For the History Buff: Steilacoom in Washington

Steilacoom, Washington© 2009 Tacoma Pierce County Visitors BureauThe Native American heritage of the Chambers Creek area is celebrated in this Tribal Cultural Center and Museum.

Pierce County, on the shores of Puget Sound, Washington

Founded by a sea captain and officially established in 1854, Steilacoom has the distinction of being the oldest incorporated town in the state of Washington. Just strolling its streets is a trip back to the past; the small town has 32 buildings and landmarks named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Lovely historic homes abound, including the Nathaniel Orr Home and Pioneer Orchard, decorated with original furnishings and artifacts. Now under renovation is the Bair Drug & Hardware Store, established in 1895. It will display patent medicines, hardware relics, and an early town post office, along with a 1906-vintage soda fountain to serve up old-fashioned milkshakes and sundaes in style.

Steilacoom Historical Museum focuses on the years from 1860 to 1900, with fascinating artifacts of local pioneer life. Features include original volumes from Washington Territory’s first library, a blacksmith shop, a Victorian parlor, and a barbershop with a unique collection of shaving mugs. A few blocks away, in a former church on Main St., the Steilacoom Tribal Cultural Center and Museum celebrates the area’s Native American legacy. Exhibits trace the history of the Steilacoom tribe, with a collection of items ranging from hunting tools to clothing made from cedar bark.

Open year-round. Admission charged.

(253) 584-4133 Historical Museum

(253) 584-6308 Tribal Cultural Center & Museum

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