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Friends of Skamokawa's River Life Interpretive Center
Central Schoolhouse/Redmen Hall Building is more than 120 years old!
Visitors may enjoy our historic photographs and displays, gift shop, book store and exhibits
Stop by the RiverLife interpretive Center and marvel at historical photos, listen to knowledgeable docents and learn about the history of the once-bustling river town of Skamokawa. Climb the 88 steps up to the bell tower and experience a panoramic view of the Columbia River.
$2.00 for Adults and $1.00 for Children/Students Donation
Hours: Thursday through Sunday - closed in Winter
12 Noon to 4:00 p.m.
To promote, support, and create opportunities to enhance the well-being of the Skamokawa National Historic District and surroundings through historical and historically compatible development and through the interpretation of the natural and human history of the Skamokawa National Historic District.
From the Wahkiakum County Chamber of Commerce Website:
History of Skamokawa
Skamokawa was listed on the National Register as a National Historic District in 1976, as one of the few surviving examples of a small water-based community once common along the lower Columbia River. The village is spread out along a system of creeks and sloughs which drain three valleys and once formed the only transportation network. Before 1917 there were no roads, all transportation was by water: by sternwheeler, sailing vessel and fishing boat.
Skamokawa was sometimes referred to as “Little Venice.” Houses and other buildings were built facing the water, usually with a dock and boat, and were linked by boardwalks. People rowed to church, to mercantile establishments, or to visit friends or family in other parts of the community.
The earliest pioneers settled in the Skamokawa area in the 1860s, drawn from all over the world by abundant natural resources, such as timber and salmon, as well as by the opportunity to establish farms. Early settlers took out donation land claims, fished, and worked in logging camps in order to provide incomes for their families. The Bayview Cannery, established in 1873 about a mile down river from the town, provided a market for commercially caught salmon from the Columbia River.
By the period of the 1890s, Skamokawa would boast of a draw-bridge linking the island church to the rest of the community, several lumber and shake mills, a ship-yard connected with the Columbia River Lumber and Manufacturing Company, a newspaper, the Skamokawa Eagle, still in business today as the Wahkiakum County Eagle. In 1894 the community built the Central School, today known as the Redmen Hall and containing the River Life Interpretive Center.
The Skamokawa Creamery was renowned for the quality of its butter and won many prizes at state and regional fairs, it now the site of Skamokawa Resort.
Today, commercial fishing on the Columbia River, logging and small scale farming still provide the economic sustenance for the community, along with several tourist-oriented activities and business such as Kayaking, fishing, Canoeing, Biking, bed-and-breakfasts, camping at Vista Park, Redmen Hall museum, Skamokawa Resort, Skamokawa Inn and the Julia Butler Hanson Game Refuse, and several Lewis and Clark Heritage sites.
Would You Like To Donate?
Due to the recent concerns about Covid19, we are currently closed-
To order, click on the website for the Columbia River Reader.
You can order from our online shop and we'll ship it to your door! Just click to see what we have waiting for you!
If you would like to visit in person, please call for an appointment. You can also send an email to make an appointment. We are available on T/Th from 10:00-2. Tours are self-guided. We limit groups to 5 people. The gift shop and bookstore are open for sales.
Friends of Skamokawa/River Life Interpretive Center
First Floor: Gift Shop - Bookstore - Local History
Second Floor: Exhibits -Beautiful views of Skamokawa, Vista Park and the Lower Columbia River
Third Floor: Bell Tower (visitors are always welcome to ring the bell) - Amazing views of Skamokawa and even Astoria on a clear day!
Just For You
We are excited to announce that all visitors and members can now order selected items online for home delivery.
Safe, secure , and frequently utilized by many of our customers, enjoy your Friends of Skamokawa shopping experience from the comfort of home or anywhere that is convenient for you. We pride ourselves on providing a unique selection of Skamokawa focused gifts, books, and more for all tastes. Let us know how we can assist you today.