In 1888, Persis and Amos Guy homesteaded here, opening a hotel and tavern to serve miners, loggers, and railroad workers carving the Great Northern line through the Cascades. The town, platted in 1893, was named after nearby Mount Index; although dramatically ringed by mountains like an alpine village, Index stands a mere 500 feet above sea level.
Its distinctive granite was used in the capitol steps in Olympia. Notably, photographer Lee Pickett made his home here and, for nearly 40 years, documented the life and work around him. His photograph of Index was taken from the bluff on which the old schoolhouse stood. Pat Sample, of Paradise Sound Recording, kindly allowed me on his roof to retake the shot. —JS