Located ninety miles from the Pacific Ocean at the confluence of the Cowlitz and Columbia Rivers, Longview is a relatively new city with a short but remarkable history. Less than seventy-five years ago, the area where Longview now stands was sparsely populated wilderness and rural homesteads.
In 1849, pioneers led by Harry and Rebecca Jane Huntington, began to arrive in this area to settle along the Cowlitz River and file homestead papers. Huntington named the settlement, located about two miles to the south of the Longview Civic Center, "Monticello" in honor of Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia. In 1852, people from all over what was to become Washington state gathered in Monticello to draft a memorial to Congress. The memorial expressed their desire to be granted statehood under the name of Columbia. This meeting came to be known as the Monticello Convention. The desires of the Convention were met favorably in Congress, but it was decided that a state named Columbia might be confused with the preexisting District of Columbia. The state was instead named Washington in honor of our first president. Today, a monument to the Monticello Convention stands not far from the Longview Civic Center.
Longview is the modern city that it is today due in a large part to the personal determination of Robert A. Long. George B. Kessler of St. Louis, and Hare & Hare of Kansas City, nationally known city planners, were contracted to complete the plans for Longview. Monticello Hotel, R. A. Long High School, the YMCA building, and the Longview Public Library were donated by Mr. Long personally. The city planners originally imagined a fully developed Longview to be a city with 75,000 residents.
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