Throughout 2023 we’ll be exploring the origins of area place names. Sylvester Park is named for Olympia’s founder Edmund Sylvester. Born in Maine, he arrived here in 1846, along with his business partner Levi Smith. When Smith drowned in an accident, Sylvester inherited Smith’s claim to what is now the core of Olympia. He platted out the city and included a New England-inspired “town common” that was later re-named for its founder. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.
Washington State Archives, State Library Photograph collection