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Fort Borst Block House

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.

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Places to stay nearby

Candalite Mansion

Centralia, North

Centralia Motel 6

Centralia, North
Starting at: $46.00

Centralia Square Grand Ballroom & Hotel

Centralia, North
Starting at: $80.00

Harrison RV & Tent Park

Centralia, North
Starting at: $13.00

Places to eat nearby

Dutch Bros. Coffee

512 Harrison Ave.,
Centralia, WA
Website
Yelp!

Restaurante La Mexicana

1621 S. Gold St.,
Centralia, WA 98531
(360) 623-1050
Yelp!

Denny's

1052 Harrison Ave.,
Centralia, WA 98531
(360) 736-6917
Website
Yelp!

Taco Bell

1120 Belmont Ave.
Centralia, WA 98531
(360) 736-9836
Website
Yelp!

McDonald's

1201 Lum Road,
Centralia, WA 98531
(360) 736-0663
Website
Yelp!

A&W / Kentucky Fried Chicken

6161 W. Main Ave.,
Centralia, WA 98531
(360) 807-9595
Website
Yelp!

Papa Pete's Pizza

933 Harrison Ave.,
Centralia, WA 98531
(360) 736-5777
Website
Yelp!

Holley's Place

119 S Tower Ave,
Centralia, WA 98531
(360) 269-8251
Website
Yelp!

Upcoming events in the area

Billetproof "World's Least Important Car Show" 2018

Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 8:30am

July 4th Summerfest in Centralia

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at 7:00am

Southwest Washington Fair

August 14-19, 2018 from 10:00am-7:00pm