Permanent Indian settlements in the land to the southwest of Mt Rainier centered on the salty shores of Puget Sound and the fresh water rivers that drained into it. Native villages to the east along the White River tended to be more seasonal. The people were primarily a nomadic hunter-gatherer culture that had no concept of individual land ownership and as the whites began to move in, they initially just moved over. William Kincaid, a widower with seven children, was the first of the whites to settle in the area in 1853.
The town was platted in 1883 and incorporated in 1891. The establishment of the Northern Pacific rail line through the area and the construction of the depot by the first mayor, George Ryan, had a large impact. Logging and farming were the prin- ciple concerns of the day.
Located in the fertile Puyallup Valley at the junction of the Puyallup and White Rivers, agriculture is still an important industry to the Sumner economy. Revenue-producing crops include daffodils, rhubarb, hops, berries, vegetables, and turf grasses. Food manufacturing, canneries, the production of wood products, and rapidly growing warehousing are other industries in this community. Subdivisions and strip malls are springing up as the demand for Sumner real estate increases and more people move here. There is an old historic downtown that looks very 1950s but the main shopping district is up the freeway in neighboring South Hill Puyallup with its mall and big box stores.
Sumner schools, and the district as a whole, are highly regarded and recognized throughout the region as great places to learn and to work. With new and remodeled facilities, a steadily increasing number of graduates, an ever higher quality of educational programs and continuing excellence in both student and staff achievement, the Sumner School District is a beacon of educational excellence. Area institutions of higher education are plentiful with Pierce Community College, University of Washington Tacoma and Pacific Lutheran, DeVry and City Universities all within a 20 minute drive.
Sumner’s commitment to it’s parks is evident by its Tree City USA designation. Its Daffodil Valley Sports Complex has a skateboard park, baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, a jogging trail, kids play area and more. Lake Tapps North Park is a popular swimming area with 10,000 feet of waterfront and a popular launch for the area’s water skiers. The Sumner Meadows Golf Links sports an 18-hole Scottish-style golf course which offers bright close-ups of Mount Rainier. The Puyallup Fair is next door with dozens of events from rodeos to quilting shows. Camping, snow skiing, hiking & biking, sailing, fishing, and all of the activities of the great outdoors are very close. The wider Northwest Metroplex beckons with pro sports, concerts, zoos & aquaria, the arts, restaurants & nightlife. Sumner is a warm and friendly community where dozens of churches extend the hand of welcome and scores of charities and service clubs court volunteers.
Sumner’s reputation is rapidly increasing as a desirable family community to call home.