The fish ladder at Tumwater Falls was built in the 1950s to provide a pathway for salmon up the Deschutes River. Before the ladder was built, there was no natural salmon run up the Deschutes.
The hatchery at the top of the falls was constructed in 1962. The ladder and hatchery provide a way for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to supplement the natural Chinook salmon population in our area. This photograph from 1957 shows the fish ladder soon after its completion.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit us at Merle Junk photograph, 1957, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives