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Blueberries and Tulips Celebrated in Mossyrock

Mossyrock Blueberry Festival

Mossyrock was named in 1852 for the mossy crag that rose 200 feet above the east end of Klickitat Prairie. The spot was an early trading post on the Cowlitz River.

Those who settled the prairie received visitors only on the occasion someone happened to be travelling to Cowlitz Landing, usually on horseback via crude trails.

Early travelers, according to an account compiled by the Lewis County Historical Society, first reached Mossyrock from the west, following up Klickitat Creek after crossing the Cowlitz River at the village of Mayfield, which today underwater near the site of the Mayfield Dam. If arriving along this path, the mossy peak was in prominent view, perhaps becoming its defining feature and namesake.

Although Mossyrock has vast and fertile farmland, few people of European descent settled in the area in the 1850s, perhaps due to Native American disputes.

When the wars ended, settlers began moving into the prairie, many in the hills. Mossyrock’s growth can be attributed to fine farmland and its location between the Twin Cities and the Big Bottom of the Upper Cowlitz River. The logging industry thrived until operations became more focused on the dense stands in the county farther east.

A post office was built in Mossyrock in 1875 and the community became incorporated in 1946. The area was part of the original homeland of the Cowlitz Tribe, including the village of Taoup.

In the 1950s, the Cowlitz acted to prevent the City of Tacoma from constructing a hydroelectric dam in the town because tribal cemeteries would be threatened, along with private property held by members of the tribe.

The lawsuit initially succeeded in blocking the construction, but failed after the suit was appealed by the city. Dams were constructed by the Tacoma Power utility, including the state’s tallest — the 606-foot Mossyrock Dam, built in 1968.

The construction of that dam flooded out the towns of Kosmos, Nesika and Riffe, for which the retention lake created by the structure is now named. From time to time, as Tacoma Power officials lower the lake level before the spring mountain snowmelt, the town of Kosmos will reemerge, allowing history buffs to see evidence of a lost logging town.

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 12.04.59 PMMossyrock hosts a Blueberry Blues Festival in August. This year’s festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 7. Information is available by calling (360) 983-3734 or visit www.mossy rockfestivals.com.

Just outside Mossyrock is DeGoede Bulb Farm and Gardens, a fixture in Lewis County for more than 30 years. DeGoede’s boasts 100 greenhouses, a garden center and a brilliant show garden which boasts tulips in the spring, a riot of different flowers over summer and fall and poinsettias in the winter. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Telephone (360) 983-9000 for information.

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