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Ilwaco incorporates on December 2, 1890.
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On December 2, 1890, citizens of the Pacific
County settlement known as Ilwaco vote
to incorporate according to the laws of the state of Washington
as the Town of Ilwaco. Of the 75 total votes cast, 64 are in favor
of incorporation and 11 against.
Ilwaco is located on Baker
Bay in Pacific
County, at the confluence of the
Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean -- the south end of the Long Beach Peninsula.
The first non-Native settlers arrived in what would become Ilwaco in the
The town was initially called Unity in celebration of the
conclusion of the Civil War, but in actual practice was known as Ilwaco after
Elowahka Jim, son-in-law of hereditary Chinook Chief Comcomly (1760s?-1930). The town's patriotic moniker apparently
never gained traction. The town plat,
filed in 1876, used the name Ilwaco.
Ilwaco owed its early development to its location -- it was
a transportation hub for travelers arriving by ferry and making their way on up
the Long Beach Peninsula, a popular vacation
destination for Portlanders seeking summer respite from the big city.
By the late 1860s, Ilwaco was a major stop on stagecoach and
ferry routes between Astoria, Oregon
and settlements on Puget Sound. In 1889, rail service replaced the
The election that decided the incorporation question also
determined the new town's first elected officials. These were:
J. J. Brumbach (b.1850),
John C. Denton (b. 1849), James Graham (b.1849), Wilson Graham (b. 1855), and
T. H. Parks, councilmen
John W. Howerton (1863-1929), treasurer
Ilwaco's incorporation papers were filed with the state on
December 16, 1890.
Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work
Projects Administration of the State of Washington with additional material by
Howard McKinley Corning, The New
Washington A Guide To The Evergreen State, revised edition (Portland:
Binfords & Mort, 1950); Ruth Kirk and Carmela Alexander, Exploring Washington's Past: A Road Guide To
History, revised edition (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995); Lucile
McDonald, Coast Country: A History of
Southwest Washington (Ilwaco: Ilwaco Heritage Foundation,
1989); "Copy of Proceedings had in the matter of the Election to
Incorporate the Town of Ilwaco," Record Group Washington Secretary of State, Corporations
Division, Series Articles of Incorporation, Domestic Corporations,
1869-1964, Washington State Archives Southwest Regional
Branch, Olympia, Washington.
Travel through time (chronological order):
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