Cathlamet celebrates 115th birthday


February 24, 2022

Diana Zimmerman

A nice crowd watched the raising of the Town of Cathlamet flag at a 150th birthday celebration last Friday at Town Hall.

By Diana Zimmerman

Mayor David Olson welcomed citizens to a birthday celebration last Friday, marking 115 years of the incorporation of the Town of Cathlamet.

There were speeches from the former Mayor, Dale Jacobson, Washington State Representative Joel McEntire, Wahkiakum County Commissioner Gene Strong, and Wahkiakum School District Superintendent Brent Freeman. Dayle Olson read a poem she had written for the occasion; a new town flag was raised, and cake was served.

Hail, Cathlamet!

A pretty town at river's edge

Today we mark its birth,

And hail those folks of yesteryear

Who recognized its worth.

1907 dawned so bright

Upon our steeple crown,

When citizens turned out to vote

Declaring us a town.

Cathlamet has long been a home

To independent minds.

So fly this flag, high, proud and free

Long as the river winds.

-Dayle Olson

Mayor Olson thanked former mayor, Dale Jacobson, Superintendent Brent Freeman, and students at Wahkiakum High School for their contributions to the design of the new flag.

The new flag includes the date of the founding of Cathlamet by James Birnie, the use of the red and black, WHS and Chinook Tribal colors, and a "beautiful, stylized Bald Eagle celebrating the town's annual event, Bald Eagle Days," Olson said.

Courtesy photo.

Dayle Olson, left, and Tiffany Hartman came in period dress.

"We are proud to joyously celebrate the 115th birthday of the incorporation of our beautiful and historic Town," Mayor Olson said later. "I am reminded that Cathlamet as a community is considerably older than our 'Township' birthday, having been settled in 1846 by James Birnie, a doughty Scotsman late of the Hudson's Bay Company, renowned for his hospitality to settlers and travelers. As such, Cathlamet is one of the oldest established communities in all of Washington Territory, pre-dating any settlement on Puget Sound.

"We are proud to have hosted Presidents (including US Grant and JFK) as well as leaders such as Julia Butler Hansen, the 'Duchess of Cathlamet,' whose leadership led to construction of the Astoria-Megler Bridge and numerous other accomplishments.

"Today Cathlamet celebrates its heritage and continues to provide a 'unique welcome' to visitors and residents alike, just as James Birnie did in 1846. It is a great honor to serve as mayor of this wonderful place."


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