Longview began as the dream of one man; Robert A. Long, who chose Longview as the site for the Long-Bell Lumber Company, at that time the largest lumber mill in the world. Mill executives built the city of Longview, and employed over 3,000 people. Within a decade, the Port, Longview Fibre and Weyerhaeuser followed, expanding rapidly to serve the growing timber industry. The era was one of growth and optimism, coined by the term "Roaring 20s."


  • Lumberman Robert A. Long chose present day Longview as the site for the Long-Bell Lumber Company.


  • Business leaders saw the need for a port district and rallied local voters to approve one. State statute required port districts to be named after the largest city in the district. Since Longview had yet to be established the new port was named Port of Kelso. Its location was on the Cowlitz River. Port district geographic boundaries encompassed Longview and Kelso. A special election was held on March 19, 1921 to approve the Port of Kelso and elect commissioners. The Commissioners received their certificates of election from the County Auditor on April 21, 1921, and the soon-to-be-renamed Port of Longview was born.


  • The Long Bell Lumber Company officially dedicated the city of Longview on July 12, 1923.
  • The Long-Bell Lumber Company began construction of its first plant on 2,000 acres of waterfront property (on and surrounding present day Port of Longview property).


  • Business leaders favored relocating the Port of Kelso from the Cowlitz River to the foot of Oregon Way on the Columbia River. Commissioners issue bonds for the original land purchase of 40 acres and began constructing the first dock. The geographic boundaries of the district were expanded to include the northern two-thirds of Cowlitz County, an area of 836 square miles.


  • The first cargo crossed the Port's new dock; officially dedicated on April 15, 1926. The name "Port of Kelso" could be seen in large letters on a warehouse.
  • During the nine months the Port operated in 1926, a total of 72,000 tons of freight moved across its docks.
  • The Weyerhaeuser Timber Company purchased 700 acres from the Long-Bell Lumber Company for construction of a lumber manufacturing plant.
  • The Longview Fibre Company selected Longview as the location for a pulp-paper mill. The first phase started up in 1927.


  • Port tonnage increased to 136-000-tons carried on 190 ocean vessels and 1,500 river steamers.
  • The Port built a grain elevator and leased it to the Longview Elevator Company.
  • Congress gave approval for construction of the Longview-Rainier Bridge (later renamed the Lewis and Clark Bridge).
  • The Georgiana, a passenger steamer, docked at the Port to pick up passengers traveling to and from Portland, Oregon.


Port tonnage increased to 246-000-tons carried on 312 ocean vessels and 1,200 river steamers.


  • Longview citizens wanted the name of their port to accurately reflect where it was located. A vote was put forth and local voters authorized the Port of Kelso to be renamed the Port of Longview.
  • The first log rolled through Weyerhaeuser Timber Company's lumber manufacturing plant.


  • The Longview-Rainier Bridge was completed and tolls were instituted to pay for its construction.
  • In the early 1930s State Steamship Company vessels docked at the Port to load lumber, paper products and passengers for transport to the Orient.


  • A flood inundated the county but dikes built by the Long-Bell Lumber Company held strong and protected the Longview area. Other areas, particularly along the Cowlitz River, suffered considerable damage, including destruction of Long-Bell's railroad.


  • The Long-Bell Lumber Company filed for bankruptcy, then filed a reorganization plan in the Kansas City federal court in 1935.
  • Robert A. Long died on March 15, 1934.
  • Lower Columbia "Junior College" opened.


  • The Port's grain elevator was leased to Continental Grain Company, which operated it until the mid-1980s.


  • The Long-Bell Lumber Company built its white mill headquarters building, known today as the "White House."

Circa 1930s

  • The Port Dock Pavilion hosted performances for top bands on tour.