Letter to the Editor: Columnist Is an Asset to Community; Fort Borst Needs Support


I’d like to thank Julie McDonald for her recent articles about the history of the Mills family and their legacy in our region. Also, thanks for her reference to Fort Borst and its importance in that regard.

My late friend and distant cousin Larry Mills, whom Julie wrote about extensively in her article, spent a lot of time documenting the history of his family in the region and trying to preserve the memory of the fort that his family helped build.

He would be very proud if he could have seen Julie’s work and also if something were actually being done to keep this history alive. The fort is listed on the Washington State Historical Registry but not the national one. Interestingly, it was built before these buildings that made it on the national list: the Olympic Club Saloon, the Centralia Post Office and the Centralia Union Depot.

Perhaps someone at the city can remedy this. This historical monument is something that should be preserved and not left to rot. That seems to be what’s happening and I hope the City of Centralia will consider it a priority.

The logo for Centralia High School when I was attending was a picture of the fort, but no longer. I’ve taken it upon myself to look up some agencies and departments within the state that might help. I found one that said the city could apply for one-third matching funds, meaning if the city spent $200,000, they would give $100,000 (for example). The director had never heard of Fort Borst, but when he emailed me, he said he looked it up and called it a “treasure.”

Many others I’ve talked to think it should be moved back to the river by the Borst home. This would give the village some cohesiveness and make it easier for more people to understand its importance when going to the village to learn about the Borsts and the founding of Centralia.

Some people didn’t like history in school and didn’t think it was important. That’s usually because they just read about it and had to memorize useless dates. We have an actual monument and testament to history that people can see and touch.

I remember my children going on field trips to Enumclaw to see the Pioneer Village. They learned how people lived when they settled in that area but I don’t believe there was anything there as significant as our fort. Now we have a village of our own that should be preserved for future generations to experience, as a whole, not in pieces. Where it sits now in the park, the fort is hard to notice under the trees and not very meaningful as a standalone dark horse. The shaded canopy of trees it sits under leads to moisture, creating more rotting problems.

In the meantime, there should be some urgency to remove trees around it to keep it drier and “shine some light on it”.

Again, thank you Julie McDonald. You are a great asset to our community.


Greg Isaacson