Names in Clark County
Clark County names. Where did they come from?
"Onomastics" is the science of naming things or people. But when it comes to Clark County place names, there often is little science to it.
What would an expert think of Fargher Lake, where there is no longer a lake; Battle Ground, where there was no battle; Felida, a cat owner's joke; or the Cascade Mountains, named after a waterfall drowned by The Dalles Dam?
Enjoy reading the following briefs of various places around the county and find links to a deeper look into Clark County's rich history.
Information was compiled by Columbian Information Resource Coordinator Diane Gibson from: The Columbian's newspaper archives, and the book "Naming Clark County" with permission from the Clark County Historical Society.
Alki Road and Middle School: Alki is "by and by," "looking forward," or even "heaven" in the Chinook language.
Amboy: When A.M. Ball circulated a petition asking for a post office in 1886, he was given the honor of naming the town. There are three versions of how he made his choice. One version is that there were several settlers with the initials A.M.B., among them Ball himself as well as A.M. Browning and A.M. Blaker, who were called the A.M. Boys.
Andresen Road: Originally 65th Avenue, this road took its name from J.T.W. Andresen and James O. Andresen, father and son, who had property on either side of the road. James Andresen was a well known veterinarian and member of the Savings and Loan board in Vancouver. He died in 1973.
Apple Tree: Some say that it is the "oldest apple tree" in the Northwest. Some even say it may be the oldest on the west coast.
Ariel: The site of the annual D.B. Cooper festival, this community on the road to Lake Merwin Park was named for the first born son of the postmaster, Leander Chitty.
Arnada: This neighborhood, with its park at 25th Street east of F, was originally called Vancouver Heights. The developer took parts of friends' names to choose the title: AR from Margaret Ranns, NA from Anna Eastham, and DA from Ida Elwell. For some years the name was used mainly for the grade school located there.
Bachelor Island: Three unmarried men once owned the island, now home of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
Bagley Downs: Bert Bagley Jr. built a race track on his dairy farm at Fourth Plain Boulevard and Falk Road to spice up the Clark County Fair that made its home there until 1928. When the fair moved north, Bagley continued to race horses, and eventually dogs, to great controversy.
Baker: Henry was the first of the Bakers here. He owned part of the area near 179th Street and NE 11th Avenue, called "String Town" because the houses were strung out along the road. When he donated land for the school, the area was named for him. His son, George, later operated a logging camp on the site. The last of the great logging camps, it finished work in 1911.
Barberton: Postmaster Milo Barber named the area for himself. It was formerly called St. Johns because St. James Church had established a mission there, near 72nd Avenue and 99th Street.
Battle Ground: A.M. Richter platted the town in 1902 and named the city for a battle that never took place.
Bear Prairie: "When the dusky warriors first saw this country in bygone years, they exclaimed 'Wa-Shu-Go' which translated into English means land of plenty," D.W. Hutchinson wrote.
Bee Tree: Bee Tree lies about five miles due north of Battle Ground in rolling hills that once grew some of the mightiest stands of Douglas fir in the nation.
Biddle Lake, Biddlewood Park: Botanist Henry Jonathan Biddle bought Beacon Rock and surrounding acreage to save it from demolition. The lake and park in Vancouver were among his holdings.
Bloch Park: Louis Bloch, president of the Crown Zellerbach Paper Company, donated the land for the Camas park.
Bonneville Power Administration, Dam, camp: Paris-born Col. Benjamin Bonneville was an explorer and commander of Vancouver Barracks.
Brush Prairie: South of Battle Ground, this area was named by Elmorine Bowman for a very brushy prairie and swamp on her father's homestead. Others believe the area was simply named for a brushy marsh nearby.
Burnt Bridge Creek: A creek of many names. At one time, when a bridge crossed the creek at 4th Plain, it was called Bridge Creek. Then the bridge burned. In the 1850s, it was also called Stenegier's Creek, after a Hudson's Bay employee on whose land the creek ran. In 1865, it appears on the maps as Marble Creek, for Ansil Marble, on whose land it then lay. However, by 1885, it appears as Burnt Bridge Creek. The stream was Vancouver's primary water source until the city's wells were dug.
