729 VANDERHOOK WAY, SUITE 260
LONGVIEW, wa 98632
Longview was the location of Mount Coffin, an ancestral burial ground for the local indigenous people.
The Longview area was first settled by European-Americans, led by pioneers Harry and Rebecca Jane Huntington, in 1849. The area was named Monticelloin honor of Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia. In 1852 a group assembled in what would be called the "Monticello Convention" to petition Congress for statehood to be called "Columbia". Congress agreed to statehood but as Washington, after President Washington, to avoid confusion with the District of Columbia. A monument to the convention is located near the Longview Civic Center.
The area remained sparsely populated for nearly 60 years, consisting mostly of farmland and wilderness. In 1918, Missouri timber baron Robert A. Long (1850–1934) decided to move his operation out to the west coast, owing to the Long-Bell Lumber Company's dwindling supplies in the south. By 1921, Wesley Vandercook had decided to build a mill near the small town of Kelso, Washington. It was apparent that Kelso, with a population of barely 2,000 would not be able to support the approximately 14,000 men that would be required to run the mill.
The Long-Bell company contracted with George Kessler, a city planner based in St. Louis, to build the city that would support the two mills that were now planned.
Kessler designed a masterpiece based on the nations capital, with elements of Roman City planning. It’s theme is rooted in the City Beautiful movement, which influenced urban Design in the early 20th century. Longview was officially incorporated on February 14, 1924. At the time of its conception, Longview was the only planned city of its magnitude to have ever been conceived of and built entirely with private funds. A number of prominent buildings in Longview were purchased with R. A. Long's personal funds, including R. A. Long High School, the Longview Public Library, the YMCA building and the Monticello Hotel.
The initial growth period, lasting from 1923 to 1934, were very rapid. The city grew from a few thousand people to bring the fourth largest city in the state by the 1930s. However, the effects of the Great Depression hampered further development of the planned city until the booming war economy, where the Port of Longview became a strategic location for cargo loading going into the Pacific Theater.
Suburban developments created neighborhoods in the western valley in the 1960s. The local economy has been in decline since environmental policies took effect in the 1970s and 80s, causing the decline of the community. No major development occurred until a brief boom in the early 2000s, ended by the Recession.
Recently, initiative from local activists have pushed to implement a new strategic plan to increase development in the city, in an effort to expand affordable housing.
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