It’s hard to say what this winter is going to be like; we’ve already had some cold weather and the mountains are getting snow so it’s possible that we’ll see some down here at sea level. For me anytime I have the opportunity to paddle in the snow I jump at it. Everything takes on an entirely different persona, and I’m not talking just visually; all your usual waterside sounds…well, sound a tad bit unusual. I don’t want to come off sounding selfish, but I’m hoping for a little snow this year.

Cormorant Passage

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Cormorant Passage

The origin of the name “Steilacoom” is unclear. According to the Legacy Washington program, the town’s name is derived from an Indian word meaning “little pink flower. Another story is that it comes from fur traders with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and is an adaptation of “Tail-a-Koom”, the name of an Indian chief. In 1824 HBC chief factor John Work called it “Chilacoom”. Another early spelling was “Chelakom”. The Town of Steilacoom says it comes from the name of the Steilacoom tribe, especially their main village in the Tacoma area, located on Chambers Bay. This village was called Scht’ləqʷəm, later anglicized as Steilacoom. William Bright says the name comes from the Southern Coast Salish subgroup /č’tílqʷəbš/, anglicized as “Steilacoom”.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. — John Ruskin

Steilacoom was founded by Lafayette Balch, a sea captain from Maine, and officially incorporated in 1854. It is the oldest incorporated town in Washington and has 4 individual buildings and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the oldest Catholic Church in the state and the first Protestant Church north of the Columbia River, as well as the Steilacoom Historic District, with 68 contributing properties.

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