Burton: The Columbian for May 18, 1901, reported, "At a school election and by a vote of 15-14, the new school in the Pucker Brush community was named Burton." They named the school for George Burton, who had donated the land near the present day 72nd Street and Burton road. Burton Homes was the last of the war time developments built to house shipyard workers. When the last tenant left on October 13, 1945, the houses were dismantled.
Camas: A deep blue lily, used by native Americans for food, was called the Kamass, or Kamiss. The French called it La Camas. The Lacamas Colony, which planned the town that later held paper mill workers, took the name from this flower. In 1909, the "La" was dropped to avoid confusion with La Center and La Conner.
Camp Bonneville: In 1909, the U.S. Army leased land 7 miles north of Camas for a rifle range. In 1919 they purchased the property, calling it merely "The Rifle Range." In 1926 the War Department named it Camp Bonneville for Col. Benjamin Bonneville.
Carson: Although Carson is in Skamania County, its naming makes a good story. A.C. Tucker had asked the Post Office for the name Casner to honor the first settler, but the government misspelled it "Carson." Earlier the area had been called Ash, because it was the first stand of ash trees seen by Lewis and Clark.
Carter Park: The Vancouver park and neighborhood were named for Joseph Carter, a businessman and Vancouver city councilman.
Cascade Park: Just east of Vancouver, this huge area takes its name from the real estate development, which began its growth in the 1970s. Don MacKay sat down in 1968 to figure out a name for his and Arch MacDonald's new development in the East Mill Plain area, he liked Cascade Park the best. Also, MacKay said, before he moved here to develop one of the fastest growing areas in Clark County, he lived in Sunnyvale, Calif., near San Francisco, on a street named Cascade Drive.
Cedar Creek: Timbered with fragrant cedar, the creek ran across a lovely valley in the northwest of the county and was a welcome sight for early travelers.
Charter Oak: Dorothy E. Person, a teacher at Hockinson Elementary School, says it was her Great Grandmother, Miranda Spencer, who named it. It reminded her of her former home, Charter Oak, Mo.
Chelatchie Prairie: While the average person probably doesn't know where either Amboy or Chelatchie is on the map, the residents of the rural community 30 miles northeast of Vancouver take a special pride in their isolation.
Cherry Grove: Named for the time that wild cherry trees grew in abundance, the community still boasts its share of cherry trees, but most of them now are the domestic varieties.
China Ditch: Named for the 100 or so foreign laborers who worked in the 1890s to drain what was once the Fifth Plain.
Chkalov Drive: Named after the landing in June 1937, of the ANT-25, piloted by Valeri Chkalov, which had taken off from Moscow and flown over the North Pole to land at Pearson Field in Vancouver. It was aviation's first Trans-Polar flight.
Clark County: The county is named for William Clark, the co-captain of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which passed through here in 1805 and 1806.
Daniels Street: Named for Horace Daniels, a prominent early citizen of Vancouver.
David Douglas Park: Named for the Scottish botanist and scholar, who documented 200 plants unknown in Europe during early explorations of the Pacific Northwest. He returned to Europe with dozens of non-native clippings.
Dollar's Corner: Mr. and Mrs. Smith L. Dollar bought land in 1917 and opened a store and filling station at 219th Street and 72nd Avenue. Sheriff's deputies who were told to patrol as far as where Mr. Dollar had his business reported back that they had patrolled as far as Dollar's Corner. A radio station in the 1940s, broadcast, that the shortest route into Vancouver was to turn left at Dollar's Corner and take the Manor Highway into town.
Dublin: This community, centered about what is now the intersection of Northeast 132nd Avenue and Northeast 249th Street, was settled by Irish immigrants.
