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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Every year, the Thurston County Auditor’s Office completes regular precinct maintenance. The purpose of this process is to balance the number of voters in each voting district to ensure balance. For each precinct outside an incorporated city, Auditor staff choose a meaningful name, normally after a local landmark. 

For example, Evergreen Ballroom (North and South) are named after a former gathering placed called “Evergreen Ballroom” along the historic Pacific Highway. 

Some precincts, though, don’t seem to have an easy to identify connection to any existing landmark. Take for example, the Broadway Precinct, located just north of Olympia’s city border on the westside near the Evergreen State College. At first glance, there is no “Broadway” out there. 


A map of the Broadway Precinct in northwest Thurston County.


But using local online tools, we can track the history and origin of the Broadway designation. Using the Online Recording Index, we can see the history start in 1869 when the West Olympia plat was filed with our office. In that plat, there was a street named “Broadway.”  


A historic map showing a plat that once covered a bigger Broadway precinct


Using another county tool, the Geodata Parcel layer, you can find the remaining West Olympia parcels that had not been replatted. The majority are located between Division and Crestline, north of the Olympia city limits: 


The West Olympia plat in the current day parcels


Looking at a 1951 map of the area (from the Washington State Digital Archives), you can see what is now 26th Avenue was once known as Broadway: 


A map showing the former name of a street, which was Broadway


The streets in the area were likely renamed in the early 1970s, because you can find newspaper archives from that era (available at the State Library) where 26th Ave and Broadway are listed together. Here is a classified ad from 1973 that refers to Broadway as the former name of the now 26th Avenue. 



Classified ad


The current Broadway Precinct, though, is east of where the former Broadway Street once was. Old Broadway Road (26th Avenue) is now covered by the French precinct. That is because French precinct was created out of the older, larger, Broadway Precinct in May 1981 when the county conducted regular precinct maintenance. These Board of County Commission minutes, available on Thurston County’s website, describe the new French Precinct: 


Thurston county minutes


Here is a June 1981 article (again, available at the State Library) describing the split: 


A newspaper clipping showing how precincts name change


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