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A Legacy of Learning – History of Schools Named Washington in Olympia

  By Jennifer Crooks The story of Olympia’s Washington Middle School (3100 Cain Road SE) has roots in the community’s early history. Growing out of the original Eastside School, schools with the name of Washington have been a part of the everyday life of Olympia since 1891. In different buildings and locations, Washington Schools have […]

Tugboat Annie’s – A True Olympia Establishment in a Serene Waterfront Setting

  By Lynn West Leaving Tugboat Annie’s one recent Sunday after brunch, my husband wondered about its history. “Maybe it was a boarding house or a factory,” he mused. I must say I didn’t think the West Bay Marina and the restaurant that sits proudly in its midst on the banks of Budd Inlet would […]

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Sharing Knowledge: The Washington State Library as a Valuable Resource

  By Jennifer Crooks The Washington State Library (WSL), a part of the Secretary of State’s Office located at 69880 Capitol Boulevard in Tumwater, is perhaps one of the area’s best kept secrets. While many people may have seen the statue of author Mark Twain reading his novel Huckleberry Finn on a park bench on […]

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“As Clean as a Fresh Cookie” – Clean-Up Day in Turn of the Century Olympia

  By Jennifer Crooks Who wants a messy city? Across the United States in the early 1900s, Progressive Era goals of city beautification, increased sanitation, and better quality of life led to urban improvement efforts. At that time Olympia’s Civic Improvement Club sponsored an annual “Clean-Up Day.” Vowing to make the city “as clean as […]

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40 Years of History at the Olympia Farmers Market

  By Emmett O’Connell The Olympia Farmers Market has held an important place in the Olympia community landscape for the past 40 years. As the market’s season opens this year, it will be celebrating its fourth decade in existence. But, the history of markets where local farmers sell direct to the public have a much longer […]

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A Historic Look at the Various Locations of the Thurston County Courthouse

  By Emmett O’Connell Up until the last forty years, the Thurston County Courthouse has always been located in what people would know as “downtown Olympia.” While our definition of the space considered “downtown” has expanded over time, the courthouse has moved slowly away from the downtown core since the 1930s. The first site for what […]

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Olympia Loves a Parade – Well, Mostly

  Submitted by Deborah Jane Ross, Research Coordinator, Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum Parades, processions, and protest marches – Olympia’s citizenry has seen them all. Mostly, we enjoy them; sometimes we ignore them; and occasionally they make us nervous or angry. A political march during Legislative Session may cause our city’s jaded citizens […]

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The Force Is With Us: “Star Wars” First Shown in Olympia in 1977

  By Jennifer Crooks Most everyone these days has heard of “Star Wars,” the science fiction cinema phenomenon. The Star Wars epic has influenced popular culture and society from its inception in 1977. However, the premiere of the first “Star Wars” movie (later retitled “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope”) in Olympia is not […]

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Was It Really the Water in Olympia’s First Brewery?

  By Emmett O’Connell The story of Olympia’s first ever brewery and first ever locally brewed beer is a great illustration about how the waves of history can make landfall in several corners of a community. Isaac Wood was an early pioneer of the area east of Olympia that eventually became Lacey, taking a land […]

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Olympia’s Lost Railroads – A Historic Look Back at the Railroads that Bisect the City’s History

  By Emmett O’Connell There are at least three different railroads that at one time or another transected Olympia, but are now gone. Each railroad bisects the history of Olympia and the region in interesting ways, showing how the waves of development crested and receded on our town. Like my other recent piece on the […]

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