1941 - 1960

Compared to the hardships experienced during the 30s, World War II created new jobs, new industry, and brought economic growth to Cowlitz County. Local industries increased production to meet wartime needs. Reynolds Metals Company entered the manufacturing scene by building an aluminum plant. Port docks were busy with exports of government issued lend-lease war materials for Russia and Great Britain.


  • December 7, 1941 - Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II.
  • Reynolds Metals Company chose Longview for an aluminum plant, based on the abundance of cheap hydroelectric power. Production began in time to meet wartime defense needs. After December 1941, all of Longview's industries became defense plants and ran night and day for the war effort.


  • The Port of Longview became the main supply base for lend-lease shipping to Russia. Every week, three to four full shiploads of government issued war equipment and materials were exported across Port docks to Russia and Great Britain.
  • Fifty-thousand flatcars and components for the construction of three complete oil refineries were shipped through the Port.
  • War shipping agencies reported that 650-000-tons of cargo left Longview docks on ships or barges. Each vessel carried about 7,000 tons at an average value of $4.5 million per load. Shipments included military equipment, war materials, food and supplies, tanks, aluminum, magnesium ingots, locomotives and railroad cars.
  • Ninety percent of the wood products from Weyerhaeuser supplied the war effort.
  • Longview Fibre Company stepped up its manufacturing of kraft paper strong enough for shipping flour, sugar, stock feed, fertilizer and other war supplies.


  • Harvey Hart became general manager of the Port.
  • The Port constructed a new dock to accommodate increased lend-lease and military supply shipments.


  • President Truman announced the surrender of Japan, and the end of World War II.


  • A joint Longview-Kelso / Cowlitz County airport commission became a community project.


  • Longview celebrated its 25th anniversary.
  • A spring flood on the Columbia River caused millions of dollars of damage to Cowlitz County, destroying crops, shattering homes and halting industry and business. The dikes around Longview, Kelso and Willow Grove held, thanks to the efforts of a determined community.

The 1950s

The economic rebound of the 40s continued into the 50s and Cowlitz County's industrial base continued to grow. Harvey Hart, new general manager of the Port, aggressively pursued new cargos to replace wartime exports, which ceased at the end of World War II. He also obtained "Terminal Port" status, allowing the Port to handle otherwise unattainable cargos.


  • The Port of Longview was the first small port on the Pacific Coast to be granted "Terminal Port" status, designating it as one of only six ports in the transpacific route. The other ports were Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Tacoma and Seattle.
  • Harvey Hart launched a campaign to persuade industries in the Midwest and East to ship through the Port.
  • Japanese ships returned to Longview for the first time since the end of World War II. They regularly loaded logs and other materials.


  • Cargo piled up at Port docks because of a labor shortage. Beaver Ammunition Storage Depot had priority of longshore workers, which drained the supply of local crews.
  • Total Port tonnage reached 2.3 million tons.


  • Total Port tonnage reached 2.6 million tons.


  • The Port obtained firebrick exports through a regularly scheduled freighter service. Ships returned loaded with Philippine beer and hardwoods. A warehousing and distribution system was put together to handle the trade. Cargos grew to include imports of rattan furniture, foodstuffs and toys.


  • Weyerhaeuser Timber Company announced plans to build chemical paper plants.


  • A $1.5 million port expansion bond paid for another dock, more cranes and additional warehouses to handle the rising tonnage and diversified cargo entering and leaving the Port.
  • International Paper Company (IP) purchased all remaining holdings of the Long-Bell Lumber Company. Operations were renamed IP-Long-Bell division.


  • Expansion of the Port's grain elevator leased by Continental Grain Company was necessary in order to accommodate increasing grain exports. Another grain storage shed was built, doubling capacity. The volume handled was second only to Portland, and ahead of Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver and Astoria ports.


  • The Port handled heavy-lift hydroelectric generating equipment destined for the Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River.
  • The Port acquired a new gantry crane, which more than doubled its capacity to load and unload bulk products.

Circa 1950s

  • The Port shipped war materials and supplies to Korea.