Sesquicentennial Celebration

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150th Anniversary of Incorporation

Tumwater is a growing city with a rich history, a small town feel, founded with a pioneering spirit, and based in equality.

As the oldest American settlement on Puget Sound, members of the Bush-Simmons party cut a wagon trail that became the northern branch of the Oregon Trail, arriving at Tumwater Falls in 1845.

Originally called New Market by American settlers, the area soon became known as “Tumwater,” derived from a Chinook jargon word for waterfall. Following the establishment of a post office in 1863, Tumwater was first incorporated as a town on November 25, 1869.

Since its incorporation, the City has grown into a vital and diverse community with thriving neighborhoods, commerce, government, and manufacturing.

2019  marks the 150th anniversary of the city’s founding, and a wide range of yearlong activities, events, and projects are planned to commemorate this Sesquicentennial year.

Sesquicentennial Projects

Tumwater Then & Now

Take a virtual tour of Tumwater and visit places that are significant to the unique history of the city. Discover what each location looked like then and now, through the interactive map, photographs, historic documents, and videos.