A Look Back in Time: Centralia Tops Lewis County Liquor Revenue List in Year When Sales Topped $800,000


Liquor sales in Lewis County reached an aggregate of $801,608 in the reporting year of Oct. 1, 1950, to Sept. 30, 1951.

The report came in as the 18th annual report conducted by the state’s liquor control board since the end of the U.S. prohibition of alcohol.

Centralians proved to be the heaviest drinkers, with a towering tally of $259,081 in sales and a net profit of $73,632.

Chehalins weren’t ready to be drunk under the table with a comparable $247,703 in sales, which reaped a net profit of $71,015.

However, given their relatively smaller population sizes, it was the smaller communities in Lewis County that were the real stars of the post-prohibition world of drinking.

Morton, for one, boasted $125,146 in sales, which is about half of what was tallied in each of the Twin Cities.

A bit more prudent, but still enough to host a good time, Winlock drank its way to $73,156 in liquor sales, Toledo consumed $35,318 worth of the potent liquid, Packwood drinkers managed to put up sales of $33,835 and Pe Ell shot back $27,156.

Also listed in the report were Tenino’s sizable sipping tally of $46,079 in sales and Oakville’s more conservative $17,388.

When the tax proceeds of the sales were distributed, $147,854 was divided among communities in Lewis County, with South Thurston’s Tenino and Oakville also getting some of the proceeds.


May 14, 1932:

• Final arguments in the ongoing CC&C Railroad receivership trial, where the railroad was hoping to increase its receivership with an extension, were scheduled for the following Thursday. R.W. Sweet, the railroad engineer, Reid Hubbard, secretary-treasurer of the Eastern Railway and Lumber Company, and Joshua Green, a Seattle capitalist, all gave testimony in a hearing on May 13, 1932, to weigh in on the matter in Lewis County Superior Court in preparation for the following week’s final arguments.

• Superior Judge William J. Steinert sentenced Leslie Barret, 19, to five to 12 years in the state’s prison for the manslaughter of Barret’s mother, who was killed during an illegal drinking party.

• Herbert Moore, 24, of Chehalis, was placed in the Lewis County Jail by Sheriff J.A. Blankenship and Deputy J.D. Compton on charges of forgery. The case was in conjunction with the same charges being levied against Kenneth Beckwith.

• Bids were opened on May 14, 1932, for the building of a new Masonic Temple on Main Street in Chehalis. There were 10 bids, and the lowest of them came in at $10,492.

• Morton businessmen, headed by Morton Lions President James Welch, appeared at an area chamber of commerce meeting the previous Tuesday to lobby for a YMCA to be built at the intersection of Pacific and National Park highways.

• Jack Boussum, 17, escaped from the state training school in Chehalis, injuring his foot as he was trying to get away. He was subsequently caught and was sitting in a jail cell in Seattle by May 14, 1932.

• John Markham became the sixth person to put their hat in the ring for the primary election for a new Lewis County commissioner. The primary was scheduled for September.

• A man lowered rent on his home rental listing ostensibly because the place could be haunted by recent death. His classified ad read: “For Rent – Party that rented my home a week ago was killed in accident, so I will rerent cheap.” Or, he simply just wanted it off the market.


May 14, 1942:

• Work was all but complete in the 20-precinct-wide Chehalis war bond drive, which started in the weeks after the United States joined World War II. After knocking on doors in a final fundraising drive — during the week prior to the May 14, 1942, Chronicle publication date — residents were able to add $25,977 in one week to make the drive’s tally reach a total of $468,736.15. The week’s haul was a 60% increase from the weeks prior.

• The number of Lewis County residents who had signed up for sugar cards for wartime sugar rationing by May 14, 1942, reached 38,513.

• A Centralia High School art show was scheduled for the following Friday. Work done by “manual arts, fine arts, photography and home economics students” was set to be displayed, reported The Chronicle.

• Members of the graduating class of Centralia Junior College were hosted at the Centralia Kiwanis Club luncheon the previous Wednesday. At the meeting, Claud Warren was elected as vice president of the club, following Carl Laudenbach’s term expiration. The latter man also enlisted in the army.

• John Denhof, 82, pioneer resident of Chehalis circa 1890, died the previous Tuesday following a three-month illness. Denhof was an early carpenter and contractor in the city and was responsible for building the first city hall.

• Centralia High School sluggers beat Napavine High School 14-0 in a non-league matchup. The Tigers scored their 14 runs on 15 hits.

• A five-piece living room set complete with items that included, but were not limited to, a bedroom set, easy chair and ottoman was priced at $59.95 in The Chronicle’s classified section.


May 14, 1952:

• Bids on the Logan District sewer line project in a Centralia local improvement district were opened, with the low bid coming in at $41,350. The city estimated the cost at $50,000 and expected to negotiate a total cost of about $48,000.

• “Two sneak thieves were reported Wednesday by Centralia police, one at the Carter’s Tire Service station at South Tower Avenue and the other at the Hackett Drug company, 217 North Tower Avenue,” reported the Chronicle. The establishments’ cash drawers were invaded.

• Chehalis dentist Dr. J.D. Walker was set to be installed as the new president of the 1,200-member body of the Washington Dental Association.

• A new railroad crossing signal was scheduled to be installed at the crossing just north of Centralia on Waunch Prairie. State Rep. A.S. Cory had been lobbying for the traffic-safety measure since the previous year.

• “Cheaper by the Dozen” inspiration Dr. Lillian Gilbreth, a famous mother of 12, spoke at the Chehalis Chamber of Commerce the previous Tuesday.

• The long-anticipated boy scout circus night was scheduled in conjunction with the dedication of a model Statue of Liberty the following Saturday on Cascade Field in Chehalis.

• Wreckers were set to demolish the old Chehalis High School, which was built in 1909.


“A Look Back in Time” appears in every Saturday edition of The Chronicle. News clips were reviewed at the Lewis County Historical Museum.