Washington: Lewis County

Lewis County (pop. 75,455) is north of Cowlitz and Skamania counties. It is one of seven Lewis counties, and one of five named for Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809), leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Most of the population of Lewis County is in the Interstate 5 corridor, in the western part of the county. The eastern part of the county is in the Cascades, including a portion of Mount Rainier National Park.

The county seat of Lewis County is the city of Chehalis (pronounced “shuh-HAY-lis”), which has a population of 7,259.

Lewis County Courthouse (1927)

The old Northern Pacific Depot (1912) in Chehalis is now the Lewis County Historical Museum.

Mission Revival style

The former St. Helens Hotel (1920) in downtown Chehalis is now the St. Helens Apartments.

On the National Register of Historic Places

On the north side of Chehalis is a “Yard Bird” statue, left over from a well-known local chain of Yard Bird stores that has gone out of business.

Centralia (pop. 16,336), the largest city in Lewis County, is just four miles north of Chehalis. It got its name because of its central location between Seattle and the Columbia River.

Giant pencil on a porch, Centralia

The renovated Fox Theatre (1930) in Centralia hosts classic movies and special events.

The Amtrak station in Centralia is the former Union Depot (1912). It is served by Amtrak’s “Cascades” and “Coast Starlight” trains.

Restored in 2002

In the community of Claquato, west of Chehalis, the Claquato Church (1857) is the oldest standing church building in Washington.

Claquato was briefly the county seat.

The city of Winlock (pop. 1,329), south of Chehalis, is the home of “The World’s Largest Egg” – as reported in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” in 1989. The egg industry has been important in the area.

This one dates from 1991.


wash working map copy


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