Nestled in the woods a few miles west of Interstate 5’s exit 57 lies Vader.
The town, along the Northern Pacific rail line in South Lewis County, was originally known as Little Falls for the waterfalls on Olequa Creek.
“Then, of course, just enjoy the local scenery, of a little town in the woods.”
–Ken Smith, Mayor of Vader
One night a small shack was deposited from a rail car to the town and inscribed with Sopenah, frustrating the residents. The name of local resident Martin Vader was later chosen as the town’s official title, and the city was incorporated in 1906.
Vader, with just under 600 residents, is the smallest incorporated town in Lewis County.
“It wouldn’t take very long to pass through Vader, but I would encourage any visitors to stop in at a couple of our local eating establishments,” said the town’s mayor, Ken Smith, who took office in January.
Smith recommended the Mt. St. Helens Restaurant and the Little Crane Cafe, both of which have been in operation in the tiny town for many years.
The new mayor also recommended visitors stop to enjoy some fresh air at McMurphy Park, a piece of farmland donated by longtime Vader resident Dolores McMurphy for the formation of a community park. The park, located between Annonen Road and Olequa Creek, gives visitors a view of the Little Falls rapids and hosted the town’s first-ever bluegrass festival in September. It’s a great place for a family picnic, Smith said, and a nice spot to wade in the Olequa.
“Then, of course, just enjoy the local scenery, of a little town in the woods,” Smith added, as a great way to wrap up the visit.