Thika enjoys a number of historical sites like the Mugumo Gardens named after the giant fig tree about which the legendary Kikuyu seer Mugo wa Kibiru made prophesies which came to pass.
According to the legend, the fall of the mammoth mugumo tree, which had a 15-foot diameter, would symbolise the end of British rule in Kenya.
On learning about Kibiru’s prophesy, the British colonial government built an iron ring around the tree to prevent it from falling, but gradually it split and fell in two stages in 1963, the same year Kenya gained Independence.
It was the same Mugo wa Kibiru also known as Cege wa Kibiru who prophesied the coming of colonialists whom, he said, would carry fire in their pockets… which was interpreted to mean matchboxes.
He prophesied the arrival of white settlers long before they actually came.
He foretold that there would come people who would have bodies like kiengere, a small light coloured frog, and whose dress would resemble butterflies.
They would carry magical sticks which would produce fire. And he went on to prophesy the coming of the railway line that would stretch from one body of water in the East to another in the West and carry a train he said was an iron snake that would spit fire.
This snake, he said, would eat people and vomit them out. Later, the Mombasa-Kisumu railway line was built.
Mugo wa Kibiru also correctly predicted the coming of a big famine with the arrival of the strangers.
Another historical feature at the heart of Thika Town is the Christina Wangari Gardens, named after a famous freedom fighter and Kikuyu heroine.
Next to it on Kwame Nkurumah Road is an old clock tower built by British settlers in the early 1900s. The council has since renovated it and replaced the clock with a modern one.
Thika which started as a stop-over for settlers — the famous Blue Posts Hotel that lies between two rivers — is also the gateway to various tourist sites like the Kilimambogo National Park, the Fourteen Falls on Garissa Road, Yatta Plateau, Ndaka-ini Dam, Mt Kenya and the Great Rift Valley.
Between 1910 and 1929 Thika fully developed as a settlement for white settlers who established big farms in the region.
It was given the status of a town by a Government gazette in 1924 and was elevated to a second class municipality in 1963, with the first mayor being installed in 1968.