Mildred Parker, Last Grandchild of Olympia Brewing Founder Leopold F. Schmidt, Dies at 103

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,

Entertaining Videos on Tumwater History

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.

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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:


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The History of the West Begins in the East

The Founders of Tumwater and their trip over the Oregon Trail.  Why make such a trip?

Roman roses now blooming in the Centennial Rose Garden at the Schmidt House

Did you know that over 2,000 years ago the Romans grew and loved roses as much as we do today? These Roman roses were far different from those popular now – there were no “Hybrid Teas” or “Floribundas” during those ancient times; they were to arise literally thousands of years later in Europe. Roman roses were largely “species” or wild roses. But nonetheless they were delicate, lovely and exquisitely fragrant.

Historian’s Conference Includes a Surprise

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Saturday, April 16th, was an absolutely beautiful day at the historic Schmidt House in Tumwater, a perfect day for the third biannual gathering of people from around Thurston County with a passion for local history.  The “Heritage Builders” local history program of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation hosted this unique Local Historian’s Conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., organized and facilitated by Public History Manager, Don Trosper.  The host group also included Curator Karen Johnson, Archivist Erin Whitesel-Jones, and later joined by the executive director of the foundation, John Freedman.

As John was giving his greetings to the assembled attendees, he was surprised by an unexpected presentation from the president of the South Sound Heritage Association, Drew Crooks.

Dorothy Wilhelm lecture brings standing room only crowd

 

Dorothy Wilhelm, a popular newspaper columnist from DuPont, calls herself a “geriatric cheerleader,” and now we know why. She absolutely wowed the crowd at our February 18 monthly free history talk at the Schmidt House, where she presented stories from her upcoming History Press book tentatively titled Lost Stories from Washington History. Dorothy’s presentation for our “Heritage Builders” program dealt with legends and personal stories she has collected over many years. She has interviewed people all around western Washington for her award-winning TV series My Home Town, one episode of which covered our historic town of Tumwater.

Peter G. Schmidt Jr., grandson of Olympia brewery founder, dies at 94

Peter G. Schmidt Jr., grandson of the founder of the Olympia Brewery, died Feb. 4. He was 94.

Schmidt was born Dec. 3, 1921, in the historic Schmidt Mansion in Tumwater. He was the youngest of Peter Schmidt Sr.’s five children and the first boy.

Although he grew up with the brewery motto, “It’s the Water,” it wasn’t Tumwater’s artesian wells that attracted him as much as it was the saltwater nearby. When he was 12, he built his first sailboat on the shores of Budd Inlet, where his family had a summer camp. He remained passionately involved with maritime pursuits personally and professionally his whole life.

Helping the Teachers Teach Local History

The Olympia Tumwater Foundation has been expanding its local history focus with the “Heritage Builders” program. A lot of work is taking place in the rich archives at the Schmidt House, the history talks and tours continue to attract more visitors and cultural tourists, local historians’ conferences are enhancing the ties of cooperation in the South Sound area, our new blog at www.olytumfoundation.org features many new articles, and our new 3-minute history videos “Talking Over Old Times” are available for viewing.

Something new was added on January 26 that not only builds upon our history program but also builds upon another important part of the foundation’s mission: education. For many years OTF has been the leading area scholarship provider to students. Now our history program has reached out to Thurston County fourth grade teachers