Perhaps the most enduring symbol of the City of Centralia — after all, a park is named after it, and if you look closely on the city's police patches, there it is — Fort Borst was one of the first forts built in Western Washington.
Its original placement along the Chehalis River near the confluence of the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers was of strategic importance. Its unique design consists of two floors, with the upper part projecting over the lower part by a few feet.
The Fort has been moved at least twice: once in 1915 to Riverside Park, a mile or so away, due to erosion. It was moved back to Fort Borst Park seven years later, then given to the city of Centralia by a member of the Borst family.
The following information is from the City of Centralia:
It was never actually used for the protection of pioneers, but was used extensively for the storage of grain brought down the Chehalis River by Indians and others in dugout canoes. The blockhouse is traditionally styled. It has the upper portion projecting four to five feet over the lower portion, which was seven feet high and 24 feet square. Originally, the structure had no windows, and one door. It featured 12 loopholes for shooting in the upper portion, eight in the lower, and several in the floor of the upper portion which overhung the lower. The loopholes were beveled on the inside to allow a marksman to swing his gun in nearly a 180 degree circuit, instead of being forced to shoot straight ahead. The upper portion had puncheon, or split log, flooring, while the lower portion used the earth as floor.
The blockhouse was built 100 yards from any object so Indians would have to cross a large open space to reach it. The building was convenient to the area quartermaster (believed to be James K. Hurd) to bring grain down from Claquato by Indian canoe prior to shipping it north to the White River and Puyallup River Indian campaigners. Close examination of the exterior walls of the fort will reveal bullet holes — the result of target practice.
How to get there: From Interstate 5 in either direction, take Exit 82 to Harrison Avenue and proceed west. Get in the left lane soon and take a left on Belmont Avenue. Proceed after the stop sign to Fort Borst Park and look to your left to find the blockhouse.