When Peter Crawford reached the Oregon Territory in 1847, he was advised by Dr. Marcus Whitman to stake a claim on the Cowlitz River. Following that advice, Crawford explored up the Cowlitz in what would later become Washington Territory. For his claim, he chose the first elevated point along the Cowlitz, near where it entered the Columbia River on the east bank. Thirty-seven years later, after the arrival of many settlers, he plotted the town on his claim, which was named after his home in Kelso, Scotland. Learn more about the town, from its development to disasters, in this pictorial history.