421 Quince

Location: 421 Quince Street SE 421 Quince, unknown date, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives   421 Quince in 2010, photo by Deborah Ross This modest home is included here for its early date, 1880, and its original elaborate shingling. It has not been inventoried by the City; however, it was included in historian…

Baretich Building/Site of Olympia Cafe

Location: 116 4th Ave E National Downtown Historic District, Local register, Wohleb Olympia Cafe, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Baretich building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross Since Olympia’s beginnings, there have been small but popular commercial establishments along Fourth Avenue, including numerous cafes and bars. The Olympia Cafe…

Barnes Bank and Site of Roxie Moore’s Saloon

Location: 114-118 Capitol Way N Downtown National Historic District 118 N. Capitol, Roxie Moore’s saloon, as it appeared in 1880-1890, photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society      Barnes Bank Building, 114 N. Capitol, today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross  The brick building seen at upper right is the Barnes Bank building. George Barnes was…

Bayview Market/Site of JJ Brenner and HA Long Boatworks

Location: 516 4th Ave W 98502 Women’s History, Diversity: Japanese, Native American; mid-Century modern; Transportation J.J. Brenner, 1914, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Bayview Market now (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly  The western end of Fourth Avenue has been a host to water-based industry since the early days of Olympia. The Bird’s Eye…

Bettman Block

Location: 312-324 Fourth Ave. SE Diversity: Jewish heritage The Bettman Block around 1891 photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Bettman Block today (2012)Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross  The Bettman Family was a dynasty of merchants beginning with the early days of Olympia. Louis Bettman had a men’s store on Main Street (now Capitol Way),…

Bettman-Oppenheimer House

Location: 216 9th  Ave SE Local Register; Diversity: Jewish heritage Bettman-Oppenheimer House about 1983, courtesy Washington State Archives, Olympia Planning Department collection Bettman-Oppenheimer House today (2010) photograph by Deb Ross  The Bettman-Oppenheimer House was built by local merchant Louis Bettman as a wedding gift to his daughter Belle Bettman. The elaborate Queen Anne style was…

Bigelow House

Location: 918 Glass Ave NE National  register, State register, local register; Women’s History Bigelow House, 1866 Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum collection   Bigelow House, 2012, photo courtesy of Deborah Ross The Daniel and Ann Elizabeth Bigelow House, now the Bigelow House Museum, is one of the oldest existing documented homes in Olympia,…

Boat and Motor Mart Building (demolished)/Site of Pearl City Laundry

Location: 405 Water St SW Transportation; Diversity: Vietnamese heritage; mid-Century modern Pearl City Cleaning and Dye Works around 1914, Robert Esterly photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Boat and Motor Mart building in 2012, photo by Deb Ross   Water Street, at the western edge of downtown Olympia, was created on fill in the…

Butler Cove/The Firs

Location: 3316 Windolph Lp NW Transportation, Women’s History Butler’s Cove, Presbyterian Picnic, 1884, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Butler Cove today (2012), Photo by Deb Ross The French and Brown families were early pioneers in Olympia, who staked out Donation Act claims here, at the far northwestern edge of Budd Inlet, soon after their arrival.…

Byrd House

Location: 1106 Olympia Ave NE Local Register, State Register, National Register, Olympia Avenue Local Historic District, Women’s History Byrd House, 1970, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives   Byrd House now (2010), photo by Deborah Ross Listed on the local, state and national registers, the Byrd House is the quintessential Queen Anne style home,…

Capital National Bank building/Site of Turner Block

Location: 402 Capitol Way S State Register, National Downtown District, Wohleb, Diversity: Germans Charlie’s Saloon, probably around 1902, photo courtesy of Washington  State Historical Society US Bank (Capital National Bank building) today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly The intersection of 4th Avenue and Capitol Way (formerly Main Street) has been considered the center of commercial life…

Chaplin House

Location: 425 Rogers St. NW Local Register Chaplin House in 1939, photo from  Thurston County Assessor, Washington  State Archives   Chaplin House today (2010) photograph by Deb Ross  The Chaplin House at 425 Rogers Street was occupied for many years by Emery Chaplin, son of JR Chaplin, who was a Congregational minister turned real estate developer.…

China Clipper (Clipper Club Cafe)/Haskins and Peele/Williston Notions Shops site

Location: 406 4th Ave E Transportation; Diversity: Chinese; Popular culture Haskins and Peele Shoe Shop about 1914, Esterly photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society China Clipper Club Cafe today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross Fourth Avenue as it worked its way east towards the Swantown Bridge was an important commercial section of town, with stores…

Chinatown

Location: 123 5th Ave SW Diversity: Chinese Heritage ; Downtown National Historic District Chinatown around 1902, photograph from National  Archives, Pacific Alaska Region Location today (2003), Photo by Ed Echtle Although the Chinese population of Olympia was historically spread throughout the city, the group of buildings known as “Chinatown” was a focal point for the commercial,…

