2014: Tenino Showcases Historic Quarry Pool and Sandstone Buildings

By Nisqually Valley News — 

19- Tenino.Quarry.Pool1.Tenino’s natural rock quarry swimming pool, fed by a natural spring water, is the go-to spot for summer fun.

Located in Tenino City Park, it is the remnant of the abandoned Tenino Stone Company quarry where miners once harvested sandstone, a sedimentary rock that consists of sand or quartz grains cemented together.

Not only is it a cool place to swim, many people just go there to hang out and bask in the beauty of the natural stone, moss and trees that surround the park.

A natural waterfall flows in the background, lending a resort-like feel to the experience.

Many locals grew up going to the quarry pool and it still attracts many regional visitors.

The pool has a high dive and chlorinated wading pool.

Admission and hours vary.

The pool is located near the Tenino Depot Museum at 399 Park Ave. W.

Tenino City Park is located several block east of Sussex Avenue, the city’s main drag.

The Yelm-Tenino Trail begins at the park, which also has facilities for camping, picnic shelters, fire pits, hiking, play structures, athletic fields, public restroom and plenty of parking.

The trail is 14.5 miles of paved path that links Yelm and Tenino by way of Rainier.

It is a popular trail that follows what was once a railway route. The tracks were removed to make the path, which crosses state Highway 507 only once.


Take a Walking Tour of Historic Sandstone Buildings

Just a few blocks from the city park is the attractive downtown core with its many sandstone buildings. Stop by for a glass of wine, chocolates, a meal at the Sandstone Cafe or for some shopping, then stroll through the historic buildings and sites.

Founded in 1872, Tenino was known for its early years as a terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad and later the junction for the Olympia and Tenino Railroad line.

In 1888, a large deposit of sandstone was found near Tenino. By the 1910s quarries were operated by the Tenino Stone Company and the Hercules Sandstone Company. These companies supplied Tenino sandstone for buildings throughout the West from San Francisco to Vancouver, B.C. and from Aberdeen to Missoula, Montana. The quarries gradually were phased out as concrete replaced stone as a building material. The last quarry closed in the 1930s.

Like so many cities in the West, Tenino’s commercial district was destroyed by fires. The 1905 fire destroyed a block on the south side of Sussex and the 1917 fire the other side of the street. In rebuilding and using Tenino’s own sandstone, the town was left with a unique legacy of its sandstone quarries.


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