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Olympia - City Character
Olympia, Washington is the capital of Washington state located around 60 miles south of Seattle. It is a culturally and economically diverse city with a population of around 50,000 people. Olympia is also known for being one of the most attractive cities in the country.
Brief history of Olympia
The region that is now Olympia was once home to Native Americans called the Lushootseed. They were drawn to the area thanks to rich seafood stocks and shellfish from the flats at the end of Puget Sound. Other tribes also used the area for food as they traveled the area.
British explorer Peter Puget is credited with being the first European in the area as he charted it in 1833. Various interested parties established businesses and a fort in the region but Olympia itself wasn’t settled until 1841. That lasted a whole year before being abandoned. It wasn’t until 1846 when Edmund Sylvester and Levi Lathrop Smith set up a home and farm on what is now downtown that Olympia was permanently settled.
Olympia grew very slowly until Congress set up the Customs District of Puget Sound and designated Olympia as the port of entry. This brought more people to the town until the customs house was moved in 1854. By then, the town was established in its own right, especially when the local business community combine resources to pay for their own spur onto the Northern Pacific Railroad.
The arrival of the Olympia Brewing Company in 1896 brought employment and further growth to the town. It was quickly joined by many other smaller enterprises. The brewery was bought by Miller and shut down in 2003.
Doing business in Olympia
Olympia is a waterfront city that has relied on logging, shipping, brewing, shipbuilding and other industries to survive. The arrival of The Evergreen State College brought education, academics and students to the city which further allowed the community to broaden and diversify.
As the state capital, government now dominates the modern economy with various agencies and government entities being based there.
Major employers in Olympia now include; State of Washington, Providence St. Peter Hospital, Tribal government, Federal government, Kaiser Permanente, Great Wolf Lodges, Walmart and Saint Martin’s University.
Highlights of Olympia
Olympia is a center for the arts and culture and it shows. The city has a very active music, art and performance scene with museums, galleries and other venues dotted all around.
City highlights include; Bigelow House Museum, Capital Playhouse, Animal Fire Theater, Olympia Family Theater, Theater Artists Olympia, Olympia Little Theater and State Theater.
Olympia city character
Art and culture is a strong influence over Olympia’s character. The city benefits from a very strong music and arts scene and is known in the state for being accepting of all ways of life and cultures. This liberalism is a benefit to the city as it continually attracts artists and performers which in turn provide entertainment for locals.
The beauty of the city also influences the population. Residents are relaxed and have a real can-do attitude. They work hard and like to broaden their horizons with the rich and varied cultural offerings in town.
Some of the neighborhoods that make up Olympia include; South Capitol, Fain Park, East Bay Drive, Holiday Hills, Mapleview, Springfield, Indian Creek, Cain Road, South Westside, North East, Downtown, Eastside, Northwest, Bigelow, Highlands, Upper Eastside and Carlyon-North.