Rochester is a census-designated place (CDP) in Thurston County, Washington, United States. It was founded in 1852, and the 2000 census recorded its population at 1,829. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 square kilometers), all of it land. Rochester Schools had 2095 students registered in 2011. The Rochester zip code area contains approximately 12,000 residents.
Rochester was founded in 1852 by Samuel James. Robert Paton who opened the first market in 1889 opened the first lumber mill in the early 1880s, which continued to operate for over 50 years, and it, which is still in operation today. Robert Hunt also helped promote Rochester's growth with the addition of the Northern Pacific Railroad, which connected the community with Grays Harbor. Hunt's Grade, a road built to pay tribute to Robert Hunt, can still be seen from the railway today.
After the lumber industry died down, Rochester became a large producer of strawberries. Rochester today is a small bedroom community, with many residents commuting to work in surrounding communities including Olympia, Washington and Chehalis, Washington. Rochester, Washington was named after Rochester, Michigan.