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The Stella townsite was originally part of a 320-acre Donation Land Claim filed by John Guisendorfer in the early 1850s. Soon after it was purchased by Henry Lawson who established a river landing at the site. A small community, mostly of German immigrants, sprang up during the 1870s, which provided cordwood for the steamboats and assembled log-rafts to float logs to float logs for California mills.
"... By the 1890s, the Stella Wharf was an important assembly point for the rafts, and in 1894, the first huge "cigar raft" was formed, a cylindrically-shaped raft containing 6.5 million board feet of logs destined for California. By the turn of the century, large national companies, including the Hammond Lumber Company and the Wisconsin Lumber Company, dominated area operations and employed over 1,000 men. In addition to the dock, several stores, hotels, and a mill were constructed in Stella during the boom years. A fire in 1907 destroyed a number of those buildings, but the town was quickly rebuilt and new structures included a community blacksmith shop built by B.F. Brock. ..." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1985, from Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Website, 2006]
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records website (2006) shows title being granted to a John Guisendorfer on December 22, 1865, for 323.27 acres of T8N R4W Sections 11 and 12 (Oregon-Donation Act of 1850).
According to Robert Hitchman in "Place Names of Washington" (1985), Stella was named for the daughter of Richard Packard who established a store there in 1880.
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created April 12, 2013
updated April 12, 2013