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Page 1 of 74 of the Olympia Area of Interest.
Olympia was “the black bear place” to the Coastal Salish Indian people, who inhabited the area for centuries before Edmund Sylvester and Levi Lathrop Smith became the first Americans to permanently settle there in 1846. The town, platted in 1850, was named for the nearby Olympic Mountains. Olympia became the Port of Entry for Puget Sound in 1851 and county seat for Thurston County, Oregon Territory, in 1852. When Washington became a separate territory from Oregon in 1853, Olympia was designated as temporary Territorial Capital, made permanent in 1855. It was officially incorporated in 1859.

Despite a challenge from Tumwater and West Olympia in 1861, the city has remained the county seat, with the county courthouses located in six sites around the city. Named state capital in 1889, the city developed around the waterfront becoming a hub of commerce and government.
Information courtesy of (1) Thurston County Historic Commission.