Kalama's 125th Anniversary - SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Everyone enjoyed celebrating Kalama’s 125th birthday. It was a weekend full of fun and surprises for the whole family.
July 10-12, 2015
On Friday the tall ships arrive. The Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Princess will sail into port offering dockside tours and information about life at sea when Kalama was first settled and ships like these were a common sight on our river.
To mark the importance of trains in the history of Kalama, several local model train enthusiasts will be setting up displays throughout the downtown area and will be available to answer your questions.
The official start of our festivities will be a street dance and beer garden Friday evening on Main Street when everyone is invited to help kick off our celebration.
What would a birthday be without a cake? In our case, Kalama will be serving GIANT strawberry shortcake on Saturday reminiscent of the Strawberry Festival of years ago.
That evening will be a special presentation of the history of our town. The pageant will include many of your friends and neighbors and promises to be not only informative, but full of fun. There will also be many items of Kalama’s history on display.
Come join the celebration at Marine Park overlooking the Columbia River. The festivities will last well into the evening and will include a salmon bake hosted by the City of Kalama, old fashioned games and prizes for the kids and a band concert in the evening to wrap up the party.
History of Kalama
Washington became a state in 1889 and in 1890 Kalama (named for the Kalama River) was re-incorporated under new State Law as “a town of the Fourth Class”. The first mayor of the new town was Hite Imus. Kalama was the Cowlitz County Seat until it was moved to Kelso in 1922.
In 1871 the first spike of the Northern Pacific Railroad was driven in Kalama. Kalama then played a major part in state history as the Western Terminus for the railroad and became a boomtown over night. Washington’s first locomotive, the Minnetonka, was brought to our town for use in building the road.
The Columbia is almost two miles wide and 38 feet deep at the site of the old Kalama dock thereby bringing in many ships daily. The ferry Tacoma was put into service in 1884 taking trains across the Columbia between Kalama and Hunter’s Landing, Oregon in an impressive twenty minutes.
Farming has also been a major part of our town. As an important growing area for strawberries in the early twentieth century, Kalama held its first Strawberry Festival in June, 1939. A giant 22-foot strawberry shortcake was served to the town.
125 years of history – another 125 to come.