The Oldest Standing Building in WA

A “crown of thorns” belfry, the quieting fog, and the stillness of the neighborhood made for quite an interesting morning adventure!

Cloquato Washington is home to the state’s oldest standing building maintaining its original foundation and structure from 1858; therefore, it is has never moved from its original location and sits on its original foundation. Furthermore, it exemplifies “home grown.” The lumber to build it was milled there in town (same place they also milled their grain); the nails were made by the blacksmith, and local people donated the furniture. Not from the area was the church’s bell (that still hangs in the belfry by the way); the brass bell made the journey traveling around the southern tip of South America up the west coast to Washington. I can just imagine it on a train or on a ship traveling up the Chehalis river from the Pacific!

The community of Cloquato is evidenced mostly by a map that stands outside the church, which is about a block from the cemetery; most of the original buildings are no longer present. Cloquato means “high prairie” in the Chehalis language,  and it does sit on a hill above the highway. There is great old picture out there on the internet that shows the church unshrouded by the trees and buildings that are there now.

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