Washington: Thurston County

Thurston County (pop. 252,264), one of two Thurston counties in the U.S., is north of Lewis County. It was named for Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon Territory’s first delegate to Congress.

The city of Olympia (pop. 46,478) is both the county seat of Thurston County and the capital of Washington.

Washington State Capitol (1928)

The Old State Capitol, which served as Washington’s capitol building from 1905 to 1928 (and previously as the county courthouse), is now the office of the state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Known informally as “The Castle”

Capitol Lake is an artificial lake in Olympia, just west of the Capitol.

A postcard from 1965

The Capitol Theater, built in 1924, is now operated by the Olympia Film Society.

Still showing movies

Olympia has an annual Earth Day celebration called The Procession of the Species. The parade has a variety of animal themes and does not allow live pets, motorized vehicles, or words.

It began in 1995.

The Evergreen State College is a public liberal arts college in Olympia. Founded in 1967, it has about 4,500 students.

Cartoonist Matt Groening (center) attended Evergreen.

Just south of Olympia, the city of Tumwater (pop. 17,371) was the longtime home of the Olympic Brewery, along Interstate 5. Brewery operations at the plant ended in 2003.

It was well-known for its tours.

Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve is southwest of Olympia. Mima mounds are low, circular mounds of undermined origin.

Gophers? Seismic activity? Wind?


wash working map copy


One comment on “Washington: Thurston County

  1. John Dodds says:

    That procession of the species thing sounds like a blast! Or maybe just weird and good for cultural literacy. Either way I’d like to go.

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