The town is at the mouth of Washougal River, the name an Indian word for “rushing water.” Shady trees line the road into town, the main street of which was bordered by a mix of frame and brick buildings. Houses were scattered over a wide area on both sides of the river. The town was settled on part of the donation claim of Betsy Ough, wife of Richard Ough, a Hudson’s Bay Company employee. Mrs. Ough, an Indian of the Waunaisses tribe, was a trusted friend of the early white settlers on the Columbia River. Early names were Parker’s Landing, Point Vancouver, and Washoughally Camp. Attempts to combine Washougal with nearby Camas were met with little success.
Points of Interest
Washougal Woolen Mills
The town’s major industrial plant, on A and 17th Streets, it is housed in a large gray frame building, in the rear of which is a powerhouse. Fabrics of this mill are shipped to manufacturers throughout the United States. Many woolen novelties also are manufactured. Entire families, each member an expert weaver, are often employed; some come from New England mills, others from Europe. Today, the mill is owned by Pendleton Woolen Mills and visitors can line up for free tours in the original frame work house, now a retail store for the company’s wool products. An unused brick powerhouse is the other piece of property original to the plant, but it is in a severe state of disrepair.