The first steamboat arrived in the area now known as La Center in 1854. The town was laid out on the East Fork of the Lewis River in north Clark County. Steamboats would continue to bring passengers and freight up the Lewis River from the Columbia River for more than 60 years, reaching as far as what is now Daybreak Park, six miles upriver from La Center.
The earliest settlers, John H. Timmen and Aurelius Wilkins, came in 1852. G.W. Wier and a Mr. Seeley opened the first store in 1872. On Dec. 6, 1874, Timmen platted the town of Timmen’s Landing, and Mary Brazee Fairhurstan made an addition in 1884. 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 steamboats and the town's location near the forest. Local mills produced thousands of railroad ties and tons of cord wood that were sold in Portland.
Timmen’s Landing was renamed La Center when it was incorporated in 1909. Residents said it was the “center” of shipping and travel on the Lewis River.
For more on La Center, visit the city's website at www.ci.lacenter.wa.us/