Introduction to Olympia, Washington
Olympia is the capital of the state of Washington and is situated at the southern portion of Puget Sound on Budd Inlet. The city is recognized as the center for fine arts for the region and is well known for its music scene. The downtown area has been designated as a National Historic District. The city is situated in a beautiful setting with the Olympic Mountains positioned to the northwest, the enormous MT. Rainier located to the southeast and Capitol Lake in the vicinity. Olympia is located in Thurston County and was incorporated in 1859.
The area was home to the Squaxin, Chelhalis, Duwamish, Nisqually, Suquamish and the Puyallup tribes. In 1792 Peter Puget charted the region. During the 1840's Edmund Sylvester and Levi Smith claimed the area that is now the downtown. Soon, the city which was known as Smithfield was the location of thriving lumber and mill industries.
In 1853 the citizens of the town decided to rename it Olympia after the nearby Olympic Mountains. The city is well known as the home of the Olympic Brewing Company which made Olympia beer from 1896 until 2003. An earthquake which occurred in 1949 severely damaged a large number of historic structures which unfortunately had to be demolished.
Amtrak provides the area with rail transportation. Intercity Transit offers bus services. Air transportation is provided at the Olympia Airport.
Olympia is home to numerous theater companies and is the location of the Olympia Film Society's annual film festival. The "Procession of the Species" parade consists of community members wearing costumes which portray a wide variety of species. The parade is popular with residents and tourists. The Capital Building is recognized as one of the biggest free standing masonry domes in the entire world. There are numerous noteworthy attractions in the city including:
- Olympia Marina
- Capital Playhouse
- Washington Center for the Performing Arts
- Hands On Children's Museum
- Reinhart Young House
- Weyerhaeuser South Bay Log Dump Rural Historic Landscape
- Nisqually School
- Women's Club
Puget Sound provides residents and tourists with recreational opportunities such as hiking, boating, kayaking and superb sightseeing. The Black River is utilized for canoeing by residents and visitors.
Olympia is home to Evergreen State College and South Puget Sound Community College. St. Martin's University is located in nearby Lacey.