Rainier, Washington

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Rainier is a city in Thurston County, Washington, United States. Beginning as a train stop in the 1870s, Rainier was first settled in 1890, and was officially incorporated in 1947.[5][6] The population was 1,492 at the 2000 U.S. Census. As of April 1, 2010, the official population estimate recorded by the Office of Financial Management was 1,805; this places Rainier at #166 on the rank of the most populous cities and towns of Washington.[7]



Rainier began in the 1870s as a stop on the Northern Pacific Railroad line between Kalama, Washington and Tacoma. Situated amidst the ‘ten al quelth’ prairies (Lushootseed for “the best yet”,) it was named for its view of Mount Rainier.[5] In 1890, Albert and Maria Gehrke were the first permanent settlers to homestead in Rainier; later that year a post office was established.[5] Rainier was officially platted in 1891.[8]

In 1896, the community’s first full time school and church was built by Albert Gehrke and his two brothers, Theodore and Paul;[5] the building is now a state historic landmark.[9]

1n 1906, the Bob White Lumber Company opened, bringing prosperity to the area through logging and sawmilling.[5] Other lumber companies, such as Deschutes, Gruber and Docherty, and Fir Tree, were soon attracted to the area as well. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, several of these mill operations and many of the local buildings) were destroyed by a series of fires, leading many residents to seek work at Weyerhaeuser Lumber at nearby Vail, which is now a ghost town.[5]

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