1805 - 1851

1805 - November 5; According to their journals, Lewis and Clark passed Prescott beach, 4 miles east of Rainier

1806 - March 27, Lewis and Clark camped near Goble, Oregon; 6-miles outside of Rainier Proper, but now included within their postal area

1851 - City of Rainier Oregon founded by Charles E. Fox, originally named Eminence. It was later changed to Fox's Landing, prior to it's final and current name of Rainier.

The Dibblee House was built. This house still stands on 'B' Street in Rainier.

1851 - June 5, Fox opened the first 'Post Office' (mail drop off for boats travelling on the Columbia River), Not an official government Post Office, with him as Postmaster


1852 - 1858

1852 - January 6, official name change to Rainier. History states, Charles Fox donated 24 acres for the townsite.

1854 - April 14, Dean Blanchard first visited Rainier.
A large steam sawmill was erected by F.M. Warren, producing lumber for the settlers.

1855 - Townsite platted

Original street names (followed by current name): Water Street ('A' St), Commercial Street ('B' St), & Union Street ('C' St); with cross streets of Quincy, New Bedford, Virginia, Cowlitz and Washington (now East Second through East Sixth)

1858 - July 16, Rainier Masonic Lodge #24 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons received its charter. George Moeck was a founding member. The building still stands on East 'C' Street

Rainier's fort was also built during this time, with walls 40-50 feet high. This was to serve as a storehouse and to protect the settlers from the Native Americans; however, these walls were not necessary and Rainier was never attacked.

1863 - 1885

1863 - Fox left Rainier

1863 - November 6, Dean Blanchard returned to Rainier to stay. He then began his business interests (including, a mill, store and an established government Post Office).

1869 - John Dibble and his family moved to Rainier

1881 - June 13, Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records indicated title for 293.32 acres granted to Charles E. Fox

1885 - Incorporated as a town

1888 - 1899

1888 - City replatted by Dean Blanchard, much the same as the Fox plat; however, wider streets and some additions - See 1907 for Official replacement of plat.

Added Streets by Name (followed by Current Name): Harrison Street (First Street), Alder Street ('D' Street), and Ash Street ('E' Street)

George Moeck built his home; which still stands along 'B' Street in Rainier and is now called the "1888 House". Moeck was a founding member of the Rainier Masonic Lodge and postmaster of the Rainier post office from 1892-1897

1892 - December 24, George Moeck added the additional streets of Cleveland, Carlisle, Columbia and California (now known as West Third through Sixth Streets); and extended Water, Commercial and Union to intersect with them.

1892-1897 - George Moeck was also postmaster of the Rainier Post Office.

1895 - The first school was built, later to become the site of the Rainier Elementary School

1899 - Railroad Depot built on East 'A' Street, where the St Helens Community Federal Credit Union now stands.

1903 - 1905

1903 - An area west of town (originally known as Cedar Landing in 1850, and later Kentucky Flats) was now platted by Blanchard, although it was not yet recognized as a part of Rainier. During this platting, the streets in line with Water, Commercial and Union Streets were instead called First, Second and Third Streets. The intersecting streets were named Market, Blanchard, Watts, Plue, Harris and Norby (now West Seventh through Twelfth Streets).

1905 - The United Methodist Church was built. This church still stands at the corner of East 'C' Street & East 1st Street, and is the oldest in Rainier


1906 - 1910

1906 - March 11, United Methodist Church was dedicated

The State Bank of Rainier opened with John Dibblee being one of the original directors. This building is now the Bank of America on East 'A' Street

1907 - Blanchard's Plat Officially replaces Fox's.

Moeck platted the land between Cleveland and Carlisle (now West Third and Forth), adding Oak Pine and Maple Streets (now F, G and H Streets; however, 'H' Street has never actually existed.

1909 - The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church was built.

1910 - The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church was dedicated.

1910 - July 12, John Dibblee passed away.

1911 - 1915

1911 - A one lane Nice Creek Viaduct built over Nice Creek; at the West end of 'C' Street. Built for Columbia County by the LeDoux Ehrman Company

1912 - An area of Kentucky Flats was platted and known as West Rainier. Kentucky Flats is now recognized as part of Rainier.

1913 - Roxy Park is added. The streets of Quincy and Virginia (now East Second and Fourth Street) stretching in to Roxy Park.

1915 - The first Rainier High School was built as a 4-story building. The lower two floors were cut into the hillside as a foundation.

1921 - 1924

1921 - Rainier's City Hall was built; including the Rainier Police Department and the Rainier City Library

1923 to 1924 - Streets were renamed to their current naming convention as lettered and numbered streets.


1924 - June 28, Fire destroyed most of the business district on the north side of 'A' Street. The old Hotel Rainier was destroyed and later rebuilt in the same location, and it still remains there today.


1929 - April 15, first pilings were driven for the Lewis & Clark Bridge. Originally simply called the Longview Bridge and designed by Joseph B. Strauss (also designer of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge). The bridge was originally a private venture, many years later to be purchased and improved by Washington.


1930 - March 29, Lewis and Clark Bridge opened, improving the ease of access between Rainier, Oregon and Longview, Washington. Previously this travel was done by ferry.

1940 - 1952

1940 - Lewis and Clark Bridge toll was 80¢ for car and driver; maximum $1. In the present day, this bridge no longer has a toll.

1949 - April 13 - A 7.1 earthquake struck near Olympia, Washington; causing significant damage to Rainier Elementary school; requiring the wood structure to be almost completely rebuilt, and caused most of the High School to collapse, except for one classroom that still remains.

1952 - Railroad depot demolished, when passenger service ended. The St Helens Community Federal Credit Union stands in this location now.

1970 - 1976

1970 - Trojan Nuclear Power Plant is built

1976 - May 20, Trojan Nuclear Power plant is opened.

The timeline and information presented on this page has been collected and consolidated based on a variety of resources and websites.  Photos are either public domain or used by permission.  We extend great respect and appreciation for those that have taken the time and effort to perform the research and provide the detail so others can be aware of the Rainier history.  Links to resources can be found on the Rainier Area History Page.