The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

PCA membership drive now in progress


February 4, 2021

Submitted by Suzanne Holmes

President, Pioneer Community Association

Perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Over the years of seemingly never-ending projects, there is no single word that better describes the actions of the Pioneer Community Association than perseverance. We see the Cathlamet Pioneer Center as a work in progress and during the crazy Covid-19 Summer of 2020, despite difficulty and delay, we were able to complete major structural projects that will keep this historic building standing for decades to come. The funds that enabled us to put on a new roof, paint the exterior, make foundation repairs, and complete some interior updates were provided by the Washington State Department of Commerce. This would not have been possible without the support and guidance of former Senator Dean Takko. He absolutely made it happen and we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.

A bit of history:

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the Cathlamet Pioneer Center began as the Cathlamet Congregational Church in 1895, was vacated in 1960 and sold to Beacon Hill Baptist Church. After only a few years they closed the doors and the building stood vacant until the late 1970’s. The Town of Cathlamet purchased the building, with help from donations, and then deeded it over to a newly formed organization, The Pioneer Church Association. In 2003 the Pioneer Church Association became the Pioneer Community Association (PCA), and the old Pioneer Church was renamed the Cathlamet Pioneer Center to better reflect the goals and likely use of the building. The Cathlamet Pioneer Center was open for business and musical performances and speakers entertained our community.

In 2010 the Town of Cathlamet, once again, took steps to secure the future of this prominent landmark. It was suggested that the old church building be gathered under the umbrella of town facilities. The town would lease the building for a nominal fee and assume utility and insurance payments. This would free up the PCA to focus on events, fund raising and further upgrade the facility. The 60-year lease was signed May 17, 2010. Further upgrades, under the stewardship of the PCA, have included a fire suppression system, custom made new front doors, replacement basement windows with header repair, and most recently, a new roof/gutters, exterior paint, and foundation repairs.

Looking forward:

Interior upgrades are next, followed by repairs to the front door exterior stairs and a replacement back door landing/staircase. Lastly, we will be landscaping the grounds and creating a small Friendship Memorial Garden with low maintenance plants and bench seating to be compatible with the adjacent Town of Cathlamet Queen Sally Historical Site. As we move forward on these projects, we will share opportunities for our community to contribute labor, material, and funds to complete the renovations to our historic Cathlamet Pioneer Center. Interior modifications to improve access, safety and technology will increase the utilization of the building and insure its continued use for future generations. This all takes support, both financial and manpower. Membership is more than an annual donation; it is a statement of support for the mission of restoring and preserving the Cathlamet Pioneer Center.

• Your membership helps when we are applying for grants.

• We need members to make things happen.

• Your membership is evidence that people care.

We are excited about the future of the Cathlamet Pioneer Center and hope that you will join the Pioneer Community Association for 2021 and be part of this important preservation and restoration project.

You can download the Membership Application Form from our website or email us at and we will send you an application form. Donations of any amount are always welcome (and much needed). Make checks payable to Pioneer Community Association. They can be mailed to PO Box 24 Cathlamet WA 98612. Donations are tax-deductible. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller.


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