DuBois Park: A city park at California and Palo Alto Streets, whose namesake was a 1950s developer Robert DuBois. Also known as the Braewood subdivision.
Duluth: Duluth is a young community, dating only to 1930. When Adolph Sauvie opened a store and bus depot at 219th Street and 10th Avenue, the bus company insisted that the place have a name. Sauvie named it for his old home town in Minnesota.
Eaton: the community on Heisson road was named for Joseph Eaton who was referred to at the time as "an old resident and reliable citizen."
Ellsworth: The area is also known as Image, and is now the name for a road and a school. Residents petitioned successfully in 1957 to keep a name they said had a 75-year history when the county began numbering its roads, but the origin of Ellsworth - or Image - could not be discovered.
Esther Short: Amos and Esther Short claimed their land in the heart of Vancouver before it became American territory. Esther Short not only donated a section of her land for a public park between Columbia and Esther Street, but also donated a riverfront section for a public wharf that was the beginning of the Port of Vancouver.
Fales Landing: David R. Fales, who had a land claim just south of what is today the Ridgefield Wildlife Preserve, was born in Maine in 1807 and worked as a river boatman in the east. He started the journey west at the age of 45, arriving in The Dalles in 1852. Everything that he owned, through bad weather and theft, was lost to him. He came onto the claim in Clark County in 1854, put his family in an old pole house there, and set to work. He built a house on the bluff sturdy enough to be used as a refuge during the Indian Wars of 1855-56. He was elected to the Territorial council in 1858 and lived out the rest of his life as an honored and beloved member of the community. He died on the 4th of July 1885.
Falk: C.H. Falk donated 10 acres for a fairground on Fourth Plain Road, near the road that now carries his name. The Clark County fair was located there for awhile; then the area was used for a racetrack for horses and dogs called Bagley Downs. People who wanted to go to the fair or the races took the streetcar to Falk, a station on the edge of Mr. Falk's property, at about where SR 500 is today. The name stayed on the map for about 15 years after the railway stopped running.
Fargher Lake: There was once a lake here, but it was drained more than 60 years ago. The area was settled by brothers Fred and Horatio Farghuar. The spelling of their name was later changed to Fargher. What was once the lake, became mint fields, is found at the end of the Lewisville Highway.
Father Blanchet Park: Rev. Francis Norbert Blanchet, later archbishop, arrived here to spread the Catholic faith in 1838.
Felida: In 1890, the name was established when a post office was installed for this area northeast of Vancouver Lake. Marian E. McIrvin, the first postmaster, suggested Lakeview, but postal authorities said no because there was already a Lakeview in the state. McIrvin's father-in-law suggested the current name. Other reports contend that when the local post office was established the name Powley was submitted to honor a local resident, F. Powley. The post office denied that name and suggested "Polly." C.C. Lewis, the postmaster, responded that the name sounded like a parrot might as well name it for his cat! He submitted Thomas, his cat's name, as well as Tomcat, and Felidae, Latin for cat. The post office thought that Felida was a real nice name.
Fern Prairie: This farming community north of Camas was named by James Parker, an early settler, for the abundance of bracken fern that took over wherever the timber was cut. The Indian name for the area was Illahee, meaning "good land," because camas plants were found in great quantity.
Fishers Landing: Originally named Fisher for Solomon W. Fisher, who filed a land claim in the early 1850s, including 160 acres on the Columbia River's north bank and 160 acres on Government Island. The name later was modified to Fishers Landing by popular usage. At one time Fishers was called Pumpkin Center, a name placed there by a businessman, but the name didn't stick.
Five Corners: Numerous fender benders and some serious injury accidents at the intersection prompted Clark County to cut the confusion at the five-road intersection by cutting out one of the streets.
Fourth Plain: In 1846, Dugald McTavish of the Hudson's Bay Co. explored the land in back of the Vancouver fur trading post. He reported finding four "plains," each separated from the next by a band of timber, with the fourth one being the only one of "any size." The fourth plain is where Orchards now stands. McTavish apparently meant natural clearings in the thick woods when he talked of "plains"; others have suggested the name was also taken for steps of land up from the river, or from flatland separated by east-west ridges.
