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Washington Counties
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Washington Counties

There are thity-nine counties in the state of Washington. Washington was carved out of the western part of Washington Territory and admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. The first counties were created from unorganized territory in 1845.

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Thurston County, Washington

Thurston County Education, Geography, and History

Thurston County, Washington Courthouse

Thurston County is a county located in the state of Washington. Based on the 2010 census, its population was 252,264. The county seat and largest city is Olympia,the state capital.

Thurston County was created out of Lewis County by the government of Oregon Territory on January 12, 1852. At that time, it covered all of the Puget Sound region and the Olympic Peninsula. On December 22 of the same year, Pierce, King, Island, and Jefferson counties were split off from Thurston County.It is named after Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon Territory's first delegate to Congress.

Thurston County comprises the Olympia-Tumwater, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area and is included in the Seattle-Tacoma, WA Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Thurston County Name

Samuel Royal Thurston, Oregon Territory's first delegate to the United States Congress.

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Thurston County History

Thurston County was created out of Lewis County by the government of Oregon Territory on January 12, 1852. At that time, it covered all of the Puget Sound region and the Olympic Peninsula. On December 22 of the same year, Pierce, King, Island, and Jefferson Counties were split off from Thurston County. Thurston County is located in Western Washington, on the southern end of Puget Sound, often called the "South Sound." It is the eighth smallest county in the state, with a total land mass of 727 miles, but also the eighth most populous county, with a population of 207,355 counted in the 2000 United States Census. Thurston County is named after Samuel R. Thurston, in 1849 the first delegate to Congress from the new Oregon Territory, part of which later became Washington. In 1845 the county became the site of the first American settlement in the future state of Washington when Michael Simmons (1814-1867) settled near Tumwater Falls. In 1853 the town of Olympia was chosen as the territorial (later state) capital, but battles would rage over this choice for the next century. During the county's first century lumber and its byproducts rather than state government played the leading economic role. In 1954, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that state government offices must have their headquarters in Olympia, and soon state government dominated the county's economy, while its lumber industry faded to a fraction of its former glory. Thurston County's population boomed beginning in the early 1970s, transforming the towns of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater into a small metropolis of its own and attracting migration from the larger cities to the north of Tacoma and Seattle.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 774 square miles (2,004 km2), of which, 727 square miles (1,883 km2) of it is land and 47 square miles (121 km2) of it (6.03%) is water.

Major watersheds: Black River, Budd/Deschutes, Chehalis River, Eld Inlet, Henderson Inlet, Nisqually River, Skookumchuck River, Totten Inlet & West Capitol Forest.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Pierce County, Washington - northeast
  • Lewis County, Washington - south
  • Grays Harbor County, Washington - west
  • Mason County, Washington - north/northwest

Education

Washington Colleges, Universities, & Schools
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