Scattered around the downtown area, there are a bit over twelve historic and historic themed murals that have been created, re-created, restored, or in a few cases still awaiting restoration. In some cases the murals are antique advertising, while others are commemorations of various types, or just decorations. These are scattered in many places, including the sides and entrances of various downtown buildings and inside Centralia College.
Indeed, Centralia College is the home of one of the more infamous murals. "Twelve Labors of Hercules" was originally commissioned to decorate the interior of the new Washington State Capitol Building, depicting several of the acts of Hercules in the ancient myth. Unfortunately, the killing of the Amazon queen Hippolyta was interpreted as glorifying rape, and thus after some considerable controversy the mural was removed. Centralia College offered their space for it. Artist Michael Spafford isn't pleased, saying the mural was intended for a particular place and should not have been moved to a place not intended for it.
The old Fox Movie Theatre near downtown features a wall of old movie advertising, sufficiently aged that it may very well be original advertising. (see photo 3)
Close to the train station there is a restored / reproduced mural that is advertising for the Centralia Hotel, which closed in 1960. (see photo 2)
Centralia Square, a structure on the south side of George Washington Park, has an eccentric mural that appears to commemorate hard work and labor that created the town. (see photo 1) It may be a comment of some sort on the part that the IWW may have played in the Centralia Massacre.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
This historic house was completed in 1862, and is one of the oldest surviving houses in the region. In order to preserve the historic farmhouse, the city purchased it in 1921. It has a number of unusual and historic features for the era.
The house is open on an irregular basis. Check the city web site for a schedule of opening dates.
In 2011, the open dates were April 16, May 21, June 18, July 4, July 16, August 13, September 17, October 15, and later dates were yet to be determined when I checked the web site. In 2014, the open days were April 12, May 10, June 14, July 1, July 12, August 9, September 13, October 11, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm on all days. So, you can see that the schedule is somewhat irregular but it is planned ahead of time.
This schedule may be found on the city's web site by going to the Departments tab of the city web site, selection Parks and Recreation, and then selecting "Historic Parks Facilities" from the menu on the left side of the window.
To the west of the house, there is a demonstration garden area that is covered in a separate tip.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Seminary Hill Natural Area
Southeast of downtown Centralia, there is a small hill which has been set aside as a small wildlife preserve. The hill is heavily forested and thus the views are only brief glimpses through the trees - though some of the trees are broadleaf and will not be here in the winter months.
There are scattered small trails through the park, though some of them are fairly wild and it is difficult to tell which is officially a trail.
- Hiking and Walking
Art Trails of Southwest Washington
Art Trails of Southwest Washington is an open studio event that occurs every September. Artists in a number of communities participate in this event. A number of these open studios are in Centralia and nearby communities.
- Arts and Culture
When Centralia built its new sewage treatment plant, a trail was also plotted along the Chehalis River. The trail features views of the river, and there has been some effort at restoring the area along the trail to natural plant life.
The development of the trail isn't very extensive, beyond putting down a layer of gravel in places, placing a number of excellent signs, and creating a paved parking area. After heavy rain, there will be mud in places as the layer of gravel isn't thick enough in places to prevent it from seeping through.
The trail consists of a farm road, inaccessible by vehicles other than park and farm vehicles, that connects the parking area to the trail, and is basically an extension of Goodrich road going west. After about 700 feet this road ends and connects the parking area to the trail itself. Here there is an educational shelter near a older barn for use by school groups.
From this location the trail extends along the Chehalis River in two directions. The branch that goes north is about 1 mile long, and the branch to the south is about 0,5 miles long. Therefore, all tolled covering the entire trail here is about 3.2 miles (4.6 km).
The far north end of the trail features some decent views of Mt Rainier and Mt. St. Helens on a clear day.
The farm fields around the trail are off limits to everyone, and they are used as part of the water treatment process. However, they also have a number of dips in them which fill with water in the winter, and these may be used by a number of wintering birds should you enjoy bird watching. There is also an active bald eagle's nest very close to the trail junction, but somewhat hidden behind a tree on the opposite side of the river.
Dogs are required to be on a leash, and at this time the trail is closed to camping, fishing, and horseback riding.
It is best to keep off the farm property surrounding the trail, as this is private land in places and is leased farm land in others. It is at best hazardous to venture onto this land.
There are no public restrooms at this trail. The closest location for public restrooms is in Fort Borst Park, which is just south and west of the interchange of Harrison Avenue and Interstate 5.
For a few more photos of the Discovery Trail, see my 22 March 2014 Photos in a travelogue on a separate page.
- Hiking and Walking
Fort Borst Park
[This tip is undergoing development. Please try back again sometime later.]
This attractive park was once a military fort that was part of forcing the indigenous people onto reservations. There was no need for the fort once the reservations were established, and so Joseph Borst purchased the land and converted it to farm use. It became a park when the city obtained it, but the family farm house remains, as does a single structure from the days of the military occupation.
The park features two reservable covered picnic shelters, a number of picnic tables, several sports fields, a fairly large forested area, a lake where people fish, and several nice trails. There is also a reservable kitchen and dining area.
There is an off-leash dog area that is segregated into a large dog area and a small dog area. This is towards the southeast corner of the park.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel