Author Archives: Olympia Historical Society

First Airfield – 5/22/22

The Carlyon Fill in 1910-1911 added 29 blocks to the central peninsula of Olympia, adding most of what we now know as the port area. Just after the fill was completed, in May 1911, aviator Fred Wiseman piloted his tiny aircraft to make several landings in the newly filled area. The little airplane is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, as it was the first airplane to carry mail. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

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Bettman Block – 5/15/22

In 1891, the Bettman family, early merchants, built the masonry structure shown here, at 312-324 Fourth Avenue. It featured stores on the ground floor, with a hotel above. The building was damaged in the 1949 Earthquake and the second story and parapet removed. The building still exists, much altered. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

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Morning Olympian – 5/8/22

The Morning Olympian newspaper operated at the southeast corner of State and Capitol for decades. Shown here in a 1910 photo is the press room, with foreman Bob Yantis and press operators. This building was succeeded in 1930 by the current Mission-style Olympia Press Building at the same site, now home to several downtown businesses. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross, Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

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Jeffers returning from hunt – 5/1/22

Brothers Joseph and H.R. Jeffers founded a photography business in 1904, at the southeast corner of Washington Street and 5th Avenue. Their original studio is shown in this 1908 photo (it was replaced by the current Jeffers Building at the same location). Joe Jeffers and friends pose in front of the studio as they return from a hunting expedition. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Jeffers studio, 1908, Courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Kanaka Jack and Kiki – 4/24/22

“Kanaka Jack” and his wife Kiki lived on Johnson’s Point, where they maintained a woodyard and water tank for the benefit of visiting steamships. Kanaka Jack was a native of Hawaii. Before Washington became a U.S. Territory, he had worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company in what is now Dupont. Kiki was Native American. The couple’s birth names are unknown. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

unknown photographer, about 1900, Courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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James Tilton Pickett – 4/17/22

James Tilton Pickett was the son of General George Pickett, of Gettysburg infamy, and Sâkis Tiigang, a Haida woman. George Pickett was a close friend of Olympia surveyor James Tilton, a fellow Confederate sympathizer. James Tilton had care of his namesake when George left to join the Confederate army (link here for more information on James  Tilton). This photograph was taken at the time the young man was attending Union Academy in Olympia. He later attended art school and was a talented painter, but died young and in poverty. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross.

A.B. Woodard photograph, 1877, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Tumwater School – 4/10/22

Pictured here is the first Tumwater School and its students, along with principal Frank Clem and the school’s teachers. The school was located at 2nd Avenue between “D” and “C” Streets. The 45 stars on the large flag establish that the photo was taken between 1896 and 1907.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum (thank you to Don Trosper for additional information about the school). For more information see https://olympiahistory.org.

unknown photographer, 1896-1907, Courtesy State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Charles Burmeister – 4/3/22

Charles Burmeister was a well-known Olympia saloon keeper for decades. He first operated an establishment on Fourth Avenue (pictured in our July 26, 2020, Looking Back feature). He later moved to the corner of Third and Main, now State Avenue and Capitol Way. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

unknown photographer, about 1880, Courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Peterfield Turpin 3/27/22

Peterfield Turpin was an early American settler in Olympia, Washington Territory, arriving in 1858. President Buchanan appointed him to be a Land Office surveyor, and he held several other public positions throughout his long life. His home was at the northwest corner of Legion and  Capitol (then called 6th and Main), kitty-corner from Sylvester Park.  Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society, olympiahistory.org.

A.B. Woodard photograph, around 1865, Courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

 

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History of Olympia, Washington

[Captured from Wayback Machine from deleted City of Olympia website pages]

 

Native Roots

Located on the southernmost point of Puget Sound, the peninsula known as Olympia was Steh-Chass to the Coastal Salish who occupied the site for many generations before the American settlement was established.

The end of what we now know as Budd Inlet was a favorite shellfish gathering site for many Coastal Salish tribes, including the Nisqually, Duwamish and Squaxin. Potlatches, the Northwest tribal custom in which tribal leaders shared their wealth with neighboring tribal groups, were held both east and west of the Inlet near Olympia.

The falls of the Deschutes River at Tumwater called “Stehtsasamish” by the Nisqually Indians may have been occupied as a permanent village site for shellfish and salmon harvesting for 500 years or more before the coming of white settlers.

Historic photo. Frontier family in front of old growth tree

European Settlement

Peter Puget and a crew from the British Vancouver Expedition visited the site in 1792. The U.S. Exploring Expedition under Lt. Charles Wilkes came to the site in 1841 and named the waterfront bay Budd Inlet after Midshipman Thomas A. Budd, a member of that expedition.

More about Budd Inlet
A wide, navigable body of water extending north from Olympia about six miles to Boston Harbor. The inlet is shallow at its southern end and requires dredging of a channel for waterborne commerce. Budd Inlet was named by Lieutenant Commander Charles Wilkes for Thomas A. Budd acting master of the Peacock and a member of the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1841. Budd was appointed a midshipman on February 2, 1829. He resigned his commission on April 29, 1853. He rejoined the United States Navy in 1861 and was killed in action March 22, 1862, during the Civil War. In recent years, the inlet has also been called Olympia Harbor.

 

The first American settlers were Levi Lathrop Smith and Edmund Sylvester who claimed the town site in 1846, naming it Smither or Smithster (and later Smithfield), after themselves. The town was officially platted in 1850 by Sylvester, at which point it was given the name Olympia, as suggested by Isaac N. Ebey, a local resident in recognition of the view of the majestic Olympic mountains seen to the north on a clear day. Sylvester, a Maine native, laid out a town in a New England style with a town square, tree lined streets, land for schools, a Masonic Hall, and capitol grounds.

The first American settlers were Levi Lathrop Smith and Edmund Sylvester who claimed the town site in 1846, naming it Smither or Smithster (and later Smithfield), after themselves. The town was officially platted in 1850 by Sylvester, at which point it was given the name Olympia, as suggested by Isaac N. Ebey, a local resident in recognition of the view of the majestic Olympic mountains seen to the north on a clear day. Sylvester, a Maine native, laid out a town in a New England style with a town square, tree lined streets, land for schools, a Masonic Hall, and capitol grounds.

More about Edmund Sylvester
Edmund Sylvester

Edmund Sylvester is known as the founder of Olympia. A native of Eastport, Maine, Sylvester came to Oregon in 1843 at the young age of twenty-two. He remained in the Astoria-Portland area for two years but, being a native New Englander, he felt that the salt water climate would restore his ailing health. Sylvester took up a claim south of Olympia and his partner, Levi Lathrop Smith, whom he had met in Oregon, settled in what is now known as Olympia.

After Smith’s death in 1848, Sylvester, although owner of the area, did not lay out a town until his return from an ill- fated trip to the California gold fields in 1850.

Sylvester was a far-sighted man visualizing his settlement as a capital and center of timber trade although it did not reach its full potential in his lifetime. Sylvester erected the showplace of early Olympia along Capitol Way between Seventh and Eighth Streets facing the water. The home was the largest in Olympia and Sylvester’s strong-minded wife Clara hosted the first meeting of the Woman’s Club there in 1883 and housed a number of visiting suffragettes during the fight of Washington women for the right to vote. The house remained a landmark for many years but was moved in 1961 and later burned.

 

Drawn to the small peninsula as the first access to Puget Sound from the Columbia River on the Cowlitz Trail, American settlers numbered 996 in the area by 1853. Olympia welcomed the first Custom House on Puget Sound in 1851, and by 1852 was the county seat for the newly organized Thurston County.

More about Thurston County
Thurston County covers 719 square miles at the head of Budd Inlet located at the southern tip of Puget Sound.At the Cowlitz convention in 1851, delegates from the Oregon Territory north of the Columbia River — besides petitioning for a new territory — also asked for a new county to be called “Simmons” in the area then known as Lewis County. The Oregon Territorial Legislature acted on the matter by amended the bill at the request of Michael T. Simmons to memorialize Samuel R. Thurston, Oregon’s first territorial delegate to Congress. Thurston County was created on January 12, 1852. Oregon then encompasses what is now Washington. Thurston was a native of Maine, born in 1816. He attended Maine Weslyan Seminary, Dartmouth and in 1854, graduated from Bowdoin College. He later read law and was admitted to the Maine bar. After he settled for a time in Iowa, Thurston arrived in Oregon in 1847 and began his political life. With the creation of Oregon Territory in 1849, Thurston was elected its first delegate to Congress. He was an ambitious delegate pushing through the Donation Land Claim Law, working to establish mail routes and post offices, lighthouses and procuring a pension for 1812 War veterans, many of whom settled in the territory. He was an eloquent speaker and was tireless in his promotion of Oregon Territory. On his voyage home in 1851 across the Isthmus of Panama, Thurston — just 35 years old — contracted a fever. He died on the steamer California near Acapulco and was buried there. He was later reinterred in Salem, Oregon.

 

The boundaries of the new county encompassed much of what is now Western Washington, reaching from Willapa Bay northward to the Canadian border and from the Pacific Ocean to the summit of the Cascades.

In late 1852, Jefferson, Pierce, and King counties were carved out of Thurston County, and the final boundaries were set in 1877.

In the early 1850’s, as the settler population grew, ancillary businesses developed; stores, brickyards, boast builders, dry docks, hotels and services for summer visitors. Since there were only trails in this land, heavily forested to the water’s edge, the population was supported by the steamboats collectively called the Mosquito Fleet that used the Sound as a watery freeway to move mail, products and passengers.

In 1854, Daniel Bigelow – an attorney – and his wife Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow built their home in Olympia overlooking Budd Inlet (900 Glass Street, Olympia). Today it is a Museum, and it remains as one of the oldest frame buildings in the State of Washington. Visit the Bigelow House Museum website .

In the mid-1850’s, Olympia developed around the waterfront and quickly became a hub of maritime commerce. Federal officers and those seeking the opportunities of the capital flocked to the city which, at one time, boasted the largest population of any town on Puget Sound.

In the early 1850’s, as the settler population grew, ancillary businesses developed; stores, brickyards, boast builders, dry docks, hotels and services for summer visitors. Since there were only trails in this land, heavily forested to the water’s edge, the population was supported by the steamboats collectively called the Mosquito Fleet that used the Sound as a watery freeway to move mail, products and passengers.

In the mid-1850’s, Olympia developed around the waterfront and quickly became a hub of maritime commerce. Federal officers and those seeking the opportunities of the capital flocked to the city which, at one time, boasted the largest population of any town on Puget Sound.

More about Puget Sound
Early Olympia docks overlooking Puget Sound The name currently given to the whole of the inland sea of Western Washington, originally named by Captain George Vancouver of the Royal Navy in honor of Lieutenant Peter Puget. Captain Vancouver sent Lieutenant Puget and a crew to survey the lower part of the sound in May 1792. Puget and his crew spent several days visiting nearly every cove and island in the region. To honor this work, Vancouver named the part of the sound south of the Tacoma Narrows for Puget. Vancouver named the northern part of the sound Admiralty Inlet.

 

Soon after the first Americans settled Olympia in the mid-1840s, Chinese immigrants arrived in the city. Olympia’s first Chinatown was on 4th Avenue between Columbia and Main (Capitol Way) where several buildings housed a hand laundry, stores and lodging for residents.

More about Olympia's Chinatown
Locke Family

Early on, Olympia emerged as a “Locke Town.” Olympia’s Chinese residents were predominantly from the Lok family villages near the town of Seulbo in Toisan County of Guangdong Province in southern China. Most of these sojourners were male and they relied on family surname associations to provide lodging, meals and social life.

Olympia’s earliest China town was on 4th Avenue between Columbia and Main (Capitol Way) where several buildings housed a hand laundry, stores and lodging for residents.

Although there is no Chinatown in Olympia today, many descendants of the original Chinese pioneers still make their homes in the region. In 1996, Gary Locke, grandson of Suey Gum Locke, who came to Olympia in 1890 as a teenager and worked as a servant, was elected Governor of the State of Washington. He was the first Chinese American elected Governor in the United States. In 2007, Doug Mah was the first person of Chinese-American descent to be elected as Olympia’s Mayor.

 

Olympia’s first fire fighting unit, Barnes’ Hook and Ladder Brigade, was organized in the early 1850’s. Columbia Number 1, the first fire engine company to be established in Washington Territory, was formed in Olympia in 1865.

Olympia residents elected the town’s first Mayor in 1873 – William Winlock Miller. Before then, a Town President was selected annually from among the members of the Town Board.

In 1890, one year after statehood, Olympia City Marshal George Savidge was the first in City history to be officially referred to as Chief of Police. Prior to 1890, Olympia has a Town Marshall. In the years from 1889-1892, the Olympia Police Department was comprised of the chief, a captain and six patrolmen.

State of Washington Legislative Building under construction 1925

Capital of Washington State

When Washington Territory was formed in 1853, Olympia was named the provisional territorial capital by Isaac Stevens, Washington’s first territorial governor. In 1855, the designation was confirmed by the territorial legislature. Olympia’s incorporation as a Town occurred on January 28, 1859.

In 1856, the territorial legislature appointed a board of commissioners to oversee construction of a new bridge connecting downtown Olympia with the westside. Lack of funds held up the project until 1868 when Thurston County loaned the City of Olympia $1,500. The first westside bridge was built the following year.

An especially difficult blow fell when Olympia was bypassed by mainline railroads in the 1870s. City residents had to build their own line to connect with the Northern Pacific mainline at Tenino – 15 miles to the south.

Olympia’s title of capital was often contested during the early years, and Olympia townspeople fought challenges by Vancouver, Steilacoom, Seattle, Port Townsend and Tacoma for location of the seat of territorial and, later, state government.

In early 1889, Olympia resident and jeweler Charles Talcott was commissioned to create a State seal in time for the convening of the first State legislature in November of the same year. The simple round design with a copy of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington in the center and the words “The Seal of the State of Washington, 1889” is still the official seal of Washington State.

More about the State Seal
A short time before Washington became a state in 1889, a committee brought an elaborate design for a state seal to Olympia jeweller Charles Talcott and asked him to complete it in time for the meeting of the first Legislature in November of that year. The design submitted by the committee was very complicated sketch, depicting the port of Tacoma, vast wheat fields, grazing sheep and Mount Rainier. Talcott argued that the design was too complicated and would be quickly outmoded by the growth of the state. Something simple, he suggested, would be timeless. He picked up an ink bottle and drew a circle around its base. Next he placed a silver dollar in the circle and drew an inner circle. Between these circles he lettered the words, “The Seal of the State of Washington, 1889”. In the center he pasted a postage stamp bearing a picture of George Washington. The design was quickly accepted by the Legislature. But making the die from the picture of George Washington on a postage stamp was no easy task.. Under magnification the picture was poorly detailed and would have been unsatisfactory when enlarged. George Talcott was given the job of finding a suitable picture and cutting the die. After reviewing a number of pictures, he finally found what he was looking for — a color drawing of George Washington on a packing box of “Dr. D. Jaynes Cure for Coughs & Colds”! Grant Talcott did the lettering and George cut the die. Over the years, more than two dozen variations of the Talcott design were used. In 1967, Seattle graphic designer Richard Nelms was commissioned to create a new insignia. He selected a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, which was accepted and made the official State Seal by the Legislature. By law, the Secretary of State is the custodian of the Great Seal, which is attached to official documents and certificates issued by the state. The original die and press for the State Seal — now more than 100 years old — is still used by the Secretary of State to impress the seal on official state documents.

 

Washington was given statehood designation on November 11, 1889, as the forty-second (42nd) state to enter the Union.

More about Washington State
On November 11, 1889, Washington was admitted to statehood as the 42nd state of the Union by the United States Congress, with the same boundaries as at present. Washington extends from the Pacific Ocean on the west to Idaho on the east, and from Oregon on the south to the Canadian Province of British Columbia on the north. Prior to statehood, Washington was first part of Oregon Territory, and later became Washington Territory on March 2, 1853. The name Columbia was favored by residents of the Territory and was suggested in Congress by Senator Stephen A. Douglas. However, the name Washington was chosen instead to honor George Washington, the first president.

 

When Washington became a state in 1889 with Olympia as the capital, the city grew and prospered adding amenities such as an opera house, city water system, street car line, street lamps, and a new hotel to accommodate visiting legislators. State government has been housed in a series of buildings in Olympia, including the former county courthouse in downtown.

Aerial view of Olympia 1929

Twentieth Century Growth

Changes were made to the topography of the city in 1911-12, when almost 22 blocks were added to the downtown area in a gigantic dredging and filling effort to create a deep water harbor and fill the sloughs to the north and east of the city.

In 1919, the City awarded a contract to Union Bridge Company to build a more reliable bridge concrete bridge connecting downtown Olympia with the westside. The amount of the contract was $132,750.

With increased growth in state government and the economic stimulus of World War I, the city began to grow in population and development. Olympia became a center of lumber processing and the city boasted as new smokestacks went up on the waterfront. Downtown buildings were constructed and residential areas south and west of the city developed. By the time of the completion of the grand domed legislative building in 1927, the city had become a fitting setting for such an imposing structure.

An earthquake in 1949 damaged or destroyed many historic downtown buildings, which were quickly rebuilt. Today, downtown Olympia is a charming mix of historic, mid-century, and contemporary architecture.

State government grew rapidly in Olympia after World War II, but many state offices were moving to other parts of the State. A Washington State Supreme Court decision in 1954 mandated that Olympia was the seat of government and that state office headquarters must locate here.

The 1950’s ushered in construction of a new freeway through Olympia and her neighboring communities of Tumwater and Lacey. Interstate 5, which runs from the southern tip of California to the Washington State/Canadian border, is a vital transportation link for Olympia and the Puget Sound region.

In the 1960’s the time of smokestacks and plywood mills drew mostly to an end along Olympia’s waterfront when the Simpson, Georgia Pacific, and St. Regis mills closed, victims of changing markets.

Long time residents still mention the “Columbus Day” storm which hit the northwest on October 12, 1962, with seventy-eight mile per hour winds. Two people were killed in the Olympia area and extensive damage was caused to buildings and trees.

A new era began at the close of the 1960’s when The Evergreen State College was authorized by the state legislature on Cooper Point road at the site of historic Athens University, just west of the Olympia City limits. The institution has changed and enlivened the Capital City’s cultural and social climate.

Toward the end of the 20th century, Olympia experienced rapid growth as individuals and families continued to relocate to the Pacific Northwest. In 1994, the Olympia City Council adopted the City’s first Comprehensive Plan produced under the new Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA). The Forward of the 1994 Plan stated that it “reflects the realities faced by Washington’s fast growing counties and cities in attempting to find the balance between planning responsibly for our future population while preserving the qualities our residents so appreciate.”

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History of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia pages]

By Ed Echtle

Introduction

WCPA 2014For nearly 90 years, the theater on South Washington Street in Olympia has served as a hub for entertainment, public meetings and social events. Originally built as the Liberty Theater in 1924, it reopened in 1985 after an extensive renovation as the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. Throughout its history, the theater’s programming reflected changing fashions in entertainments as well as the changing fortunes of Olympia’s downtown.

Although it begun as a for-profit venture, the theater’s evolution into an anchor for Olympia’s downtown and as a key cultural space for the larger community parallels the reemergence of Olympia’s historic town center as the South Sound’s principal social space. As the Washington Center for the Performing Arts continues its mission, understanding how the vision for its creation emerged from a combination of the community’s needs and the theater’s past uses is key to understanding its significance in Olympia’s community history.


Grand Theaters for Olympia

The Liberty TheaterBy the end of WWI, movies were a booming industry in the US. In the early 1920s, Olympia had two smaller movie houses, the Rex and the Ray. The Olympia Opera House, built in 1890 on East Fourth Ave. by newspaper pioneer John Miller Murphy, was becoming a relic of the past as its earlier grandeur faded with use and time.  As 1920s audiences nationwide increasingly expected movie-going to be an elegant experience, competing entrepreneurs planned two new larger, more refined theaters to provide Olympia’s moviegoers with more luxurious facilities.

By 1924, a race was on between construction crews to see which of the two new theaters would open first.  The Zabel Family, owners of the Rex and the Ray, were behind the Capitol Theater project on 5th Avenue, designed by prolific local architect Joseph Wohleb. Nearby, the Reed-Ingham Investment Co. developed the Liberty Theater as part of a larger project that included an adjoining indoor garage to help accommodate Olympia’s increasing numbers of automobiles. Situated across Washington Street from the Hotel Olympian and less than a block from what was then the State Capitol, the Liberty Theater and Garage was poised to take advantage of the influx of people and cars that arrived for legislative sessions.

 


Family Business

The site of the new Liberty Theater was formerly the location of the Thomas Milburne Reed family home. Reed arrived in 1857 as a Wells Fargo agent, just a few years after Olympia’s founding. By the 1860s he was elected to the Washington Territorial Legislature where he served as speaker of the house in 1862-63. He later served in a number of appointed positions in Washington and Idaho Territories and won election to the legislature again in 1878-79, serving as president of the Council (Senate). Reed was also an astute businessman and developed the Reed business block adjoining his home in 1891 which housed Olympia’s post office until 1914.

By the time Reed died in 1905 his son, Mark Reed, was manager of the Simpson Timber Co. in Shelton, Washington and was married to Irene Simpson, daughter of company founder Sol G Simpson. Mark Reed also later served in the Washington State legislature during the 1910s. As his business interests expanded, he formed the Reed-Ingham investment Co in partnership with Dr. George W Ingham of Olympia. Ingham was married to Emma Reed, Mark’s sister, and was an avid local investor with interests in the South Sound oyster industry and the Olympia Knitting Mills. Among their many projects, they decided to redevelop the site of the old Reed family home on South Washington Street, adjacent to the Reed Block and increasingly surrounded by Olympia’s expanding business district.

 


Accessible Elegance

The Reed-Ingham investment Co retained Mark Purvis of Seattle as architect for the new facility. Purvis was an accomplished theater designer with decades of experience including Murphy’s 1890 Opera House. Among Purvis’ other projects were the Columbia and the Mack Theaters in Longview and Port Angeles Washington. Reed-Ingham also hired the Seattle firm of Jensen and Von Herberg to build and operate the new facility. Jensen and Von Herberg were renowned in the field of theater building, having managed construction of Liberty theaters in Portland Oregon and Seattle, as well as the Neptune, also in Seattle.

By August 1924 it was apparent the Liberty Theater would open first, beating the Capitol by nearly two months. A two-page feature in the Morning Olympian newspaper lauded the new facility’s fine interior finish and included ads placed by many of the subcontractors and suppliers congratulating the Liberty’s management and touting their own involvement in the construction of the theater.

The well-appointed theater drew lavish praise in the local press. Primary colors of the Liberty’s interior design theme were blue and bronze. Upholstered seats, a new feature in Olympia’s movie houses, offered new levels of comfort to patrons. The Liberty also installed “thick velvet carpet [that] will yield to the tread like beds of moss.” Like its counterparts in larger cities, the Liberty also employed uniformed ushers to escort patrons to their seats.

The grand opening on Saturday August 30, 1924 featured “The Last Hour” a silent melodrama, as well as five vaudeville acts and “two concerts given by premier organist Esther Stayner, from Chicago and Spokane.” The affair brought out large crowds and the opening was standing room only.

The Liberty’s managers intended Stayner’s performance to showcase their impressive Wurlitzer organ. Jensen and Von Herberg made such organs integral parts of their theater designs. The theater’s organ was equipped with two keyboards and nine “ranks” or sets of pipes. Installed by Sandy Balcom of Seattle, a large loft above the stage housed the pipes. The organist also controlled a variety of percussion instruments through the keyboard, including a glockenspiel, snare and bass drums and chimes. The organ also produced sound effects including horse-hoof beats and bird twitters to enhance the silent movie experience. Among the early performers on the Liberty’s Wurlitzer was Oliver Wallace who played for the 1924 New Year’s Eve program. Wallace went on to score several Disney studio features including Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. Together with collaborator Frank Churchill, Wallace won an Oscar in 1941 for his work on Dumbo.

Shortly after its opening, the Moore Amusement Co of Seattle assumed management of the Liberty Theater as part of a chain of Liberty Theaters in Oregon and Washington. Afterward, the Liberty settled into a routine cycle of programs, mainly movies and vaudeville acts. However, its cache as a well-appointed venue attracted other uses as well. After Roland Hartley was elected Governor, state building engineers raised concerns that the old capitol building on Legion Way and Washington Street was structurally incapable of supporting the crowds expected for the inauguration. Event planners quickly booked the nearby Liberty Theater, where Hartley took the oath of office in January 1925, beginning the theater’s decades-long career as a site for public events.

As the movie industry grew, the Fox Theater Chain acquired the Moore Amusement Co. and later merged with West Coast Theaters becoming Fox West Coast in 1929. That year, the Liberty featured On With The Show, the first ever feature-length color film with sound.

 


The Great Depression and Wartime

Theater ad replicaWhile feature films were the Liberty’s main offering, from early on, weekend matinees for children were a staple at the theater. Former Olympia Mayor Bill Jacobs recalled attending the Liberty as a child, to catch the weekly cartoon lineup billed as “Popeye Theater.” While vaudeville performances were becoming less fashionable, live performances in the theater continued in diverse forms.

One of the more unusual were the midnight “Spook Frolics” presented by performers such as “Francisco” who travelled the west coast in the 1930s and ‘40s. Francisco and similar acts did not claim to be spiritualists but managed to scare audiences with eerie sounds and visual effects, including floating tables, spirit writing, disembodied voices and invoking rapping noises throughout the theater.

Despite its role as a respite from daily life, the realities of the world intruded on moviegoers the afternoon of December 7, 1941. In later years reporter Gus Angelos recalled he and his sister, aged 10 and 11 at the time, were startled when their movie abruptly cut off and the house lights came on. Theater manager Harold Murphy took the stage and announced that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor and that all military personnel were to report to their posts immediately. “We didn’t stay for the rest of the show. We ran all the way home, and home was on the eastside of town, several miles away.”

During the war theater attendees kept abreast of wartime events through newsreels preceding feature films. In addition, the USO broadcast live musical performances from the Liberty over the radio, to entertain troops stationed nearby at Fort Lewis.

 


A New Era

As Olympia entered the postwar years, Olympia’s theater owners prepared for increased numbers of moviegoers as servicemen and women returned to civilian life. Nearby, on Fourth Avenue, a third large downtown theater, The State, opened its doors in 1949. The State sported a modern neon marquee including a large backlit reader board. The Capitol Theater also added a similar lighted marquee trimmed in neon, to advertise its offerings and present a more modern façade.

The Liberty needed refreshing to compete as well. After Wes “Mac” McDonald leased the Liberty in 1948, he invested $75,000 in upgrading the theater. McDonald was an experienced manager and owned another small movie house in Olympia, the Avalon, built in 1928. At the Liberty, workers installed updated heating and ventilation systems while the house received new burgundy damask wall coverings, flower-patterned carpet and the first “self-raising” seats installed in Washington State. McDonald also retained artist Robert Berg who added murals to the stairwells depicting scenes of tragedy and comedy described by the press as “Indo-Chinese” in style. Among the areas most improved in the upgrade was the women’s lounge including walls newly upholstered in chartreuse leatherette. The theater also took on a new name, the Olympic, as well as a new backlit marquee with a large revolving “O” in the style of the Olympia Beer brand logo.

The Olympic also continued hosting special events, as when the Washington Federation of Labor held its 54th annual convention there in 1956. United Churches of Olympia held Sunday services at the Olympic after the 1949 earthquake severely damaged their nearby church, until they dedicated a new church in 1951. Producers of the 1961 film “Ring of Fire” booked both the Olympic and the Capitol Theaters to host concurrent premier showings. Shot in Oregon and Washington, the film’s climax featured the wreck of a steam locomotive in the collapse of a high trestle across the Wynoochee River. At the conclusion of the film the cast including David Janssen, Joyce Taylor and Frank Gorshin appeared on the Olympic’s stage to greet the audience.

Despite improvements to the Olympic, its future was increasingly uncertain. American society was in transition as the automobile became central to daily life and new suburban developments took families farther from downtown. In addition, the advent of television made staying home a more appealing option for family entertainment.

New drive-in theaters in the area offered another alternative to the downtown theaters: the Sunset opened in Tumwater in 1949 and Lacey Drive-In in 1953. Drive-ins not only offered convenience, they promoted themselves as a casual, more private alternative to traditional theater going, inviting young working families to “come as you are.” That same privacy especially appealed to young adults with access to cars, who quickly adopted drive-ins as the preferred destination for romantic dates.

Since the coming of sound film, the aging Wurlitzer organ in the Olympic fell into disuse and was in need of repair and maintenance. In 1962 the Olympic theater management contacted Andy Crow to assess the instrument’s needs. Crow, an accomplished organist in the region, regularly performed at the Music Box, Roxy and Temple Theatres in Tacoma, and the Orpheum and Paramount in Seattle. Crow began maintaining the organ with the help of Les Lehne. In 1971 Andy Crow and business partner Marshall Woodbridge purchased the Olympic for their own, to protect the historic structure and the venerable organ.

 


Downtown Struggles

Olympia theaterBy the 1950s diffusion of state agencies to other cities in Washington created operational difficulties and legislators determined to reconsolidate government in the Olympia area. Washington State acquired property across Capitol Way from the legislative building and began construction of new office space on the site. In the process, the state demolished William Winlock Miller High School (known locally as Olympia High School) including its large 1000+ seat auditorium. Since its construction in 1919, the Olympia High auditorium served as the main large-capacity venue for local arts organizations and its loss left the Olympia area with no similar sized space for local productions.

While the state capitol campus was growing, the opening of the Interstate 5 freeway bypass in 1958 began a period of economic decline for Olympia’s downtown. Exacerbating the loss of drive-through tourist revenue was the closing of industries and the departure of larger “anchor stores” to new suburban shopping centers. Meanwhile, movie going became less formal and patrons dressed more casually than they had in the past. In response, movie houses no longer vied with one another to maintain their former grandeur and often deferred expensive maintenance to cut costs.

By the 1970s, new movie house design was more utilitarian, foregoing decorative refinements typical of earlier theaters. Near Lacey, a six-screen multiplex opened in 1979, close to the freeway. In 1980 the recently completed Capitol Mall on Olympia’s west side added another four-screen multiplex. The combination of easy access, abundant parking and more modern sound and projection equipment further hastened the decline of Olympia’s aging downtown movie houses, including the Olympic. Coupled with the advent of home video movie rentals, the classic movie palaces struggled to stay viable.

Owners of the State theater, the newest of the downtown venues, attempted to keep it profitable by partitioning its large auditorium into three screens and showing second-run movies at reduced prices. The Olympic and Capitol Theaters increasingly relied on special events including live performances and classic movie revivals to generate income.

 

The Movement for a Performing Arts Center

Since the loss of the Olympia High School Auditorium, local arts organizations vied for venue space. While the downtown theaters were capable of accommodating large crowds, their need to generate revenue for their owners often made their use expensive for local arts organizations with tight budgets. However, as competition from suburban movie venues and decreasing attendance caused downtown theaters to struggle for business, they became more affordable and local groups began using them more frequently.

In 1966 local arts advocates including the Olympia Fine Arts Guild (founded in 1942), along with Washington First Lady Nancy Evans, launched the Governor’s Festival of the Arts in Olympia, to bring world class artists and performers to the Capitol City and the Olympic theater served as a principle venue. Performers slated for the six-month event included the Seattle Repertory Players, the Seattle Symphony, and an appearance by actress and singer Pearl Bailey. Afterward the Governor’s Festival of the Arts became an annual event for several years, regularly utilizing the Olympic.

By 1968 local arts supporters founded a new group, Patrons of South Sound Cultural Activities (POSSCA) to take on fundraising for community arts events. As the need for a multi-purpose arts venue grew, local arts advocates also founded The Capital Area Association for the Performing Arts (CAAPA) in 1973. The driving force behind CAAPA was Vern Eke, a 1952 graduate of Olympia High School. Eke went on to earn a doctorate in performing arts at UCLA where he became an instructor. A talented musician, performer and production manager, he returned to the Olympia area in the early 1970s where he managed local productions in smaller venues including the Saint Martin College’s Abbey Theater and the Jade Room in the old Hotel Olympian.

Efforts for a new dedicated performing arts center gradually gained momentum. In response, the City of Olympia agreed to dedicate several acres of surplus land on the Westside for the project in 1976; formerly the city’s solid waste landfill. The site, located near the Black Lake Boulevard entrance to Highway 101, followed the commercial trend of outmigration from downtown. Despite the free land, many supporters found this site remote and preferred a downtown location, presaging the movement for revitalization of Olympia’s downtown.

Meanwhile, CAAPA adopted the name, “Washington Center for the Performing Arts” (WCPA) for the project to underscore their vision of the new facility as a regional venue and garner support from beyond Olympia. While CAAPA’s initial attempt to procure state support in 1977 fell short, in 1979 an endorsement from former Washington first family Dan and Nancy Evans helped persuade the legislature to approve a $1.5 million matching grant for the WCPA project.

That same year, the local architects serving as part of the Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) weighed in on the project. Founded in 1967 by the American Institute of Architects to offer growth management guidance to cities across America, R/UDAT authored its first assessment of Olympia’s increasingly vacant downtown core in 1979. In addition to their advocacy for a farmers market, new community center and the redevelopment of Percival Landing as a public space, R/UDAT urged the city to support the WCPA project as an anchor attraction for downtown.

Increasing numbers of stakeholders led the City of Olympia to create the Cultural Arts Advisory Committee (CAAC) in 1980 to steer the project. The city also hired Lynn Schrader as coordinator of CAAC which included representatives from POSSCA, CAAPA, R/UDAT and other local arts organizations. CAAC members embraced R/UDATs recommendation for a downtown site and abandoned plans for the Black Lake Boulevard location.

After an unsuccessful attempt by the city to acquire property on State Avenue, the committee turned its efforts toward repurposing an existing theater. The Olympic theater and garage, since purchased from Crow and Woodbridge by the Moyer Theater chain of Portland, seemed to offer the best combination of location and space. However, not everyone was convinced the aging Olympic could meet their needs, including former board member Lynn Brunton who later recalled, “I can remember the first time I walked through this theater and the garage, I thought, no way, this is not going to work!” In 1981 the committee hired architect Richard McCann to study the feasibility of repurposing the site. McCann, whose other projects included refits of the Orpheum in San Francisco, Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theater and the Pantages in Tacoma, endorsed the Olympic refit as the best course of action.

CAAC members also determined that operations at the new performing arts center should follow the model used by other cities and turn management over to an independent non-profit. The city made the new organization official in September of 1982, registering “Washington Center for the Performing Arts” with the Secretary of State and appointed a 9 member board.

From the outset the board was made up of people from diverse career backgrounds. Local attorney Judy Henderson served on the original board and later recalled there was a steep learning curve for the newly appointed members: “We did not know performing arts, so we went on a road trip. We went to Eugene Oregon, we went to Seattle, we went to Yakima, we studied performing arts centers and learned the business of keeping it in the black instead of the red!

By 1982 events were winding down in the Olympic. One of the last performers to take the stage was American folk singer and social justice activist Odetta, serving as an artist in residence at The Evergreen State College in 1981-82. By August the city appropriated funds to purchase the Olympic theater from the Moyers chain and passed an ordinance to sell $1.5 million in bonds to match the state’s grant. On October 12 the Olympic’s final feature showing, Das Boot, played to a small audience, most attending in honor of the theater’s closing after nearly 60 years of service.

Immediately after the movie, WCPA supporters gathered in the theater and toasted the milestone with champagne in paper cups. Organist Andy Crow entertained on the venerable Wurlitzer with a selection of standards including “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Sentimental Journey” and “Tumblin’ Tumbleweed.” In the following weeks Crow also oversaw the removal of the organ’s components to storage, to await reinstallation in the new theater.

 


Building

While demolition of the original theater interior got underway, the WCPA board began fundraising in earnest. In addition, the CAAC and the WCPA board held numerous meetings with local arts groups to determine their needs and develop an operations plan that would facilitate their use of the new theater. Meanwhile the design was taking shape. McCann enlisted acoustic experts Professor Yoichi Ando of Japan and his protégé Dennis Noson of Seattle to consult on the interior design to maximize its acoustic capabilities. WCPA was Ando’s first project in the US. He and Noson proposed an innovative trapezoidal space with hard surfaces to reflect and enhance sound from the stage. 

The facility planners were also concerned with accommodating diverse uses. McCann designed the main stage to be expandable by enabling the orchestra pit to rise to stage level. The design also included a second, smaller rehearsal/conference space connected to the main stage via a shared storage area to facilitate transfer of sets and other materials between stages. This smaller space later evolved into a public performing space, known as the “Black Box Theater.”

As excitement over the project increased among arts supporters, local advocates for historic preservation in Olympia raised concerns over the extent of alterations to the original Liberty theater facade. However, the recently formed Olympia Heritage Commission’s apprehensions were trumped by the fact that the city and architects already made most of the key design decisions and any new changes would result in delays and increased cost. In the final design, the retention of one exterior wall and several architectural elements were intended to allude to the original theater and garage, most recognizably the Liberty’s ornate oval vent ports, which became the symbol for the WCPA. In addition, plans called for the reinstallation of a WWI-era street clock donated by the Kluh Family outside WCPA’s entrance. Previously the historic clock stood for decades outside Kluh jewelers in downtown Olympia.

At the conclusion of the demolition phase, city leaders and WCPA supporters gathered in the gutted building in June 1984 for the formal groundbreaking ceremony. By then the WCPA board’s fundraising efforts passed $1.2 million, well on the way to meeting goals. The city also determined that proceeds from the sale of the surplus land in west Olympia originally proposed as the site of the WCPA be used to create an endowment fund for the new organization.

As construction continued into 1985, Robert Stewart replaced Lynn Schrader as director when Schrader departed to manage Pacific Northwest Ballet. Efforts to complete the facility ahead of its opening date accelerated as workers continued installing new fixtures up through opening day. Longtime volunteer Nancy Walsh later recalled she became involved with WCPA after she saw how much work there was yet to be done just days from opening: “I was horrified when I went inside! There was no carpet, the seats were in the lobby, and I thought, ‘I wonder if they need some help.’ So I went home and I called the number and they said, ‘sure, come on down!’”

Premiere week programs at WCPA commenced on September 28 and lasted through October 7, 1985. Programs included a diverse lineup of performers and offerings including the Olympia Symphony and Masterworks Choral Ensemble, A Salute to Olympia Schools featuring local youth musicians and performers, Olympia Chorale, Ballet Northwest, the Seattle Symphony, and the Modern Jazz Society. National acts included comedian David Brenner and the US Marine Band. Headlining the week was a premier gala and solo appearance by entertainer Ben Vereen on October 1st.

 


Down to Business

WCPA prior to exterior renovationAfter the festivities of premier week, WCPA settled into the day-to-day business of providing the local performing arts venue its supporters envisioned. While nationally famous performers remained a regular part of programming, more local organizations, including Olympia Junior Programs (OJP,) began utilizing WCPA as well. Founded in 1940, OJP introduces South Sound youth to live theater through daytime matinees in partnership with school districts and was among the number of arts organizations displaced by the loss of the Olympia High School auditorium. Harlequin Productions, founded in 1990 by Linda and Scot Whitney, called the Black Box Theater home until they acquired the nearby State theater as their permanent home in 1997.

While theater and music entertainment dominated WCPA’s programming schedule, it also hosted lectures and public meetings such as the April 1990 appearance of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall who updated the audience on her work since she achieved wide recognition through televised National Geographic documentaries. WCPA also served as a venue for major public policy forums as well. In 1989 the US Department of Fish and Wildlife scheduled a public meeting to stem the controversy over the listing of the spotted owl as an endangered species. Environmentalists and supporters of unrestricted old growth logging squared off in the WCPA to discuss the issue.

In the following years locals nostalgic for the original theater turned out to ensure historical continuity between the WCPA and its predecessor theater. In 1995 WCPA finally gathered enough funds for Andy Crow and friend Les Lehne to reinstall the theater’s historic Wurlitzer, updated with a three-keyboard console connected to 23 ranks of pipes, including many components from the 1924 original. With the organ installed, WCPA paid homage to its past by offering silent movie revivals in the late 1990s. Appreciative audiences got a taste of the silent-film era through showings of Charlie Chaplin movies including “Easy Street,” “The Tramp” and “Those Love Pangs” as well as a presentation  of DW Griffith’s “Way Down East,” and Douglas Fairbanks in “The Mark of Zorro,” accompanied by Crow on the theater’s renovated Wurlitzer.

In 2011 Staff, volunteers and supporters celebrated 25 Years of successful performances at the WCPA with a program lineup that included the return of the theater’s inaugural headliner, Ben Vereen. Longtime associates of WCPA also took the opportunity to share their favorite moments in the theater since its opening. Board member Bob Haase recounted Tony Bennett’s performance in 2002 when Bennett asked for the amplification to be switched off so he could demonstrate the exceptional acoustics of the space. Former WCPA director Tom Iovanne recalled Gregory Hines’ appearance shortly before Hines’ death in 2003. Hines’ illness was unknown to the audience at the time but he delivered a memorable performance which included inviting audience members who brought their tap shoes to join him on stage for a number.

 


New Again

Performers at the WCPA dedication 2014In recent years the WCPA facility itself showed increasingly troublesome signs of age. By 2008 its artificial stucco exterior reached the end of its service life and required replacement. Since that time the City of Olympia undertook an extensive renovation of the facility including a new brick and stone exterior. The renovation began in April 2013 with workers replacing the roof, exterior, and the original mechanical systems.

As the WCPA performing arts enters its next phase, it continues to provide the region with a world-class venue for local and nationally-known performers as well as space for community events, lectures and discussions. As of 2013, the number of community arts groups that share use of WCPA has grown to twenty-seven. A new director, Jill Barnes, took on guiding WCPA in spring, bringing her desire to facilitate even more public participation through increased interaction between visiting artists and the community.

Since the opening of the Liberty in 1924, it has been a place where Olympia residents and their friends and neighbors from around the region immersed themselves in an extraordinary diversity of arts and entertainment experiences. The community spirit that led to the creation of the WCPA still inspires the current staff, volunteers and supporters to continue that legacy through ongoing cultivation of programs that transcend the stage, firmly rooted in the community partnerships that made WCPA possible. It’s renewal helps insure it will continue serving as an important cultural anchor for Olympia’s downtown and the surrounding community for generations to come.


Sources

 
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History of Olympia Fire Department

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia pages]

The Beginning

Historic Olympia Fire Department

Olympia’s first fire fighting unit, Barnes’ Hook and Ladder Brigade, was organized in the early 1850’s. Columbia Number 1, the first fire engine company to be established in Washington Territory, was formed in Olympia in 1865. Olympia’s first salaried fireman was hired in November 1889. By 1930, the Fire Department employed nine fire fighters and an electrician.

Growing in Numbers

In 1959, the Olympia Fire Department initiated a three-platoon system to meet the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and added seven firefighters, for a total of 27. In 1968, 12 more firefighters were hired to staff the Eastside and Westside substations, which opened due to population growth and annexations, bringing the total number of firefighters to 39. In 1975, the Westside Station was closed to reassign personnel to a newly created Fire Prevention Bureau, boost staffing at the Eastside Station, and establish a Fire Mechanic’s position. The Department established the Fire Prevention Bureau to fulfill its legal obligations under the Uniform Fire Code as part of the Washington State Building Code and Standards Act. In 1978 the Westside Station was re-opened with existing staffing.

In 1987, six firefighters were hired to staff an aid unit at the Westside Station, which increased total staffing to 46. To reduce the firefighter workweek to 53 hours and comply with a change in the fair Labor Standards Act, three firefighters were hired in 1988.

Medic One

Early Medic One vehicleThe Thurston County Medic 1 System was initiated in 1974. Through an Intergovernmental agreement, the Olympia Fire Department hired six paramedic firefighters. In 1976 an additional paramedic was hired to improve the supervision of the paramedics. In 1988 an eighth paramedic was hired to comply with the reduction in work hours required by the Fair Labor Standard Act. In 1993 a ninth paramedic was hired to balance the three shifts and eliminate the need for paramedics to float. The Westside SPRINT unit was opened in 2000, and four paramedics were hired due to lengthening response times in the Northwest portion of the county. Following the earthquake, February 28, 2001, the SPRINT unit was temporarily converted to a full medic unit due to the closure of the 4th Avenue bridge. In January 2002 Medic 10 was changed from a temporary status to a permanent status and 3 additional paramedics were hired. At this time Olympia Fire Department currently employs 18 field paramedics, three of which are Paramedic Lieutenants.


OFD Today

Today, the City of Olympia Fire Department (OFD) is an all-career department with 100 members total. The department deploys four engines, one ladder truck, two medic units and a battalion unit. The engines and truck are staffed with three firefighters and an officer, while the medic units are staffed with two firefighter/paramedics. At minimum staffing, there is a full complement of 20 members on duty. OFD covers approximately 25 square miles and in 2019, responded to 13,810 calls for service.

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Chronology of Elected Officials

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia pages. Links in green typeface were in original document; links with blue typeface are provided by OHS/BH to other pages on this website (some individuals will have links to more than one page). Links in bold face indicate that an image of the official is found elsewhere on this site. Corrections to the original are shown in brackets]

Historic Headshot collage: Evans, Elwood, Steele

Olympia’s Leadership

Olympia was named the capital city of Washington Territory on November 28, 1853. Incorporation as a Town occurred on January 28, 1859 by act of the territorial legislature. In 1882, the Town of Olympia incorporated as the City of Olympia.

Olympia has changed its form of government several times. What began as a Board of Trustees became a single Mayoral election, followed by a three person Commission and finally the Council-Manager system we use today.

Historical Documents from City of Olympia Archive

 

Board of Trustees | 1859-1871

The Act of Incorporation provided that an election of officers should take place on the first Monday of April each year. Article 8, Section 1, also designated an interim Board of Trustees to serve until the first election.

Members of the interim Board of Trustees for the Town of Olympia appointed by Act of the Territorial Legislature were George A. Barnes, Joseph Cushman, Elwood Evans, T. F. (Thornton Fleming) McElroy, and James Tilton. At the first meeting of the interim Board on February 12, 1859, Cushman was appointed by his fellow trustees to serve as Chairman, and on February 24, 1859, he was elected by his fellow trustees to serve as President of the Board of Trustees until the election in April.

The first election of Town of Olympia Board of Trustees was held April 4, 1859. At the organizational meeting of the first elected Board on April 14, 1859, Elwood Evans was selected by his fellow trustees to serve as Town President for the year. George A. Barnes was selected to serve as Treasurer.

List of Town Board Presidents, 1859-1871:

Mayoral | 1872-1924

According to the City Official Directory for the Year 1904 compiled by then Clerk V. A. Milroy, the Office of Mayor was created November 11, 1873 which replaced the President of the Board position.

However, in official Town Minutes maintained by the City of Olympia Clerk’s Office, W. W. (William Winlock) Miller is shown by the Clerk as being elected “in a municipal election” to the position of “Mayor” on April 1, 1872, and again on April 7, 1873. Town Minutes for officer elections prior to 1872 refer to the position as Town Board “President,” and the appointment to that position was from within and by the Trustees.

List of Mayors, 1872-1924:

 

Commissioners | 1925-1982

On November 16, 1925 the City government was changed to a three-member elected commission composed of the Mayor (Commissioner of Public Safety), Commissioner of Finance, and Commissioner of Public Works.

The Commission originally began serving three 3-year terms. In 1950 their terms were increased to four years.

List of City Commissioners, 1925-1982

1925-1928

1929-1931

1932-1934

1935-1937

1938-1940

1941-1943

1944-1946

1947-1949

  • Ernest Mallory | Mayor, Public Safety
  • Dan L. McCaughan | Commissioner of Finance
  • W.A. Kellogg | Commissioner of Public Works

1950-1953

  • Ralph A. Swanson | Mayor, Public Safety
  • Dan L. McCaughan | Commissioner of Finance
  • *J. Ross Roberson | Commissioner of Public Works
  • J.F. (Jack) Hamilton | Commissioner of Public Works

1954-1956

  • Amanda Benek Smith | Mayor, Public Safety
  • Claude Yount | Commissioner of Finance
  • J.F. Jack Hamilton (Died 10/13/54) | Commissioner of Public Works
  • Thomas Allen | Commissioner of Public Works

1957-1960

  • Amanda Benek Smith | Mayor, Public Safety
  • *Frank McClanna | Commissioner of Finance
  • Dr. Matthew Kast | Commissioner of Finance
  • *Peter F. Skoog | Commissioner of Public Works
  • *Herbert Legg | Commissioner of Public Works
  • Clarence Shain | Commissioner of Public Works

1961-1964

  • Neil R, McKay | Mayor, Public Safety
  • Thomas Allen | Commissioner of Finance
  • Ed Krenik | Commissioner of Public Works

1965-1969

  • Neil R. McKay | Mayor, Public Safety
  • Thomas Allen | Commissioner of Finance
  • Gil Olson | Commissioner of Public Works

1970-1973

  • Thomas Allen | Mayor, Public Safety
  • George Earsley | Commissioner of Finance
  • *Gil Olson | Commissioner of Public Works
  • Keith Kisor | Commisioner of Public Works

1974-1977

  • Thomas Allen | Mayor, Public Safety
  • George Earsley | Commissioner of Finance
  • Keith Kisor | Commissioner of Public Works

1978-1981

  • Lyle Watson | Mayor, Public Safety
  • Ron Rants | Commissioner of Finance
  • Wm. Jacobs | Commissioner of Public Works

1982

  • Lyle Watson | Mayor, Public Safety
  • David Skramstad | Commissioner of Finance
  • Wm. Daley | Commissioner of Public Works
 

Council/City Manager | 1982-Present

On May 18, 1982, the voters of Olympia approved the Council-Manager form of government. A new 7-member City Council was elected on November 2, 1982 and assumed office on November 18, 1982. The first meeting of the newly elected City Council was November 23, 1982. The Mayor was selected by the Councilmembers for a two-year term in January of each even numbered year.

In 1991 the voters approved the selection of the Mayor through election by the citizens, rather than through appointment by the Council. The Mayor is elected to serve a 4-year term.

List of Mayor & Councilmembers, 1982-Present [page removed from City website in 2021]

1982-1985

  • David Skramstad | Mayor
  • Pete Knittle | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Mary Lux
  • Gilbert Carbone
  • William Daley
  • Holly Gadbaw
  • Joan Kelly

1986-1987

  • William Daley | Mayor
  • Gilbert Carbone | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Pete Knittle
  • Mary Lux
  • Holly Gadbaw
  • Joan Kelly
  • Rex Derr

1988-1989

  • Holly Gadbaw | Mayor
  • Rex Derr | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Gilbert Carbone
  • Pete Knittle
  • Mary Lux
  • William Daley
  • Cora Pinson

1990-1991

  • Rex Derr | Mayor
  • Mary Lux | Mayor Pro tem
  • Gilbert Carbone
  • Holly Gadbaw
  • Sandra Romero
  • Nina Carter
  • Cora Pinson

1992-1993

  • David Skramstad | Mayor (Resigned 3/2/93)
  • Bob Jacobs | Mayor (Appointed to replace Romero, Selected to become Mayor post resignation)
  • Mary Lux | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Rex Derr
  • Holly Gadbaw
  • Nina Carter
  • Mark Foutch
  • *Sandra Romero (Resigned 1/5/93)
  • Margaret McPhee (Appointed to replace Skramstad)

1994-1995

  • Bob Jacobs | Mayor
  • Mark Foutch | Mayor Pro tem
  • Pat Cole
  • Mary Lux
  • Holly Gadbaw
  • Margaret McPhee
  • Jeanette Hawkins

1996-1997

  • Bob Jacobs | Mayor
  • Mark Foutch | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Pat Cole
  • Laura Ware
  • Holly Gadbaw
  • Margaret McPhee
  • Jeanette Hawkins

1998-1999

  • Bob Jacobs | Mayor
  • Mark Foutch | Mayor Pro tem
  • Stan Biles
  • Laura Ware
  • Holly Gadbaw
  • Margaret McPhee
  • Jeanette Hawkins

2000-2001

  • Stan Biles |Mayor
  • Mark Foutch | Mayor Pro tem
  • Laura Ware
  • Curt Pavola
  • Holly Gadbaw
  • Margaret McPhee
  • TJ Johnson (Appointed 8/15/00 to replace McPhee)
  • Jeanette Hawkins

2002-2003

  • Stan Biles | Mayor
  • Mark Foutch | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Laura Ware
  • Curt Pavola
  • Matthew Green
  • Doug Mah
  • Jeanette Hawkins

2004-2005

  • Mark Foutch | Mayor
  • Laura Ware | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Matthew Green
  • Jeanette Hawkins
  • Joe Hyer
  • TJ Johnson
  • Doug Mah
  • Curt Pavola

2006-2007

  • Mark Foutch | Mayor
  • Laura Ware | Mayor Pro tem
  • Joe Hyer
  • TJ Johnson
  • Jeff Kingsbury
  • Doug Mah
  • Karen Messmer

2008-2009

  • Doug Mah | Mayor
  • Joe Hyer
  • Jeff Kingsbury
  • Joan Machlis (Appointed 1/7/08 to open position when Mah became Mayor)
  • Karen Messmer
  • Craig Ottavelli
  • Jeannine Roe (Elected to open position 11/24/09, replaced Machlis)
  • Rhenda Strub

2010-2011

  • Doug Mah | Mayor
  • Craig Ottavelli
  • Rhenda Strub
  • Karen Rogers
  • Stephen H. Buxbaum
  • Jeannine Roe
  • Joe Hyer (Resigned 4/10/10)
  • Steve Langer (Appointed 5/25/10 to replace Hyer)
  • Jim Cooper (Elected November 2011 to complete term)

2012-2013

  • Stephen Buxbaum | Mayor
  • Jim Cooper
  • Julie Hankins (Appointed 1/10/12 to open position when Buxbaum became Mayor)
  • Nathaniel Jones | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Steve Langer
  • Jeannine Roe
  • Karen Rogers

2014-2015

  • Stephen Buxbaum | Mayor
  • Jim Cooper
  • Julie Hankins
  • Nathaniel Jones | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Steve Langer
  • Jeannine Roe
  • Cheryl Selby 

2016-2017

  • Cheryl Selby | Mayor
  • Jim Cooper
  • Julie Hankins
  • Nathaniel Jones | Mayor Pro Tem
  • Jessica Bateman
  • Jeannine Roe
  • Clark Gilman (Appointed 1/4/16 to open position when Selby became Mayor)

2018-2019

  • Cheryl Selby | Mayor
  • Jessica Bateman | Mayor Pro Tem (2019)
  • Jim Cooper
  • Clark Gilman
  • Nathaniel Jones | Mayor Pro Tem (2018)
  • Lisa Parshley (Elected to open position, replaced Julie Hankins)
  • Renata Rollins (Elected to open position, replaced Jeanine Roe)
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Mosquito Fleet

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia pages]

What is the Mosquito Fleet?

The Mosquito Fleet was the myriad of steamboats that served the Puget Sound’s  shipping and transit needs for the more than 50 years that straddled the dawn of the 20th century. The name, so the story goes, came from a fellow in an office overlooking Elliot Bay and remarking as he observed all the boat activity that it looked like a “swarm of mosquitoes.”

In the early 1850’s, as the settler population grew, ancillary businesses developed; stores, brickyards, boat builders, dry docks, hotels and services for summer visitors. Since there were only trails in this land, heavily forested to the water’s edge, the population was supported by the steamboats collectively called the Mosquito Fleet that used the Sound as a watery freeway to move mail, products and passengers.

Steamship dining roomThe fleet was the lifeblood of the community and commerce that launched the Pacific Northwest. Steamer schedules governed daily lives, and the whistle of an approaching boat was the call to collect the mail, greet friends, or send a package. To ride on a steamboat was an occasion, a chance to visit and enjoy the leisurely, often long passage to the city. Old-timers recall the smooth, gleaming wood on the passenger cabins, the box lunches en route, and the fact that, for a child, the journey enlarged the world.

Mosquito Fleet boats preparing to deploy

About the Boats

In short, a Mosquito Fleet boat was a craft of any size that performed any required task on Puget Sound.

Mosquito Fleet boats came in all sizes

Size

The smallest was less than 40 feet long and the largest nearly 300 feet. As passenger and freight businesses grew, the boats became larger, and there came a distinction in nomenclature. Generally boats over 50 feet were called steamboats; those under that were called launches.

Routes

When they first arrived (the Beaver was the earliest to the Northwest in 1836), these boats ran all over Puget Sound and even into Canada. They simply went where they were needed. By 1880, they began to settle into regular routes, though boats changed hands and moved to different parts of Puget Sound quite often.

Steamer Fleetwood schedule

Fuel

In the beginning, they were steam powered, first by wood, later by coal, and still later by oil. There were experiments: non-steam engines boiled naptha (an idea soon abandoned) and then, more safely, were fueled with gasoline. Boilers sometimes exploded, or heat caused fires with disastrous results. 

Cargo

They fleet delivered passengers, mail, newspapers, produce, fish, eggs, bricks, shingles, brush, logs and more. Basically if there was water access and it could be loaded or towed, a Mosquito Fleet boat took care of it.

So many boats did so many different duties that it was not always possible to define a boat as a tugboat, freight boat, or passenger boat.

 

Historic steamer on Puget Sound

The End of an Era

Mosquito Fleet crewThe Mosquito Fleet era ended as customers switched their allegiance to cars and paved highways. The traditional design of the steamers were outmoded, too, as newer boats came down the ways with gasoline or diesel motors instead of steam, propellers instead of paddle wheels, and steel instead of wooden hulls. To survive, the fleet tried to adapt, the larger boats finding new life as ferries, the smaller ones as tugboats, freighters, or excursion boats. Ultimately, they did not endure. By the 1920’s, car ferries were taking over, and passenger-only patronage was declining. By the 1930s, they were gone.

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E.N. Steele

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E.N. Steele

About

E.N. Steele

E. N. (Earl) Steele was born April 19, 1881 in Altoona, Iowa, the son of John and Margaret (Newell) Steele. He married Clara Remdt of Findley, Ohio, on December 25, 1917. They had three children: Margaret Steele Everst, Richard N. Steele, and Bonnie J. Steele Lindsay.

Mr. Steele was public school teacher in Tenino, Washington in 1903-04. A lawyer, he was a member of the Washington State Bar Association engaged in private law practice in Olympia from 1904-45. He was owner and manager of the Oyster Company in Olympia, 1922-50, the Rockpoint Oyster Company at Samish Bay, Washington (1922-50), and past president of the Pacific Coast Oyster Growers Association. He authored two notable books about oysters, The Rise and Decline of the Olympia Oyster and The Immigrant (Pacific) Oyster.

In 1925, when the City of Olympia changed from a Mayor/Council form of government to the Commissioner form, Steele was elected Commissioner of Finance, a position he held until he was elected Mayor and Commissioner of Public Safety in 1932.

Steele was also elected to the Washington State Legislature as a State Senator representing the Thurston County area. Earl N. Steele died in 1968.  

More information:

The Following is the Forward to Steele’s The Immigrant Oyster. It was written by Charles R. Pollack of Seattle in 1962.

It is only occasionally that a man who starts the development of a new idea or industry, stays with it through the formative stages, meeting problems as they arise; and the fruition of his dreams in a successful industry developed; employing several hundred people; providing profits for not only those who worked with him through the trying periods of small successes, but to others later engaged in the industry; hampered by temporary obstacles and failures, to the achieved goal, such a man is the author of this book.

It has been this writer’s privilege to know the author of this book since his Pacific oyster operations started in 1924, when his company imported the first large cargo of Japanese oyster spat (seed) from the Miyagi Prefecture area of Japan. Previous small shipments of trial spat had been imported for a few preceding years prior to Messrs. Steele and Barnes taking over the program under the name of the Rock Point Oyster Company at Blanchard, Washington.

Earl Newell Steele was born in Altoona near Des Moines, Iowa, April 19, 1881; lived at Perry, Iowa, where he graduated from high school and entered the University of Iowa in 1900; graduated in law the Spring of 1903. It is a recorded fact that Steele traveled from Perry, Iowa, to Iowa City by bicycle, and mainly through his own efforts financed his schooling and graduated in law from Iowa State University in 1903.

Coming to Washington in August, 1903, Steele taught school at Tenino near Olympia for eight months, and then having passed the State Bar examination, he opened his law office at Olympia in 1904, where he practiced his profession for over forty years.

Public spirited and interested in the development of his community, he served as a Director of the Olympia Chamber of Commerce three years and its President two years; elected Olympia City Commissioner of Finance he served seven years, and was appointed Mayor to replace the Mayor who passed away; he served two years in this position; elected State Senator from Thurston County in 1932, he served four years in the Washington State Senate with very considerable distinction.

In 1907 and continuing to this date, being so close to the Oyster operations around Olympia, Steele took a great interest in the practical growing of oysters and with it the scientific development and improvement of the industry. With his summer home on Oyster Bay, the large production area for the Native Olympia Oysters, his interest which might have been called a hobby, developed with the purchase of oyster acreage into a regular profitable business side line.

Jn 1912 he was elected Secretary of the Olympia Oyster Growers Association and held that office until 1941, over 35 years. Principally through his tireless efforts the advertising of the Olympia Oyster Growers Association developed the Pacific Coast demand for these succulent bivalves to the point where the entire available production was sold each year.

On December 25, 1917, Mr. Steele married Clara Ann Remdt in Findlay, Ohio, and their three children, now grown, with families of their own, are Margaret Ann, Richard N., and Bonny Jean. Richard N. and Margaret’s husband, Marshall Hinton, now operate the Rock Point Oyster Company’s plant.

In 1930, it was through his efforts the Pacific Coast Oyster Growers Association was formed. He was president and secretary until 1945, and a Trustee for several years afterwards, as well as a valued consultant to date.

Beginning with the scientific study of the propagation of the Native Olympia Oyster and since early in 1920 pioneering the importation of Japanese transplanted oysters, now known to the trade as the Pacific Oyster, and engaging in the culture of this species for these many years, it goes without Saying that Earl Newell Steele, known to all of us as the Daddy of the Pacific Oyster Industry, after fifty five years, should have a whole book full of interest, information, and observations on oysters for the permanent record.

In 1957, the Olympia Oyster Growers Association published Steele’s book “The Rise and Decline of the Olympia Oyster”. A story of men’s lives, the life of the oyster which they cultivated, and the Olympia Oyster industry.

Personal and most agreeable contacts over the years since 1924 makes me welcome this opportunity to salute “E. N.” and I feel deeply honored to be asked to provide this foreword.

CHARLES R. POLLOCK
Seattle, May 1, 1962

The following article about E. N. Steele is reprinted from The Olympian newspaper’s Mainly About People series published in 1964.

A new chapter has been added to the long and varied career of E. N. Steele, pioneer lawyer, legislator and businessman from Thurston County.

Eighty-three year old Steele is the author of a book about Pacific Oysters – the oysters that grow from the Japanese seed he was first to import, cultivate and put on the market.

Titled The Immigrant Oyster (Ostrea Gigas), the book is published in cooperation with the Pacific Coast Oyster Growers Association Incorporated, and is being distributed now.

The Immigrant Oyster tells the story of the first planting of the Japanese seed in Bellingham’s Samish Bay 42 years ago, problems with importing the seed to the West Coast, troubles with pollution and the growth of the experiment into a profitable industry.

Steele, who also wrote The Rise and Decline of the Olympia Oyster which was published in 1957, now lives in Des Moines, but spends his summers at Rock Point Oyster Company property on Oyster Bay, where his home is located.

Just beyond the rolltop desk in the study of his home is a window that opens on to a long line of dikes protecting the company’s oyster bed.

Steele remembers when there were no dikes, and oyster growing was mostly an Indian occupation.

That was in 1903, the year the young lawyer named Steele was fresh out of the University of Minnesota and ready to make his mark in Olympia.

Steele and oysters is much a story of friendship. He tasted them, liked them, and by 1904 he was growing them on the same Toten Inlet Tidelands his home overlooks.

Young Steele was to have a colorful career in the Olympia area. In 1925 he became the first City of Olympia commissioner of finance when the city switched from the mayor-council form of government to the commission form.

