Tag Archives: Olympia

In search of Medicine Creek Treaty Tree, Part 1

Back in June of 2016, a colleague of mine at the Washington State Archives – Benjamin Helle, Olympia branch archivist – published an article in that agency’s newsletter about a little-known and seldom-visited monument in the South Sound area dedicated to the Medicine Creek Treaty. What followed was an adventure in state history that nearly anyone can undertake.

Lacey’s future as bright as its past

We need volunteers with a passion for local history to fill two open positions on the Historical Commission, which provides leadership in raising awareness of Lacey’s history and preservation of local historic resources.

Hiking Olympia’s Watershed Park

Some could argue that “hiking” could be a bit of an exaggeration, given that Watershed Park is technically a city-owned property just a few blocks south of downtown Olympia. But do it on a day when the rain is coming down in lines and throw in eight soggy Cub Scouts and their parents along for the ride, and the challenge suddenly becomes more strenuous. I’m the Den Leader for a local bunch of scouts who needed to accomplish a one-mile hike

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Uncertain future for “American icon”

In December of 1966, the City of Lacey was celebrating its incorporation. The small settlements of Woodland and Chambers Prairie had united to form what was then a bedroom community to nearby Olympia. But just a few months earlier that year, Lacey residents got a chance to attend another celebration, as one of the Northwest’s first modern indoor shopping malls opened for business at South Sound Center. When it opened, anchor tenants included Nordstrom Place Two, Peoples, Sears, and

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Time to finish what I start

Happy new year, and welcome to 2015! In the spirit of new beginnings, making resolutions and so forth, I thought I would share some of the blog posts from the last two years that didn’t quite make it to the publish stage. So let it be known that, from this day forward, I will finish every blog post I start – no matter the time or research involved, and no matter how much I procrastinate. That’s my 2015 resolution….so here

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Why James Glover deserves Spokane’s gratitude

A recent article by the Pacific Northwest Inlander calls into question whether or not Spokane pioneer and founding father, James Glover, is deserving of having a new plaza next to city hall named in his honor. Lisa Waananen Jones, who wrote the Inlander piece, “Facing History: The story that James Glover didn’t want you to know, and why it’s threatening his legacy,” did a competent job assembling the different parts of the story and deserves added props for doing

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Staying a night at the Sunset Beach Hotel

There have always been references to the famed Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet that I’ve run across while researching Washington State history. The entrepreneurial spirit that gave birth to the fleet in the 1850s is part of what makes Washington such a fascinating place. From the 1850s through the 1920s, it was said there were so many steam ships racing around the Sound that it looked like a swarm of mosquitos. And among the most popular stopovers in the 1890s was the

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Seahawks win! Seahawks win! Seahawks win!

It’s now been a full week since I got to watch Washington State sports history play out on a national stage. With my wife, son and daughter by my side, we watched the Seattle Seahawks easily outmatch the Denver Broncos to win the franchise’s first ever Lombardi trophy. Although I didn’t have a chance to watch a single pre-, regular- or post-season game (since we canceled cable all those years ago), I did get to watch the Super Bowl

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Around the state in 48 hours: Part 1

Everybody thought I was joking when I said I was taking a business trip from Olympia to Vancouver to Yakima to Spokane to Wenatchee to Everett to Bellevue to Tacoma and back to Olympia in two days. The itinerary I had laid out with Google Maps said it was a cinch and I’m the guy who enjoys driving around this beautiful state we call home. Well, I proved to everyone that it was possible…but I may now be paying

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Two new ferries need two new names

Today I saw a request for name suggestions for Washington State’s newest additions to the ferry fleet. I’ve got a dozen or so ideas that I’ll be submitting, and you can too by following the directions outlined in the news release below. Now before you start submitting things like S.S. Minnow, Ship of Fools or Taxpayer’s Folly, keep in mind that the Washington State Transportation Commission has certain requirements – such as names being consistant with the rest of the

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Young man in a hurry: The life of Isaac Stevens

Isaac Ingalls Stevens was the first governor of the newly-formed Washington Territory in 1853. I’ve been reading more about the significance of his life since I began diving into library books about Washington state history. In a previous post I wrote about how I visited the cemetery where our first territorial lieutenant governor, Charles Mason, is buried. He served as the acting governor of Washington Territory while Isaac Stevens was away negotiating landmark treaties with the region’s Indian tribes.

