Puyallup, Washington: A Tapestry of History and Heritage

Nestled in the picturesque Puyallup Valley, the city of Puyallup, Washington, boasts a rich history that stretches back centuries. From its earliest Native American inhabitants to its vibrant present-day community, Puyallup has been shaped by a tapestry of cultures, events, and notable individuals.

The story of Puyallup begins long before the arrival of European settlers. In the 1830s and 1840s, the Puyallup Valley was home to Native American tribes, with approximately 2,000 people residing in the area during that time. The Puyallup Tribe, known as spuyaləpabš in their native language, played a significant role in shaping the region’s history and continue to thrive today as a sovereign nation.

European explorers and settlers started arriving in the mid-1800s. In 1833, Dr. Tolmie became one of the first Europeans to pass through the Puyallup Valley, discovering a vast and meandering river obstructed by massive log jams. However, it was not until the 1850s that the first European settlers began to establish a more permanent presence in the area.

One notable figure in Puyallup’s history is Ezra Meeker. Meeker, a pioneer, hop tycoon, entrepreneur, author, and civic gadfly, played a pivotal role in the development of the city. Arriving in the Pacific Northwest on the Oregon Trail in 1852, Meeker drove a team of oxen and became one of the founding fathers of Puyallup. In 1877, he platted the town and left an indelible mark on its growth and character.

Throughout its history, Puyallup has seen significant milestones and events. The city’s founding marked a turning point, and over time, it evolved into a vibrant community with a diverse economy. Notable landmarks, such as the historic downtown district and the iconic Puyallup Fairgrounds (now known as the Washington State Fairgrounds), have become cultural touchstones for both residents and visitors.

The Puyallup Fairgrounds, established in 1900, is renowned for hosting the largest annual fair in Washington state. This beloved event attracts millions of visitors each year and showcases agriculture, entertainment, rides, and various exhibits, delighting generations of families.

Puyallup’s history is also intertwined with the resilience and spirit of its people. The city’s growth can be attributed to the hard work and determination of its residents, who have cultivated a strong sense of community and pride. Today, Puyallup continues to flourish, offering a blend of small-town charm and modern amenities.

As we reflect on the history of Puyallup, it serves as a reminder of the city’s roots and the stories that have shaped its identity. From the Native American tribes who first called this land home to the pioneers and visionaries who paved the way for its development, Puyallup stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of its past and the promise of its future.


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I am Briyan Frederick (aka Bryan Baker), probably best known as the publisher of GAJOOB and a founder of Tapegerm Collective I’m collecting all of that and more on dabodab, where I write about and document my life as a graphic arts professional, songwriter, experimental recording artist, zine and web publisher, local and personal historian and silver creative. read more.

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