He served until 1931 in this capacity, and from 1932 to 1934 he was Olympia’s mayor and commissioner of public safety.

But he will likely to be remembered primarily in government circles as the senator from Thurston County who in 1933 wrote the Steele Act. The law provided for the state’s control of liquor sales after the end of prohibition and established the State Liquor Control Board.

But oysters are his first love, and from 1933 to 1945 Steele served as the first president of the Pacific Coast Oyster Gorwers Association, comprised of the leading men in the industry.

A long-time friend, Jay Bolster, of Olympia, says Steele is probably the most widely known oyster grower in the United States.

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Caleb Reinhart

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Caleb S Reinhart

About

Caleb Reinhart
Caleb Reinhart was the son of Stephen and Sarah Reinhart, pioneers who crossed the plains in 1852 over the old Oregon Trail. He was born April 5, 1856 in Olympia, approximately ten years after the first western settlers had arrived. Mr. Reinhart died December 10, 1934 at his home in Olympia located at 1112 Olympia Avenue. He is buried in the Reinhart family plot at the Masonic Cemetary in Tumwater, WA.

Caleb Reinhart married Clara Downer, the daughter of Oregon pioneer Joseph Downer who had arrived there in 1847. Caleb and Clara Reinhart had six children, including Anna R. Stanford, a 1900 graduate of Olympia High School, long time art teacher at that school, and the paternal grandmother of Jim Stanford and Jeri Ramsey who provided this biographical information. As of 2009, five generations of Caleb and Clara’s descendents had graduated from Olympia High School.

Mr. Reinhart was a graduate of Williamette University and an attorney who worked as the chief clerk of the Washington State Supreme Court from 1891 until his death in 1934. He was Mayor of Olympia in 1899, 1900, and 1901.

He was a member of the Washington National Guard from its beginning, joining as a noncommissioned officer in Company B, then shortly thereafter promoted to lieutenant and later captain. After four years in that capacity, Company A of the National Guard was formed and Caleb Reinhart was transferred to be captain of that company. Throughout the rest of his life, he was often referred to as “Cap” Reinhart.

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William Winlock Miller

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About

The following information is reprinted from a poster on display at Olympia High School (formally dedicated as William Winlock Miller High School).

Before the establishment of Washington Territory, William Winlock Miller arrived in Olympia in 1850, with the first commission as an American official in what was then known as Oregon Territory, north of the Columbia River, or Northern Oregon.

His first duties were as customs surveryor, measuring the trade through the Nisqually docks of the British Hudson’s Bay Company for American tariffs.

Miller served as Olympia’s first directly elected mayor, as a member in the Washington Territorial Legislature, as quartermaster general in Governor Stevens’ Territorial Army, as Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Washington Territory, and as United States tax collector for the territory.

Miller was an accomplished businessman, having interests in savings and lending before banks came to the Northwest. Settlers were generally cash poor, but land collateral was considerable. Miller untimately developed vast real estate holdings throughout Western Washington.

When Washington Territory’s population was under a couple thousand and travel was by overland trails or boat, Miller raised supplies, equipment and treasury among settlers to provision the Territorial Army for the Indian Wars. For purchasing, he could only offer scrip, un-negotiated promises to pay at a later date that were ultimately authorized years later by Congress, at a discounted value of 71 cents on the dollar.

Miller’s counsel and backing were widely sought by leaders in Washington Territory. He helped in the election of many territorial leaders, including his father-in-law, Judge Obediah McFadden, who served as territorial representative to Congress.

Miller married Mary Margaret McFadden in 1869. They had two children, Winlock and Pendleton. William, Mary and Pendleton are buried at the Masonic Cemetery (in Tumwater, Washington) just off Cleveland Boulevard.

More information:

The following information is reprinted from an Olympia High School alumni directory provided to the City by Winnifred Castle Olsen, January 2009.

William Winlock Miller arrived in Olympia from Illinois in 1851 and became one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the Washington Territory. He was successful in business as well as politics, serving in the legislature and as quartermaster general to territorial Governor Isaac Stevens during the 1855-1856 Indian uprising. He was later appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs by President Buchanan. Mr. Miller’s popularity in the local community was evident when the people of Olympia elected him Mayor for two terms.

William Winlock Miller was born in Greenbury, Kentucky, January 12, 1822. He died on January 14, 1876 at the age of 54 and is buried in the Masonic Cemetary, in Tumwater, Washington.

In 1853, Mary McFadden came from Pennsylvania to the Washington Territory with her family when her father O. B. McFadden was appointed justice of the Territorial Supreme Court. She married William Winlock Miller in 1869 and raised two sons, Winlock and Pendleton. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Miller carried on and expanded the family businesses and remained active in both philanthropic and social activities. In 1906 she donated land for the first high school building in Olympia with the stipulation that it be named in honor of her husband.

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Francis Henry

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Francis Henry

Birth: January 27, 1827, Galena, Il
Death: September 27, 1893, Olympia, WA
Spouse: Eliza B. Henry (Married Yam Hill, Oregon, May 14, 1857)

About

Francis HenryBorn in Galena, Illinois, January 27, 1827, Francis Henry was the first white child born in Galena. His parents, William and Rachel (McQuigg) Henry, were natives of New York and Connecticut respectively. His father took an active part in the War of 1812, being a Lieutenant of Artillery, and was one of the first settlers of Galena in 1825, where he engaged in the mercentile business. In 1836, William Henry moved with his family to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, where he passed the remainder of his days.

Francis Henry secured his education in the old proverbial “log school house,” walking several miles to improve the simple facilities then offered by the short winter terms. His early manhood was spent in (?) 1847. He received his appointment from General Cass as a Lieutenant of the U.S. Dragoons for the Mexican War serving at the City of Mexico under General Scott. Henry was one of General Scott’s aides all through the war.

After his discharge he joined his family in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and engaged in the study of law under Judge Dunn. In 1851 started for the gold fields of California via Panama; mined at Hangtown, California, (?) and Plaserville. In 1855 he crossed the mountains to Jacksonville, Or. where he found mining profitable for a time. The discovery of gold in Eastern Washington again setting him going, but the Indian War in 1855 saved him from further disappointment. He was a member of several legislatures and two constitutional conventions 1878-1889.

More Information

The following excerpt is from Pioneer Association of the State of Washington posted on the website as part of historylink.org.

Also at the 1886 meeting (Pioneer Association meeting at Yesler’s Hall in Seattle in 1886), Francis Henry suggested that the new association gather material pertinent to the region’s history. Henry, called Olympia’s “town wit, cartoonist and writer of satirical verse” by historian Gordon Newell, authored a poem titled “The Old Settler,” which was later used by restaurateur and Pioneer Association member Ivar Haglund. It included the famous line: “I laugh at the world and its shams, as I think of my happy condition, surrounded by Acres of Clams.”

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Elwood Evans

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About

On January 28, 1859 the Washington State Territorial Legislature adopted Articles of Incorporation for the Town of Olympia, and appointed Elwood Evans to serve on a 5-person interim Town Board until the first Olympia elections were held.

The interim Board convened for its first meeting on February 12, 1859. At that meeting, Evans and fellow Trustee George A. Barnes were appointed as a Committee to draft ByLaws for the Town Board. On February 24, 1859, the committee of Barnes and Evans presented recommended ByLaws to the Town Board, which were unanimously adopted.

On April 14, 1859, Mr. Evans was appointed by the newly elected Board to a vacant position created by the resignation of William Rutledge. At that meeting, Evans was also selected by his fellow Board Trustees to serve as President of the Town Board for 1859.

Elwood Evans Resources

Northwest Illustrations Collection , Washington State University Libraries, A collection of 53 selected illustrations taken from the rare book, History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington. Elwood Evans was the main contributor to this series of volumes published in 1889, the same year Washington was granted Statehood.

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Thornton McElroy

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Thornton F. McElroy

Born: West Middletown, Pennsylvania, 1825
Died: February 4, 1885 (Buried Masonic Cemetary, Olympia)
Spouse: Sarah Elizabeth (Bates) McElroy (Married October 15, 1847, Pittsfield, Illinois)

About

T.F. McElroyStarted from Pittsfield, Illinois by ox team, date 1849. Arrival on coast at Oregon City, Oregon Territory in 1849. Incidents on way: The ox team “gave out,” the party divided and Mr. McElroy and another man (name unknown) came on to Oregon City. The original desitnation was California, where Mr. McElroy went by sea in a sailing vessel (Barque Diamond, Capt. Reynard) in October and November 1849. Companions in party: Norton Bates (brother-in-law), others unknown.

Mr. McElroy located in Thurston County in the fall of 1852; and with J. W. Wiley founded the first newspaper, The Columbian, in what is now the State of Washington.

Mr. McElroy was the first master of the first masonic lodge in Washington Territory. He was a member of the first Board of Trustees of the Town of Olympia (appointed by the Territorial Legislature, January 28, 1859), as well as its first treasurer (February to April 1859), and held the office of Mayor of Olympia (1875).

Information filed by Harry B. McElroy (only son of Thurston F. McElroy and Sarah E. McElroy), February, 1918.

More information: 

McElroy Family Papers (1847-1927), held by the University of Washington Special Collections, Manuscript Collection # 0027.

Biographical Note from the UW Special Collections website for the McElroy Family Papers:

Pioneer family.

  • Thorton Fleming McElroy, 1825-1885
  • Sara Collins McElroy, 1827-1894
  • Harry Bates McElroy, 1861-1928

Thornton McElroy joined the gold rush to California, journeyed overland by wagon train to Oregon City, OR, to work on the Oregon Spectator, was sent by Thomas Dryer to Olympia, Washington to establish and publish “The Columbian” in 1852; was Territorial printer (1863-1872), and was foreman of the “Pioneer and Democrat.”

Scope and Content of the McElroy Family Papers:

Family papers, including correspondence of Thornton F. McElroy, Washington Territorial Official; his wife, Sara Collins McElroy; and their son, Harry Bates McElroy; papers relate to an overland journey to California in 1849, the newspaper publishing and printing business in Oregon and Washington Territories, politics in Washington Territory, and social conditions in the Northwest during pioneer period: 1847-1927.

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George Barnes

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Born: Dundee (Yates County), New York
Died: November 18, 1912, Olympia, Washington.
Spouse: Mary Ann Kandle (Married July 1842)

About

George A Barnes

Started from Fort Wayne, Indiana by team, Spring of 1848. Arrival on coast: Oregon City, Oregon, Fall of 1848. Spent the winter there and then wagoned to the California mines where he stayed until November 1849 when he and his wife took ship for New Orleans via the isthmus and up the Mississippi river to Fort Wayne, Indinana. After passing the winter there, Barnes, his wife, his father, and family came across the plains to Portland, Oregon in 90 days. He arrived in Portland in August 1850 and opened a general merchandise store. In 1852, he sold out the store and came by schooner to Olympia where he continued in the merchandise store business. Later he organized the First State Bank of Olympia and erected Olympia’s first brick building. He continued in business 23 years in all, and then retired to a quiet life.

