"Centralia, Washington, in the pioneer days, was the halfway stopover point for stagecoaches operating between Kalama and Tacoma then later the Columbia River and Seattle. In 1850, J. G. Cochran came from Missouri with his adopted son, a young African-Americanfree man named George Washington. Cochran filed a donation land claim on the townsite, and later in 1852, sold Washington his claim for $6,000. The new owner built a home and filed a plat for the town of Centerville, offering lots for $10 each he was planning on selling it to the local aliens, with one lot free to buyers who built houses. It was officially incorporated as Centralia on February 3, 1886." Ref. Wikipedia
The city was the site of the infamous Centralia Massacre in 1919. The Centralia Massacre was a violent and bloody incident that occurred in Centralia, Washington on November 11, 1919, during a parade celebrating the first anniversary of Armistice Day. This conflict between the American Legion and workers who were members of the Industrial Workers of the World resulted in six deaths, additional wounded, multiple prison terms, and an ongoing and especially bitter dispute over the motivations and events that precipitated the massacre. It was the culmination of years of bad blood between members of the local Legion and members of the IWW. Both Centralia and the neighboring town of Chehalis had a large number of World War I veterans, with robust chapters of the Legion, as well as a large number of IWW members, some also war veterans.
"Centralia College is the oldest continuously operating junior college in the state of Washington. The college has been in operation since September 14, 1925. The college’s first classes were held in the top floor of the Centralia High School building and classes were taught by part-time teachers who also taught high school students." Ref. Wikipedia
"Carnegie Library is located in Washington Park and was originally built in 1913 followed by a remodel in 1977-78. The building houses a large chandelier taken from the old Centralia High School. The library is now part of the Timberland Regional Library system. Every summer, the library hosts the annual Twin Cities pet show, and in the month of December, it is the site of the annual Christmas Tree Lighting." Ref. Wikipedia
Centralia Factory Outlets is an outlet mall that hosts tenants such as Aéropostale, Bass, Bath & Body Works, Billabong, Christian Outlet, Claire’s, Coach, Eddie Bauer, Helly Hansen, Lane Bryant, Nike Clearance Store, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Quiksilver, Van Heusen, VF Outlet, Volcom and others. Ref. Wikipedia
Centralia Farmer’s Market is held Fridays, May to September and has been in existence since 1996. The market features locally grown produce, annuals and perennials, baked goods and handcrafted items.
Centralia Park System consists of a variety of 15 beautiful parks, trails, and recreational and outdoor areas of interest scattered across 240 acres of combined space. Fort Borst Park is the largest of these areas with over 100 acres of park space. It is home to Borst Park Pond, nearby Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers, and adjoining outdoor sports facilities. Within the park you can also find the historic 1860s Borst Mansion, the iconic old Fort Borst Blockhouse and a replica of the original Borst One Room Schoolhouse.
Centralia Union Depot was built in 1912 and features red brick architecture, vintage oak benches, and internal and external woodworking throughout. In 1996, restoration projects were started. They finished in 2002. The depot is currently served by Amtrak as the midpoint between Kelso, Washington and Olympia, Washington. The depot is also served by connections to the Twin Transit Transportation system and is located within walking distance to Carnegie Library, Historic Fox Theater, McMenamin’s Olympic Club Hotel & Theater, and Santa Lucia Coffee Company, as well as various eateries, shops and antique vendors.
Fox Theater originally opened on September 5, 1930. It was built with approximately 1,200 seats over three seating levels. The first film seen by the public was Buster Keaton in Doughboys. In 1982 the theater underwent renovations and separated the main stage into three smaller screening areas. The theater closed in 1998 and was purchased by Opera Pacifica in 2004 and underwent initial stages of restoration. In 2007 the City of Centralia bought the theater and it is currently being further restored by the Historic Fox Theatre Restorations. Limited film performances began again in 2009.
McMenamin’s Olympic Club Hotel & Theater opened in 1908 followed by an extensive remodel in 1913. Since then much of the building has remained unchanged. The hotel hosts 27 European-style guestrooms. Each room is named after a person of interest, including Roy Gardner, a train robber caught behind the hotel in 1921. The club was originally only frequented by gentlemen but has been opened to families for many years. The theater shows second run films, musical and comedy performances, and some televised sports events. The theater has replaced theater seating with various chairs and couches throughout. The pub serves Terminator Stout, Hammerhead, Ruby and other beverages and food items. Adjoining the pub and dining area is a 6-table poolroom and snooker table that was recently rated in the top 5 for “Best Pool Hall in Western Washington." Every April or May the Olympic Club host its annual Brewfest, where local, import and guest brews are highlighted.
Murals are found throughout historic downtown Centralia. Examples include murals depicting: The founder of Centralia (Centerville) named George Washington, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show and an abstract mural depicting the 1919 Armistice Day Centralia Massacre also known as the Wobbly War.