Fourth Plain Village: One of the six wartime developments built for shipyard workers during World War II, it was located off Fourth Plain Road near Grand Avenue. It is still a recognizable neighborhood. The Community Center, built for the wartime neighborhood, is still in use as the Red Cross Headquarters.
Fruit Valley: When Clark County was the prune capital of the world, this area was called Fruit Valley because some of the prize orchards were here. Originally, the area bore the nickname "New Dakota" because of the number of immigrants from North and South Dakota that settled here. During World War II, Fruit Valley held one of the six housing projects for shipyard workers.
Frenchman's Bar: The Frenchman was Paul Haury, who jumped ship and hid in a hallow log after a miserable voyage to British Columbia. He wound up in Vancouver, buying land west of the Port in 1915.
Garner: From 1902 until 1904, William Henry Garner had a small store at the end of the railroad line. The town was named for him, but after the town was platted, the name was changed to Yacolt.
Gaiser Middle School: Dr. Paul Gaiser was at the helm of the Vancouver school system through its explosive growth during World War II. He was president of Clark College from 1945 to 1958.
Gehr: The name of a station stop on the streetcar which ran from Vancouver to Orchards survives in Gehr Road, which crosses SR 500 at 112th Street. Named for Joseph Gehr who was born in Pennsylvania and came to Washington in 1852. Once he reached Clark County, he and his family took out a land claim that was later purchased by Frederick Proebstel. Joseph Gehr served in the Clark County Mounted Rifles, First Regiment of Washington Volunteers, during the Indian Wars of 1855-56.
Glenwood: Stately farmhouses, some dating to the last century, crown the gently rolling hills. Picturesque barns watch over green fields where contented cows munch tender grass.
Grass Valley: The valley lies southwest of Lacamas lake, about three miles north of Camas. It was settled just after the Civil War.
Harmony: The settlers of this community east of Lacamas lake were people of deep religious conviction. The name chosen by vote in the 1890s reflected their hopes for their new community.
Hayden Island: This Island is in Oregon, at the south end of the Interstate Bridge. Lt. Broughton, exploring for George Vancouver, named it Menzies island for the botanist on the voyage. Lewis and Clark called it Image Canoe Island for a large, impressive canoe bearing carved images of man and animal which had emerged from behind the island as they approached. Hudson's Bay called it Vancouver Island. In the 19th Century it carried the name of Shaw's Island, for Col. W. Shaw who had property there. It was renamed for Gay Hayden, an early mayor of Vancouver, who had bought land on the island.
Hazel Dell: In 1886, the local school sponsored a contest to choose a name for the area north of Vancouver. The two favorites were Hazel Dell and Bear Gulch. The gulch lost. Before 1886, a map of the 1880s identifies the area as Anderson, named for a pioneer family residing there. The best-known member of the family was Sarah J. Anderson, whose name has been given to a local elementary school. The Anderson home, where the Totem Pole restaurant once stood, was a popular stopping place for travelers, where Sarah Anderson is said to have entertained visitors with a violin. Some say Sarah J. Anderson named this area for a stand of hazelnuts growing in a hollow where Hazel Dell School now stands.
Heisson: This community northeast of Battle Ground was named for Alexander Heisen, who crossed the plains with an ox team and homesteaded the area in 1866. He and his wife, Mary, had 13 children. The post office was established in 1904, when he granted the government land at the logging site in exchange for having it named for him. The spelling was bungled, however and the community officially became Heisson. County Roads called it "Heissen," and the railroad called it "Heison."
Hidden: A small community that was located near St. Johns and 68th Street. It was named for the pioneer brick-making family of Vancouver.
Hockinson: The original name for this area southeast of Battle Ground was Eureka, a greek word meaning "I have found it." The early settlers were Finns and Swedish-speaking Finns from the Aaland Islands. Ambrosius Hakanson was the first postmaster in 1884. His name was anglicized to the present spelling, and the town was named for him.
