the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Olympia is the state capital; the state's largest city is Seattle. Washington is sometimes referred to as Washington State, to distinguish it from Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, which is often shortened to Washington.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
In the 1850s and 1860s, Centralia's Borst Home at the confluence of the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers was the site of a toll ferry, and the halfway stopping point for stagecoaches operating between Kalama, Washington and Tacoma. In 1850, J. G. Cochran and his wife Anna were led there via the Oregon Trail by their adopted son George Washington, a free African-American, as the family feared he would be forced into slavery if they stayed in Missouri after the passage of the Compromise of 1850. Cochran filed a donation land claim near the Borst Home in 1852, and was able to sell his claim to Washington for $6000 because unlike the neighboring Oregon Territory, there was no restriction against passing legal ownership of land to negroes in the newly formed Washington Territory.
A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is strongly sprung and generally drawn by four horses.
The Oregon Trail is a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) historic East–West, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas, and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho and Oregon.
George Washington was the founder of the town of Centralia, Washington. He is remembered as a leading African American pioneer of the Pacific Northwest.
Upon hearing of the imminent arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway (NP) in 1872, George Washington filed a plat for the town of Centerville, naming the streets after biblical references and offering lots for $10 each, with one lot free to buyers who built houses. Finding that another town in the south-central part of the state bore the same name, the town was officially incorporated as Centralia on February 3, 1886, so dubbed by a recent settler from Centralia, Illinois. The town's population boomed, then collapsed in the Panic of 1893, when the NP went bankrupt; entire city blocks were offered for as little as $50 with no takers. Washington (despite facing racial prejudice from some newcomers) made personal loans and forgave debt to keep the town afloat until the economy stabilized; the city then boomed again based on the coal, lumber and dairying industries. On his death in 1905, all businesses in the town closed, and 5000 mourners attended his funeral.
The Northern Pacific Railway was a transcontinental railroad that operated across the northern tier of the western United States, from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest. It was approved by Congress in 1864 and given nearly forty million acres of land grants, which it used to raise money in Europe for construction.
Centralia is a city in Clinton, Jefferson, Marion, and Washington counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 13,032 as of the 2010 census, down from 14,136 in 2000.
The Panic of 1893 was a serious economic depression in the United States that began in 1893 and ended in 1897. It deeply affected every sector of the economy, and produced political upheaval that led to the realigning election of 1896 and the presidency of William McKinley.
The boom lasted until November 11, 1919, when the infamous Centralia Massacre occurred. Spurred on by local lumber barons, American Legionnaires (many of whom had returned from WWI to find their jobs filled by pro-union members of the Industrial Workers of the World), used that day's Armistice Day parade to attack the IWW hall. Marching with loaded weapons, the Legionnaires broke from the parade and stormed the hall in an effort to bust union organizing efforts by what was seen to be a Bolshevik-inspired labor movement. Though it remains a point of controversy as to who fired first, IWW workers including recently returned WWI veteran Wesley Everest stood their ground, engaging and killing four Legionnaires; Everest was captured, jailed and then brutally lynched, and other IWW members jailed. The event made international headlines, and coupled with similar actions in Everett, Washington and other lumber towns, stifled the American labor movement until the economic devastation of the 1930s Great Depression changed opinions about labor organizations.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), members of which are commonly termed "Wobblies", is an international labor union that was founded in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. The union combines general unionism with industrial unionism, as it is a general union whose members are further organized within the industry of their employment. The philosophy and tactics of the IWW are described as "revolutionary industrial unionism", with ties to both socialist and anarchist labor movements.
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France at 5:45 am, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. But, according to Thomas R. Gowenlock, an intelligence officer with the US First Division, shelling from both sides continued for the rest of the day, only ending at nightfall. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days and had to be extended several times. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.
Nathan Wesley Everest was an American member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and a World War I era veteran. He was lynched during the Centralia Massacre after killing Dale Hubbard in what the union called self-defense, though the American Legion called it murder.
