Established around 1859, the original name of the community was Klickitat Landing. The first European settler was Egbert French, who arrived from Ohio. In 1866 French sold his holdings to James O. Lyle from The Dalles, Oregon, and moved to White Bluffs. After initially farming on the opposite shore (the Oregon side) for a few years, Lyle moved to the north bank of the Columbia.
A post office was soon established with Lyle as the first postmaster, and mail delivered by steamer from the opposite shore. Steamboat operation lasted until the North shore railroad was completed. When the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway came to town in 1907, its line passed somewhat north of the town. The present townsite was plotted in 1909, and the older townsite became known as ‘downtown’. In 1941 there was a small airport in Lyle.
Today Lyle has two main areas: that part which is built on the north banks of the Columbia River, including the “downtown,” and that part which is built on the hills above the river. The downtown area has one grocery store (which is a super-sized quick-mart), two churches, a tavern, a restaurant/cafe, a gas station and vehicle repair shop, a second-hand store, an espresso stand, and a hotel. Other small businesses come and go, and all are located in the downtown area.