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

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History Talk on Naches Pass Sets Attendance Record

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“We’ve been getting very nice press coverage for our free monthly history talks,” says Public History Manager of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation, Don Trosper, “but we were blown away by the record attendance here at the Schmidt House today.  As usual the speaker and topic were top of the line, but it was a very rainy, dark weekday that caused us to lower our expectations for the turnout.  We smashed our previous record of visitors for a single talk, breaking 100 for the first time. It was standing room only once the talk began.” 

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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.

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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!”

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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

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