“If there’s any decent place in this world, I’m going to find it.”
These words, uttered almost 170 years ago by a young African American man from Missouri, would influence the history of what is now Western Washington. George Washington, the son of a black slave and a white woman of English descent, crossed the continent on the Oregon Trail and settled where the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers converge. He and his wife, Mary Jane, founded the town that would become Centralia and sustained it through its darkest hours. His spirit of cooperation, community support, and hard work would lay the foundations for a community that still embody the ideals that brought him here.
This year, in what would have been his 200th birthday, the people of Centralia began a year-long celebration honoring our founder with a community birthday party on Aug. 12 in George Washington Park. The culmination of the celebration will be an even larger event in August of 2018. Over the course of the year, we will be celebrating key milestones in his life and of the town he founded. We hope that you will join us in honoring this pioneer who overcame so much and still inspires us to this day.
We’re also raising funds for a bronze statue of George & Mary Jane Washington, created by renowned bronze artist Jim Stafford. We are now accepting donations via the Centralia Community Foundation! (Pick “Statue” in the “Select a Fund” drop-down menu.) Help us honor a great man and important historical figure, George Washington of Centralia.