Columbia Manor Apartments/site of John Gowey house/Site of Tilton House

Location: 1009 Columbia St SW Women’s history; Diversity: African-Americans Gowey house around 1891, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Columbia Manor Apartments today (2012) photograph by Deb Ross  The history of the home known as the Tilton House is not completely clear. According to historian Georgiana Blankenship’s account, James Tilton, the first Surveyor…

Cook, Dr. Lucie site/Olympia Electric

Location: 314 Franklin St NE Women’s History Dr. Lucie Cook’s residence and practice around 1914, Robert Esterly photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Olympia Electric building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross   The series of photographs of Olympia’s business establishments, taken by photographer Robert Esterly in 1914, offers a wonderful snapshot of Olympia…

Cunningham’s Building/Site of First Methodist-4th Avenue

Location: 325 4th Ave E Local register, Religious Institutions Scott’s Grocery (Cunningham’s Building), 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Cunningham’s building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross The building currently known as the Cunningham’s Building was erected in 1896 and is the oldest surviving “pioneer-style” commercial building in downtown…

Department of Enterprises Services (GA)/First Site of St. Peter Hospital

Location: 210 11th Ave SW and adjacent monument Religious institutions; Women’s History; National Register (GA Building); mid-Century modern   St. Peter Hospital, ca. 1890, private collection Department of Enterprise Services (GA) building today (2013), Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation The original St. Peter Hospital, shown at left above, was located on a site opposite…

Dolliver building (former Post office)/Site of Olympia Hotel/George Foster home

Location: 801 Capitol Way S National Register, State Register, Local register;  Women’s History; Religious Institutions Olympia Hotel, ca. 1890, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Dolliver Building (old Post Office) today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly In the 1880s, it became apparent that Olympia was in urgent need of a hotel that could accommodate the…

Eagles Club

Location: 805 4th Ave E Wohleb, Popular Culture, Diversity: Gay and Lesbian History Eagles Building 1965, Thurston County Assessor Photo, Washington State Archives Eagles Building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross     Aerie #21 of the Fraternal Order of Eagles was founded in 1899, in the heyday of fraternal organizations in Olympia. This building…

Employment Security Building/Site of A.D. Rogers home

Location: 212 Maple Park SE mid-Century modern A.D. Rogers House, about 1890 Photograph from Digital Archives Employment Security building today (2012) Photo courtesy of Deb Ross A.D. Rogers was a popular and prolific photographer in the late territorial and early statehood days. Besides being the preferred society and school photographer, he was employed to create…

Foursquare Church/Capital City Studios (burned down 2014)

Location: 911 4th Ave E Religion, Popular Culture Foursquare Congregation, 1941, Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives Capital City Studios today (2009), photo courtesy Jason Scragz, posted on Flickr This building was originally the Foursquare Gospel church of Olympia, the denomination founded by Aimee Semple McPherson. It was built in 1939 using…

Funk House

Location: 1202 Olympia Ave NE National, State and Local Register, Olympia Avenue Local Historical District, Women’s History Funk House in 1939, Thurston County Assessor, State Archives Funk House today (2010), photo by Joe Mabel posted on Wikimedia Commons The Funk House, one of the most elaborate Queen Anne homes in Olympia, was built in about…

Garfield School

Location: 325 Plymouth St NW Schools Garfield School in 1919 (original location), State Library Photograph Collection, Digital Archives Garfield School today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly According to Olympia School District historian Esther Knox, the first school near this location was the Westside school on Rogers Street, which served all children in West Olympia and…

Georgia Pacific/Washington Fish and Wildlife Building

Location: 600 Capitol Way N National Register, Wohleb, mid-Century modern Georgia Pacific building in 1950s, photo from DAHP Georgia Pacific building today  photograph from DAHP The plywood industry was an essential part of Olympia’s economy in the early to mid-20th century. Plywood was not only decorative, but used in construction of airplanes during the war. The…

Giles House

Location: 727 West Bay Drive NW State Register Giles House, 1939, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives   Giles House today  (2010), photo by Deborah Ross The Charles Giles House was built in 1885 and is in the Italianate style unusual for existing Olympia homes. It is essentially a tall rectangular building with…

Goldberg’s Building/site of McKenny Block/Crane’s Cafe/Yenney’s building

Location: 403 Capitol Way S Downtown National Historic District, Diversity: Jewish Heritage,  Mid-century McKenny Block around 1891, Drawing by Edward Lange from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891, Washington  State Library Goldberg’s Building today (2012) photo courtesy of Deb Ross The McKenny Block was built in 1889 by General T.I. McKenny, a prominent Olympia businessman. It housed a…

