Thursday, March 30, 2023
March 30, 2023

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On this day in Clark County history


A weekly look back compiled by the Clark County Historical Museum from The Columbian archives available at or at the museum.

100 years ago

On Oct. 15, 1922, The Columbian declared what was then known as Clarke County to be the “gateway to the Mt. St. Helens country.” This declaration was made possible by the completion of a road from Chelatchie to the Yale-Yacolt bridge. While noting the bucolic landscape ornamenting the drive, the wooden bridge between Clarke and Cowlitz counties was highlighted as a “work of art.” Built at a “big cost” and completed in 1920, it was replaced by a steel structure just over a decade later.

75 years ago

After the unearthing of rotted and charred logs at the stockade foundations, as well as hundreds of other artifacts, supervisory archaeologist Louis E. Caywood of the National Park Service hosted an open house at the old Fort Vancouver site in October 1947. As fall brought rain, excavation of the site halted until the following spring. Caywood expressed hope that when the dig resumed, workers would find the additional foundations for historic structures, such as “the bakery, warehouse, harness shop, the well, church and jail.”

50 years ago

On Oct. 11, 1972, the Vancouver Housing Authority (VHA) decided to begin demolition of the vacant, 60-year-old Fort Vancouver High School within the week. Adamant in their desire to save old Fort Vancouver High School, county residents successfully challenged VHA’s sale of a portion of the property to Albertson’s and zone change. Despite the victory, demolition of the historic school building continued, and the brick structure came down in the late 1970s.

25 years ago

In October 1997, former radio personalities from KVAN gathered to reminisce and share stories from their early days on-air. KVAN was the radio station that introduced many in Portland-Vancouver area to bands not featured on conventional stations at the time, such as Aerosmith, AC/DC and Heart. DJ Gloria Johnson brought former Trail Blazer Bill Walton on as a host, where he read poetry and played his favorite songs, mostly by the Grateful Dead. Despite their local notoriety, the station’s owners were forced to sell in the mid-1970s.