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:



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?


The Oregon and Cowlitz Trail

The arrival in Oregon and why the founders were forced north into British territory and founded the first permanent American settlement north of the Columbia.





Shingles as Good as Money

How Tumwater was formed and the first water-powered industry.







The Cowlitz or the End of the Oregon Trail?

The trail to Tumwater and the Bush farm on what is today the Olympia airport.  The formation of a separate territory from Oregon.




Jesse Ferguson and the Gold

How gold fever affected one of the first settlers of Tumwater and how he was cured.







Log Cabin Life and Indian Relations

Getting used to log cabin life and relations with the native tribes around Tumwater. 







Early Growth and the Crosby Family

The ancestors of Bing Crosby were Tumwater’s early successful businessmen.





Legend of the Sea Captain and the Preacher

The legendary story of how a local preacher coaxed a donation of lumber from a tough Tumwater businessman to build a new church building.



Weather in Local History

Stories from the big snowstorm of 1852 and a human interest story about the Bush family’s response.




Tumwater Area Schools

Tumwater area’s first schools.  The one-room school houses.





The Schmidt’s: Founders of the Brewery

Part one of three episodes about Olympia Brewery history.  How it all began here in Tumwater.



color print brewery.pdf


The First Phase of Brewery History 

Part two of three episodes about the Olympia Brewery history.  The Capital Brewing Company begins and the impact on the area and the amazing growth.



Second Time Around for the Brewery

Part three of three episodes about the Olympia Brewery history.  Oly Beer comes back after prohibition.




Tumwater  Becomes Official

Stories from the first minutes of the official town of Tumwater and our first “mayor” Nelson Barnes.







The Old Tumwater Methodist Church

Stories from one of the oldest churches in the State right here in Tumwater.  The circuit-riding preachers and how they adjusted to our northwest culture.





The Southgate Area

A time travel journey tracing the development of Tumwater’s Southgate area.





The Schmidts: Leopold & Lewis

What about the Schmidt brothers before they arrived here in Tumwater in 1896?





A Trip on the Streetcar Line

Take a trip on the electric street car line from downtown Olympia to the end of the line in Tumwater.





A River Runs Thru It

It’s not just the Deschutes River that has run through Tumwater.  There have been many kinds of rivers running through it.





Life in 1853 Tumwater

What was life like in early Tumwater?  Stories from a child’s perspective and from the adults too.


Picture of Artesian #81
Artesian #81

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