In the 1870s, La Center was an animated business center and head of navigation on the East Fork of the Lewis River. In late summer, the regular schedules of the river steamers Mascot and Walker, paddle-wheeling to Portland, were often interrupted by low water. Passengers and freight were transferred to scows, which were poled up the river or towed by horses along the bank. The picturesque transportation of the pioneer age vanished with the arrival of railroads and highways; La Center lost importance and lapsed into a small village which functions today as a retail market for a scattered farming district.
Today visitors can enjoy an abundance of wildlife and outdoor activities in La Center’s rolling hills, unspoiled wetlands and city parks.