The first European settlement in Washington was established by the Spanish in 1775 at Neah Bay on the Olympic Peninsula.
Clark County, located in the southwestern part of Washington state, holds a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by the Chinook and other Native American tribes who relied on the Columbia River for sustenance and trade. The first European explorers, most notably Lewis and Clark, arrived in the early 19th century, leading to the county's eventual establishment.

In the 1820s, fur traders and missionaries from the Hudson's Bay Company established Fort Vancouver, a significant trading post and center for exploration in the Pacific Northwest. The fort became a major player in the fur trade, attracting many settlers who moved to the area seeking economic opportunities and new livelihoods.

The 1850s and 1860s marked a period of rapid growth for Clark County, spurred on by the California Gold Rush and the opening of the Oregon Trail. The County was officially established in 1845 and was named after William Clark, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Towns like Vancouver, Camas, and Washougal grew as centers of commerce and industry, driven by the booming fur trade and the establishment of sawmills and logging camps.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries brought significant changes to Clark County. The completion of the railroad in the 1880s facilitated transportation and opened new markets for local industries. Agriculture, logging, and manufacturing played crucial roles in the county's economy, attracting more settlers and immigrants from around the world. The County also became a hub for education and culture with the founding of educational institutions like Clark College and the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics.

Today, Clark County continues to thrive as a diverse and vibrant area. It is home to a growing population, a mix of urban and rural communities, and a diverse economy centered around industries like high-tech manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism. The county's rich history can still be seen in its historic downtown areas, museums, preserved landmarks, and annual events that celebrate the region's heritage.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Clark County, Washington.

  • In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition explored the area that would later become Clark County.
  • In 1844, Fort Vancouver was established as a fur trading post by the Hudson's Bay Company.
  • In 1849, the County was created and named after explorer William Clark.
  • In 1850, the first County seat was established in Vancouver.
  • In 1878, the Great Vancouver Fire devastated the city and led to the adoption of stricter fire codes.
  • In 1908, the Bonneville Dam was completed, providing hydroelectric power and facilitating navigation on the Columbia River.
  • In 1925, the Interstate Bridge between Vancouver and Portland was constructed, improving transportation between the two cities.
  • In 1953, the Interstate 5 freeway was completed, further enhancing transportation infrastructure in the County.
  • In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano erupted, causing significant damage to the County and surrounding areas.
  • In 1995, the Clark County Historical Museum was opened to preserve and showcase the area's history.