From the sugar plantations of Hawaii, to the beer (hops) fields of the Orting valley -- planes, trains and automobiles of the last 200 years . . .


1854:    Part of the first wagon train to cross the Cascades at Natches Pass in 1853, four families settled our area.  They were William Henry Whitesell (also the first postmaster), Thomas Headley, Daniel Lane and Daniel Varner. Today there are streets in town named after each one

1855:  Indian attacks force Varner to abandon his land claim, which later becomes most of the geographic area of Orting.

1877:   The first railroad was built by the Northern Pacific Railway after coal was located in nearby Wilkenson -- it was called "Whitesell's Crossing" because the railroad ran right through his property.  During this year, the first post office was also established, and a bridge was built over the Carbon River.   Additionally, circuit riders (Methodist preachers on horseback) began offering religious services to area residents.

1878:   The town was renamed from Carbon (or Whitesell's Crossing) to Orting -- a Native American word meaning "town on the prairie."  The name was chosen by Col. S. A. Black, a superintendent of the Northern Pacific Railway.

1880:   Orting has it’s first Mayor -- a stylish dresser named Fredrick Eldredge.

1882:  Spooner Farms opens, with a vision to be “hospitality above all else”.

1885:   Indian attacks came to the area, causing panic and desertion of homesteads.  Families hurry to Ft. Steilicoom for protection.

1888:   The towns longest running newspaper is started, the “Orting Oracle,” run by Mr. Van Scoyoc.  

1889:   The town was incorporated.  Cope’s Pharmacy opened -- originally called Harman’s.   The Methodist Episcopal Church also celebrated its first official day on the grounds it still occupies today.   The 1885 Bible used in those services is still on display in their fellowship hall.

1891:  Dedication ceremonies for the new Soldier’s Home for honorably discharged militia.   It’s first Commander made $1,000 a year in salary.  The resident doctor charged $4.00 per visit.  A high school is built for the town.

1901:   Orting Manor is opened by the Coplan family, who became wealthy through hops.

1902:   The first bandstand was built near the location of the present day gazebo.

1904:   The Old Fellowship Hall opens.  Today it is the home of the Eagles, Aerie #3480.

1907:   The graves of the Soldier’s Home become filled with water, forcing the graves movement to higher ground.

1910:   The town voted to go "dry" during the Temperance Movement.

1911:   The first graduating class of Orting high school occurs -- there was only one student to graduate that year.

1913:  The two-story Engder home was built on 50 acres (for $10,000) to take advantage of the hops industry in the valley.  Included were 121 cows.

1919:  Broadleaf Maple trees are buried in the north section of the park - six of them still exist today.

1920’s:  The town becomes known for it’s bulb farming.   To replace the area’s dying hop industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommended daffodil’s because of the valley’s excellent soil and ideal climate.   The town's population reaches 1,000 people for the first time.

1925:  A library is opened within the new Town Hall.

1934:   Orting participates in it’s first Daffodil Festival, with early festivals culminating with a party at one of the founder's homes in Orting. 

1940’s:   An enemy watch tower is erected in the town park, with citizen shifts every few hours to watch for enemy aircraft -- none was ever seen.

1950:  The first "Red Hat Days" event was held as a celebration of the beginning of hunting season.   Today it’s parade is held to be the seminal event and pride of the town.

1959:    Town has it's first UFO sighting according to an Air Force report

1960‘s:   Sue Skinner, a gardner, plants many of the fir trees that magnificently line the town park today.  Nunnally Realty opens, where it remains to this day.

1965:   A second UFO sighting is reported by Mrs. Ozzie Williams, causing her horse to buck with fury.   She described it as a cigar-shaped object that was humming against the east hill of  Carbon River. 

1967:   Barbeque pit built by the Lion’s Club.

1969:   A son of Orting, a junior named Casey Carrigan, becomes part of the U.S Olympic team as a pole vaulter. 

1970:   The "Orting Oracle" ends publishment after 82 years.

1975:    The Daffodil Classic is hosted -- one of the Northwest's most popular bicycle rides.  Today this sixty mile event attracts between 1,000 and 1,500 riders.

1978:    The Spar Pole opens, becoming the main location for night time entertainment in Orting in the 80s and 90s.   Park bathrooms also built by the Lions.   The Scholtz Farm opens.

1982:   Town library moved to the new community center at 202 South Washington St.

1984:   Town gazebo built by the Lion’s.