Horns Corner: August and Mary Amelia, called "Molly," Horn, immigrated from Germany to Clark County. They settled near Ridgefield in 1872 and took up patent rights to railroad land in the area now called Horn's Corner.
Hough: The neighborhood and the school at 1900 Daniels in Vancouver is named for a feisty little teacher who endeared himself to the entire city. His name was Patrick Hough, known as Paddy. It was only after his death that people learned he had lived so frugally to save money for an endowment for an agricultural college in Vancouver. The college could never be built, but his estate, now called the Hough Trust, is valued at more than a million dollars and is used for scholarships for deserving young people.
Hudson's Bay: The neighborhood and the school take their name from the Hudson's Bay Company's fort, which is nearby. The company took its name from Hudson's Bay in Canada, which in turn took its name from Henry Hudson, the explorer who first described the bay. The neighborhood is mostly on the Ryan donation land claim, which included Ryan's Point, where Kaiser Shipyard once stood. The Blurock family first subdivided the area east of the Military Reservation, naming it the Blurock Addition.
Kaiser Shipyard: This was the Vancouver Shipbuilding Corporation owned by Henry and Edgar Kaiser, during WWII. It opened in July 1942. On August 17, 1945, 4,600 workers were laid off in Vancouver. WWII officially ended on September 2, 1945. By April 1946, there were only 3,000 employees left. The Kaiser era in Clark County had effectively come to an end. The great concrete ship bays can still be seen on the waterfront. Check out the Kaiser Viewing Tower next to the boat launch at Marine Park.
Kanaka Village: In Hawaiian Kanaka means man. This is where the workers for Fort Vancouver lived. Hudson's Bay had a special relationship with the rulers of Hawaii to enlist workers for their company. Most of the people in the village were from Hawaii, then called Owyhee or the Sandwich Islands.
Kiggins: Downtown buildings, Kiggins Theater and Kiggins Bowl took their name from John Phillip Kiggins came to town in 1892. Businessman and politician, he spent 30 years in politics. He was mayor of Vancouver for 15 years.
La Center: This town was platted by John Timmen, and was at first called Timmen's Landing. The area was head of navigation on the Lewis River and center of shipping and travel. It was renamed as "the Center" of commerce. A descriptive name referring to the town's geographical position, La Center!
Lewis River: Once spelled Lewes, the river is named for Adolphus Lewis, or Lewes, a former Hudson's Bay employee who changed its name from Cathlepootle to his own. He had no relationship to Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The name Cathlepootle was given by Lewis and Clark who named it for the tribe living along its banks. The word means "People who live along the rocky river."
Lewis and Clark Highway: It's been known as US Highway 830, Highway 8, the Northbank Highway and the Evergreen Highway. Today, it's most often referred to as state Highway 14.
Lewisville: Originally Hall's Crossing, then Hall's Bridge, the town was once a growing community with a store and post office but it fell upon hard time. The County Government in 1936 purchased the struggling little town, and the WPA built what we now call Lewisville Park, named for the Lewis River and for the town which was once there.
Lincoln: This was a town located two miles above La Center, at the mouth of Lockwood Creek. Reuben Lockwood, and ardent Republican, was the postmaster. He named the post office for the fallen President, but it only stayed open for one year, 1867-68.
Livingston. Livingston Mountain: Named after John Livingston, who came to Clark County in 1881 and settled near the Fifth Plain. He had orchards there and contracted with Vancouver Barracks to supply them with applejack, which he distilled from his own fruit.
Love Creek: Named for Lewis Love, who built a sawmill and gristmill in 1865.
Lucia Falls: There was a Lucia Mill in downtown Vancouver in 1885. After the Yacolt Burn of 1902, Mr. Lucia set up a mill on the East Fork of the Lewis River to salvage lumber from the burn. The mill was just upriver from the falls above Heisson, which now bear his name.
