About This Place
Centralia is a city in Lewis County, Washington, United States. The population was 16,336 at the 2010 census.
In pioneer days, Centralia was the halfway stopover point for stagecoaches operating between the Columbia River and Seattle. In 1850, J. G. Cochran came from Missouri with a young African-American free man named George Washington whom Cochran had adopted as a son, and filed a donation land claim on the townsite. Later in 1852, Cochran 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, with one lot free to buyers who built houses.
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.