Hoquiam River, Grays Harbor

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Hoquiam River, Grays Harbor

by | Jun 4, 2019

The Hoquiam River forms from several large tributaries that merge near the coast into one channel that flows south for 6 miles (9.7 km) to Grays Harbor, passing through the city of Hoquiam, Washington. The river watershed is one of the most biomass-productive zones in the world and an important forestry region. The watershed lies mostly within the Weyerhaeuser Twin Harbors Tree Farm, and most of the original and second-growth forests have been cut and replaced with Douglas fir plantations. The name comes from a Native American word meaning “hungry for wood”, probably from the large amount of driftwood at the river mouth.

Grays Harbor is located about 45 miles (72 km) north of the mouth of the Columbia River. The estuary is named after Captain Robert Gray who discovered the entrance and sailed into the harbor on May 7, 1792, during a fur-trading voyage along the North Pacific coast. Settlement of the area began in the early 1870s and was largely dependent on the lumber industry. As the forests of the eastern United States were depleted, many loggers from the East and Midwest migrated to the Grays Harbor area, as well as many Scandinavians and Finns from Europe.

The first logging operation in Hoquiam was established in 1872, and about 10 years later, Captain Asa M. Simpson, a mariner, and businessman from San Francisco, provided the financial backing for the Northwestern Mill. The mill was later renamed the Simpson Lumber Company and retained that name until 1906. In 1927, a pulp mill was established under the name of Grays Harbor Pulp Company and a year later Hammermill Paper bought stock in the company and built a paper mill that later became the Grays Harbor Pulp & Paper Company. In 1936, this merged with Rayonier Incorporated, a company that used the wood pulp to produce rayon, a fiber used to make different fabrics. Read more here and here. Explore of Hoquiam and Grays Harbor here:

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