Olympia, Washington

The city of Olympia was incorporated in the year 1859 and is the capital of Washington, a state located in the Pacific Northwest area of the United States. Olympia is known as one of the most esteemed cultural centers of Puget Sound area of Washington. It has a sister city, namely Kato, Japan. Previously, Olympia also had agreements with other cities like Samarkand, Uzbekistan and Olympia, Greece; but currently no such contract exists.

Olympia is a popular tourist destination both among people residing in other parts of the United States and international tourists. The city has everything that a tourist may look for in an ideal vacationing spot. You can be an adventurous person or a person in love with history and culture; during your stay in Olympia, WA, you will surely find destinations matching your preferences. There are numerous hiking and biking destinations in Olympia and you can also go for walks across the saltwater beaches and evergreen forests housed by the city. Tourists coming to Olympia will get a chance to explore one of most prominent sites of the city, the Washington State Legislative Building by enrolling their names for the free guided tours; these tours are organized daily. Food-lovers, on the other hand, will get to taste authentic Pacific Northwestern cuisines.

Olympia is a great place to live in. It has something to appeal to everyone's senses. People of any age or any profession will surely find the city exciting and vivacious to their own liking.

Olympia History

Originally, Olympia used to be the homeland of a Lushootseed-speaking community. They lived in this area for several centuries. The languages spoken by these ancient inhabitants of Olympia include Squaxin, Puyallup, Nisqually, Suquamish, Duwamish and Chehalis. The region was visited by people of European origin for the first time in the year 1792. Peter Puget, the famous officer of Royal Navy along with his crew was the first group of Europeans to visit this American city.

In the year 1846, Levi Smith and Edmund Sylvester together claimed the possession of the area, which is now downtown Olympia. Finally, in 1851, Puget Sound was declared as a custom district by US Congress and Olympia became the official port of the sound. Every ship coming to this part of America had to report first at Olympia. This automatically made the city of Olympia one of the busiest cities of the district as well as the country. The population of the city also started to increase steadily, mainly because of the Oregon Trail migrants. The name Olympia however, took two more years to become official. In 1853, a resident of the city, Colonel Isaac Ebey suggested the name 'Olympia', which was accepted by the government almost immediately.

In 1854, the designation of official port of Puget Sound was given to the Port Townsend. This change was made as Port Townsend was located right at Puget Sound's entrance, which made the job of monitoring the shipping activities much easier for the port officials.

Olympia was declared to be the county seat of Thurston County after the county's inception in 1852. During this time Thurston was still a part of the Oregon territory. The agitation for separating the region located at the north of Columbia River (the river runs from Columbia, Canada to the US state of Washington) from the Oregon territory started during the early part of the 1850s. This resulted in formation of the Washington Territory in the year 1853 and Olympia was named as the capital city of this new territory.

The territory of Washington became a state in 1889. The capital status of Olympia remained unchanged; but, now it was a state capital. Construction of one of the chief legislative buildings of the city, the Washington State Capitol started in the year 1912. The construction took 16 years to get completed. Still, the dome of this historic building is one of the biggest masonry domes of the world.

About Olympia, Washington

Olympia is situated in Budd Inlet, a region located in the southernmost part of the Puget Sound and is bordered by two other cities of Washington, Tumwater and Lacey. The city is a county seat of the Thurston County. Olympia covers a total area of 18.5 sq. miles, of which 1.8 sq. miles are water and 16.7 sq. miles are land. The average height of the city is 95 ft.

Olympia boasts an extremely well-organized transportation system. The primary modes of transportation in this city are bus and train. Amtrak offers railway services to the cities of Lacey and Olympia. The Amtrak station of Olympia is Centennial Station; this same station also serves as the railway station for Lacey. There are also Cascades trains operating in this region that take passengers to places like Eugene and Vancouver.

The bus system of Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey is governed by the Intercity Transit. The Intercity Transit offers a unique option of free shuttle routes known as 'Dash'. Dash takes passengers to Farmers Market from Capitol Campus several times a day.

The city of Olympia is designated as the regional center of fine arts. The city is home to a number of famous theater companies like Olympia Family Theater, Harlequin Productions and Capital Playhouse. The famous State Theater regularly organizes shows, most of which are sellouts. The best musical shows of Olympia are hosted by Washington Theater, which includes 2 annual pop concerts. Something in store for the arts and crafts enthusiasts; they will get to gather significant knowledge on the subjects from galleries like Art House Designs.

Olympia is known for celebrating all the chief festivals of the world elaborately. However, the city has a special festive time of its own in the month of April. During this time the locals of the city celebrate 'Procession of the Species'. It is basically a parade by Olympians of all age groups dressed up as animals, plants, fishes, birds and insects. During the event, people sing, dance 'samba' or play drums as they walk across the roads of Olympia. 

About Thurston County, Washington

The city of Olympia is a part of Thurston County. The county covers a total area of 717 square miles and is situated on the southernmost tip of the Puget Sound. On its east, Thurston County has the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainer, while the western front of the county has the Pacific Ocean coastline of Washington. The county is located 60 miles south of one of the most celebrated cities of Washington, Seattle and 100 miles north of Portland, Oregon.

Thurston County was established on January 12, 1852. Initially, it was decided that the new county will be named as Simmons County after Michael Troutman Simmons. Simmons was the leader of the foremost group of Americans inhabiting this region. However, before this name was passed by the legislature, the act got amended and the county was named after Samuel Royal Thurston, the first Congress delegate of the state of Oregon.

The educational facility offered by Thurston County is noteworthy. School Districts like Olympia School District and North Thurston School District houses some of the best schools in the US. For aspirants of higher studies the county houses colleges and universities like Saint Martin's University, The Evergreen State College, South Puget Sound Community College and many more.

The county is not only a nice place for people looking to reside here it can also act as an exciting tourist destination for travel enthusiasts. If a person wants to enjoy some happy hours with his or her family members amidst a healthy and picturesque background, a picnic at the Yashiro Japanese Garden is the best way to do so. This garden symbolizes the connection between Yashiro, Japan and Olympia. People wishing to know about the ancient history of the county seat of Thurston, Olympia and Washington as a whole must visit the Bigelow House Museum located in Olympia's Bigelow neighborhood. Some other famous museums of the city are Crosby House Museum, Henderson House Museum and State Capitol. For people passionate about nature and wildlife, the county houses the wildlife preserve, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This wildlife preserve in situated between two of the chief cities of the county, Olympia and Tacoma.