Karen L. Johnson is Director of the Bigelow House Museum in Olympia, Washington. She received a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Washington State University in 1978. She is a contributor to and past editor of the Lewis County Historian, the quarterly publication of the Lewis County Museum. Her personal interest in history focuses on early travel in the Northwest: she is part of a volunteer team currently completing a documentary film on the history of the Cowlitz Trail, the northernmost extension of the Oregon Trail; she is spearheading an effort to place stone markers on the Oregon Trail in Washington and Idaho, thus completing pioneer Ezra Meeker’s project from 100 years ago; and she is researching the history of stagecoaches in southwest Washington.
Located in southwest Washington, the town of Centralia was founded by George Washington, an African American who came west in 1850 to escape discrimination. Washington first settled in Oregon Territory, but was barred from owning land there, so he moved north and eventually obtained a … Read MoreCentralia, Washington (1875– )