Saturday, August 18, 2007

Centralia, Washington: Worth visiting

On my recent road trip, I spent a couple of days in Centralia, Washington. If you’re ever in central western Washington, I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to drive from US 5 to visit to this wonderful small town.

My latest discovery is a shop, Hubbub. The owner, Rebecca Staebler, took my friend from Centralia and me on a tour of the shop and the living quarters in the back. Rebecca has done a wonderful job of taking an existing run-down building and creating an aesthetically pleasing environment. Rebecca used to refurbish and paint old tables and chairs, but that has taken a back seat to operating her business.

What I really liked about Rebecca’s shop were the objects made of recycled materials: purses from movie billboards, large baskets from automobile tires, and rugs from shredded plastic milk and pop bottles, made in Thailand by weavers who are working in fair trade conditions.

One of the local artists featured in Hubbub is Amy Downs, a famous hat maker, who moved from New York City to Centralia in 2002. Amy is the subject of a 1990 New York Times article, By Design: Hats Floppy and Flexible. Amy has made hats from plastic bags and even brown paper.

In addition to discovering Hubbub, I’ve always found the history of Centralia interesting:

1. It was founded on January 8, 1875, by a black man, George Washington.
2. In 1919, there was a battle known as "The Wobbly Massacre" (Wobbly is the nickname for the members of the Industrial Workers of the World), Four Legionnaires from the Central Chapter of the American Legion were killed and a Wobbly was lynched.

3. Centralia has statues commemorating both Washington’s founding of the town and the Wobbly massacre.

(photos: Hubbub - the website; George Washington – Washington State Historical Society, I.W.W. whereabouts poster:

No comments: