Puyallup: News

Puyallup Public Library’s History Room provides window to the past

There’s a little-known secret residing on the second floor of the Puyallup Public Library.

The Puyallup History Room contains an archive of “very interesting things,” said Beth Swartzbaugh, Adult Services librarian.

The History Room is open typically once a month, and is manned by a team of volunteers to help patrons find exactly what they’re looking for.

“A lot of people will come in to find the history of their houses,” Swartzbaugh said. “We have city directories dated back to 1925.”

In addition, the History Room has biographies on the first pioneers to Puyallup, scrapbooks from service groups dating back well over 100 years, Puyallup newspapers dating back to 1903, Puyallup High School yearbooks dating back to 1925, and unique books on Ezra Meeker. Most of the material is one of a kind.

“It’s a great way to get familiar with the social culture of Puyallup,” Swartzbaugh said.

With many of the items being one of a kind, the library only opens the History Room once a month, and for appointments for larger groups.

“We have two conflicting responsibilities,” Swartzbaugh said. “One is that we want to provide as much access to these materials as possible, but at the same time (to) preserve and protect what we have.”

The team of volunteers that oversee the room are trained in what’s available but can also point people in the right direction to the state archives if the library doesn’t have access to exactly what they are looking for.

With genealogy morphing into one of the top hobbies in the country, many who utilize the History Room are looking to expand their knowledge of local history.

“There’s a tremendous interest in family history,” Swartzbaugh said. “(The History Room) is an extension of that. Puyallup has a rich, rich history, and people are very interested in it.”

The Puyallup History Room is open next from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 14.

Heather DeRosa: 253-256-7043, @herald_hderosa