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A parkful of Washington State history

Being cooped up in the house for days on end is enough to drive anyone mad, and throwing a four-year-old in the cage can sometimes seem just plain cruel. So needless to say, I had to get my poor wife and son out of the house before we all ended up in the newspaper the next day. Despite the intermittent weather on Saturday, we decided to visit Tumwater Historical Park at the mouth of the Deschutes River. I was eager

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Some insight into the life of Thomas Frost

Last week, I began planning the first full episode of the Washington, Our Home, video series and I decided the creation and exploration of the Willamette Meridian would be a good first start. To begin with, as I asked in a previous blog post, I had to learn why in the world someone in the mid-1800’s would decide that a straight line north and south from Portland, Oregon, was even necessary. As it turns out, there are a lot of

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Illahee State Park: Right in the backyard

Last weekend, we took a trip into Kitsap County to see my Uncle Verne, who lives at the Department of Veterans Affairs veterans home in Retsil, outside Port Orchard. The facility was built in 1910 on a 31- acre bluff overlooking Puget Sound. According to the website, “Today the Veterans Home is a state-of-the-art, non-institutional facility providing a ‘Resident Centered Care’ concept that focuses resources around the individual resident. All primary services for a resident are available within a forty-bed ‘neighborhood.’ The Home serves 240

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Finally, the hunting begins

My alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning, and my first thought was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Even though I had gone to bed relatively early the night before, I still didn’t get much sleep since it was the night before my first real hunting trip. Fortunately, the excitement of the coming day was also enough to roust me out of bed at that ungodly hour and I crept across the room quietly so as not

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My week with mutton chops

It was last Sunday night when I realized that I wanted to shave my beard. I’d been sporting it for nearly a year, since my foot surgery back in November 2010, and it had become my “look.” But I was getting tired of it, and because I had decided it was time to start working out daily and lose weight, part of my inspiration would be to lose the beard so I could visibly see the fruits of my

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The A, B and G lines north of Brady, WA

I recently had the fortune to be taken on a personal tour of the Weyerhauser logging areas north of Brady, WA. I’ve been more and more interested in hunting as of late, and a coworker of mine – an avid hunter since he was a teenager – was kind enough to take me on a scouting trip to the area where he hunts every year. Being completely unfamiliar with anything having to do with hunting (though I’m educating myself

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Ocean Shores, and the short drive to Quinault

Last weekend was my parents 40th anniversary, so Kelly, Parker and I spent the weekend at their house in Ocean Shores. I realized that I’ve never written about Ocean Shores in this blog, and it was about time I did. I guess we travel there so much, it’s lost some of its initial charm. Ocean Shores is a little less than two hours west of Olympia. To get there, you have to travel through Satsop (where the abandoned nuclear cooling

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Lewiston-Clarkston in southeast Washington (and west-central Idaho)

My cousin-in-law, Aaron, is a lecturer at the University of Idaho in Moscow and frequently posts pictures of his family on Picasa. In reviewing the latest set of photos, I came across this beautiful shot of the Lewiston (Idaho) and Clarkston (Washington) valley at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers. There is a real beauty to southeast Washington that often goes unappreciated by people on the west side of the Cascades. Having spent nearly four years in

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Olympia waterfront

Olympia has some beautiful scenery if you can rise above the fray and see it for it’s natural wonder. Perhaps by the time Parker is older, the wrinkles in this city will have been ironed out.

Washington, my home

I hope to write about all the great things Washington has to offer…from it’s natural beauty to it’s storied political activity. I promise it won’t be all about politics, rather a vast array of all the great things life has to offer in the upper-left corner of the country. From our underdog sports teams to our small town way of life, I’ll hopefully be blogging on all the things that make our state the greatest in the lower 48.