Lewis County Spotlight

Lewis County

Established in 1845, Lewis County was the very first county created in Oregon Territory and originally encompassed half of modern-day Washington and part of British Columbia. By 1854, Washington State had been formally established and Lewis County had received its final boundaries, which it maintains today. Lewis County is south of Thurston County and north of Skamania and Cowlitz Counties.

Lewis County, like many of its neighboring counties, began as a lumber based economy, focusing on both the extraction of wood from surrounding forests as well as wood processing through local mills. While lumber related industries persisted until after World War II, Lewis County’s economy shifted towards power with the discovery of coal in the 1950s. With hundreds of thousands of acres of open space, including rivers and lakes, Lewis County is a hub for hunting and fishing in some of the most beautiful country in the state of Washington.


County Seat: Chehalis

Incorporation Date: December 21, 1845

Form of Government: General Law

Area: 2,408 sq mi (6,237 km2)

Population: 79,480 (2019)

Etymology: Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809), the co-captain of the Lewis and Clark Expedition