The State Capitol building rose in 1928 and was the last great domed capitol building built in America. It stands 28 stories high and is the most dominate landmark in the city of Olympia, as well as its premier tourist attraction. With a population exceeding 45,000, more than 21,000 people work for the state government, which is by far the largest employer in the area.
The public school district in Olympia, established in 1852, almost 40 years before Washington earned statehood, is the oldest in the country, yet it is recognized nationally for the creation and maintenance of its state-of-the-art computer network. The district is comprised of 12 elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools and three colleges, and is lauded state-wide as a three-year "Gold Medal Winner" for its quality education standards.
Another unique aspect of Olympia is its sister city agreement, which began in 1980 with the city of Yashiro, Japan. The sister cities exchange visits from civic groups, students, teachers and business leaders in an effort to promote cross-cultural understanding. In tribute to their sister city, Olympia built the Yashiro Japanese Garden, a favorite local retreat.
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