The Schmidt House & History Program

Explore the Schmidt House

In 1983, OTF acquired Tumwater’s elegant Schmidt House, built in 1904 for Olympia Brewing Company founder Leopold Schmidt and his wife Johanna. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Tumwater Register of Historic Places and is within the Tumwater Historic District. The picturesque grounds are graced with native gardens, reflective pool and graceful statues brought back from Europe by Leopold Schmidt. The house was designed for the Schmidt family by Seattle architect C. Alfred Breitung, a protégé of Leopold Schmidt.

The historic house contains the extensive Olympia Brewing Co. archives, our history program offices, and is available for tours and event rentals. The grounds also feature the Centennial Rose Garden cared for by Schmidt House volunteers.

Open Daylight Hours

The grounds, including the exterior of the home, and the Centennial Rose Garden, are open daily during daylight hours. Visitors are welcome to explore and enjoy the beautiful property for free.

Walking Conditions

The grounds around the property are flat, and easy to navigate. They consist of lawn, gravel, and concrete pathways. The interior of the Schmidt House does have some staircases which may be strenuous for some.

ADA Accessibility

The property grounds have paved sidewalks which are ADA-accessible. There is an ADA-compliant lift on the West-end of the porch, and an ADA-accessible bathroom in the garage.

House Tours

Guided tours of the interior of the Schmidt House are available for free upon request with our curator. Inquiries may be made via phone at (360)890-2299, or email at

Renting the House

We do offer the Schmidt House as a rental venue for specific events, such as weddings. Please contact our curator, Karen Johnson, or read more on our rental information page.

The Historic Schmidt House


A historical marker, “A House Called Three Meter,” stands just outside the front gate of the Schmidt House grounds and provides a detailed history on the home and family who had lived there. Although the origin of this nickname is a bit fuzzy, the prevailing theory is that the name came from 203 Meter Hill, a strategic site in the Japanese-Russian war of 1904-05. The name was shortened and applied to the Schmidt home, due to its location overlooking the brewery and river.

The Schmidt House property was donated to OTF in 1983, which continues to own and maintain the house today. The Schmidt House is now listed on the local, state, and National Registers of Historic Places, and relies on the foundation for maintenance.

Contrary to common perception, the Schmidt House is not city-owned, but is non-profit-owned and managed. We count on your donations to enhance and sustain Schmidt House property and programs!

Make a Contribution

The Schmidt House History Program

In 2010, we established our History Program. Our mainstays are regular Schmidt House tours, history talks by local experts, and seasonal guided riverwalk tours of Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls. We are constantly improving and adding to our program offerings, so check our calendar for upcoming events!

The Schmidt House Timeline

The Schmidt House, set high on a wooded bluff at the mouth of the Deschutes River, was built at the turn of the 20th century for local brewery owner Leopold Schmidt and his wife Johanna.

Leopold Schmidt discovers Tumwater.
The Schmidt Family Discovers Tumwater

Leopold Schmidt already owned a successful brewing operation in Montana when a business trip first brought him to the Tumwater area in the early 1890s.

Discovering that the artesian springs here were perfect for brewing beer, Mr. Schmidt sold his Montana holdings and built a new brewery at the foot of Tumwater Falls. The brewery shipped its first beer in 1896. Schmidt’s brewery was first known as the Capital Brewing Company. In 1902, the name was changed to the Olympia Brewing Company. 

The Schmidt family moves into their new residence.
The Schmidt House is Built

At first the Schmidt family lived in Portland, Oregon. When Leopold brought the family north, they first lived in a house near the intersection of Main (now Capitol) and Maple Park in Olympia. Leopold began planning the elegant home's design as his business grew, and in 1904 the couple moved into the new house with their daughter, the youngest of six children. Their five sons lived at Hillside Inn, an older home on the slope just above the brewery.

A conference-room wing is added.
The Schmidt House is Renovated

Around 1910, as his health began to decline, Leopold Schmidt added a conference-room wing onto the west side of the house so that he could meet with his sons to discuss brewery business without having to make the long walk down the hill to the company office.

