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!”
The November 1965 It’s the Water News showcased the Virgil Monroe family and their turkey: “Any designs Virgil Monroe might have had for this gobbler on Thanksgiving seem to have been foiled by his children Clyde, Luke and Sara, who have fostered a friendship with the fair bird. But, he needn’t despair. As an expression…
“It’s never easy to predict the turn-out for our free monthly history talks,” says Don Trosper, Public History Manager for the “Heritage Builders” program of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation. “Today’s noon hour talk was nearly filled to capacity as we hosted noted genealogist Jewell Dunn talking about the German heritage of the Schmidt family.”
Sixty visitors filled the room to overflowing to hear not only our German roots locally, but also to receive helpful tips
Back in the 1890s, Louis Schmidt headed up the construction of the original Capital Brewing Company (later renamed as Olympia Brewing) at the base of Tumwater Falls. Today, Louis’s great-granddaughter Connie Sweetman is back in Tumwater as a volunteer in our extensive Archives.
The New Season of Monthly History Talks Kicks Off with Tracy Rebstock
We all have archives and perhaps haven’t even thought about it. Personal papers, family photo albums, scrapbooks and meaningful artifacts from your past are all part of your personal archives. While they may not be in a good state of organization, they are still treasures. We here at the Olympia Tumwater Foundation have some very nice archives that are an important part of our community history. We are working hard on a project to organize and digitize them to make them accessible to researchers. It only seemed appropriate that we begin our new season of free monthly history talks here at the historic Schmidt House with an expert in archives, which we did on Thursday, October 15th at noon with guest speaker Tracy Rebstock.
From It’s the Water News, November 1971
I am nigh on to 70 years old and just returned from a trip which included parts of the Nevada and California deserts—no air conditioner and incredible temperatures of 105 degrees. I was accompanied by my little toy Pomeranian dog, Suzie, who was obviously about to succumb to the relentless heat—and so was I.
Recently, the Tumwater Historical Association donated this framed photo to the Schmidt House. It shows a group of girls working in a garden. The girls are for the most part dressed alike, with white blouses, dark skirts, ties and bonnets. To the left stands a man holding a garden tool and a bunch of beets or radishes. The title of the photo is merely “Tumwater Countryside, circa 1900. Courtesy Olympia Brewing Company.”
Are you old enough to remember the days of radio and early television newscasts when the headlines were introduced with the phrase, “Dateline!”? That was a prevalent way of getting the viewer’s or listener’s attention for the next story. News documentaries and newsreels in the theaters often used that as part of their presentation. I’d like to do that here as we go back to the very beginnings of the brewery in Tumwater when the Schmidt brothers, Leopold and Louis, began work
on the Capital Brewing Company at the foot of the Deschutes falls. The Schmidts had purchased five acres of