OHS-BHM Logo Draft (1)Join us in exploring, preserving and promoting Olympia’s history. We are a non-profit membership-based organization actively engaged in researching and presenting the stories from our past to enrich the present and inform the future of Olympia. The Bigelow House Museum, owned and operated by the Society and Museum, is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the early history of Olympia and Washington Territory.  It is the oldest residence in Olympia, Washington, and one of the earliest still standing in the Pacific Northwest.


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Society and Museum News

Annual meeting on January 31



Sloan’s Shipyard, from a private collection

The Olympia Historical Society& Bigelow House Museum in partnership with the Washington State Historical Society/State Capital Museum presented a special program, “Olympia in World War I” as part of the OHS/BHM annual meeting at 1:00 pm on Saturday January 31, 2015. The standing-room only crowd heard presentations from retired Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander who moderated the panel and provide an introduction about Olympia in 1914-1918 and discuss the construction of Camp Lewis in 1917 and its part in the war effort.

Maritime Historian Chuck Fowler presented “Olympia Shipbuilding during WWI:  The Ill-fated Story” about the Ward and Sloan shipyards on the Olympia waterfront.

Historian Ed Echtle explored tensions between patriotism and nativism in “Home Front in Olympia” with special emphasis on the experiences of German-Americans.

Historian Shanna Stevenson provided insight into the role of women in Olympia in home front activities and also how Olympia was affected by the influenza epidemic during that era.

The annual meeting of the Olympia Historical Society/Bigelow House Museum followed the presentation. President Mark Foutch updated the members on activities of the Board during the first full year of the organization’s existence in 2014. He summarized bylaws changes that the Board approved at its December meeting. New Board members were elected, including Shanna Stevenson, Gerry Alexander, and Ed Echtle reelected to three-year terms, and Janine Unsoeld, Carter Hick, and Denise Halloran to vacant seats.