The Port's Beginnings The first major commercial ship to call at the new town of Olympia was the sailing brig Orbit in early 1850, carrying what was to become the new community’s most significant cargo, wood products, to the San Francisco market. Sailing ship and steamboat traffic to and from Olympia continued to increase during the next half century.
Dredging for the Future The turn of the century saw Olympia boosters pushing for better marine trade access. Beginning in 1909, a deeper marine navigation channel into Olympia was dredged. The Port Peninsula was created from the dredged material.
Following the completion of the dredging and fill in 1911, a public campaign to establish the Port of Olympia was spearheaded by the Chamber of Commerce. Formation of the Port District was approved by a countywide vote on November 7, 1922.