Gottfeld’s

Location: 213 4th Ave E Downtown National Historic District, Wohleb, Transportation 4th Avenue looking east, mid 1940s, with Gottfeld’s halfway down on right,  Private Postcard Collection Gottfeld’s Building today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly The Gottfeld Building was erected in 1908 by local businessmen Millard Lemon and Henry Mallory (see also Mallory House). In later…

Governor Hotel/Silsby Grocery/St. John’s Episcopal site

Location: 621 Capitol Way S mid-Century modern, Religious institutions Governor House, about 1890 Photograph from Digital Archives Governor Hotel today – Pride Weekend (2012), Photo by Deborah Ross As the capital of Washington State, accommodations have played an important role in the life of Olympia. The photographic record shows the gradual growth and transformation of this…

Governor’s Mansion

Location: Capitol Campus Women’s History, Diversity: Chinese Governor’s Mansion 1955, photo from Digital Archives Governor’s Mansion today (2010), photo from Governor’s Mansion Foundation Text and page researched and written in 2012 by Christina Schaller, Olympia Historical Society/Olympia Heritage Commission intern The responsibilities of governing a state as large as Washington are numerous, but it does…

Hale Block

Location: 502 4th Ave E Local register; Women’s history; Religious institutions Hale Block, 1914, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Hale Block today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly Pamela (or Pamelia) Case Hale – teacher, superintendant, Unitarian preacher, suffragist, and businesswoman par excellence – built the Hale Block in 1891, during a time of great…

Hale House

Location: 902 Tullis St NE National, State, and Local registers, Women’s History Hale House 1939, Thurston County Assessor Photo, Washington State Archives   Hale House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross The Hale House on Tullis Street is a good example of a Queen Anne cottage. Diminutive in size, its exterior is full of embellishments…

Harris Dry Goods/Grainger Stable site

Location: 518 Capitol Way Southeast Local Register, Downtown Olympia National Historical District, Diversity: Jewish Heritage; Transportation Harris Dry Goods Building interior, 1943, Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives As it appears today Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross  The block between Fifth Avenue and Legion Way on Capitol Way has always been one…

Heritage Bank/Site of organization of First Presbyterian/Eads Transfer site

Location: 221 5th Ave SW mid-Century modern; Religious institutions Site of organization of First Presbyterian Church, photograph by Asahel Curtis, date unknown, United Churches of Olympia   Heritage Bank today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly   The first church in Olympia was organized in 1854 at this location, a cooper’s shop owned by Isaac or…

Hotel Olympian/Site of Eugley & Musgrove Millinery

Location: 116 Legion Way SE Downtown National Historical  District, Women’s History Hotel Olympian by Jeffers, 1954. Susan Parish Photograph Collections, Washington State Archives Hotel Olympian today (2012), Photo courtesy of Matthew Kennelly When the state acquired the Old State Capitol Building and moved the seat of government to downtown Olympia, it was apparent that downtown accommodations…

Insurance Building

Location: 302 Sid Snyder Ave SW Washington State Capitol National Historic District  Insurance Building, 1920s, State Library Photograph Collection, Digital Archives Insurance Building today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly The Insurance Building was the second to be constructed on Capitol Campus following the original Wilder and White plan, after the Temple of Justice. It was…

Jeffers Building

Location: 500 Washington St SE Local, State and National Registers, Downtown National Historic District, Wohleb Jeffers Building around 1914, photograph by Joe Jeffers, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Jeffers Building today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly The Jeffers Building, erected in 1913 on the corner of Washington and Fifth Avenue, is one of the first,…

Jefferson Apartments

Location: 114-118 Jefferson St NE National  Register, State Register, Local Register, Women’s History Jefferson Apartments, 1964, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional Archives   Jefferson Apartments today (2011), photo by Deborah Ross The Jefferson Apartments Building (also called the Allen Hotel) was built by Pamela Case Hale, Olympia businesswoman and educator, who developed several blocks…

Kaler house

Location: 909 Glass Ave NE Local Register Kaler House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional Archives   Kaler House today (2011), photo by Deborah Ross The Kaler House is listed as being built about 1905 for grocer Cyrus Kaler, although historian Adah Dye believed it to be somewhat older. It is an example of…

Kelley Building

Location: 501 4th Ave E Local register Kelley Building, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives    Kelley Building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross The Kelley building was erected in 1923 and remains one of the largest commercial buildings in downtown Olympia. John Kelley established his furniture store in here 1904 on the then-Swantown…

Les Schwab Building (demolished)/site of P.J. O’Brien’s Blacksmith

Location: 217 Columbia St NW Transportation; Diversity: Native American history P.J. O’Brien Blacksmith Shop around 1900, photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Canoe Journey Mural on side of Les Schwab building (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross Even before the 1911 Carlyon Fill project, the Port area north of State Avenue started evolving into…

