Historic Old Brewhouse
In 1906 the Olympia Brewing Company, owned by Leopold Schmidt, constructed what is now called the "Old Brewhouse" of red Chehalis brick, lumber hauled by horses from Ward Lake, and Tenino sandstone trim. The Olympia Brewery was our community's largest private employer for a significant part of the past century and many local residents have their own stories of family member’s experiences working for the Brewery.
The Old Brewhouse is one of the community’s most iconic structures and is seen by thousands of people every day from Interstate, and is a regional asset with a high degree of cultural and historic value.
The City of Tumwater has taken a number of actions designed to protect and revitalize the Old Brewhouse for generations of Tumwater residents to come, as it serves as the last reminder of the flourishing riverside industries that once formed the heart of this town.
Brewhouse Repairs, Renovation & Rehabilitation
Over the years the Old Brewhouse fell into disrepair making the structure vulnerable to extreme weather and earthquakes, and is currently unsafe to occupy. Revitalizing the Old Brewhouse has been a community priority for several years. The City recently completed emergency repairs to protect the Brewhouse from further deterioration.
Rehabilitating and preserving the iconic structure will cost an estimated $5.6 million. To offset costs, the City has developed several funding strategies, including:
- Washington State Heritage Capital Projects
- Washington State Community Project Grants
- Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits
- Foundation grants
- Capital campaign
- In-kind donations and pro bono services
- Foundation partnership
- Transportation funding for trails
Historic Brewery Tower Study
Economic Development and Targeted Business Opportunities
The potential for economic development will contribute to increased regional employment opportunities, revitalization of the local and regional economy, and reinvigorate a site that has lasting community value. The challenges to viable and feasible development are the complex environmental dynamics of the site and age of the Brewhouse. In addition to a trail system and boardwalk to allow public access, the City continues to work with a team of partners to incentivize redevelopment of the brewery site and build on the historic brand. Tumwater has targeted business opportunities at the Brewery Properties and the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center.
City Takes Ownership of Old Brewhouse
On April 5, 2016, Mayor Pete Kmet was authorized by the City Council to sign a Letter of Agreement with the owner, Falls Development, that would donate the Old Brewhouse to the City. The City is the now proud owner of this historic treasure. View past presentations and public comments given at the April 5, 2016 City Council Meeting:
- Old Brewhouse Acquisition
- The Old Brewhouse: A Community Landmark
- Historic Brewery Tower
- Public Comments
More updates: Saving the Old Brewhouse, One Owl at a Time post on the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center website, 12/2/2016