Ideally located where the Washougal River meets the mighty Columbia, the town of Washougal rests at the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge, land of the native Chinook tribes. It was at Cottonwood Beach that Lewis and Clark spent six days reprovisioning in 1806. Settlers followed, loading wagons with bacon, flour, salt, and beans and heading west. These pioneers were not the lean, get-rich-quick bachelors of the California gold rush. These were family men, bringing with them six or seven children at a time and, once established, having six or seven more.

The town itself was established in 1880 on land claimed by Richard Ough, a sailor who settled down in order to win his Chinook princess bride, Betsey White Wing. Washougal’s first families—among them Oughs, Cottrells, Durgans, Kisers, Aunes, Webbers, and Goots—cleared the forest, planted orchards, and raised grass-fat dairy cows. Their descendents, and the emigrants who followed them, continued the work of building this unique community and its strong sense of place.

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Longtime area resident and author Richenda Fairhurst is a member of the Camas-Washougal and Oregon Historical Societies and a graduate of Washington State University in Vancouver. In creating this charming retrospective, she is grateful to the Two Rivers Museum, located just next to the historic Pendleton Mill in Washougal, for the opportunity to showcase the museum’s extensive archive of vintage photographs.

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Find Washougal:
Arcadia Publishing
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Barnes & Noble
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Fishers Landing
also by Richenda Fairhurst

Keywords: Columbia River, Clark County, Washington State, Lewis and Clark, Columbia River Gorge, American History, Wagon Train, Pioneer, American West, Settlers, Settlement, North Shore, Lower Columbia, Camas, Donation Land Claim, Chinook, Homestead, Oregon, Portland, Vancouver, Stevenson, Bonneville.

Page, images, graphics, and design copyright Richenda Fairhurst, 2009.  All rights reserved.