Washington October 04, 2016
The Quiet Fishing Town In Washington That Seems Frozen In Time
Nestled alongside the Columbia River on the Long Beach Peninsula is the working fishing village of Ilwaco. Settled in 1851 by Henry Feister, it was home to the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company for over 30 years. And although there have been some changes to the area since the railway days, it doesn’t look much different than it did back then.
Ilwaco is the sight of some pretty important historical events.
Lewis and Clark passed through the area in 1805. Before that, trading ships would bargain with the local Chinook Indians for sea otter pelts in the 1700s.
Today, the Port of Ilwaco is a beautiful place to visit.
You’ll find shops, restaurants and galleries on the historic Port of Ilwaco Boardwalk.
Learn about local history at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.
The museum is the result of a lot of hard work of early volunteers and has over 23,000 artifacts.
The commercial fishing boats at the marina might be modern, but everything else appears frozen in time.
Don’t miss seeing the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast, which you’ll find at the historic Cape Disappointment State Park.
In 1788, English Captain John Meares missed the passage over the river bar while he was looking for the Columbia River. He named the nearby headland Cape Disappointment in “honor” of his failure. The Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived there in 1805, and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was constructed in 1856. The North Head Lighthouse joined it a few decades later.
In 1862, Cape Disappointment was armed with smoothbore cannons to protect the mouth of the Columbia River from enemies during the Civil War.
Gun batteries are still in place at the park.
Change is inevitable, but it’s slow to come to Ilwaco.
When you’re walking through this quiet town, you might feel like you’ve gone back in time.
If you enjoy Ilwaco, go off the beaten path and explore some of Washington’s other
charming historic villages.