History

University Place, established in 1995, emerged from 8 square miles of unincorporated Pierce County in the state of Washington. The city may be young, but its history is rich, boasting a unique quality of life and a proud community spirit. Even as the urban landscape has evolved over two centuries, traces of University Place’s past endure.

In the early 1800s, the land was home to the Nisqually, Steilacoom, Squaxin, Puyallup, and Muckleshoot Native American tribes. By the mid-1800s, the area, now transformed into the renowned Chambers Bay Golf Course, was utilized for industrial purposes. It served as a hub for the lumber industry, a railroad center, and a gravel mine before being revitalized into the world-class golf course enjoyed today.

As University Place developed, it became an attractive destination for countless couples seeking an idyllic setting to raise their families. Notably, Charles and Mary Curran established the Curran Apple Orchard, now a beloved city landmark spanning over seven acres. The orchard thrives to this day as a City park, staying true to its historical roots.

The city’s name originated from the 1890s selection of the area as the site for the University of Puget Sound, then known as Puget Sound University. Although the university’s financial struggles prevented the campus from being established on the purchased 420 acres, the name University Place endured.

In the early 1990s, a fervent community movement advocating for local governance and control gained momentum, leading to the successful incorporation of University Place in November 1994. Since then, the City Council, staff, and residents have dedicated countless hours to shaping University Place into a thriving locale, offering an outstanding environment for living, working, and leisure.

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