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Top 15 Signs You’ve Lived in Camas a Long Time

We compiled a fun list of things that show you have lived in Camas for a while. How long have you lived here?

  1. You bowled at Riverside Lanes before Big Al’s entered the scene.


    Riverside Lanes on Third Avenue.

  2. You associate Gyro’s with Friday night Camas Varsity football games at Doc Harris Stadium.
  3. You never speed by the Fire Station on Parker Street because there’s usually a police officer there. Speed trap. You know where all the speed traps are.
  4. You know who Joe Papermaker the Mean Machine is, and you defend him when people make fun of the name.
  5. You know Lacamas Lake is disgusting but swim in it anyway during the warm summer months. Plus, you know where the tree rope is.

    Lacamas Lake

    Lacamas Lake

  6. You know a small order of fries at Top Burger will feed you and three of your friends just fine, but you order a large anyway. You also know fries at Top Burger taste even better with their ice cream.
  7. You know movies are just better at Liberty Theater, even with the old building smell (you get used to it after a few minutes).
  8. You remember when band concerts and performances were held at Garfield.
  9. The odor from the paper mill doesn’t faze you anymore.
  10. Going to the “beach” during the hot summer months means going to Cottonwood, aka BA Beach.
  11. You remember when the Camas Hotel was gross. It’s not anymore.
  12. Summer isn’t summer without a blizzard at Dairy Queen in downtown Camas.
  13. You did all your shopping at Sprouse Reitz in downtown Camas.


    Spouse Reitz was located where Lizzabeth A is today.

  14. You got your hair cut at Baldy’s (formerly next to Lily Atelier). Some refer to it also as Jack’s Barbershop.
  15. You know the original town’s name wasn’t “Camas.” Hint: Look at our magazine’s name.

We welcome you to add to this list. Just comment below.

To learn more about Camas, visit: http://www.cityofcamas.us


15 replies
  1. Elliot
    Elliot says:

    Great list…a couple adjustments and an addition:

    4. Add to Joe Papermaker the Mean Machine–I wouldn’t want to meet that thing in a dark alley.
    8. More commonly known as “Garfield”
    9. faze
    10. If you’re REALLY from Camas, it’s not Cottonwood–it’s BA Beach!
    14. For my family, it was ALWAYS Jack’s Barbershop

    16. It’s not Fallen Leaf Lake–it’s Dead Lake!

  2. George Bafus
    George Bafus says:

    You remember when The Lake Store sold gas
    You remember the gas station next to Camas Produce, which used to be a Minit Mart.
    You remember The Camas Inn
    You remember when Danback Union Hall was the Safeway Store
    You remember when Camas Muffler Shop was a Shell Station, & Carl’s Short Stop was a Texaco Station.

  3. George Bafus
    George Bafus says:

    One of my more humorous Camas recollections involves the One-Stop Shopping Center. There was a sign posted in their main parking lot. Right out in front. It read, “AMPLE PARKING IN REAR”. Well……..some clever soul added the word *MY* It stayed that way for quite some time. 🙂

  4. Mary
    Mary says:

    Learned the hard way many years ago trying to get my daughter to school on time….do not speed by the fire station!!!!!!!! Unfortunately, she was late anyway because her mom got a ticket. ??

  5. Tia
    Tia says:

    I remember Fallen Leaf Lake was called Dead Lake. I also remember being able to drive right up to Round lake to go fishing. There was a JC Penny and a shop called Mode-O-Day downtown. Fun times at the Liberty theater too.

  6. Keith Thompson
    Keith Thompson says:

    Top Burger fries are great,but who remembers the CooCoo’s Nest. Half tots half fries from Dairy Queen, when it was at 6th and Birch. The intersection of 6th Avenue and Adams used to have a Union 76 station NW corner, laundromat NE, and a Chevron station SE. What do you want to know about downtown in late 70’s. I carried Columbian news there freshman and sophmore years as youth.

  7. Dan
    Dan says:

    1. Prior to being Riverside Bowl it was the “Wagon Wheel”. (I think it was a skating rink) It had two driveways in and out. One on the west side and one on the east side, both of which are covered over now.

    5. The bridge at LaCamas lake before the installation of the gas line from Texas.

    6. Prior to Top Burger we all used to go out to the Lakeside Dairy Queen. (Now Lakeside Chalet)

    7. The large sign that read “LIBERTY” that hung across main street in front of the Liberty theater. Also there was a small resturant right next door to the Liberty theater. (Now second scree of theater.)

    8. Prior to a preforming center it was the old Camas High School, then, when they built the “new” high school it was Camas Junior high then the name changed to Garfield school.

    9. When the mill used to get in a supply of sulphur and burn it to make paper. “The Smell Of Money”

    11. The old Crown Zellerbach hotel where the Riverside Saving & Loan now sits. There was a radio station in the basement of the hotel.

    13. There was also Coast to Coast, Hunter’s Hardware, Camas Sports Shop, J.C.Penny’s and even a small Sears store.

    New: How about Billby’s Cafe across from the mill.

  8. Karla
    Karla says:

    BA was never called “the beach” or cotton wood. Always BA beach. And what about good old Al’s record hut? Great memories of buying records and taped there.

    Camas was a mill town. One thing that I distinctly remember about growing up in camas was the shift change mill whistle blowing. You’d see your neighbors and friends dads walking down 4th Ave with their black lunch box and thermos in hand heading to work.


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