Olympia and Thurston County, WA History
Marking Time: Thurston County Historical Markers
by Shanna B. Stevenson
Olympia: POSSCA, 1983.
Historical markers erected throughout the years by various groups to commemorate persons or events of local historical importance present a valuable resource and recognize in a special way our unique heritage. Listed here are markers throughout Thurston County which show in a tangible way the passing of time and are short detours along the road of history. The large number of markers in the county point up the rich history of the area and the pivotal events which have occurred here.
We owe a debt to the Washington State Historical Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution and other groups who have built the markers so that those that follow can appreciate their special way of marking time.
Text . Produced through a grant by POSSCA, Patrons of South Sound Cultural Activities. Copyright, 1983. [Transcribed for Web, July, 2001.]
in front of the old courthouse, Capitol Way, Olympia.In memory of Clara Barton by the National Women's Relief Corps of the Grand Army of the Republic, 1932.
THE BIGELOW HOUSE
918 E. Glass, Olympia.Built in 1854; the house which is among the oldest remaining buildings in the state, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Judge Daniel Bigelow, pioneer lawyer and legislator, constructed the house for his bride, Elizabeth White, The house has remained in the Bigelow family in almost original condition over the past 130 years.
BORDEAUX LOGGING COMPANY
located at the Bordeaux entrance to Capitol Forest southwest of Olympia.The marker which has photographs of the Bordeaux brothers, the town and mill commemorates the now vacant site of the thriving Bordeaux family Mason County Logging Co. which in its heyday employed over 400 cutting lumber and making shingles at Bordeaux. The mill was begun in the early 1900's and sold out to the state in 1941 when the lumber was depleted.
BUSH PRAIRIE OREGON TRAIL MARKER
8820 Old 99 in Tumwater.The marker is part of the effort by the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution to mark the Oregon Trail in 1916. George Washington Bush, a man of color, came in 1845 to this area south of Tumwater named Bush Prairie in his honor with the first group of Americans to found a settlement north of the Columbia River.
FIRST CAPITOL BUILDING OF WASHINGTON
southeast corner of present Legislative Building on the Capitol Grounds.Marking the site of the first Capitol Building of Washington Territory and State erected in 1855-56. Marked by the Sacajawea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1928.
ANDREW CHAMBERS BLOCKHOUSE
6909 Rainier Rd. S.E., Olympia.Site of the old blockhouse on the Andrew Chambers Donation Claim built in 1855. Placed by the Sacajawea Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution in 1929.
CIVIL WAR MEMORIAL
Masonic Cemetery in Olympia.Erected in memory of the Union soldiers and sailors of the Civil War 1861-1865.
1100 Carlyon Ave., S.E., Olympia.Listed on the National Register in 1978, the house was built by Hazard Stevens, the son of First Territorial Governor, Isaac I. Stevens, in 1914. The farmhouse was the centerpiece of a large model dairy farm which Stevens called "Cloverfields" covering many of the adjoining acres.
EARL S. COE SPRUCE
northwest corner of the Legislative Building on the Capitol Grounds.Dedicated in 1964, this blue spruce is in memory of Earl S. Coe who served as Washington State Secretary of State, legislator and Director of Conservation.
Deschutes Parkway, Tumwater.Designated a State Historical Place in 1971 and included in the Tumwater National Historic District in 1978, the Crosby House, built in 1858 by Nathaniel Crosby III, is a splendid example of early frame construction with Gothic embellishments.
FIFTH AVENUE BENCHES
along 5th Avenue in downtown Olympia.Placed during a beautification program, the benches honor many prominent Olympia area residents: Carlton and Mabel Sears; Robert Henry Wohleb; Joseph Wohleb; Gerry Union; Harry Lindley; Preston M. Troy; G. Noyes Talcott; Doris and A. P. Jimmy Drees; Vibert Delmont Jeffers and Wenzella Cusack Jeffers; Earl Bean and Al Homann.
FIRST TERRITORIAL LEGISLATURE MEETING SITE
222 N. Capitol Way, Olympia.Marked by the Washington State Historical Society in 1901, the plaque commemorates the first legislature which convened on February 28,1854 at this site in what was later the Gold Bar Restaurant, the largest hall in Olympia at that time.
FORT EATON MONUMENT
near the intersection of Yelm Highway and Meridian Road.Erected in 1932 by area residents, the monument marks the site of one of the many stockades built in 1855-56 during the Indian Uprising in the district. A Kentucky-type station consisting of 16 log buildings connected by a high stocked [sic] in a square configuration, the fort housed a number of families on the Nathan Eaton property.
