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Bring Your Skates: Ice Skating in Early Thurston County

  By Jennifer Crooks Ice skating is a favorite activity usually associated with winter. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as gliding around on the ice, weightless and free—or at least trying to. A moderate climate and the nonexistence of indoor facilities in early Thurston County made wintertime ice skating a rare, outdoors, community activity—one […]

History of the Railroad Lines that Cross Through Olympia

  By Emmett O’Connell Throughout Olympia’s history, railroads have crisscrossed the city’s landscape. As James Hannum notes in “Olympia’s Railroad History,” (an essay in the People’s History of Olympia) at various points in our city’s history, we hosted three “common carrier” lines, two logging railroads and a trolley line. Of those, two lines remain – […]

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Remembering the Soldiers’ Monument at the Tumwater Masonic Memorial Park

  By Drew Crooks A number of memorials on Olympia’s State Capital Campus honor those who have served in the armed forces of the United States.  They include the “Winged Victory” Memorial, POW/MIA Memorial, Medal of Honor Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and World War II Memorial. There is also a Washington […]

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Kathy Waltermeyer Embodies Olympia Supply’s 108 Years of Customer Service and Commitment to Community

  By Kate Scriven The brightly painted blue and orange building of Olympia Supply is hard to miss.  The cheery façade, located on Columbia Street in downtown Olympia, may have gotten a facelift in recent years, but the company on the inside has remained pretty much the same for the past 108 years.  And, for the […]

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The Suspicious Death of Olympia Pioneer Levi Smith

  By Emmett O’Connell Levi Smith died somewhere between Olympia and Tumwater. Before the Capitol dome was built, before Capitol Lake was created, before there was even a Washington Territory (let alone state) Smith tried to paddle to the community then called New Market. Smith had been elected to the Oregon Territorial legislature, and New […]

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Bob Crim: Schmidt House Walls Don’t Need to Talk

  By Barb Lally Bob Crim hadn’t been working at the Schmidt House long when he drove the pink 1957 Buick convertible to take Clara Schmidt downtown, taking a left turn out of the Schmidt’s driveway onto Custer Way and stopping at the light at Capitol Blvd. Clara began talking to a lady she knew […]

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Littlerock Fire Department Honors Historic Citizen Effort

  By Barb Lally A shiny red 1936 Ford fire engine stands proudly in the first apparatus bay of the Littlerock Fire Station on Littlerock Road and can be seen by visitors entering the lobby. The old, but well-preserved engine is a constant reminder of the commitment a group of special local citizens had to […]

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Busy Commercial History at Woodard Bay Is Now Quiet and Serene

  By Emmett O’Connell If you drive through Woodard Bay now, it looks quiet and almost abandoned. But, if you look closely, you can see evidence of a loud commercial history in this corner of Thurston County. For thousands of years, Woodard Bay and Henderson Inlet (its larger neighbor) were home to villages housing local […]

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Doing Her Share: Ada Sprague Mowell, Community Activist in the Early Twentieth Century

  By Jennifer Crooks Ada Sprague Mowell is an important figure in the history of Olympia and Thurston County. In the early 20th century she was active in community life and left a large mark on the region. Ada was born in Ada County, Idaho, to Alfred D. and Wihelmina (Sager) Sprague on November 22, […]

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Walking Through History at Tumwater’s Schmidt House

  By Kathryn Millhorn When the chilly autumn winds drive us indoors, thoughts turn to family, history, and community.  All three are embodied within a walking tour of Tumwater’s stunning, historic Schmidt House.  Tours are available throughout September and—like the perfect roses in their garden—shouldn’t be missed. Built in 1904, the Schmidt house was the […]

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