Pictured above is the Schmidt House with the west-wing addition visible on the left side of the home.

The Schmidt House passes to the eldest children.
The Schmidt House's Ownership Passes to Peter and Clara Schmidt

After the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt, the house known as Three Meter passed to the oldest of the Schmidt sons, Peter, and his wife, Clara, who had been living at Hillside Inn. Although the couple undertook some modernization of the home in the late 1930s and early ‘40s, the Schmidt House remains largely in its original state today.

Pictured above is Alice Uddy (Oodie) Schmidt at the Schmidt House with the family dog circa 1935-1940.

The house features a beautiful garden.
The Schmidt House Serves As A Well-Loved Residence

Clara Schmidt had a particular interest in the gardens and grounds, and many of the mature trees and rhododendrons surrounding the house were planted during her lifetime. Until the 1950s, a small orchard of apple and pear trees was located east of the house. At various times, dairy cows, poultry, and sheep were kept on the property.

“I have wonderful memories of looking out of the breakfast nook, dining room and living room windows, which all looked out over Tumwater Bay,” recalled Peter G. Schmidt, Jr., who grew up in the house. “There was a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains. At night when the capitol dome was lit, it too was a beautiful sight.”

Pictured above is Clara Schmidt, an unidentified man, and the family dog in a large garden at the Schmidt House. Circa 1940-1960.

The house is used for meetings.
The Home Turns Into A Meeting Space

Peter G. Schmidt Sr. died in 1957. Following the death of her husband, Clara sold the house and property to the Olympia Brewing Company in 1958. Clara passed away in 1960. The house was used intermittently as brewery offices and meeting rooms, and as a temporary home for a few Schmidt descendants and family friends. 

Pictured above is the Schmidt House circa 1940-1960, looking northwest. Man may be Eddie Nyland, longtime gardener/caretaker of the property.

Pabst Brewing Co. donated the house to the OTF.
The Schmidt House is Donated to the Olympia Tumwater Foundation

When the descendants of Leopold Schmidt sold the brewing company to Pabst Brewing Co. in 1983, the Schmidt House property was donated to OTF, which continues to own and maintain the house.

Pictured above is a  photograph of Pabst bottling or packaging line. "Pabst rolling out at Oly plant" written on back. "Spring 1983" also written on back. Photo by Steve Bloom of the Olympian.

The OTF is a non-profit!
The Olympia Tumwater Foundation Provides Care in Perpetuity for the House and Property

The Schmidt House is now listed on the local, state, and National Registers of Historic Places. No longer used as a residence, the house and its beautiful gardens offer a setting for weddings, receptions, and other special events.

The house's large basement also houses the OTF's expansive archives which include artifacts, documents, photographs, and more from the Olympia Brewing Co., the Schmidt Family, and more.

Pictured above is the Schmidt House today. The property and home are fully maintained by the non-profit, Olympia Tumwater Foundation, for future generations to enjoy!

Rent the Schmidt House As A Venue

We do rent the Schmidt House as a venue for private events, such as weddings, a limited amount of times per season. The house itself is incredibly elegant, historic, and spacious. The grounds are stately and provide lovely scenery. We do provide certain amenities, such as chairs, tables, etc. Check out our Rental Information page for more information about rates and amenities!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I view the space before renting for an event?

Call (360) 890-2299 or email to schedule a time.

Can I use my choice of caterer for my event?


Is the house ADA accessible?

Partially. In 2023, an ADA-accessible bathroom was completed as well as a lift to the main first floor. The basement, second, and third floors remain accessible only to those who can climb stairs.

Directions to the Schmidt House


I-5 South / Take 2nd Avenue Exit 103 / At stop sign go straight / At light take left onto Custer Way / Take first left onto Schmidt Place. The Schmidt House is straight ahead behind the iron fence. Parking is to the right of the home.


I-5 North / Take Deschutes Way Exit 103 / Turn right onto Deschutes Way / At light turn left onto Capitol Boulevard / At light turn left onto Custer Way / Take first right onto Schmidt Place. The Schmidt House is straight ahead behind the iron fence. Parking is to the right of the home.