Martin Building/site of Doane’s Oyster House/Harned and Mabie homes

Location: 113-119 5th Ave SE Downtown National Historical District, Wohleb design; Women’s History Doane’s Oyster House around 1880, photograph from Digital Archives Martin Building today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross The corner of 5th and Washington was, in Olympia’s earliest years, the homes of builder Benjamin Harned and territorial librarian Jeremiah Mabie, and later the…

McClain Motors Building/Site of Charley Vietzen home

Location: 703 4th Ave E Transportation, Diversity: German heritage   Vietzen home, with family members, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society Courtyard Antiques mall at this location today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly In early days, the Swantown Slough separated the commercial part of Fourth Avenue from the residential area to its east.…

McIntyre House

Location: 123 Cushing St. NW Local Register Joseph McIntyre home around 1900, photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   McIntyre home today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross The McIntyre home is one of the best preserved and restored homes in Westside Olympia. It was built by or for Joseph McIntyre, a carpenter who arrived…

Mottman Building

Location: 101 Capitol Way N Local Register, State Register, National Register, National Historic District, Diversity: Jewish heritage The Toklas and Kaufman building (now Mottman Building) around 1891 charcoal-enhanced photograph from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue of 1891, scanned at Washington State Library The Mottman Building today (2012) Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross  Most would agree that the…

National Wood Pipe site

Location: Northeast corner of Jefferson and Thurston The National Wood Pipe factory on fire in 1909 photograph from Digital Archives As the former location of the pipe factory appears today (2011), the home of the Hands on Children’s Museum Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross  With the importance of water and water supply to the residents and…

Neuffer Building/Site of Dr. Waughop residence

Location: 513 Capitol Way S Downtown Olympia National District, Diversity: African-Americans Waughop Residence about 1875, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Neuffer Building today (2012), Photo by Deb Ross In early years the west side of Main Street (Capitol Way) south of Fifth Avenue directly overlooked the Deschutes Estuary (Capitol Lake). (See the Bird’s Eye…

Newcomb House

Location: 1264 State St NE Newcomb House, 1937, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives   Newcomb House today  (2010), photo by Deborah Ross The Newcomb House was built about 1890 and was the residence of Dr. Newcomb, who arrived in Olympia about the same time. It sits on an elevated position above State…

Northern Pacific depot

Location: 721 Columbia St SW Transportation, mid-Century Northern Pacific Railroad depot around 1914, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Northern Pacific Depot today  (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly The first Northern Pacific depot, pictured at above left, was built in about 1891, the year that the Northern Pacific railroad reached downtown Olympia (see also…

Old City Hall/Fire Station/”Dead Zone” (Tenderloin District)/Tilley stable site

Location: 108 State Ave NW Local Register, State Register, National Historic Downtown District, Women’s History, Transportation Tilley Stable, date unknown, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives Old City Hall today (2012), Photo by Matthew Kennelly According to historian Bernice Sapp, the first non-Indigenous American occupation of this site was Moses Rice Tilley’s Overland Stage stable.…

Old State Capitol Building

Location: 600 Washington Street Southeast National  Register, State Register, Local Register, National Historical District; Women’s History As it appeared in late 1800s Photo from Digital Archives  As it appears today (2012) Photo courtesy of Deb Ross  The Old State Capitol Building, currently the home of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, was initially built…

Old Thurston County Courthouse-Capitol Way/Site of Milroy House/Trolley system

Location: 1110 Capitol Way S Local, state and national registers; Wohleb;  Diversity: Native American rights; Transportation Milroy House, 1872, State Library Collection, Digital Archives Old Thurston County Courthouse-Capitol Way today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly The building known as the Old Thurston County Courthouse, at the corner of 11th and Capitol Way, was the third…

Olympia Hardware/Site of Kay’s Chop Suey Restaurant

Location: 109 Capitol Way N Local register; Olympia Downtown National Historic District; Diversity:Chinese heritage Olympia Hardware Co. 1914, Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Olympia Hardware Company building today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly The Olympia Hardware Building, erected in 1884, is one of the oldest existing commercial buildings in the city. It…

Olympia High School site – Capitol Way/Highway and Licensing Building

Location: 1125 Washington St SE Schools, mid-Century modern Olympia High School on Capitol Way, 1920s, State Library Collection, Digital Archives Highway and Licensing Building now (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly The institution formally known as William Winlock Miller High School has existed at three locations. The second location, featured here, was built in 1919, on…

