Welcome to The La Center Historical Museum



Ken was born in Ontario Oregon and came to La Center when he was four in the winter of 1936-37. He went to La Center elementary and high up through his junior year. During that time he delivered the Oregonian and bought ice cream and candy through the window of the La Center Tavern. His family lived on the old Bartlett Farm next to Anderson Farm. This was on what is now NE 24th Ave.

When Ken's family first came here they lived on Graves Rd. in Highland area. They then moved to Lyons Rd, then moved to Graves Rd., then last part of 40's moved to Bartlett Farm 20 acres, had cows and sold cream.

After his junior year in high school, he quit school and joined the army. When he returned he and Myrna got married.  As soon as he returned home he got his GED and a letter stating he had his high school diploma. But the La Center superintendent procrastinated for three or four years before giving him the diploma.

Ken and Myrna lived in both Portland and Vancouver for 36 years before moving to La Center. Once here they quickly became involved in the community.


Born in Omak WA. and came here with her family in '36 as an infant Lived in Chelatchie Prairie as a child.  Her dad bought 10 acres off Munch Rd and lived in a tent until he built a log cabin. Myrna went to Green Mountain School from the first through eighth grade. She then started HS in La Center. After graduation she moved to Portland with three other girls and lived in an apartment.

After Ken and Myrna got married they lived in an apartment. While in Portland she worked for Pacific Northwest Bell. Later she gave it up to be a stay at home wife and mother to 4 children 2 girls and 2 boys, 15 grand kids and 9 great grandchildren.

Ken and Myrna moved to La Center in 2000 and became very active in the community. We are glad to have them do so much for La Center, They work with the Lions, keep up the Grange, and their museum memberships include the La Center Museum Association, Museum of Flight in Seattle, and Clark County Historical Museum.


Interview ca 2008 - 2012 by Candy Falk

Kenneth and Myrna Viles

celebrate 60 years


Kenneth and Myrna Viles of La Center will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary Jan. 8, at Summit Grove Lodge.  The couple was married Jan. 8, 1954, in Stevenson, WA. They both attended school in La Center and lived in Vancouver for 36 years before moving back to La Center in 2000.

Kenneth served in Korea with the U.S. Army and was captured Sept. 29, 1951. He was held in a prison camp until he was released on Aug. 27, 1953. He then worked for Boeing for 40 years.

Myrna and Kenneth have four children, Beverly J. of Vancouver, Kenneth D. (deceased), Joan M. of West Richland and Steven D. of Virginia Beach. They also have 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.


Kenneth Leslie Viles was born in Ontario, OR on September 30, 1932. He was the seventh of nine children (eight boys and one girl), and all of his brothers also served in the military. Ken joined the Army march 16,1951,took his basic training in Hawaii and was shipped to Korea after a short leave on the Island.

He was serving as an assistant B.A.R. man when he was captured on September 29,1951 after his forward patrol base was overrun by Chinese. He was held behind their lines and forced to build bunkers for about two and half months. It was here he dropped from 182 lbs. to less then 100 lbs. due to amebic dysentery and not being able to keep food down. He was marched to Chaingsong, North Korea where he was held in Prison Camp #1 near the Yalu River until his released at Panmunjom on August 21,1953 the 17th day of operation "Big Switch."

After returning home, Ken married his high school sweetheart, finished his hitch in the Army (discharged March 26,1954 as a PFC, raised four children and worked for 39 years for the Boeing Aircraft Co. retiring at the end of 1994.

Ken lives in Vancouver, WA and stays busy with family (he has 15 grandchildren) and several veterans organizations. He has been active in the American Ex-Prisoners of war since 1986 and served as Commander of Fort Vancouver Chapter for eight years, as WA State Commander for a year, after going through the chairs and has served four years as North West Director. He also belongs to the Korean War Veterans Association and the American Legion.


 Courtesy of hq@axpow.org

Listen to Ken's Interview

Part 1     Part 2

Read Ken's Transcript