Ryderwood, Washington ~ "The Town With Two Histories"
1923-53: "World's Largest Logging Town";
Since 1953, the Oldest "Planned Community for Retired Persons".
Ryderwood, Washington 98581 is a unique little "Village in the Woods" located at the beginning of Washington State Route 506 in Cowlitz County, Washington.
(Travel note: The I-5 exit (SR 506 west) is closed for bridge replacement.
From north, come through Winlock or follow SR 506 detour signs at Exit 63.
From south, take Westside Hwy., turn left at Vader Rd. intersection.)
History #1 - Follow the logs: In the 1920's, the Long-Bell Lumber Co. chose the timber surrounding Ryderwood to supply the company's planned Columbia River mill, port and model city at Longview. Long-Bell spent $1.5 million to build Ryderwood - the first town ever designed for loggers and their families - all before the first log was cut! The town had all the amenities and technology was state-of-the-art. Explore the "Then & Now" and "RHP History Project" pages for detailed information on Ryderwood's dual histories.
Ryderwood and Longview founder R. A. Long
Today the Ryderwood Improvement & Service Assn., Inc. (RISA) manages the retirement community. Deed restrictions (community Bylaws and/or Cowlitz Co. CC&Rs) limit occupancy to those over the age of 55.
Photo by Kerry Haley via drone 3/30/2018
History #2 - Planned Community for Retired Persons: By 1953, the logs and the loggers were mostly gone and Long-Bell offered the tired little town for sale. A group of real estate investors formed Senior Estates, Inc. and developed the town into the country's first and continuously operating community for retirees.
At right: Senior Estates developer Harry Kem, Sr.