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History of Woodland

Woodland is one of the oldest communities in Washington State and serves as a gateway to Mt. St. Helens and the Lewis River recreational areas. In 1845, Adolphus Lee Lewis retired from the Hudson's Bay company, and with his brother Fred, established a land claim on property east of the present city of Woodland. The river was first known as the Lewis River after its original settler. Within a few years many other settlers followed to take advantage of the "donation land claims" and settled on the Lewis River "Bottoms." These included Columbia Lancaster, Squire and Milly Bozarth, McKenzie and Jane Caples, J. Brandt and Hans Kraft. On March 26, 1856 the only recorded Indian attack occurred when some members of the Yakima tribe came down to burn out the settlers. Indian Zack, one of the few surviving Cowlitz tribe members, had already warned the settlers who evacuated to the Block House in St. Helens until the Yakimas returned to east of the Mountains.

When the Pekin Post Office was opened, the Bottoms became known as Pekin until Woodland was established in I 88 1. Pekin served the East Fork of the Lewis River area before La Center was born. It was on the Bozarth claim that the town of Woodland was founded. Squire Bozarth named his home the "Woodland Farm House" because of the surrounding stand of fir trees. In 1881 Christopher Columbus Bozarth (better know as "C. C.") opened a store on the Lewis River and named it Woodland after his father's farm. It was the first store in the community and in 1882 began serving as a post office, with Mr. Bozarth as the first commissioned Post Master. The first hotels and restaurants were built in the 1890's. The Woodland Grange now occupies the building that was the Hobb Hotel.

Woodland was platted by A.W. Scott on October 14, 1889, the same year Washington gained statehood. It was incorporated as a town in 1906 and L.Hopf was the first mayor. In 1907 the first sewer system was begun, and the first telephone service contract was granted to Northwestern Telephone. At that time, there were daily stops by the steamers the "Alarm" and the "Lucy Mason," as well as railroad service from Kalama to Portland. In 1913, the Lewis River bridge was built at Woodland. Prior to that time, there was only ferry service across the river. The present bridges where 1-5 crosses the Lewis, and the dike creating Horseshoe Lake were begun in 1940. In 1925, the Woodland Fire Department was organized and a fire station was erected.

About 1887, the Woodland Dairy Association contracted to have a cheese factory for the production of butter and cheese. The cheese maker, named McIntosh departed for Tillamook in 1895, and after a short time his replacement, John Bogart, took over the business, and for many years, produced the highest quality cheese in the area By 1874, there were a number of small mills furnishing lumber for the many new buildings of Woodland logs were rafted down the Lewis river to the mills until Merwin Dam was built (1929-33), and then log trucks began bringing down the timber. The lumber from the Woodland mills was shipped off by steamboat and railroad. The first newspaper in the area was the Woodland News, and was followed by the Woodland Echo. In 1919, The Lewis River News became the area's official newspaper.

Woodland has survived many set backs due to flooding. There were numerous floods down the Lewis River before the dams were constructed. In 1921, the dike that encircles the Woodland "Bottoms" was built, but it broke the first year. The repaired dike held until 1933, when it failed again. Once again, it was repaired and made even higher, and held until 1948. That was the year of the Vanport flood which inundated much of the city and spawned another round of dike building.

The first Cowlitz County Fair was sponsored by Woodland and the Grange in 1918. These annual fairs were large events with a carnival, horse racing, and the finest in farm animals and produce on display. The first Planter's Day celebration was held on June 30, 1922. It is now Washington's oldest continuous community festival, being held each year on the third weekend in June.

Woodland, straddling Cowlitz and Clark County, is growing at an unprecedented pace. The town has now become a center for nurseries, bulb farms, fishing rod manufacturers, manufactured homes, and many other industries. Woodland is eagerly anticipating the next century.

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