The town's name was originally to indicate the midway point between Tacoma and Kalama (which were originally the NP's Washington termini), but proved to have longevity when it became the midpoint between Seattle and Portland, Oregon as well during the development of Washington's I-5 portion of the Interstate Highway System. As extractive industries faced decline, Centralia's development refocused on freeway oriented food, lodging, retail and tourism, as well as regional shipping and warehousing facilities, leading to 60% population growth over the past four decades.
Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, 32 miles (51 km) southwest of Seattle, 31 miles (50 km) northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to the 2010 census. Tacoma is the second-largest city in the Puget Sound area and the third largest in the state. Tacoma also serves as the center of business activity for the South Sound region, which has a population of around 1 million.
Kalama is a city in Cowlitz County, Washington, United States. It is part of the Longview, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,500, according to the Washington State Office of Financial Management.
Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 730,000 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area’s population stands at 3.87 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.
Founded as a railroad town, Centralia's economy was originally dependent on such extractive industries as coal, lumber and agriculture. At one time, five railroad lines crossed in Centralia, including the Union Pacific Railroad, Northern Pacific Railway, Milwaukee Road, Great Northern Railroad and a short line.
Union Pacific Railroad is a freight hauling railroad that operates 8,500 locomotives over 32,100 route-miles in 23 states west of Chicago and New Orleans. The Union Pacific Railroad system is the second largest in the United States after the BNSF Railway and is one of the world's largest transportation companies. The Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of the Union Pacific Corporation ; both are headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Great Northern Railway was an American Class I railroad. Running from Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Seattle, Washington, it was the creation of 19th-century railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill and was developed from the Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad. The Great Northern's (GN) route was the northernmost transcontinental railroad route in the U.S.
The 1972 opening of I-5 exit 82 made Centralia the halfway stopping point between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, and heralded the beginning of freeway oriented development.
The explosion of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980 devastated the local lumber industry, as 12 million board feet of stockpiled lumber and 4 billion board feet of salable timber was damaged or destroyed.Unemployment surged to double digits, and the town lost most of its retail base.
In 1988, London Fog opened the first factory outlet store in the Northwest at Exit 82, choosing the location because it was the midpoint between major northwest cities. Their success spawned the region's first factory outlet center, creating a tourist shopping destination. This led in turn to the redevelopment of the vintage downtown marketplace as an antique, art and specialty store destination.
On November 28, 2006, it was announced that TransAlta Corp., the largest employer in Centralia and operator of the Centralia Coal Mine and Centralia Power Plant, would eliminate 600 high-paying coal mining jobs.Despite fears to the contrary, there has been little noticeable economic effect upon the City of Centralia as a result. Data indicates that Centralia is experiencing growth both in its light industrial areas as well as its core business district, historic downtown Centralia. Additional development of regional distribution and transportation facilities, along with in-migration from retirees from more populated counties to the north, have helped diversify the economy, though unemployment remains stubbornly high and per-capita income well below the state average.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.56 square miles (19.58 km2), of which, 7.42 square miles (19.22 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water.
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Centralia has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps. Temperatures are usually quite mild, although Centralia is generally warmer in the summer and colder in the winter than locations further north along the Puget Sound.
|Climate data for Centralia|
|Record high °F (°C)||68|
|Average high °F (°C)||45.6|
|Average low °F (°C)||33.5|
|Record low °F (°C)||−4|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||6.65|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||3.4|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch)||20||17||18||15||12||9||5||5||8||14||20||21||164|
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the census 2,201.6 inhabitants per square mile (850.0/km2). There were 7,265 housing units at an average density of 979.1 per square mile (378.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.1% White, 0.6% African American, 1.4% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 7.4% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 16.1% of the population.of 2010, there were 16,336 people, 6,640 households, and 3,867 families residing in the city. The population density was
There were 6,640 households of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.7% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.8% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.06.