183rd and Apricot Roads in Grand Mound.Constructed in 1855, Fort Henness stood on a rise of ground on Mound Prairie and was occupied for about 16 months by over 200 men, women and children during the Washington blockhouse era of 1855-1856.
GRAND MOUND OREGON TRAIL MARKER
Intersection of Grand Mound Road and State Highway 12.Part of the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution in the State of Washington efforts to mark the Oregon Trail in 1916.
GRAND MOUND MASONIC LODGE
near Grand Mound Cemetery.Founded in 1857, the Masonic Lodge was the fourth in the state. Located at Fort Henness during Indian War Days, it was instituted as a military lodge. Sealed inside the marker which is patterned after the Washington Monument are a history of the lodge and Masonic souvenirs.
WILLIAM B. GREELEY MEMORIAL
one quarter mile west of Old Highway 99 on the south side of the highway from the Nisqually River Bridge.Dedicated to William B. Greely, Forester, 1879-1955.
HOME OF THE FIRST TERRITORIAL GOVERNOR ISAAC INGALLS STEVENS AND FIRST STATE GOVERNOR ELISHA P. FERRY, 1856
north side of the Capital Grounds near Capitol Way, Olympia.Marked by the Sacajawea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1924. Adjoining the marker are 13 Yoshino cherry trees in the Bicentennial Grove, a gift from Japan in 1976.
MILLERSYLVANIA STATE PARK
11 miles south of Olympia.A monument honoring the Miller Family, Frederick J. X. Miller, Christine Mary Miller, and Mathilda Sophia Miller who in 1921 gave the 841-acre park to the people of the state to be used as a state park forever. Marked by the Washington State Historical Society in 1940.
MIMA MOUNDS NATURAL PRESERVE
through Littlerock off 1-5 to Waddell Creek Road and one mile in on gravel road.Interpretive center featuring displays concerning this geological phenomenon.
MOTHER JOSEPH STATUE
inside the north entry of the Legislative Building, Capitol Grounds, Olympia.Sculpted by Felix W. de Weldon, the kneeling statue is a replica of Washington's representative to Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. An architect, construction worker, and fund raiser, the Catholic nun arrived in Washington Territory in 1856 and during the next 46 years established 29 schools, orphanages, hospitals and shelters for the aged and mentally ill.
Boundary and Legion in Olympia.This oak was brought saddleback from Steilacoom plains by D. S. B. Henry, surveyor, and planted on this homestead in the year 1872.
OLD CAPITOL BUILDING
600 block Washington St., Olympia.Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the Old Capitol Building housed state government from 1905 to 1928. Originally built as the Thurston Co. Courthouse in 1892 it was purchased and enlarged by the state in 1901. The building was restored in 1983.
EMMA PAGE FOUNTAIN
Sylvester Park, Olympia.Erected by the Womer's Christian Temperance Union in memory of Emma Page. A child of God; Protector of the dumb; Friend of all humanity.
DIXY LEE RAY SEQUOIA
Capitol Grounds, Olympia.Planted in 1980 in honor of the first woman governor, Dixie Lee Ray.
RESERVE FLEET MEMORIAL
off 47th Avenue and Boston Harbor Road, Olympia.Placed by the U.S. Department of Commerce Maritime Administration in 1972, it recognizes the Olympia National Defense Reserve fleet which lay in Budd Inlet from March 1946 to June 1972.
JOHN ROGERS STATUE
Sylvester Park, Olympia.Donated by the children of Washington, the statue honors Rogers, governor and legislator of Washington who authored the Barefoot School Boy Law which equalized public education statewide.
northwest comer of the Legislative Building on the Capitol Grounds, Olympia.This sweet scented rhododendron, Washington state flower, called "Ethel Rosellini" in honor of the wife of former governor Albert Rosellini, was originated and presented to the State off Washington by Joe A. Lewis, head gardener, 1964.
TOLMIE STATE PARK
eight miles northeast of Olympia.The park has an interpretive site concerning Dr. William Fraser Tolmie, medical officer with Hudson's Bay Co. for whom the park is named.
Capitol Campus, Olympia.Carved by Chief William Shelton of the Snohomish tribe from a cedar tree in 1940, the 71 foot totem pole is designed in the Salish tradition of an interior house post, and features many of the symbols of Northwest Indian legends.
