Home » Archives by category » History

History of the Chambers Prairie Grange at Yelm and Henderson

  By Emmett O’Connell For years, grange halls were the social and political glue that held together the rural farming communities in the Pacific Northwest. Simple, useful community clubhouses sprouted up around Washington throughout our early history, acting as community centers to connected dispersed people. The Chambers Prairie Grange building at the corner of Yelm [...]

90 Years of Theater History at The Washington Center

  By Emmett O’Connell For 90 years, performers have graced the current site of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Olympia. Since 1924, when the Liberty Theater opened on Washington Street, various types of entertainment have been available on that lot. But, before theaters, the residence of the Thomas Reed family occupied the [...]

Read More

History of the Brown House at Yelm – Boulevard Intersection

  By Emmett O’Connell The small brown house on the northeast corner of Boulevard Road and Yelm Highway is a peak into the pastoral suburban history of this part of Thurston County. When the house was built in 1920, the contours of the neighborhood around it were certainly recognizable. Yelm Highway and Boulevard Road were [...]

Read More

Shelton’s Paul Bunyan Statue is as Mysterious as its Fabled Namesake

  By Eric Wilson-Edge Paul Bunyan has been beheaded and dismembered, neglected and vandalized. His hollowed out body has been used as a hiding spot for at least one student who didn’t want to go to school. Someone even stole his ax. “A guy calls and says I know where the ax is.” I meet [...]

Read More

Vintage Airstream Trailers and Modern Owners Keep Dream Alive

  By Carolyn White As two-thirds of all Airstreams manufactured since 1936 are still on the road, many opportunities exist for modern owners to adopt and adapt a vintage Airstream trailer. To be considered “vintage,” the trailer must be over 25 years old. Since it’s people that keep legends alive, what motivates these owners to [...]

Read More

Olympia Reserve Fleet Operated for 30 Years in Budd Inlet

  By Emmett O’Connell For almost 30 years, Budd Inlet was home to one of the National Defense Reserve Fleets that dotted the American coast after World War II. At the height of the reserve fleet program, eight separate fleets were in operation around the country. The program was established in 1946 to provide extra [...]

Read More

Benjamin Hartsuck – Olympia’s First Architect Leaves Legacy

  By Alyssa Ramsfield Every city has their well known landmarks. This holds true even in our backyard, Olympia. Historical buildings that were created years ago that are still considered architecturally striking help to define the character of this town. The man behind many of these gems is Benjamin Hartsuck. Born in 1831, Hartsuck grew [...]

Read More

Sylvester’s Legacy to Olympia

  By Drew Crooks The history of Olympia is filled with people who have contributed to the community. Two such individuals are Edmund Sylvester (1821-1887) and his wife Clara Pottle Sylvester (1832-1917). Their legacy to Olympia was a significant one. Edmund Sylvester was born on March 2, 1821 in Deer Lake Isle, Maine. He came [...]

Read More

A Piece of History about Lacey’s Lois McKinney House

  By Justice Kreese, River Ridge High School intern Have you ever noticed the little house across the street from the Lacey Community Center? It’s a tiny, run down house that’s been completely boarded up. There’s no obvious entrance and a “No Trespassing” sign is clearly posted. Yet at the same time, the house has [...]

Read More

Brewmaster Paul Knight Reflects on Olympia Beer History

  By Emmett O’Connell Between the mid 1970s and the early 1980s, the Schmidt family tried to keep up with a changing national beer market. But, in the end, national and international changes in the industry forced the family to sell the company that in many ways was the heart of our community. Paul Knight, [...]

Read More