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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 [...]

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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The Story of Olympia’s Public Libraries

  By Drew Crooks From pioneer days to the present, public libraries have been part of Olympia’s life. Community residents, for example, could use the Washington Territorial Library after it was established in Olympia by Governor Isaac Stevens in 1853. Over time this institution evolved into the current Washington State Library, an excellent source of [...]

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Shelton’s Colonial House has a Story to Tell

  By Leslie Merchant Even though Washington State is 125 years old, it is still a baby compared to the rest of the nation. Older states are able to showcase their pasts through their rich architecture, yet the 42nd state is somewhat lacking in classic structural marvels. For a glimpse of Washington’s past, a quick trip [...]

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Skyline Drive-In Celebrates 50 Years

  By Eric Wilson-Edge Summer is rapidly coming to a close. The days are getting shorter. It won’t be long before the leaves turn and the air crisps. We’ll replace short sleeves and shorts with rain coats and sweaters. Hot chocolate weather is on its way. For now, on this particular evening, summer is still [...]

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Sand Man Tugboat Keeps On Going

  By Morgan Willie Up until the late 1950s, Olympia was operated by a blue-collar culture. A little bit of elbow grease and fortitude could get you working in a jiffy. Olympia was and still is a vital element to trade and commerce around the area. Its waterfront companies and easily accessible marinas have created [...]

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