1986:    Railroad tracks are pulled up from Orting by the BNRR (Burlington National Rail Road).    An Orting daughter, Jackie  McMahon, becomes Miss Washington.

1988:    Present day Orting High School is built

1989:    Orting celebrated 100 years with the dedication of it’s new 35 foot Bell Tower.   The $30,000 needed for it’s construction was payed for by citizen bricks costing $19.89 each.

1990's:   Many new housing developments are added, tripling the size of town.

1990:   The “Rails to Trails” project began, making our town a tourist destination.  Today it sees about 3,000 visitors per week.  

19XX:   The town establishes an Architectural Design Review, requiring all new building changes to take on a Victorian/1800’s western look.  This was done to help ensure the town keeps it’s small town charm going forward.   This decision can be see today in such buildings as the Rose Quilt shop.

1996:    A new lahar siren warning system is tested.

2000:    The teen skateboard park is built for $101,702.   The Los Pinos Mexican restaurant is opened in the former location of the The Swiss Chalet.   

2001:    At a PTA meeting, a group of concerned parents gathered to discuss emergency evacuation in the event of a volcanic lahar.  This begins what is to become the "Bridge for Kids" project.

2002:   Orting is added to the internet.  One of the founding members of Wiki creates a page for it on Oct 25.  

2003:    The Orting Food Center closes, no longer being able to compete with the new Safeway; built in this same year.

2004:   Bucky’s Mufflers opens in the former location of the former Texaco gas station (once owned by the grandfather of Sam Colorossi, who settled in this area in 1926)

2005:   Trailside Cyclery is started by Brian Backus in the former location of the Orting Oracle newspaper office.

2006:   The town receives a $646,000 federal grant for the building of the “Bridge for Kids,” which allows school children to get to safety in 10-20 minutes versus  the normal 40 minutes.   Citizens gathered at the park downtown to celebrate with hotdogs and hamburgers.   Arrow Lumber opens in the former location of Mazza Cheese -- once the State's largest mozzarella cheese factory.

2007:   Wireless internet installed throughout town.  New lahar monitoring gauges (seismometers, tilt meters, GPS networks) are installed on Mt Rainier.   The Orting Historical Society saves the last remaining lumber silo from the turn of the century -- it sits just south of the Orting Public Safety Building at 401 Washington Ave. N.   The new Saturday Market opens to help bring newer citizens to main town.  And the Orting Food bank opens.

2XXX:    A development named Gratzer’s Landing is started, but the 2008 real estate bust puts it on hold.

2008:   The Gazzette newspaper prints it’s final edition, after  being a town institution for 17 years.  The online "Orting News" (no connection to the Gazzette) begins, with 14,000 subscribers by it’s third week.  The City Council win’s its fight to have the Post Office conform to the town's architectural standards.  Citizens meet to discuss a proposed Nestle Bottling Facility within city limits.   The town fountain is also built, and the town hosts it’s first motorcycle Poker Run -- about 150 riders smiling for 75 miles.  The new Middle School opens.  Finally, the barbershop just behind Nunnally's Reality building opens.

2009:    The Orting Bakery opens on main street.  BJ’s Outdoor Store opens in the old Orting Food Center.  Orting Station is built, which today is used by the Farmer’s Market.  A 46-year-old town resident loses 166 pounds and appears on "The Oprah Winfrey Show".  The town approves a new electric golf cart ordinace.  And flooding on the Puyallup River also forces an evacuation of 700 residents of Orting.

2XXX:   A traffic light was installed at the corner of Washington and Calistoga, after the town incurred a number of incidents of vehicles not stopping for pedestrians.

2012:  A major ice storm hits Orting, destroying many old growth trees in the park and alongside the highway into town (reportedly because the storm blew from an uncommon direction, which the trees did not a natural defense against).   A preliminary design is completed for the "Bridge for Kids".   Orting son John Casey is honored nationally for his K9 work overseas.

2012: Orting high school wins their 4th state title in a row  

2013:  The 100 year old Enger house is brought to the ground by the Orting Fire Department.  Our town bakery wins the "Best of Western Washington" contest.  The  town's LocalWiki page is created to help increase town pride and involvement. 

2014:   Work begins on the $16.9 million Calistoga Levee.  Orting daughter Kacie Nesby starts the Haven Teen Center in the old Masonic building.   Town son "Josh of the North" win's second place in national StreetJelly contest.