The story of the Puyallup Valley started with its geological formation far back in the mists of eons past. Its development is told in the story of pioneers who settled it, cleared the land and built its small cities in the last half of the 19th century.
In the early 1830's the first European settler of the Puyallup region, Dr. Tolmie, in the company of an Indian guide and several other natives, passed through what he called in his journal the "Poyallipa" valley, the indigenous people who lived here for thousands of years numbered about 2,000 and were closely related to the more populous race of Indians living in the Nisqually River valley. It was their hospitable spirit that gave this tribe the name "Puyallup" which translates to "generous people." The Puyallup Indians had permanent dwelling places along the river bank. The Puyallup River was a broad meandering river chocked with massive log jams and prone to frequent floods. The valley floor was a maze of creeks, old growth forest and exotic ferns.
This is a scenic town that emerged among hops, succulent berries, and the beautiful flowers of the local bulb farmers. Pioneer hop king and champion of the Oregon Trail, Ezra Meeker, planned the city in 1877, giving it and the river flowing through the fertile valley its unique name. The City of Puyallup was incorporated in 1890, and Meeker served as its first mayor. The livelihood for many local residents during the early years was primarily agriculture. Through many years of development, Puyallup has transformed to a booming scenic community with an interesting and profound history.
The City of Puyallup, Pierce County and the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation commissioned The Puyallup Historic Survey Report - Puyallup, Washington in August of 2007. The report was written and compiled by BOLA Architecture + Planning of Seattle.
The report contains a wealth of information on the history of Puyallup, particularly its historic architecture. Download the report.