Centralia, Washington

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Centralia is a city in Lewis County, Washington, United States. The population was 14,742 at the 2000 census.



In pioneer days, Centralia was the halfway stopover point for stagecoaches operating between the Columbia River and Seattle. In 1850, J. G. Cochran, coming from Missouri with a young African-American slave named George Washington, filed a donation land claim on the townsite. Later, Cochran freed his slave, adopted him as a son, and in 1852 sold him 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, with one lot free to buyers who built houses. C

In 1891, the population, over 1,000, found its mail confused with that of another Centerville in the state, and the name of the town was changed to Centralia. (Washington - A guide to the Evergreen State, WPA American Guide Series, Washington State Historical Society, 1941). It was officially incorporated as Centralia on February 3, 1886. The city was the site of the infamous Centralia Massacre in 1919.

The 1940 population of Centralia was 7,414.

December 2007 flood

On average, there are 136 sunny days per year in Centralia. Due to flooding from the December 2007 Pacific Northwest storms, a twenty-mile (32 km) stretch of Interstate 5, which runs through Lewis County near Centralia, was closed between exits 68 and 88 for several days.[3] The economic cost of the I-5 closure was roughly $4 million a day. To redirect water away from the freeway, WSDOT breached a dike to allow the water to drain back into the Chehalis River.

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