Sumner was founded in 1853 as Stuck Junction and platted in 1883 by George H. Ryan, in anticipation of a stop on the Northern Pacific Railway. The town was named “Franklin” until 1891, when the Post Office Department requested that the name be changed to avoid confusion with similarly named towns. The name of abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner was chosen for the town after a lottery.

Sumner, along with Orting and Puyallup, lie in the lahar hazard zone for Mount Rainier. During the Osceola Mudflow, dated to approximately 5,600 years before present, a 300-foot (91 m) deposit covered a portion of the city’s modern location.

Dillanos Coffee Roasters is based in Sumner.

REI maintains corporate offices and a large distribution center in Sumner.

Most of the city is in the Sumner School District, while some portions are in the adjacent Dieringer School District and Puyallup School District.

In addition to road and highway connections, Sumner is also served by Sounder commuter rail which stops at a train station in downtown and directly connects Sumner to Seattle and Tacoma.

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