Manor: It was first called Flatwoods because of the level ground grown over by stands of trees. Around 1872, the residents changed the name and reported that Mr. William Cross was Justice of the Peace for Manor. The old Manor Highway is now 72nd Avenue; the settlement was at about 179th Street.
McLoughlin Heights: The largest war time housing development west of New York City was named for Dr. John McLoughlin, the silver-haired Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver.
Meadow Glade: Spread along Northeast 189th Street about 14 miles northeast of Vancouver, originally was a Seventh-day Adventist community built around a boarding school.
Merwin Lake: The dam on the Lewis River was finished in 1931. Without ceremony, on May 13, the gates were closed and water began to fill the lake. Since the dam was north of the town of Ariel, in Cowlitz County, the dam and the lake that formed behind it were called "Ariel." On May 1, 1948, in a simple ceremony, the name was changed to "Merwin" for L.T. Merwin, the vice-president of the Pacific Power and Light company, which owns the dam.
Mill Plain: The first of a series of plains that rise terrace-like from the Columbia.
Minnehaha: This area got its name from Columbian newspaper editorial in 1891. The editor wrote about Burnt Bridge Creek and called it "Minnehaha, laughing water," from Longfellow's poem, "Hiawatha". The name appealed to the citizenry and they kept it. Before that the area was called the Black Forest for its thick timber.
Moulton Falls: After the Yacolt Burn of 1902, many sawmills were set up to scavenge the lumber, much like what happened after the St. Helen's eruption in 1980. One of the mills was erected at the falls on the East Fork of the Lewis by a Mr. Moulton. Moulton Falls Park is on the Lewis and Clark Railway.
Mount Norway: In the old days, Mount Norway was famous for its potatoes
Mount St. Helens: Some Indians of the Pacific Northwest variously called Mount St. Helens "Louwala-Clough, or "smoking mountain or fire mountain." In 1792 Capt. George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy, a seafarer and explorer named it in honor of a fellow countryman, Alleyne Fitzherbert, who held the title Baron St. Helens and who was at the time the British Ambassador to Spain. Vancouver also named three other volcanoes in the Cascades, Mount Baker, Mount Hood and Mount Rainier, for British naval officers.
Orchards: It was formerly called Fourth Plain. When the Hudson's Bay Co. First occupied Fort Vancouver, they numbered their grazing plains consecutively, 1-6, from their headquarters. The Orchards area was in the fourth plain. The residents of the area wanted a name that would identify them alone. There were great tracts of fruit trees there, so they chose the name Orchards in 1904.
Pacific Highway Bridge: Or as we know it, the I-5 Bridge. Finally, the long-sought-after "wagon road" across the Columbia was opened February 15, 1917. More visitors were in town than at any other time, and the day was touted as the greatest day in the history of Vancouver.
Padden (Expressway) Parkway: Named for James J. Padden who was an active businessman and civic leader. He was a councilman for the City of Vancouver and operated popular men's store. Padden Men's Store gave suits of clothing to the three Soviet airmen who landed in June of 1937, in what we know as the Chkalov Flight.
Paradise Point: Off I-5, this area on the East Fork of the Lewis River was named by a vote among the members of the Portland Motor Boat club in 1915. The club used to cruise here for picnics. It would appear from the name they chose that they were will pleased with the area. It was dedicated as a state park in 1962.
Pearson Airpark: The Army Air Field at the Vancouver Barracks was named in 1927 for young Alexander Pearson, an army pilot killed while attempting a speed run.
Pleasant Valley: Bounded approximately by Northeast 29th Avenue on the west, Northeast 72nd Avenue on the east, Northeast 174th Street on the north and Northeast 139th Street on the south.
Proebstel: Established in 1887 with the start of a post office east of Orchards. Named after John Proebstel, one of six brothers who came here in 1852 to settle a land claim.
