The Washington Rural Heritage initiative is pleased to announce its newest digital collection: Wahkiakum County Heritage. A project of the Cathlamet Blanche Bradley Public Library in partnership with the Wahkiakum County Historical Society & Museum, the collection consists of more than 300 items depicting river life, fishing, forestry, and early homesteading along this lower stretch of Washington’s Columbia River.
Three sub-collections make up Wahkiakum County Heritage. The Wahkiakum Community Collection, which is comprised of material from the private collections of local citizens. The Cathlamet Blanche Bradley Public Library Collection, from the Library’s holdings. And the Wahkiakum County Historical Society Collection, from the Museum’s holdings, which comprises roughly half of the material in the collection. Together, they do an excellent job of documenting the small communities and landmarks of Wahkiakum County, including: Cathlamet, Puget Island, Skamokawa, Grays River, Deep River, Altoona, Brookfield, and Rosburg.
A few of our random favorites include:
- The Smalley family, Rosburg Grange Hall, August 1936.
- Images of horse seining for salmon on the Columbia.
- Loggers at Leisure.
- Funeral boats from Puget Island to Westport and In Skamokawa after a dance – both illustrating how the Columbia and its tributaries were used before the penetration of paved roads.
- A collection of John Fletcher Ford logging photographs. (More of this wonderful photographer’s work can be seen in a Flickr Commons set from Oregon State University).
Congratulations and a big thank you to: the Cathlamet Public Library’s director for managing the project; the project’s digitization contractor from Lower Columbia Community College Library (for many hours of dedicated scanning and cataloging); and to the Wahkiakum County Historical Society’s curator, whose local history expertise is evident in these wonderfully detailed records!