Olympia Knitting Mills

Location: 525 Cherry St. SE (at corner of Legion Way) Popular Culture, Diversity: Jewish History, Women’s History, Schools, Wohleb Olympia Knitting Mills photograph from City of Olympia Women’s Walking Tour   Olympia Knitting Mills building today (2024) Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross The Olympia Knitting Mills began its life in downtown Olympia, founded by Seattle businessman…

Olympia Motors

Location: 520 4th  Ave E Transportation, Wohleb Capital Chevrolet, 1942, Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives   Olympia Motors Building now (2012), photo by Deb Ross The Olympia Motors Building is a flamboyant celebration of America’s love affair with the automobile. Built in 1923 and designed by local architect Joseph Wohleb, the ornate Gothic…

Olympia National Bank Building/5th and Capitol

Location: 422 Capitol Way S Downtown National Historic District, State Register, National Register, Wohleb Main Street (Capitol Way) and 5th, looking north, around 1874 , Stereograph (left half) courtesy of Washington State Historical  Society Olympia National Bank building today (2012), Photo from Wikimedia commons The block bound by Main Street (now Capitol Way), 4th Avenue, Washington Street,…

Olympia Oyster Company Building

Location: 320 4th Ave W Diversity: Japanese, Native Americans; Wohleb Olympia Oyster Company around 1924, photograph courtesy Washington State Historical Society   Oyster House in 2012, photo by Deb Ross The oyster industry has been important in Olympia since early days. Originally harvested and sold primarily by Native Americans, the industry became of larger economic…

Olympia Sand and Gravel

Location: 401 Columbia St NW Wohleb, Transportation Olympia Sand and Gravel building, 1930, from DAHP inventory     Olympia Sand and Gravel office building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross   As the land base of Olympia grew to the north with each succeeding dredge and fill operation, commercial businesses expanded into the new territory…

Olympia Supply

Location: 625 Columbia St SW Diversity: Jewish heritage Olympia Supply, 1987, Courtesy of Olympia Supply Olympia Supply now (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly The Olympia Supply Company is the successor name to Olympia Junk, which was originally located one block to the north of this location. The business is still associated with the Bean family…

Olympia Yacht Club

Location: 201 Simmons St NW Transportation  Olympia Yacht Club 1972, cropped from image of Ralph’s Thriftway and Yacht Club, Port of Olympia collection, Southwest Regional Archives   Olympia Yacht Club today (2012), photograph by Deb Ross The Olympia Yacht Club was founded in 1889 and obtained moorings at the present location just east of the…

Olympian Automotive Building/Site of Olympia Opera House/Site of Kaler Market

Location: 509 4th Ave E Popular culture, Transportation Olympia Opera House, 1895-1910, State Library Collection accessed via Digital Archives   Olympian Automotive building today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly The Olympia Opera House (or Olympia Theater) was built in 1890 by Washington Standard publisher John Miller Murphy and featured the latest developments in theater construction.…

Overhulse House

Location: 105 Olympic Way NW Local register Overhulse House 1939, Thurston County Assessor Photo, Washington State Archives   Overhulse House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross Built on a fine location overlooking Olympia, the Overhulse House just across the Fourth Avenue bridge in West Olympia was in the second wave of construction on the Woodruff…

Pacific Building/Munson Millinery/Book Store

Location: 406 Capitol Way SE Downtown National Historical District, Women’s History Munson Millinery in 1870s or 1880s, photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Archibald Sisters (Pacific Building) today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross The block of Capitol Way (originally Main Street) between 4th and 5th Avenues was one of the most important commercial blocks…

Patnude House

Location: 1239 8th Ave SE Local Register, State Register, National Register Patnude House, 1893, Image from Washington State Archives. State Library Photograph Collection.   Patnude House today (2011), Photo by Deb Ross Charles Patnude was born in Quebec and came to Olympia in the 1880s. He was a builder by trade, responsible in whole or part for…

Pekin Cafe site

Location: 110 Capitol Way N Diversity: Chinese heritage; National Downtown Historic District   Pekin Cafe, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Site of Pekin Cafe today (2012), photo by Deb Ross Chinese cooks were present in Olympia from very early days. Often they were staff at private residences (the…

Percival Landing

Location: 405 Columbia St NW Transportation, Local register, Popular Culture Percival Wharf 1914, by  Robert  Esterly, photo from Digital Archives, State Library Collection Percival Landing now (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly  When Olympia was first settled by Americans, the primary access to the town was by boat, as roads were mostly impassable. Yet boat access…

Percival Mansion site

Location: 190 Olympic Way NW (west end of 5th  Avenue Bridge) Percival Mansion around 1891, Edward Lange drawing from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891, Washington State Library Location today (2012), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross The Percival Mansion is one of the more recognizable structures in early Olympia images. It was built by Benjamin Harned in 1874,…

Piety Hill

Location: between Boulevard Bridge and 15th Street, on Boulevard Road Transportation, Schools, Popular Culture Piety Hill School 1903 photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Boulevard Bridge today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross  The area between 15th Street and the crossing of the Olympia Woodland Trail (former railroad tracks) was known as Piety Hill, for…

Quist House

Location: 1512 State St NE Diversity: Scandinavians Quist House, 1939, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives Quist House today  (2010), photo by Deborah Ross The Quist House was built about 1908 and is a well preserved example of the pleasant Craftsman style working person’s home that was common in Olympia around the turn of…

Ray Theatre/Timberland Bank

Location: 423 Washington St SE Downtown National Historic District, Popular Culture Ray Theatre, 1914,  Robert Esterly photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Timberland Bank building today (2012) photograph from Timberland Bank website In about 1914, the Zabel family, who owned several theaters downtown, built the Ray Theatre here, pictured at above left, at the corner…

Red Top Taxi building/Site of Cohen’s Confectionary

Location: 113 4th Ave W National Downtown Historic District, Diversity: Jewish heritage, Women’s History, Popular Culture, Transportation Cohen’s confectionary, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   New Moon  Cafe (Red Top Taxi building) today (2012) photograph by Deb Ross  Annie and Barney Cohen operated the confectionary/pool hall at this location in the early 20th…

Reder House

Location: 1207 Olympia Ave NE Olympia Avenue Local Historic District   Reder House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives       Reder House today (2010), photo by Deborah Ross This house, built in 1894, is at the eastern end of Olympia Avenue, formerly Second Avenue. Its comfortable, relatively unostentatious style, is consistent with…

Reed Building

Location: 520 Washington St SE National Downtown Historic District, Local Register, Women’s History, Transportation As it appeared in about 1935 Vibert Jeffers. Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives. As the Reed Building appears today (2012), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross  The Reed Block/Thompson Apartments building was built in 1891 and named after its builder, local attorney,…

Reinhart, C.S. House

Location: 1112 Olympia Ave NE Local register, Olympia Avenue Historical District Reinhart House 1981, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional Archives   Reinhart House today (2012), photo by Deborah Ross Captain Caleb S. Reinhart (nickname “Cap”) was a son of Olympia pioneers Stephen Reinhart and Sarah Cock. He built this home in 1891, next door…

Rudkin House

Location: 1005 Olympia Ave NE Local, State and National Registers, Olympia Avenue Local Historic District Rudkin House, photo by Adah Dye about 1936, courtesy State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society   Rudkin House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross One of the largest and most imposing of the beautiful homes on Olympia Avenue,…

Sand Man Tug

Location: Swantown Marina (currently in dry dock) National, State and Local Registers, Transportation   Sand Man, 1930s, from Tug Sand Man website   Sand Man today (2013), photo by Deb Ross   The tug Sand Man is a beloved emblem of the once-robust maritime industry in Olympia. It was built in 1908 and originally hauled…

Schnably/Buckner House

Location: 1307 Brawne Street NW Local register Schnably-Buckner House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives Schnably-Buckner House today (2010) photograph courtesy of Luke Howard The Schnably-Buckner House was built around 1885. Although some records date it as late as 1903, early historian Adah Dye believed it was built before the turn of the 20th century,…

Sears Building/Site of First Presbyterian Church and Manse- Franklin St.

Location: 600 Franklin St SE Religious communities; Downtown National Historic District;  mid-Century modern First Presbyterian Church and manse, Franklin Street around 1891, Olympia Tribune Souvenir Edition, Washington State Library Sears Building in 2003,  photograph by Ed Echtle (2003) The First Presbyterian Church was the first church in Olympia, and the first Presbyterian church north of…

Security Building/site of Chambers and Swanton meat market/Mann’s Drug Store

Location: 203 E Fourth Ave. Downtown Olympia National Historical District Chambers and Swanton Meat Market photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Security Building today Photograph courtesy of “Murderbike” via Wikimedia commons Fourth Avenue has always been a hub of commercial activity. Several businesses have located at the southeast corner of Washington and Fourth, including the…

Selden’s/Site of First School/Thurston County Courthouse-Franklin Street/Daily Olympian

Location: 220 Legion Way S Schools; Religious institutions   Daily Olympian (formerly schoolhouse and courthouse) about 1900, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Selden’s Building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross The northwest corner of Legion and Franklin has one of the more complicated histories in Olympia. On this site stood the first schoolhouse…

Smith/Brown House

Location: 1710 Eastside Street SE   Several unscanned photographs of this house are stored at the Research Center of the Washington State Historical Society. To sponsor a scan, or submit your own vintage photograph, please contact us at olyhistory@gmail.com 1710 Eastside today (2012), photo by Deb Ross The house at 1710 Eastside Street was built…

