This site, long the home and hunting ground of the Indian, was first sighted by white man in 1792 when Lt. Broughton was sent by Capt. Vancouver to verify the Gray's reported discovery of the Columbia, and visited by Lewis and Clark in 1805 on their Northwest Expedition.
Here the tribes of Cathlamet and Wahkiakum gathered, lived and passed on.
To this frontier in 1846, impelled by beauty of river and forest, came James Birnie, formerly of Hudson's Bay Company.
Here he built his home and called it Birnie's retreat.
With the coming of other settlers, he named this site Cathlamet.