The first steamboat arrived in the area now known as La Center on the East Fork of the Lewis River in north Clark County in 1854. Steamboats would continue to bring both passengers and freight up the Lewis River from the Columbia for more than 60 years, reaching as far as the current Daybreak Park located six miles upriver from La Center.
The earliest settlers in the area were John H. Timmen and Aurelius Wilkins in 1852. G.W. Wier and a Mr. Seeley opened the first store in 1872. On December 6, 1874, the town of Timmen’s Landing was laid out and platted by Timmen. An addition was made in 1884 by Mary Brazee Fairhurst. By 1885, the town had several prospering businesses, hotels, a Methodist church, a sawmill, a grist mill, a brickyard, and a post of the Grand American Army of the Republic.
Two keys to the town’s early prosperity were the steamboats and its location near the forest. Local mills produced thousands of railroad ties, plus tons of cord wood that were transported from La Center to Portland.
Timmen’s Landing was renamed La Center when it was incorporated in 1909 because it was the “center” of shipping and travel on the Lewis River.
For more on the city of La Center, visit the Web site at: www.ci.lacenter.wa.us/