Musician to donate 112-year-old violin to Lewis County Historical Museum


Information about C.L. Young is tough to come by.

An internet search turns up dated responses on long-archived message boards, while the Lewis County Historical Museum has no archival information on Young’s time in Lewis County.

That lack of knowledge is one of the reasons Jim Corbett is so excited about what he found while digging around a pawn shop years ago.

“I would say that this is probably the best surviving example of this guy’s work,” Corbett said.

The find: a maple wood violin inscribed, “Built by C.L. Young, Chehalis, Wash. 1912.”

In an interview Thursday, Corbett said he hopes to arrange a ceremony to donate the instrument during the Centralia Campout, which will take place from Aug. 10 to 18 this year.

“This is a piece of Washington State History,” Corbett said. “This is a really nice violin.”

A musician himself, Corbett said he discovered the instrument in a Seattle pawn shop more than 35 years ago. Now, he wants to donate the item to the historical museum for the next generation to enjoy.

Ideally, he said, the 112-year-old violin would be frequently played.

“An instrument needs to be played. It’s good for the wood,” he said. “It’s absolutely playable. It’s not fragile. It’s not falling apart.”

A fan of folk music, Corbett said he taught himself how to play the fiddle and is a member of the greater Seattle fiddle community. The interest, he said, eventually turned to violins.

Corbett found the fiddle while searching through a pawn shop on Seattle’s First Avenue nearly four decades ago. The pawn shop, he said, misread the inscription and believed the instrument was built in 1972 and put the instrument on sale for $100.

“It’s a good instrument,” he said. “But the value in it is the historical value, not the monetary value.”

Though nothing is officially planned, the 21st annual Centralia Campout will be held at 1300 K St. in Centralia.

For more information on the festival, visit