CATHLAMET, county seat of Wahkiakum County, got its name from
the Kathlamet Indians, a Chinook tribe. The tribal name comes
from the Chinook word "calamet," meaning "stone" and
was given to the tribe because they lived along a stretch of
rocky river bed. Cathlamet was sighted in 1792 by Lt. W.R.
Broughton, while verifying Capt. Robert Gray’s reported
discovery of the Columbia River. In 1805, the Lewis & Clark
Expedition found the Kathlamet and Wahkiakum tribes living
here during their Northwest Expedition and they camped at the
present day Vista Park in Skamokawa where they traded with
the Indians. James Birnie of Hudson Bay Company settled here
in 1846 and named the area Birnie’s Retreat. The name
was later changed to Cathlamet in 1851. Other communities in
Wahkiakum County include Puget Island, Skamokawa, Grays River,
Rosburg, and Deep River.
Population: According to the April 2005
Population Statistics, the Wahkiakum County population is
3,901. Town of Cathlamet population: 565, Elochoman Valley
Population: 922, Puget Island population: 798, Skamokawa population:
519, and Grays River/Rosburg/Deep River population: 1,020.