First Thursday Speaker Series

Celebrate Main Street: Ridgefield

A group of men stand outside of a pool hall in Ridgefield, Washington (1910)

As part of Historic Preservation Month, Clark County Historical Museum is taking its First Thursday Speaker Series to Ridgefield’s Old Liberty Theater on Thursday, May 2, for “Celebrate Main Street: Ridgefield.” This free event is part of the museum’s new initiative to celebrate the local businesses, architecture, and history along Clark County’s Main Streets. The event begins at 7 p.m.

“We are excited for the opportunity to hold this event during Historic Preservation Month at Ridgefield’s historic Old Liberty Theater,” said Brad Richardson, CCHM executive director and “Celebrate Main Street: Ridgefield” keynote speaker. “Downtown Ridgefield and its businesses have a long and storied history. We feel it’s important to discuss the stories of our communities at, or in, the places where they took place. It hearkens to the idea, ‘If these walls could talk.’ The Old Liberty Theater provides the perfect setting for this exploration and discussion.”

Originally called Union Ridge due to the large number of Union soldiers who settled in the area after the Civil War, the town formally came into being at a special election held in 1909. The residents decided by a vote of 62-12 in favor of incorporation.

In that same year, the established businesses, as advertised in the Ridgefield Reflector, were two general merchandise stores, a department store, two lumber mills, a water well contractor and driller, two contractors and builders, a boat builder, meat market, hotel, livery and draying, boot and shoemaker, creamery, barber shop, blacksmith, realtor, and a weaver.

“Today, the businesses in historic Downtown Ridgefield serve the community in a different way, but retain the spirit of those early days in 1909,” Richardson said.

Through the support of the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission, the CCHM is providing this talk at no charge to the public. “Celebrate Main Street: Ridgefield” is made possible through partnerships with North Clark Historical Museum, La Center Historical Museum, the Ridgefield Main Street Program and the Clark County Historical Museum.

“We are fortunate to have several strong history organizations in our North County,” Richardson said, “and we are overjoyed to have this opportunity to partner for this important launch of celebrating Main Streets across the county.”

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at events@cchmuseum.org.

The Clark County Historical Museum First Thursday Speaker Series runs from February to November of each year. These engaging talks feature a variety of topics ranging from popular local stories to broad organizational histories and much more. The CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series is sponsored by Clark County’s Historic Preservation Commission. General admission is $5; seniors and students are $4; children under 18 are $3; and the evening is free with a CCHM membership. Doors will open at 5 p.m., and the event will begin at 7 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as it is first-come, first-served seating.