Visitor’s Info: Cathlamet
History of Cathlamet
The county seat of Wahkiakum County got its name from the Kathlamet Indians, a Chinook tribe. The tribal name comes from the Chinook word “calamet,” meaning “stone” and was given to the tribe because they lived along a stretch of rocky river bed. Cathlamet was sighted in 1792 by Lt. W.R. Broughton, while verifying Capt. Robert Gray’s reported discovery of the Columbia River. Lewis & Clark found the Kathlamet and Wahkiakum tribes living here during their Northwest Expedition, which passed the area in 1805. James Birnie of Hudson Bay Company settled here in 1846 and named the area Birnie’s Retreat. The name was later changed to Cathlamet in 1851.
Cathlamet (Cath-la’met) derives from the Chinook word “calamet”, meaning stone, and was given to the tribe because they lived along a rocky river bed. Cathlamet was sighted in 1792 by Lt. WR Broughton, an officer in Captain Vancouver’s fleet.
In 1805, Lewis and Clark let their Corps of Discovery into the Cathlamet area and the Wahkiakum County Shores. The explorers wrote about trading with the two Native American tribes, Cathlamet and Wahkiakum.
When James Birnie retired from the Hudson’s Bay Company, he founded a trading post “Birnie’s Retreat” in 1846. His establishment launched Cathlamet on the Washington Shore of the Columbia River.
This beautiful church, built in 1895, is the most prominent landmark in Cathlamet. The uniquely designed church sits in the middle of town and its tall tower peeks above the rooftops. It is used for weddings, art shows, musical revues and other occasions, and is a common photo opportunity for tourists.
Contact the Pioneer Community Association for more information.
Julia Butler Hansen Heritage Center
Julia Butler Hansen was a Representative from Washington; a member of the State House of Representatives from January 1939 until November 1960, elected to Congress (November 8, 1960-December 31, 1974) and was a resident of Cathlamet, Wash., until her death there on May 3, 1988. The home itself is one of the oldest in the area, and has been recently restored to it’s original glory. Filled with antiques and original items, the home is sometimes available for tours. See the works of Maude Kimball Butler, Julia’s mother, who began painting the daily activities of early life along the Columbia. Her works cover the walls of the home and are a virtual story in pictures of life long ago. The house is located at 35 Butler Street, Cathlamet. Stop by the Chamber office and pick up a walking tour map of historic places.
Elochoman Slough Marina
This beautiful little marina on the Columbia River in Cathlamet, Washington, is the perfect secret get-away for boaters. Located midway between Astoria, Oregon and Longview, Washington, the marina provides overnight, long-term and year-round moorage for pleasure or commercial craft. Facilities include moorage, ramp, fuel, showers, telephone and electric power. Vessels up to 90 feet are welcome at our berths. Please call (360)795-3501 for more information. www.cathlametmarina.org
Cathlamet Blanche Bradley Public Library
The Cathlamet Blanche Bradley Public Library is located above the Town Hall on Main Street in Cathlamet, Washington. In 1931 Mrs. Lulu Heron the wife of Cathlamet Mayor met with the Town Council requesting to use the council room as a public library the council voted to accept the Woman’s Club Public Library as the town library. Decades later Blanche Heron Bradley took possession of the Heron family home. In 1973 Bradley’s daughter donated the dwelling to the town. It was then named Blanche H. Bradley Memorial Center and housed the town library for the next 14-years. The house was sold in the late 1980’s and the library moved to its current location on the second floor of Town Hall.
Historical Society Museum
Located at the entrance to Strong Water Park,
65 River Street
Cathlamet, WA 98612
Summer Hours – 2016
1st Saturday in May thru the Last Saturday in October
Saturdays and Sundays 1-4pm
Arrangements available for
special group tours.
Special arrangements for visitors during Winter Closure can be made by contacting Kari at 360-849-4353