A History of the Tumwater Historical Association

The Tumwater Historical Association (THA) was incorporated on October 2, 1981 with 200 charter members as a nonprofit organization. The Association is governed by an 10-member board of directors.  THA conducts its general membership meeting on the 2nd Thursday of each month at the Tumwater Timberland Library from 5:00 - 6:30 pm. From the beginning and until 1991, THA operated the Henderson House Museum for the City of Tumwater. During those 10 years, THA had many accomplishments:

  • Helped with the city's Visitor Information Center in the museum, serving nearly 100,000 visitors.   Provided tours to school and travel groups.
  • Developed a collection policy and protocol for historic photo collections; trained volunteers;            created a gift shop; and produced several vintage style shows with its historic clothing collection.
  • Developed museum exhibits, including a Country Store, the Women's History exhibit, revolving        clothing exhibits and traveling exhibits.
  • Assisted and supported Crosby House with its activities and clothing collection.
  • Held "Art on the Green" summer art shows monthly for three years at Henderson House.

Publications include:

  • "The History of Tumwater" series by Don Trosper
    • 1985 – "The Founding of Tumwater"
    • 1987 – "New Market"
    • 1992 – "Fortress Tumwater"
    • 1995 – "The Train Stops Here"
  • "Recipes from the Kitchens of New Market" in 1988
  • "A Soldier's Diary" by Ken Morris in 2007.

THA has supported the Tumwater Middle School Homesteader Program (initiated in 1988 as the Centennial Project), with

  • 1989 – The first Pioneer Fair
  • 1992 – The first Cider Sunday
  • 1991 – Held annual Fourth Grade Poster Contests
  • And continues to support the program today

The active THA Homestead Quilters have held many quilt shows and work-shops, produced quilt items to raffle or sell as fundraisers, and established the on-going Tumwater Area Quilt Registry, with more than 400 vintage or antique quilts now documented. An annual "quilter's getaway" has offered a day of quilting each year since 2002.

The Edna Holden Scholarship Program began in 1992 and provides scholarships to graduating Tumwater School District students seeking a degree in history.

The Heritage Speaker Series began in 1997, and brings many re-enactments and programs to Tumwater community members. The largest of those events were the Territorial Stagecoach runs between Olympia and Longview. THA organized and coordinated participation of many historical and community groups along the route. These stagecoaches were true replicas of those operating in 1880s, and carried passengers, mail and cargo in both 2007 and 2008. In 2010 THA partnered with several organizations to produce "We Vote! 100 Years for Washington Women - Celebrating Women's Suffrage in Thurston County through Quilts, Textiles and Traditional Women's Crafts" in cooperation with our state's celebration.

THA continues to participate regularly in the Thurston County Birthday Parties, the Thurston County Fair, Thurston County Thru the Decades, and other community historical events.