St. John’s Episcopal Church (Second site)/First Baptist Church

Location: 904 Washington St SE Local Register, Women’s History, Religious Institutions; Diversity: African-Americans St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1891, photograph from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, at State Library First Baptist Church today (2012) Photo by Deb Ross St. John’s Episcopal Church is one of the oldest congregations in Washington, first organized in 1854. For a number…

Standard Oil Tank Farm/Olympia Gas Company/Mallory Coal/Rosenthal store

Location: 415 Capitol Way N Transportation; Diversity: Jewish history Olympia Gas Company, Standard Oil Tank Farm, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Location today (2012), photo by Deb Ross In the earliest years of Olympia’s history, this part of Capitol Way was waterfront. Stores and maritime businesses lined both sides of the street. Jewish…

Steele House

Location: 1010 Franklin St SE National, State, and Local registers Steele House 1968, State Library, Digital Archives collection Steele House today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly The only remaining example of a pre-statehood residence in the core of Olympia, the Alden Hatch Steele House has been saved from demolition on at least one occasion and…

State Theater/Site of Thurston County Courthouse, 4th Avenue/Burmeister saloon and residence

Location: 202 4th Ave E National Downtown Historic District; Wohleb; Popular culture;  mid-Century modern Thurston County Courthouse-4th Avenue, 1905, postcard private collection State Theatre today (2003), photo by Ed Echtle The northeast corner of Fourth and Washington was once occupied by a wooden structure built in about 1853, at a time when the center of…

Sunset Life building (Capitol Boulevard)/Site of Carlyon Racetrack and Velodrome

Location: 3138 Capitol Blvd SE Wohleb, Mid-Century Modern Velodrome at Carlyon Park, 1890-1900 Photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical  Society Sunset Life building today (2012) Photo from Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation The boundary between Olympia and Tumwater on Capitol Boulevard was not fully determined until well into the 20th century. Just before the…

Sylvester Mansion site

Location: 118 8th St SE Sylvester Mansion 1860-1870 Photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical  Society Site of Sylvester Mansion today (2012)Photo courtesy of Deb Ross Edmund Sylvester co-founded the City of Olympia and platted its downtown in 1848. At first living in a log cabin, he began building his mansion in 1857, hiring local craftsman…

Sylvester Park

Location: 615 Washington St SE National Downtown Historic District, State Register, National Register, Local Register; Women’s History Sylvester Park 1895-1904 Photo from Digital Archives Sylvester Park today (2009) Photo Courtesy of Laura Killian When Olympia founder Edmund Sylvester founded and platted the city, he was careful to include plans that would re-create the New England…

Talcott Jewelers building

Location: 420 Capitol Way S Local Register, National Downtown Historical District,  Wohleb Talcott’s Jewelers, 1964, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional Archives   Talcott’s building today (2011), photo by Deborah Ross Charles Talcott came west with his father in 1872 and immediately opened a small jewelry store, housed in a wooden building. His brothers Grant…

Temple of Justice/site of Milo Root and Quincy-Campbell Homes

Location: 415 12th Ave SW Washington State Capitol National Historic District; Diversity: African-Americans Temple of Justice, 1929, Susan Parish Photograph Collection, Digital Archives Temple of Justice today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly The Temple of Justice was the first building to be constructed on Capitol Campus following the original Wilder and White plan. It was…

Troy House

Location: 113 17th St SE Local register, South Capitol National Historic District Troy House, 1939, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives    Troy House today (2010) photograph by Deb Ross  This understated yet comfortable and elegant Queen Anne cottage was the home of Preston M. Troy, who graduated from the Olympia Collegiate Institute…

Turpin home site/Remodeled Penney’s Building

Location: 521 Capitol Way S Olympia Downtown Historical District, Diversity: Chinese heritage; mid-Century modern Peterfield Turpin house, 1891, Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State Library Site today (2012), Photo by Deborah Ross In 1879, the Bird’s Eye View of Olympia (link below) shows that Town Square, now Sylvester Park, was almost entirely surrounded by residences. The…

Union Block site/New City Hall/Safeway Store site

Location: 601 4th Ave E mid-Century modern (Safeway Building) Union Block 1894, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical Society City Hall today (2012), Photo by Matthew Kennelly The two photographs above dramatically illustrate the transformation wrought by the succession of fills that have shaped Olympia over the years. This location is between Chestnut and Cherry Streets on…

Walker Building

Location: 500 Capitol Way S Local Register, National Historic Downtown District, Wohleb Musgrove Shoe Store about 1917, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Walker Building today (2012), Photo by Matthew Kennelly Built in 1917 on one of the most important corners in downtown Olympia, the Walker Building is typical of commercial structures that were being built…

