Tumwater Community Information

Tumwater was founded in 1845 as “New Market,” the first American community north of the Columbia River. Michael T. Simmons and George Washington Bush were two of the first European-American settlers on South Puget Sound. These brave pioneers led a group of 28 people to the lower falls of the DesChutes River. The fertile land around the southern tip of the region was the perfect spot to establish a new town and a rich farming area. The Oregon Trail broke through the wilderness at the farm of George Washington Bush and many arriving families survived the first lean years through the generosity of the Bush family. Surrounded by huge craggy mountains, raging rivers and thick, tangled forests, this early settlement grew and prospered. Through the years, Tumwater saw the advent of the stagecoach line, the narrow gauge railway, Highway 99 and now I-5. Today, Tumwater is a magnet for any history lover who wants to experience firsthand the town that set into motion the formation of the State of Washington.

The city of Tumwater has managed to keep its history and character by preserving many of its historical sites. The Henderson House Museum houses historic and contemporary photographs of Tumwater. Pioneers Nathaniel Crosby III and his wife Cordelia, who happened to be the grandparents of singer Bing Crosby, built the Crosby House. It is one of the oldest wood-framed houses in the state and has a grand piano that came by ship around Cape Horn. Other exciting attractions are Tumwater Falls Park and Tumwater Historical Park – two parks that meet at Tumwater Falls on the DesChutes River – the Tumwater Valley Golf Course and the annual Tumwater Homesteaders Pioneer Fair.

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