Thurston County Historical Journal

Welcome to the online publication of the Thurston County Historical Journal. Here you can enjoy past issues of the Journal four months after print publication. Hard copies, including the most recent issue of the Journal, can be obtained from Thurston County heritage organizations, including the Lacey Museum.

Not sure which issue you need? Check out the index for people and subjects.

Past Issues


Number 17
April 2022
  • Tumwater Falls and the Yellowstone Hotspot
cover photo
Number 18
August 2022
  • Margaret Whyte
  • Luther J. Wyckoff
  • Moss Surgical Dressings
  • A Song for Washington


Number 14
April 2021
  • Growing Lavender on Chambers Prairie
  • Artist Edward Lange
  • Heroes Among Us
Number 15
August 2021
  • In Her Own Words: The Life of Elizabeth McElroy Allison
Number 16
December 2021
  • The Big Four of Thurston County
  • Threads of Truth: The Henry Colter Affair


Number 11
April 2020
  • Remember the Fleetwoods?
  • World War II Homefront
  • Stormy Behavior Costs Jobs
  • A Windstorm for the Ages
Number 12
August 2020
  • The Lansdale Cranberry Marsh: An Agricultural Experiment in Thurston County
  • Scoundrels: The Life of Susie Lewis
Number 13
December 2020
  • An Olympia Urban Legend
  • Changes in Thurston County’s Bird Populations
  • The Chambers Black Heart Cherry Tree


Number 8
April 2019
  • Olympia Boys: Heroes of Audenarde Battle
  • Tumwater Vigilantes
  • Through the Lens at Michigan Hill
Number 9
August 2019
  • Thurston County Homefront During World War I
  • Lingo from a Tin Pants Show
Number 10
December 2019
  • The Old Settler
  • Tragedy on Independence Creek
  • The Spirit of Margaret McKenny


Number 5
April 2018
  • The Story of a Native American House Post
  • The Life of Ada Sprague Mowell
  • The Port Townsend Southern Railroad
Number 6
August 2018
  • Helen Shank, Children’s Advocate
  • Live Through This: From Priory to Punk Rock
Number 7
December 2018
  • The Trueman and Virginia Schmidt House
  • A Story of Unsuspected Success
  • Centennial Rose Garden
  • Military Road in Thurston County


Number 2
March 2017
  • Pioneers of the Nisqually Valley
  • Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Olympia from Frontier Village to Modern Town, 1889—1912
Number 3
August 2017
  • Olympia: In the Eye of the European Beholder
  • Maritime History of South Puget Sound
  • Mining Coal: An Important Thurston County Industry 100 Years Ago
Number 4
December 2017
  • Olympia Brewing’s Wartime Tin Campaign
  • Thurston County Blueberry Industry
  • Hydroelectric Power on the Deschutes River
  • Holiday Newspaper Advertisements


Number 1
December 2016
  • Northern Pacific Railroad
  • Nancy Jim Parsons: A Cowlitz-Nisqually Basket Weaver
  • Charles Lindbergh Soars Over Thurston County
  • Happy 50th Birthday, Lacey!

About the Journal

The idea for a historical publication dedicated to recording and celebrating the history of Thurston County was first conceived by Charlie Roe of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. A consortium of heritage groups in the county came together to discuss the publication. Eventually, the Olympia Tumwater Foundation volunteered to act as publisher, and various heritage groups and county/city government entities donated money to fund the publication.

The first issue was published in November 2016. Subsequent issues have been, and will continue to be, published about three times a year (depending on funding and availability of articles).

Get a Copy

Paper copies of the Journal are available to members of participating heritage organizations, and are also offered at the Bigelow House Museum, the Crosby House Museum, and the Lacey Museum.


The Journal welcomes factual articles dealing with any aspect of Thurston County history. Please contact the editor, Karen Johnson, at 360-890-2299 or before submitting an article to determine its suitability for publication. Articles on previously unexplored topics, new interpretations of well-known topics, and personal recollections are preferred. Articles may range in length from 100 words to 10,000 words, and should include source notes and suggested illustrations.