The “Heritage Builders” program of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation had a special treat on Friday, July 1st, as we hosted 10th District Congressman Denny Heck for a guided history tour of Tumwater’s Schmidt House. During his visit with his aide David Bremer, he was not only led through all three floors of the home of…
A recent donation from the estate of a New Jersey resident has intrigued our archives staff.
In 1912, a daughter was born to Leopold F. Schmidt Jr. (son of Leopold Sr., founder of the Olympia brewery) and his wife, Louise Barksdale Schmidt. The daughter was named Mildred Virginia Schmidt, and she grew up in the family home in Olympia. Mildred died recently at the age of 103, and a box of photos from her estate arrived at our office. We’ll use several of those photos to illustrate Mildred’s life,
In a cooperative effort with the City of Tumwater, the Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s local history program partnered with Thurston Community Television (TCTV) to produce twenty, three minute videos focusing on Tumwater’s rich history.
Local historian and author, Don Trosper, hosts these short videos featuring music, historic photos, and compelling details about names you may hear and see around Tumwater today, like George Bush, Michael T. Simmons, the Crosby family, and more. Don says, “There is more than enough material to produce many more of these utilizing the rich resources of the foundation archives at the Schmidt House and the City of Tumwater files from Henderson House. It is great fun and will hopefully be helpful to students in history classes, local area residents and visitors from outside our local area.”
Click on the underlined links below to enjoy Don’s folksy interpretation of Tumwater’s past:
The Founders of Tumwater and their trip over the Oregon Trail. Why make such a trip?
Until recent years we’d get our daily news headlines and short features from the radio or television. Now, with the age of computers and smart phones, we go “on-line” to find out what’s going on around town. We do still utilize print or on-line newspapers today, but the high tech way of getting the daily…
FROM THE ARCHIVES…
Two near-lifesize metal figures have stood guard over the Schmidt House for more than a century. The statues appear in early photos of the house, but little more was known about them until a customs document found in the OTF Archives revealed
Many interesting buildings have been constructed in Thurston County over the years. Some still stand, while others have sadly disappeared. One of the most intriguing structures now gone was the Swiss Chalet that served as a gathering place in Olympia’s Priest Point Park for many decades.
Christmas card sent by the Olympia Brewing Co. in 1952
The Washington Standard newspaper reported in its November 12, 1897 edition that “It’s raining pitchforks with saw logs for handles and the tines downward.” In other words, the weather was typically wet for that time of year in our part of the country. What caught my eye though in that issue of the paper was a reference to Tumwater: “Tumwater Park received an unexpected accession to its population the other day, in the shape of a baby elk, which was born in the park from a captive elk.” Keep in mind that this was around 65 years before our modern day Tumwater Falls Park was constructed on the same site in 1962 in time for the Seattle World’s Fair.
Each month, Amber Raney at the Washington State Archives publishes an online newsletter, appropriately titled Out of the Archives. The November issue featured a great photo of a mountain lodge, and challenged viewers to identify the lodge’s location. When I saw that photo, I knew I’d seen a copy somewhere at the Schmidt House, so I went digging through our archives. What I found surprised me, and led both Amber and me to exclaim “It’s a small world!”