Home » Archives by category » History

The History of the Thurston County Fair: Bringing the Community Together Since 1871

  By Gale Hemmann Imagine it’s the year 1871. As you rode to the fair with your family in your horse-drawn wagon, you would probably be excited. This was the first local fair and a big deal. Washington was not yet a state, and the fair aimed to get settlers excited about moving to the [...]

The Percival Family Intertwined in Olympia’s History

  By Drew Crooks Olympia has long been closely associated with Puget Sound. This relationship to the sea is an important part of the community’s story. One family, the Percivals, for many years were significantly involved in local maritime activities. Several place names in the area honor their contributions. Captain Samuel W. Percival (1823-1891) and [...]

Read More

Port Blakely Tree Farms: A Family Company Celebrates 150 Years of Stewardship

  By Kate Scriven Our culture today is a fast one.  Amidst our frantic world, is a quiet company working steadily, planning for a future that is measured in decades and centuries. Port Blakely Tree Farms is a family-owned company based in Tumwater, Washington that owns and manages over 140,000 acres of forestland in Washington [...]

Read More

Tenino’s History Written in Sandstone

  By Emmett O’Connell The architectural history of Tenino could be written in sandstone. Many important buildings in Tenino (city hall, the train depot and a bank building, for example) are made out of the local stone. At least 15 significant buildings throughout the town are built out of sandstone. One interesting example is the [...]

Read More

History of Thurston County Bars and Taverns

  By Emmett O’Connell To track the early history of drinking establishments in Thurston County is to also track the laws governing them. The oldest bars in our area date back to the end of prohibition in the 1930s. Many of them, like what is now Charlie’s Bar & Grill (620 – 4th Ave East [...]

Read More

30 Years Ago Olympia Played Host to Running History

  By Eric Wilson-Edge History never really goes away.  The landscape changes and people age but the soul of the experience stays.  You’ve seen it as the woman running down the street, something so commonplace you’d think it was always accepted. On May 12, 1984, Olympia stepped onto the national stage.  Thousands lined the streets [...]

Read More

All In the Family – Three Generations of Phillips Attend Garfield Elementary

  By Leslie Merchant Benjamin Franklin once said, “Today is yesterday’s pupil.” If his quote was translated literally, then one might see a picture of the Phillips family standing in front of Garfield Elementary. Three generations of Phillips women spent their formative years in the halls, on the grounds and under the protective tutelage of [...]

Read More

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 [...]

Read More

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