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Local writers can contribute to new Thurston County Historical Journal

On September 14, 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, over the relatively new Legislative Building as part of his 48-state tour of the country. Newspaper reports estimate that 1 in 4 Americans witnessed some part of Lindbergh’s tour. According to the Seattle Times, when Lindbergh’s plane reached Olympia, “the plane flew around the dome of the Capitol three times, descending to a low altitude. The flyer then dropped a message of greeting and roared off.” Washington state was especially proud of the aircraft because it was constructed almost entirely from Western Washington spruce trees. Footage of Lindbergh’s flight over Seattle, the previous day, has only recently been discovered.
On September 14, 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, over the relatively new Legislative Building as part of his 48-state tour of the country. Newspaper reports estimate that 1 in 4 Americans witnessed some part of Lindbergh’s tour. According to the Seattle Times, when Lindbergh’s plane reached Olympia, “the plane flew around the dome of the Capitol three times, descending to a low altitude. The flyer then dropped a message of greeting and roared off.” Washington state was especially proud of the aircraft because it was constructed almost entirely from Western Washington spruce trees. Footage of Lindbergh’s flight over Seattle, the previous day, has only recently been discovered. Southwest Regional Archives

The Thurston County Historical Journal’s inaugural cover features a 1927 photo of legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh flying the Spirit of St. Louis airplane over the new state Capitol in Olympia.

The spectacle attracted thousands of onlookers, according to the journal, and inspired the establishment of the Olympia Regional Airport.

The co-founders behind the new journal — which will publish four times a year — hope to bring more stories like these to Thurston County and invite local authors to contribute.

“This really fills a void,” said former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, who is an Olympia Historical Society board member and a driving force behind the project. “Most counties have a county history journal.”

Long-term funding is among the top hurdles for the publication. Historical society board member Charlie Roe said the journal will require about $10,000 a year to print. So far, the county has contributed $4,000 and the city of Olympia has given about $2,000.

The journal is published by the Olympia Tumwater Foundation, and the next edition will be printed by the end of March. Copies will be distributed to local libraries, schools and historical societies. An online edition will be available by next year, said Roe, who was credited as “the spark plug for the whole idea” by editor Karen Johnson of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation.

Other highlights from the journal’s 48-page “pilot issue,” which was published in November:

▪ An in-depth look at how the Northern Pacific Railroad came to Thurston County in the 1870s, including Olympia’s competition to become the railroad’s western terminal.

▪ A profile of Nancy Jim Parsons, a master Cowlitz-Nisqually Native American basket weaver who lived from 1871 to 1918. She left a cultural legacy during a time when Native Americans were being pressured to assimilate into white American society.

▪ A photo essay that highlights the City of Lacey’s 50th anniversary with images that include the 1964 groundbreaking of the Panorama retirement community, a 1974 celebration with Mayor William Bush, and a 1979 ribbon-cutting ceremony at Lacey City Hall with former State Sen. Karen Fraser holding the big scissors with NBA star Lenny Wilkens.

Learn more

To learn more about the Thurston County Historical Journal, contact editor Karen Johnson at 360-890-2299 or karen@olytumfoundation.org.

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