Olympia, city (1990 pop. 33,840), state capital, and seat of Thurston co., W Wash., at the southern tip of Puget Sound, on Budd Inlet; inc. 1859. A port of entry, it ships lumber products and agricultural produce. Oyster fisheries and canning plants are there, and there is printing and publishing. Manufactures include explosives; consumer goods; sports equipment; plastic, metal, and paper products; veneer; furniture; cheese; steel; aircraft engines; and porcelain enamel. Settled in 1846, it was made capital of the newly created Washington Territory in 1853. Of interest are a state historical museum, the state library, the old capitol building (1893), and the newer, imposing group of white sandstone capitol buildings. A local attraction is the annual salmon run from Budd Inlet into Capitol Lake. St. Martin's College and Evergreen State College are in Olympia, and a Native American reservation and state parks are nearby. The Olympic Mts. can be seen to the north, and Mt. Rainier to the northeast. In 2001 an earthquake centered some 12 mi (19 km) north of the city cracked the capitol dome and caused other property damage.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.