On the fence at the water’s edge

Image of house on pilings at the water's edge

This house in Cathlamet, Washington is one of the most interesting dwellings I’ve seen in a while. Perched on pilings over the water, with a single remaining tether to the land, it’s like a boat without the commitment to living aboard.

This is the kind of place that invites the making of stories. I like to imagine how this structure happened. Maybe the original house arrived here on a barge, or maybe it got swept down the Columbia from Longview during a 100 year flood.

Most likely I could head up hill to the Cathlamet newspaper office or city hall and find pictures of what this house at the water’s edge was like before the remodeling. But I prefer to concoct my own versions of this building’s place in the history of life on the edge of the water.

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  1. Ah, Cathlamet. It’s a place most people will never go, but the jumping-off point to some lovely country. The town is about 30 miles west of Kelso on the Ocean Beach Highway, and it’s old and quirky as your photo illustrates well.

    My favorite thing about Cathlamet is leaving, because if I’m headed for Oregon, then I have an excuse to cross the bridge from Cathlamet to sleepy Puget Island and take the little Wahkiakum County Ferry, http://www.co.wahkiakum.wa.us/depts/pw/index.htm. It’s a tiny ferry but a beautiful, short, memorable ride on the Columbia River.

    1. You’re forcing my hand Dan! I have a piece in the works about this little trip – though I took it the opposite direction, coming from Oregon back into Washington, this was a nice little side jaunt on the way home.

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