Living in ‘Twin Cities’ of Lewis County, Washington
1873 – Chehalis, Washington (sha hay lis) began as a settlement around a warehouse beside a railroad track in 1873, when the Northern Pacific Railroad built northward from Kalama to Tacoma, and ignored Claquato, then the county seat three miles to the west.
1875 – Centralia, Washington, was founded in 1875 by George Washington, the son of a slave and a jack-of-all-trades, who journeyed to the Pacific Northwest to create a new life. Washington was born in Frederick County, Virginia, on August 15, 1817.
Centralia and Chehalis are located just south of Olympia WA, a great little cruise down I-5. The twin cities of Lewis County, as they are known locally, are two small communities divided by a viaduct and a sign. The two towns together boast a population of approximately 24,716. Centralia and Chehalis are the halfway point between Seattle and Portland. They also are the halfway point between the fun in the sun beaches of the coast or to the west for hiking trails, camping, and winter sports along White Pass Byway corridor to Yakima.
Being the smaller of the two towns, Chehalis is the county seat and while they both have a quaint downtown area with mostly small businesses, the main streets of both towns are close to original. While Centralia’s downtown core is made up mostly of antique stores, “Antique Row,” which features the Olympic Club (originally a men’s club), with the old pool hall, and a theater that has easy chairs, love seats, and small tables. As you meander down the main street, you will find many small eateries (restaurants), or friendly neighborhood pubs. Centralia also has the outlet mall near I-5. Chehalis has its own wonderful downtown area, but also has a Walmart, Home Depot and many other large businesses and is the major industrial area to both towns.
Just to name a few …
Centralia offers Fort Borst Park with its sports field, playground, and picnic areas. Rotary Riverside Park is a 14-acre open space with great walking trails and a skate park. Plummer Lake & Schaffer Park are popular, if you would like to enjoy a more rural/country setting.
Chehalis offers Gail and Carolyn Shaw Aquatics Center, Recreation Park with Penny Playground, Stan Hedwall Baseball Park, Dobson-McFadden Trail for hiking/walking trails, plus many others in the general area.
Things to See and Do
Whether you live in Chehalis or Centralia, summer weekends always provide entertainment in seeing the old and restored vehicles from the past cruising down the main streets. Many other famous events are the Washington State Garlic Festival, the Southwest Washington Fair, Spring flower shows, Hunting shows and RV Shows.
Local churches provide services of many denominations.
Providence Hospital, located in Centralia, is the nearest hospital.