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Trip Planner USA  /  Washington State  /  Centralia

Centralia

4
Water Parks · Factory Outlets · Breweries
Centralia is a city in Lewis County, Washington, United States. The population was 16,336 at the 2010 census.HistoryIn the 1850s and 1860s, Centralia's Borst Home at the confluence of the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers was the site of a toll ferry, and the halfway stopping point for stagecoaches operating between Kalama, Washington and Tacoma. In 1850, J. G. Cochran and his wife Anna were led there via the Oregon Trail by their adopted son, a free African-American named George Washington (Washington pioneer), as the family feared he would be forced into slavery if they stayed in Missouri after the passage of the Compromise of 1850. Cochran filed a donation land claim near the Borst Home in 1852, and was able to sell his claim to Washington for $6000 because unlike the neighboring Oregon Territory, there was no restriction against passing legal ownership of land to negroes in the newly formed Washington Territory.Upon hearing of the imminent arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway (NP) in 1872, George Washington filed a plat for the town of Centerville, naming the streets after biblical references and offering lots for $10 each, with one lot free to buyers who built houses. Finding that another town in the south-central part of the state bore the same name, the town was officially incorporated as Centralia on February 3, 1886, so dubbed by a recent settler from Centralia, Illinois. The town's population boomed, then collapsed in the Panic of 1893, when the NP went bankrupt; entire city blocks were offered for as little as $50 with no takers. Washington (despite facing racial prejudice from some newcomers) made personal loans and forgave debt to keep the town afloat until the economy stabilized; the city then boomed again based on the coal, lumber and dairying industries. On his death in 1905, all businesses in the town closed, and 5000 mourners attended his funeral.
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