Pierce County is the second most populous county in Washington State. It was created out of Thurston County in 1852, by the legislature of Oregon Territory. Pierce County is was named for U.S. President Franklin Pierce. The population is just under 800,000. The county seat is Tacoma, which is also the county's largest city, on Commencement Bay. Tacoma is also the third largest city in Washington.
Pierce County is notable for being home to the Mount Rainier volcano, the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range (14,410 feet) and the highest point in Washington State. Originally called Mt. Tahoma its most recent eruption was just over a hundred fifty years ago.
Pierce County is also home to Joint Base Lewis McChord. This military facility combined the United States Army Fort Lewis and the United States Air Force McChord Air Force Base in 2010. JBLM is a major employer in Pierce County and its location provides rapid access to the deep water ports of Tacoma, Olympia and Seattle for deploying equipment into most corners of the globe.
Pierce County has a total area of 1,806 square miles, of which 1,679 square miles is land and 128 square miles is water.