The median age in the city was 34.8 years. 24.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 22.3% were from 45 to 64; and 16.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,742 people, 5,943 households, and 3,565 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,990.6 people per square mile (768.1/km²). There were 6,510 housing units at an average density of 879.0 per square mile (339.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.76% White, 0.44% African American, 1.25% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.30% Pacific Islander, 4.94% from other races, and 2.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 10.22% of the population.
There were 5,943 households out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.7% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,078, and the median income for a family was $35,684. Males had a median income of $31,595 versus $22,076 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,305. About 13.6% of families and 18.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Centralia station, stopping at the town's renovated 1912 railroad depot. Amtrak train 11, the southbound Coast Starlight, is scheduled to depart Centralia at 11:45am with service to Kelso-Longview, Portland, Sacramento, Emeryville, California (with bus connection to San Francisco), and Los Angeles. Amtrak train 14, the northbound Coast Starlight, is scheduled to depart Centralia at 5:57pm daily with service to Olympia-Lacey, Tacoma and Seattle. Amtrak Cascades trains, operating as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia and as far south as Eugene, Oregon, serve Centralia several times daily in both directions. BNSF trains in Centralia's downtown rail yard and on the mainline serve local and regional shippers, but can affect the timeliness of Amtrak service and are a noisy reminder of the days of the town's heyday as the crossroads of four major railroads (Union Pacific, Milwaukee Road, Great Northern and Northern Pacific).
Centralia is a noncharter code city with a Council-Manager form of government. The City Council consists of seven members with positions one through three being at-large positions.
Although slightly less so than Lewis County as a whole, Centralia is conservative and leans Republican.
Centralia's leading newspaper is The Chronicle , ranked seventeenth in the state based on weekday circulation, and serves most of Lewis County. There are also several community-based newspapers that are published bi-weekly, such as The Lewis County News and The East County Journal.
Centralia Collegeis the oldest continuously operating junior college in the state of Washington. It has been in operation since September 14, 1925. Its first classes were held in the top floor of the Centralia High School building and classes were taught by part-time teachers who also taught high school students.
The college found its beginning in large part due to the efforts of C. L. Littel, Centralia Public Schools Superintendent and Dean Frederick E. Bolton of the University of Washington School of Education. During the early years Centralia College prepared students who would later go on to enroll at the University of Washington, and a special partnership between the colleges remained in place until 1947. The following year Centralia College earned its accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Two years later the college's first major campus building, Kemp Hall, was constructed in the heart of Centralia.
The effort to expand and develop a separate campus was largely influenced by the end of World War II and the newly enacted GI Bill. This created an oversupply of new students ready to train for their careers, with limited space to do so. Just prior to this, enrollment had been shrinking, as many young Centralians and other residents of Lewis County had left to join the war effort. Prior to the war, the college's future had been in jeopardy during the Great Depression and resulting local bank closures. From approximately 1925 through the 1940s the college was primarily funded through private loans and donations from local businesses and community members, but steady funds were not always readily available. Credit for Centralia College surviving during these difficult times is in part given to Margaret Corbet, administrator, faculty member, and namesake of Corbet Hall, due to her efforts to keep the college financially afloat.
Today, Centralia College is greatly expanded, both in physical plant with a campus covering several blocks and in curriculum offerings, including a full range of distribution classes for two-year AA degrees, a select few four-year degrees and a variety of technical skill sets taught at the college.
Borst Home Built in 1864 at the site of the toll ferry crossing at the confluence of the Chehalis and Skookumchuck rivers, the Borst Home fulfilled a promise by Joseph Borst to his young wife Mary to build her the finest home along the Washington extension of the Oregon Trail. The original home is open to tour as part of the large Borst Park complex along I-5 exit 82.
Carnegie Libraryis located in Washington Park and was originally built in 1913 followed by a remodel in 1977-78. The building houses a large chandelier taken from the old Centralia High School. The library is now part of the Timberland Regional Library system.
Centralia Factory Outletsis an outlet mall that hosts tenants such as Aéropostale, Bass, Bath & Body Works, Billabong, Christian Outlet, Claire's, Coach, Eddie Bauer, Helly Hansen, Lane Bryant, Nike Clearance Store, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Quiksilver, Van Heusen, VF Outlet, Volcom and others.