Providence Academy: It still stands on East Evergreen Boulevard, next to Interstate 5. Mother Joseph designed and did much of the work on the building. She terrorized workers with her routine inspections, in which no amount of shoddy workmanship escaped her eye. The sister moved into the building in September 1873. The space inside seemed huge, at first, but they soon found it too small for their purposes. An addition was built in 1889. Today, The Academy is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Prune Hill: The name changed from Strawberry Knoll in 1883 when M.A. Boyle set out 350 prune trees on the hill. The Vancouver Independent reported, "At a place 10 or 12 miles east of Vancouver, called Prune Hill, there is a great deal of land being set out in prunes
Ridgefield: This town began as Shobert's Landing. After the Civil War, Union veterans began to settle here. They and their neighbors voted to name it Union Ridge, so as to leave no doubt as to their loyalty. After the town grew downhill from the ridge in 1890, the name was changed to Ridgefield.
Rosemere: How the area got its name is something of a mystery.
Russell: In this community about 5 miles east of Vancouver, there was a Russell School for many years. David Russell came to the West Coast via the Isthmus of Panama. He took up a homestead in Battle Ground and lived there until 1882, when he moved to a dairy farm above Washougal. Mr. Russell was the Clark County Territorial Representative from 1873 to 1875. Russell's Landing was at the end of Image Road.
Salmon Creek: A dam across the creek where the I-5 now crosses once blocked the salmon run. The locals went fishing with pitchforks, hauling the fish into wheelbarrows. Not long after this episode the county commissioners declared Salmon Creek a Public Highway in order to keep it open. The creek is named for those great salmon runs of the past.
Sara: There were two Saras with a claim to being the namesake of this community near 179th Street and NW 41st Avenue. Sara Brewster Packard, the wife of a local steamboat captain, who owned land and a sawmill here, and Sara Emmons, the wife of the operator of a large logging camp nearby.
Sifton: In 1908, this area east of Orchards was named for Dr. Sifton, of Portland, who was a dentist and an important stockholder in the local power company.
Simmon's Landing: Michael Simmons came to Clark County in 1844. He is credited with starting the first business in what is now Washougal, where he opened a small shingle mill. He is the father of the first child born to American settlers in Clark County, Christopher Columbus Simmons. The family later relocated to the Puget Sound area. His landing was near the foot of 171st Street.
Sunnyside: Sunnyside, lying about three miles north of Washougal, predominantly a rural area.
Vancouver: Named for a British sea explorer who never saw the site, which was previously called Columbia City.
Vancouver Barracks: Restless, some stole off into the night. When pursuing soldiers caught up with them near what is now Battle Ground, the Indians fired into the air. When the noise died down, Chief Umtux was found dead. Some blame the death on a hotheaded soldier; others blame the chief's own men. The chief was the only casualty.
Venersborg: In 1909, the name was chosen by members of the Portland-based Swedish Land & Colonization Co. When it purchased land from Weyerhaeuser for development east of Battle Ground in the foothills. The local name for the area at that time was The Colony, and other past names have been Alpine and Bells Mountain. Stories say the company combined its hometown name of Venersborg, Sweden, with the name of a farmer, Vener.
Walnut Grove: this neighborhood was known as Hobson
Washougal: Named after the Washougal River. Indians named the river Washougal, which means "rushing water." Early names for the area were Parker's Landing, Point Vancouver and Washoughally Camp.
Woodland: In 1850 , Squire and Milly Bozorth crossed on the Oregon Trail and settled on the Lewis River in 1851. He called his new place Woodland Farm. He liked that name so much that when he became the town's first postmaster, he gave it the same name. The original town was laid out just south of Woodland Farm and the present city of Woodland is where the farm once was. Over the years the name Bozorth was incorrectly written as Bozarth.
Yacolt: The Indian word Yacolt means "place abounding in evil spirits" or "haunted valley," derived from an incident in which five Indian children were lost while picking wild berries, the demon, Yacolt, had gotten them, so the story goes! Two post offices competed in the area, Yacolt and Garner. They were combined under the present name.