Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
December, 2014
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This Month's Articles

Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

(More) Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

County Benefits from “JBLM Day of Service”

It’s official!

Health Systems Doing a Good Job of Tracking Illnesses

Families Welcome New Members

Perfection is Reality for County Waste Water Treatment Plant

Less Leftovers, More Joy

The Klondike Kings and the telegraph to nowhere

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 Trolleys a Big Hit! (‘til it rains)

From the Archives:

The first electric trolleys appeared on Olympia streets in 1892. Local writer Gordon Newell recounted their enthusiastic reception (and demise) in So Fair a Dwelling Place. First published in 1950, the following is excerpted from the updated 1985 edition.

“The Best in All Respects”

Of the street cars, a March 4, 1892 newspaper boasted, in anticipation that they “are to be the best in all respects and will be finished in white, with gold trimmings.” The gold-trimmed cars began operating in July and were declared an immediate success.

The news story continued, 'The car, as soon as the current was turned on, moved like a thing of life, smoothly and without friction, and responded steadily to the will of its master as if endowed with reason…' People appeared on the street and at doors and windows all along the route and waved hats and handkerchiefs in greeting this new and tangible evidence of progress.'"

The electric line was extended to the West Side and to Tumwater on the south, with five cars in operation -- three closed and two open. They were advertised as running to Tumwater every hour and giving seven-minute service within the city.

“A shocking business..”

Fall rains brought problems to the street railway. On September 23, the morning paper reported, “The open street cars have been doing a shocking business this week.'"

When the interior woodwork became wet, the electric current played like the aurora borealis among the passengers and converted the whole vehicle into immense Leyden jars, ready to discharge a current whenever a proper connection was made. They were, of necessity, promptly withdrawn from service.

The street railways system remained in operation until 1933, when the present bus transportation system was installed.

Photo courtesy of

By Keith Eisner

An early street car in Tacoma. An early street car in Tacoma.