Markers honor Pierce, other counties at state Capitol

Pierce County Council Chair Harold Moss was on hand to help dedicate the Washington Counties Project April 3 in the North Capitol Campus Heritage Park, Olympia.

Moss, who is president of the Washington Association of Counties, was recognized at the event, along with Bill Vogler, WSAC executive director.

The project features historical markers placed along the Arc of Statehood, the broad path that borders Capitol Lake below the State Capitol.

The brass markers honor Washington’s 39 counties and are expected to be an attraction for visitors to Olympia from across the state.

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen of Shelton, the dedication speaker, discussed the diversity of the state’s regions and the role of Native American groups in the history of many of the counties.

His own county, Mason, was originally called Sawamish after a local band of Squaxin Island Indians.

The inscription on Pierce County’s marker reads as follows:
“County Seat: Tacoma; 1852. Named for Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States, who was elected to office shortly before the county was created. Traditional home of Nisqually, Puyallup, Muckleshoot, Steilacoom and Squaxin Island American Indian people. Pierce County stretches from the beaches and islands of Puget Sound to the towering summit of Mount Rainier. It was the site in 1832 of the first non-native settlement in Puget Sound country – a Hudson’s Bay Company fur-trading post near the mouth of the Nisqually River. Barely four decades later, in 1873, the frontier port of Tacoma became the proud Puget Sound terminus of the first transcontinental railroad line to reach the Pacific Northwest.”

Heritage Park is a 24-acre state park between the Temple of Justice and Budd Inlet at Capitol Lake.

The park is the final piece of the Capitol Campus Plan created in 1911.