TUMWATER OREGON TRAIL MARKER
west end of Deschutes River Bridge, Tumwater.Marked by the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution in 1916.
TUMWATER, SIMMONS MONUMENT
Tumwater Falls Park, Tumwater.Honoring the arrival at Tumwater of the fimt American colony on Puget Sound, October, 1845, led by Michael T. Simmons. The marker first erected in 1916 lists all of the members of that pioneering group.
TUMWATER STATE HIGHWAY MARKER
Capitol Way, Tumwater.Recognizing the first American party on Puget Sound at New Market, later Tumwater, which was called Spa-kwatl by the Indians for the cascading falls of the Deschutes River.
TUMWATER HISTORIC DISTRICT
Tumwater.Placed on the National Register in 1978, the district encompasses 30 acres and includes the Tumwater Historical Park, Henderson House Museum, Schmidt House and Crosby House.
TUMWATER BRIDGE TOTEMS
Capitol Way, Tumwater.Bridge markers for the site of the first American pioneer settlement in Washington; south gateway to the Puget Sound Country and the Olympic Peninsula, entrance to the City of Olympia, capital of the State of Washington, and beginning of the inside passage to British Columbia and Alaska.
Capitol Grounds, Olympia.Placed in 1982, the granite monument encases 1001 names of those killed in Vietnam from Washington State.
Capitol Grounds, Olympia.Two elms one the scion of the other which was damaged in the Columbus Day storm of 1962 stand as memorials to the Washington Elm at Cambridge, Massachusetts where George Washington took command of the American Army in 1775. Planted in 1932 by the Sacajawea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on the 200th anniversary of Washington's birth, the original elm and its scion are at the north end of the campus.
E. 11th and Central, Olympia.Built in 1893 by William H. White, a carpenter and lumberman, the house is an outstanding example of Queen Anne and Eastlake architectural styles with intricate fretwork, a turret and omate bargeboards. Placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1977, it stands in an area of Olympia once known as Swantown.
in front of the old county courthouse, Capitol Way, Olympia.In memory of Viola Kenyon by the National Woman's Relief Corps of the Grand Army of the Republic, 1932.
LEGISLATIVE BUILDING CORNERSTONE
northeast comer of Legislative Building, Capitol Grounds, Olympia.Laid by the Masonic Grand Lodge of F and AM of Washington on September 9, 1922 by James McCormack, Grand Master.
at the State Capitol Museum, 211 W. 2 lot St., Olympia.A seedling from the Grays Harbor "Lone Tree" which served as a maritime beacon since it guided Captain Robert Gray to the harbor in 1792. Placed in 1961 to honor Charles Tallmadge Conover who named Washington "The Evergreen State."
State Capitol Museum, 211 W. 21st in Olympia.Memorializing Clarence J. Lord and Mary Elizabeth Reynolds Lord who built the home and later gave it to the State of Washington to create the State Capitol Museum in 1939.
MASONIC MEETING PLACE
on the south side of Olympia St., between Capitol Way and Washington St.Marking the first meeting place of Olympia Lodge No. 1 of the F and AM of Washington, the first in Washington.
111 W. 21st in Olympia.Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, the impressive Henry McCleary House in Olympia was built between 1923 and 1925 at a cost of over $100,000. The house stands as a personal expression of the wealth and prestige which surrounded one of Washington's great lumber barons.
MEDAL OF HONOR MONUMENT
State Capitol Grounds, Olympia.A replication of the Washington State Monument in Medal of Honor grove at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, listing Washington's recipients of this high honor.
MEDICINE CREEK TREATY MARKERS - SHE-NAH-NAM
at the intersection of 7th Ave. S.E. and Old Pacific Highway near Nisqually.
Commemorating the Medicine Creek Treaty Tree where Governor Isaac Stevens held council with Nisqually, Puyallup, and Squaxin Indians, December 24-26, 1856. Placed by the Washington State Historical Society, 1922.
- Also marked by the Washington State Highway Commission one-quarter mile west of Nisqually River Bridge on Old Pacific Highway 99.
- Marked by Timberline High School Students in 1976 by a metal ball and time capsule placed near the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 overlooking the treaty tree on the Nisquafly River Delta.
Mullen and Ruddell Road, Lacey.Marked in 1917 by the Washington State Historical Society to commemorate the cemetery where many of the county's earliest residents are buried. Marked also by Gwin Hicks in 1917 to honor many of his forebears buried there. The cemetery was rededicated in 1977.
