Tumwater Park: An Early Version of Northwest Trek

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.

It’s a Small World

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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!”

German Heritage History Talk Draws Standing Room Only Crowd at the Schmidt House

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“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

Treasures Found in the State 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.

Can you identify this photograph?

Girls in garden photo

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.”

Louis Schmidt Builds the Original Capital Brewery

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