Ward Building

Location: 317 4th Ave E Local Register; Popular culture Olympia Vocational Technical Institute, from South Puget Sound Community College website Ward Building today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly The buildings leading eastward on Fourth Avenue from the core of downtown Olympia remained solidly retail-oriented up to the bridge to Swantown in the early 1900s.  In 1928…

Washington Mutual Building/Providence Academy site

Location: 825 Capitol Way SE Schools, Religious Institutions, Women’s History; mid-Century modern Providence Academy, 1943. Jeffers, Susan Parish Photograph Collections, Washington State Archives Washington Mutual Building today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross The following text is excerpted from a history of Providence from their archives website, linked below. The Sisters of Providence established Providence St. Amable Academy, Olympia,…

Washington Standard site

Location: 221 Washington Street NE (corner of Olympia and Washington) The Washington Standard Building as it appeared around 1870 photograph from Digital Archives Site today (2011), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross  John Miller Murphy, prolific, opinionated, long-lived editor of the Washington Standard, came to Olympia with his sister in 1851 and, having learned the printing trade…

Washington State Employees Credit Union first home

Location: 520 Union Ave SE mid-Century modern First home of Washington State Employees Credit Union, 1968, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives First home of Washington State Employees Credit Union today (now Secretary of State) (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly The following description of this building is taken from Michael Houser’s submission to the  “What Was…

Weatherbie House

Location: 1102 State Ave NE Local register Weatherbie House, 1937, Thurston County  Assessor’s files, Washington State Archives Southwest Region Weatherbie House now (2012), photo by Deborah Ross The George and Jessie Weatherbie house on State Avenue was built in 1925. It is an example of the bungalow style that was common in Olympia at the…

West Side Chapel

Location: 703 Rogers NW Religious communities, Schools West Side Chapel, 1961, courtesy Washington State Historical Society   West Side chapel today (2012) , photograph by Deb Ross The West Side Chapel was founded in 1891, when West Olympia was growing rapidly. It was associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a movement devoted to building…

White, William G. House

Location: 1431 11th Ave SE Local Register William White house in 1939, photo from Thurston County assessor’s records, Washington State Archives   William White house today (2010) photograph by Deb Ross  The White House at the corner of 11th Avenue and Central Street is another example of the fine Queen Anne/Eastlake style homes built in…

Winged Victory

Location: Capitol Campus Washington State Capital National Historic District; Arts and Culture Winged Victory statue in 1960s, Susan Parish Collection Washington State Archives Winged Victory today (2012) photograph by Benjamin Helle The winged victory monument on Capitol Campus, honoring those who served in World War I, was first conceived in 1919. Plans were approved in 1927,…

Woman’s Club

Location: 1002 Washington St SE National Register, State Register, Local Register, Women’s History Woman’s Club soon after completion, around 1908, Photo courtesy of Washington State Historical  Society Woman’s Club today (2012), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross Abbie (or Abby) Howard Hunt Stuart was a member of an influential group of women who set the tone of late…

Woodard House

Location: 1429 West Bay Dr NW Local register  Woodard House, about 1893, Edward Lange artist   Woodard House today (2012), photo by Deb Ross The Woodard family, consisting of Harvey and Salome Eaton Woodard and their three boys Alonzo Bixby (AB), Theodore, and Adelbert Eugene (AE), arrived in Thurston County in the early 1850s. They…

Woodruff Building (Labor Temple)

Location: 119 N Capitol Way Downtown National Historic District, Popular Culture Woodruff Block around 1891, Edward Lange etching from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891, Washington  State Library   Woodruff Block/Labor Temple today, with Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project (2011) Photo courtesy of Deb Ross The Woodruff Block was built in 1887 by local developer Sam Woodruff, a member of…

Work, William W. House

Location: 123 Rogers St NW W.W. Work house 1939, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional Archives   W.W. Work House today (2011), photo by Deborah Ross In the late 1880s, Samuel Woodruff acquired and platted a large part of West Olympia, selling off lots at reasonable prices. Rogers Street was included in the Woodruff Plat,…

Wright Building

Location: 222 4th Ave W National Downtown Historic District Parrott and Harter, Wright Building, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society   Wright building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross The Wright Building at the corner of Water Street and Fourth Avenue was constructed in 1908 and was one of the…

Yeager House

Location: 1409 10th Ave SE Local Register   No scanned vintage photo of this house is available. If you have one we can scan, or would like to sponsor the scanning of the photo linked below, please contact us at olyhistory@gmail.com   Yeager House today (2010) photograph by Deb Ross  The Yeager House on 10th Avenue…

YMCA Building

Location: 510 Franklin St SE Wohleb YMCA, date unknown between 1910 and 1920, General Photograph Collection, Digital Archives YMCA today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly The Olympia Athletic Club was founded in 1892 and operated in various locations around Olympia. By the time the first phase of this building was completed in 1910, it had…