Independent Historian

Karen L. Johnson currently serves as curator at the Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s Schmidt House in Tumwater, Washington. She has volunteered and worked in the museum field since 2001. Her interests in early transportation and the pioneer era have led to: organizing two stagecoach runs between Olympia and Longview; researching and writing many articles on local and regional history; co-authoring two books about a Washington pioneer; making a documentary film about the Cowlitz Trail; and placing stone markers on the Oregon Trail in Washington and Idaho. She also specializes in the history of the Olympia Brewing Company and its founders, the Schmidt family, and serves as the editor of the Thurston County Historical Journal.

Centralia, Washington (1875– )

Located in southwest Washington, the town of Centralia was founded by George Washington, an African American who came west in 1850 to escape discrimination.  Washington first settled in Oregon Territory, but was barred from owning land there, so he moved north and eventually obtained a … Read MoreCentralia, Washington (1875– )