Centralia Farmer's Marketis held Fridays, May to September and has been in existence since 1996. The market features locally grown produce, annuals and perennials, baked goods and handcrafted items.
Centralia Park Systemconsists of a variety of 15 beautiful parks, trails, and recreational and outdoor areas of interest scattered across 240 acres of combined space. Fort Borst Park is the largest of these areas with over 100 acres of park space. It is home to Borst Park Pond, nearby Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers, and adjoining outdoor sports facilities. Within the park you can also find the historic 1860s Borst Mansion, the iconic old Fort Borst Blockhouse and a replica of the original Borst One Room Schoolhouse.
Centralia Square Built in 1920 by Joseph Wohleb, Washington's first professional architect, this long-time Elks Lodge was restored in 2015 to its original glory, including a 9-room boutique hotel with ballroom, two restaurants and the town's original antique mall. The building also features a mural depicting the laborer's side of the Centralia Massacre as a counterpoint to the statue commemorating the American Legionnaires slain in that incident, which stands in the Carnegie Library park across the street.
Centralia Union Depot was built in 1912 and features red brick architecture, vintage oak benches, and internal and external woodworking throughout. In 1996, restoration projects were started. They finished in 2002. The depot is currently served by Amtrak as the midpoint between Kelso, Washington and Olympia, Washington. The depot is also served by connections to the Twin Transit Transportation system and is located within walking distance to Carnegie Library, Historic Fox Theater, McMenamin's Olympic Club Hotel & Theater, and Santa Lucia Coffee Company, as well as various eateries, shops and antique vendors.
Fox Theateroriginally opened on September 5, 1930. It was built with approximately 1,200 seats over three seating levels. The first film seen by the public was Buster Keaton in Doughboys . In 1982 the theater underwent renovations and separated the main stage into three smaller screening areas. The theater closed in 1998 and was purchased by Opera Pacifica in 2004 and underwent initial stages of restoration. In 2007 the City of Centralia bought the theater and it is currently being further restored by the Historic Fox Theatre Restorations. Limited film performances began again in 2009.
McMenamin's Olympic Club Hotel & Theater [ when? ] rated in the top 5 for "Best Pool Hall in Western Washington." Every April or May the Olympic Club host its annual Brewfest, where local, import and guest brews are highlighted.opened in 1908 followed by an extensive remodel in 1913. Since then much of the building has remained unchanged. The hotel hosts 27 European-style guestrooms. Each room is named after a person of interest, including Roy Gardner, a train robber caught behind the hotel in 1921. The club was originally only frequented by gentlemen but has been opened to families for many years. The theater shows second run films, musical and comedy performances, and some televised sports events. The theater has replaced theater seating with various chairs and couches throughout. The pub serves Terminator Stout, Hammerhead, Ruby and other beverages and food items. Adjoining the pub and dining area is a 6-table poolroom and snooker table that was recently
Murals are found throughout historic downtown Centralia. Examples include murals depicting the founder of Centralia (Centerville) named George Washington, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show and an abstract mural depicting the 1919 Armistice Day Centralia Massacre, also known as the Wobbly War.
Notable natives of Centralia include modern dancer Merce Cunningham, singer Ann Boleyn, pianist Charlie Albright, former MLB infielder Lyle Overbay, cable television and early mobile phone entrepreneur Craig McCaw, former CFL and NFL offensive lineman Calvin Armstrong, video game designer and programmer Soren Johnson, Stanford offensive coordinator Tavita Pritchard, former MLB outfielder Bob Coluccio, Metropolitan Opera soprano Angela Meade, and U.S. Air Force General C.D. Moore. Since 2012, international sculptor James Kelsey has been based out of Centralia.
Seattle-based rock band Harvey Danger used Centralia as a metaphor in its song "Moral Centralia,” found on the 2005 album Little by Little .
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