Henry McCleary came to the land in 1897, building two sawmills and a door manufacturing company. He sold the land and the companies to Simpson Logging Company, December 31, 1941. On January 9, 1943 the land became an incorporated city named after its founder.Henry McCleary's house is still standing today in Olympia, Washington.

McCleary is just 25 minutes from I-5 at Olympia and is now experiencing growth because of expanding job opportunities in the Thurston County area. The City is governed by a Mayor and five Council Members.