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Cowlitz County

Cowlitz County is named for the Cowlitz Native American tribe.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Lewis County

E – Skmania County

S – Clark County

W – Columbia County, Oregon and Wahkiakum County


Created:  April 21, 1854                         Map of Washington highlighting Cowlitz County

County Seat: 

Monticello   1854 – 1856

Freeport     1856 – 1872

Kalama       1872 – 1923

Kelso          1923 – present


County Courthouse – Kelso


Location:  207 North 4th Avenue / Academy Street

Built:  1922 – 1923

Style:  Neo-Classical

Architect:  W W Lucius

Contractor:  C F Martin


Description:  The building  faces south and is a three story red colored brick, stone and concrete  structure. The building is located on landscapred grounds in the center of Kelso. The south front of the square shaped building has a small framed entrance at the center of the first story and above is a large window extending up to the third story. The building ascends a slope to the north. The roof line is flat. The building was enlarged in 1939. The architect was Ray V Weatherst and Arch N Torbitt and the contractor was George H Buckler Company. The building was renovated to become the Administartion Building from 1976 to 1979 when the Hall of Justice was completed. The architect was Noell, Edelmann / Sheldon, Eggleston, Sax Associate Consultants and the contractor was W G Clark Construction Company.


County Hall of Justice – Kelso



Location:  312 SW 1st Avenue / Lincoln Street

Built:  1974 – 1975

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Newhall, Crook & Associates

Contractor:  Bough Construction Company


Description:  The building  faces east to the Cowlitz River and is a four story buff brick, glass and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds to the west of the center of Kelso. The east front has a central section with high square towers on either side of the recessed center. A large canopy extends from the building at the first story entrance. There are vertical concrete dividers along the north and south walls with the flat roof overhanging. The building houses the County Superior Court and the County District Court. An expansion of the jail was completed from 1984 to 1985. The architect was Crook, Shaw, Collins Architects and the contractor was J M Kelly.


History:  The county was created in 1854 and Monticello was selected as the county seat. The county seat moved to Freeport in 1856. The county seat was moved to Kalama in 1872. The first courthouse was the Kazano Hotel purchased for use as the courthouse and which was a large three story frame structure. The building was torn down in 1934. The county seat was moved to Kelso in 1922. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1922 to 1923. The County Hall of Justice was constructed in 1974 to 1975.



County Courthouse – Kelso







County Hall of Justice – Kelso







Photos taken 2012