Open main menu

The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Olympia (Washington)

OLYMPIA, a city, capital of Washington territory, and of Thurston co., situated at the head of Budd's inlet, the southern projection of Puget sound, 645 m. N. of San Francisco, 105 m. N. by W. of Portland, Oregon, and 95 m. S. S. E. of Victoria, Vancouver island, in lat. 47° 3′ N., lon. 122° 57′ W.; pop. in 1870, 1,203; in 1875, about 1,500. It is connected with Tumwater on the west by a bridge 520 ft. long across the mouth of the Des Chutes river, and a bridge 2,030 ft. long extends to the W. shore of the inlet. At Tumwater the Des Chutes by a succession of falls descends 85 ft. within a distance of 300 yards, affording abundant water power. Olympia is 15 m. N. of Tenino on the Pacific division of the Northern Pacific railroad, which affords communication with the valley of the Columbia river. The back country is heavily wooded, and the scenery, with the sound in front, the Cascade mountains on the right, and the Coast mountains on the left, is grand. The streets are broad and regular, and shaded with rows of maples and elms. The residences are handsome and surrounded with gardens. The public buildings are the capitol, a two-story wooden structure, a fine city hall, and a court house and jail. Large vessels can reach the wharf at high tide, but at low water a mud flat extending 1½ m. into the inlet prevents the approach even of small boats. The mean rise and fall of tides is 9.2 ft., and the difference between the highest and lowest tides is 24 ft. Two semi-weekly lines of steamers run to Victoria and intermediate points, and a daily line of stages connects with the railroad at Tenino. There are a soap factory, two boot and shoe factories, and a saw mill. The city has several stores, a private banking company, three hotels, two public and three private schools, and five weekly newspapers. The territorial and good templars' libraries have each more than 6,000 volumes. There are six churches: Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic.—The first white settlement was made at Olympia in 1846. It was laid out as a town in 1851, and incorporated as a city in 1859.