SPANISH WAR MEMORIAL
Masonic Cemetery near Cleveland Avenue, Tumwater.The State of Washington erected this monument in memory of her valiant sons.
EDMUND SYLVESTER MARKER
Sylvester Park, Olympia.Bench placed in honor of Edmund Sylvester, 1821-1887, founder of Olympia and donor of Sylvester Park.
SYLVESTER PARK OREGON TRAIL MARKER
Sylvester Park, Olympia.Marked in 1913 by the Sacajawea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as the end of the Oregon Trail. Placed at the site of a blockhouse of the 1855-56 era.
Tenino.Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the depot now used as the Tenino Museum was built in 1914 of native sandstone.
TENINO EZRA MEEKER OREGON TRAIL MARKER
north end of Main in Tenino.Meeker first crossed the plains in 1852 and settled in Puyallup. In 1906 at the age of 75 he retraced the Oregon Trail eastward by ox team in an effort to draw attention to the pioneer past. This was the first of many dedicated by Meeker along the route.
TENINO OREGON TRAIL MARKER
one-half mile north of Tenino.Marked in 1916 by the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution.
TENINO VETERANS MEMORIAL
near pool site east of town across railroad tracks, Tenino.Memorial to the veterans of Tenino and vicinity by the Tenino Lions Club.
Capitol Campus, Olympia.John Elliot created seven hand-hammered brass panels which depict historical moments in Washington territorial history.
oval between the Temple and legislative Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia.Buried for the Territorial Centennial of Washington 1953, the capsule contains over 300 items including news clippings, historical books and pamphlets, stamps, photographs and poetry.
center of the vestibule of the north entry of the Legislative Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia.Buried by Governor Dan Evans to commemorate the 1976 Bicentennial, the capsule contains seeds, quilts, photographs, Indian arts, maps, preserved salmon, Olympia Beer can and a model of a space craft.
MARCUS WHITMAN STATUE
inside the north entry of the Legislative Building, Capitol Grounds, Olympia.Sculpted by Avard Fairbanks, this replica of Washington's representative to Statuary Hall, Washington, D.C., shows Marcus Whitman, first graduate of an American medical school to practice west of the Rockies, and leader of the first wagon train over what was to become the Oregon Trail. He and his wife settled at Waiilatpu in eastern Washington in 1836 to minister to Indians. They met their death at the mission in 1847.
WOMEN'S CLUB OF OLYMPIA
1002 S. Washington St., Olympia.Entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, the clubhouse built in 1908 is home of the Olympia Women's Club founded in 1883 and one of the oldest women-only clubs on the West Coast.
WOODLAND DRIVING PARK
Clearbrook and Yonkers Drive, LaceyOn this site stood one of the premier sulky home racing facilities in the west which attracted hundreds of patrons around the turn of the century. Erected by the Lacey Historical Commission, 1983.
WORLD WAR I MEMORIAL
Capitol Grounds, Olympia.The heroic monument has three larger than life fighting men and a Red Cross nurse under the protective care of a winged victory figure designed by Victor Alonzo Lewis in 1938 to honor Washington veterans.
EDWIN HOWARD WRIGHT MEMORIAL
Salvation Army, 505 Adams St., Olympia.Dedicated to Wright in 1952.UNMARKED HISTORIC REGISTER PROPERTIES NATIONAL REGISTER
- Seatco Prison Site, off Washington Highway 507 in Bucoda
- C. J. Lord Mansion, 211 W. 219st, Olympia.
- Olympia [Carnegie] Public Library, South Franklin and East 7th, Olympia.
- Charles Patnude House, 1239 8th Ave., Olympia.
- Thurston County Courthouse, Capitol Way, Olympia.
- U.S. Post Office, 801 Capitol Way, Olympia.
- Washington State Capitol Historic District State Capitol Campus, Olympia.
- Mottman Building, 101 North Capitol Way, Olympia.
- Capitol Boulevard Crossing Bridge, spans Deschutes River, Tumwater.
- Bucoda Shead House, 206 Main, Bucoda.
- Giles House, 727 West Bay Drive, Olympia.
- Lane House, 1205 West Bay Drive, Olympia.
- Old Olympia City Hall, West State and North Capitol Way, Olympia.
- Steele House, 1010 S. Frankfin, Olympia.
- Lower Custer Way Crossing, spans Deschutes River, Tumwater.
Updated October 27, 2001