The Grand Coulee Dam, located on the Columbia River in central Washington, is the largest hydropower project in the United States and was once the largest concrete structure in the world.
Cowlitz County, located in the southwestern part of Washington state, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Cowlitz, who thrived off the bounty of the surrounding rivers and forests. In the late 18th century, European fur traders and explorers arrived in the region, establishing contact with the native peoples and establishing a fur trade network.

In the mid-19th century, American settlers began to arrive in the area, attracted to the abundant natural resources like timber and fish. The Hudson's Bay Company also had a significant presence in the region, further contributing to the growth and development of the area. In 1854, the Cowlitz County was officially created, named after the Cowlitz tribe. Early industries in the county included logging, fishing, and coal mining.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw significant changes in Cowlitz County's economy. The completion of the Northern Pacific Railway in the 1870s brought increased access to markets and facilitated the growth of the timber industry. Lumber mills began to spring up across the county, leading to a period of rapid economic development. In the early 20th century, the construction of dams along the Cowlitz River helped to generate hydroelectric power, driving further industrial growth.

In more recent decades, Cowlitz County has continued to evolve. The decline of the timber industry has led to a diversification of the local economy, with a focus on manufacturing, healthcare, and education. The county is also home to the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, which has a casino and other economic ventures. Today, Cowlitz County remains a vibrant area that combines its rich history with modern industries and a growing community.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Cowlitz County, Washington.

  • 1845: First recorded exploration of the area by American settlers.
  • 1854: Treaty of Medicine Creek signed, establishing a reservation for local Native American tribes, including the Cowlitz.
  • 1860: George Abernathy settles in the area and establishes a trading post.
  • 1871: Cowlitz County is officially established as a separate county.
  • 1882: The county seat is moved to Kelso.
  • 1905: Mount St. Helens erupts, causing significant damage to the county.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression brings economic hardship to the region.
  • 1980: Mount St. Helens erupts again, causing widespread destruction.
  • 1995: Cowlitz County Historical Museum is established in Kelso.