Mr. Barnes served on the first Portland Council and helped organize the Olympia (Town Board) on which he served several times as well as school boards. Mrs. Barnes was a Pioneer Hostess.

George A. Barnes was appointed to the first Town of Olympia Board of Trustees which convened for its initial meeting on February 12, 1859. At that meeting, he and fellow Trustee Elwood Evans were appointed as a Committee to draft ByLaws for the Town Board. On February 24, 1859, the committee of Barnes and Evans presented recommended ByLaws to the Town Board, which were unanimously adopted.

Mr. Barnes was elected to the Town Board in Olympia’s first general election of Trustees, April 4, 1859. By request of his fellow Trustees, he served as Chairman of the Board for one week, from April 7 – 14, 1859. On April 14, 1859, the Board conducted its first annual election of officers. Elwood Evans was appointed by the Board to serve as Town President for 1859 and George A. Barnes was appointed as Treasurer.

George A. Barnes was subsequently elected by his fellow Trustees as President, Town of Olympia Board of Trustees in 1862, 1866 to 1869, and Mayor in 1880.

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Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias – 3/20/22

Fraternal organizations were immensely popular in the latter part of the 19th century. Pictured here are Olympia members of the Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias (KoP). According to a history of the KoP, the Uniform Rank was an auxiliary of the KoP, formed during the Civil War and organized along the lines of a military unit. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org.

Unknown photographer, around 1885, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

 

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Elizabeth Ayer – 3/13/22

Pictured here is Olympia native and resident Elizabeth Ayer, the first female to graduate from the University of Washington architectural school. Ayer was responsible for several important homes in Olympia and elsewhere, including the endangered Hanson Duplex on Capitol Campus. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org.

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Black Pioneers Walking Tour

Trifold brochure produced by the City of Olympia

Olympia Area Black Pioneers

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Toone James family – 3/6/22

Pictured here is the James family, including father Toone James (Chinese name approximates to Gim Dune), his wife Nettie Chiang and their five children. Most Chinese in Olympia at the time were from Toisan in southern China. They tended oyster beds, worked in canneries, businesses, and restaurants.  Son Walter James later opened the landmark Nankin Cafe in Minneapolis in 1919. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross and Ron Locke on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Ida Smith photo, around 1900, courtesy State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Children of Joseph Conner – 2/20/22

Joseph Conner and his family arrived in Thurston County in 1852, the peak year of the Oregon Trail migration. The family settled in what is now Lacey. Joseph was killed in the Puget Sound War of 1855-1856. Pictured here are his four children, Milton, Alice, Jane, and Martha, in a studio photograph taken in the early 1900s. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Unknown photographer, early 1900s, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Bordeaux Donkey Engine – 2/13/22

The former logging community of Bordeaux, Washington, located in Capitol Forest, was founded in the late 1800s by two brothers. It grew over the years to include a hotel, school, stores, and over 1,000 residents. Logging crew members and family members are posing here in front of a donkey engine. A donkey engine was a steam-powered winch, once widely used in late 19th to and early 20th century logging operations. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org.

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Dog Show at the Armory – 2/6/22

The historic Olympia Armory is soon to be converted to a city-sponsored Creative Campus. In addition to serving the Washington National Guard, the Armory was a venue for social gatherings, sports events, and fundraisers. This photograph, taken at the 1958 Olympia Dog Fanciers Association competition, shows Frances Rice with her winning  great Dane, Long Crest March Wind. Please submit your own memories of the Armory to the Olympia Armory Storytelling Project, olympiaarmory.org. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

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Washington Standard – 1/30/22

Shown in this 1910 photo are the office and staff members of Olympia’s Washington Standard, published by John Miller Murphy. The paper espoused progressive causes such as female suffrage, abolition of slavery, temperance, and other reforms. Unlike many publishers of the time, Murphy did not consistently endorse a particular political party’s position – the paper’s motto was “Hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may.” Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

 

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1/23/22 – Clara White Dunbar

The White family, consisting of William and Margaret White and their children, were among the earliest American settlers in Washington Territory. Margaret and her three daughters later all settled within a few blocks of each other on Olympia’s east side, and were active in the community. Pictured here is Clara White Dunbar. She and her husband Rolph (or Ralph) Oregon Dunbar built the Dunbar House on Olympia Avenue, which is still in existence. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. See also White Family photographs in the Bigelow House Photograph collection. Charcoal portrait, Courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Gerry Alexander

Justice Alexander has deep Washington roots. He was born in Aberdeen, and, at an early age, moved with his family to Olympia. He attended Garfield grade school and then graduated from Olympia High School, which, at the time, was located within sight of the Temple of Justice. After receiving an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Washington, he served as a lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry, and then returned to his alma mater to earn his J.D. in 1964. He was president of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity during his final year of law school.

Alexander practiced law privately in Olympia for nine years with the firm of Parr, Baker, Alexander and Cordes. During his years in private practice he was involved in a number of bar efforts to improve the legal profession and served a term as president of the Thurston-Mason County Bar Association. Alexander served as a judge of the superior court for Thurston and Mason Counties from 1973 through 1984, and as a judge for the Court of Appeals, Division Two, from 1985 through 1994.

Justice Alexander was first elected to a seat on the Washington Supreme Court in 1994 and re-elected in 2000. Shortly thereafter, his colleagues elected him to a four-year position as chief justice, and re-elected him as chief in 2004 and again in 2008. Although Justice Alexander stepped down as chief justice in January 2011, his nine years of service in that position give him the distinction of being the longest running chief justice in the state’s history. He retired from the Supreme Court on December 31, 2011. In February 2012, he became “of counsel” to the Olympia Law Firm of Bean, Gentry, Wheeler and Peternell, limiting his practice to arbitration and mediation and consulting on appellate procedure.

Justice Alexander has been involved in legal education and served on several boards, commissions and committees advising on legal matters, including chairing the Board for Judicial Administration and serving on the Statute Law Committee of the State of Washington. He is a co-founder and board member of the Washington Courts Historical Society and co-chaired the State Capitol Furnishings Preservation Committee, to help refurbish and care for the Temple of Justice and other Capitol Group buildings. Justice Alexander has also been active in his community serving in various capacities on local charitable, religious, and civic organizations. He was active in efforts to save and preserve the 1930s era Thurston County Courthouse and served as president for the Bigelow House Preservation Association.

Justice Alexander has been designated as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Washington Law School and has been awarded a Doctor of Laws by Gonzaga University. In 2012, the Legal Foundation of Washington presented him with the Charles A. Goldmark Distinguished Service Award.

He is the proud father of three adult children and has nine grandchildren.

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Greg Griffith

Greg Griffith has worked for over 30 years in the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historical Preservation. In that timespan he has worked as the agency’s historic preservation planner and implementing the Section 106 consultation process for the built environment. He later moved into the position of Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. In that role he manages the work and programs of the Built Environment Unit and is responsible for the SHPO’s development and implementation of the Washington State Historic Plan: Getting the Future Right 2014-19. Greg is a long-time member of the Thurston County Historical Commission and in previous experience in the non-profit sector he has served the Olympia Heritage Commission, Olympia Design Review Board, the Bigelow House Preservation Association, and Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

Before arriving in Washington, Greg worked for county planning organizations in northeast Ohio and metropolitan St. Louis. He has a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University; a Masters in Historic Preservation Planning from Eastern Michigan University; and a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Miami University

 

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Ann Olson

A native Washingtonian, Ann was born in eastern Washington and raised in Tacoma. She moved to Olympia in January, 1971 and for most of those nearly 47 years has been active in the community. As her children were growing up she had a strong interest in their various activities and education volunteering with many youth programs and educational endeavors. Ann is a past state PTA president and past national PTA vice president serving on those boards over 10 years. Locally Ann co-chaired the Olympia Citizens for Schools levy campaign with Dick Pust from 1982 until 2015.

Ann’s interest in history and genealogy began at a young age when she used to draw pedigree charts of her family. Her mother’s paternal side came to the Dayton, Washington area in the early 1860’s where the first of four consecutive generations were born, Ann being the 4th. Continuing that interest, in 1974 Ann was one of the founders of the Olympia Genealogical Society where she held every elected office and twice served as president. She continues as a board member chairing the Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop held annually at the Olympia library. She is also the society’s annual Spring Seminar registrar, which she has done for a number of years.

A docent at the Governor’s Mansion since the mid 1970’s, Ann was encouraged to seek a tour guide position at the state capitol. She retired in 2011 after 17 years of providing civic

educational tours to 100’s of school children, youth and adults from around the world – a job she thoroughly enjoyed.

Ann was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Governor’s Mansion Foundation in the early 1990’s where she served as the Foundation’s historian. In 2008 Ann co-chaired the Governor’s Mansion Centennial Garden Party held on the front lawn of the mansion. Over 300 guests attended, most in period costume, including then Governor Gregoire and First Gentleman Mike. In 2015 Ann was elected treasurer of GMF and is currently serving a second term in that position.

Ann served on the committees to celebrate the centennial of the Temple of Justice in 2013, our state’s 125th birthday party in 2014 (she was in charge of the giant 3’ by 5’ cake decorated with a historical map of the state), and the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015.

A 33-year member of the local Sacajawea Chapter of the DAR, Ann is finishing her second term as registrar. She is also the chapter’s parliamentarian. She is a life member of the Pioneers of Washington and a 35 plus- year member of the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington where she is a trustee on the state board. Locally, she belongs to Olympia Chapter #4 which manages and operates the Crosby House Museum in Tumwater. She is serving her second term as president of the chapter. Chapter Daughters opened the house as part of the OHS/BHM Holiday Tour of Homes in 2015. She is part of the South Sound Historical Association as well as the group supporting the new Thurston County Journal. She has participated in the History Conferences put on by Don Trosper with the Olympia/Tumwater Foundation and, dressing in period costume, she has manned a booth at the Thurston County Through the Decades event. Ann most recently served on a group providing input to the City of Olympia officials regarding community arts, culture and heritage.

In her genealogical research, she finds she is a distant relative of the Bigelow family.

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1-16-22 – James Madison Alden view of Main Street

The watercolor reproduced here was painted in 1857 by James Madison Alden, nephew of James Alden, commander for the U.S. Coast Survey in the 1850s. It is the oldest known image of Olympia, showing Main Street (now Capitol Way) extending down to Budd Inlet. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

 

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1-9-22 – Chambers Butcher Shop

 

The extended Chambers family were among the earliest settlers in Thurston County. David and Elizabeth Chambers’ sons Andsworth and Walter set up as butchers in Olympia, with a long-running shop, pictured here, at the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Washington Street. Andsworth also served as Olympia mayor and developed the Chambers Block building at Capitol and Fourth. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Courtesy Washington State Historical Society

 

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1-2-2022 – Inaugural Ball 1941

The historic Olympia Armory is soon to be converted to a city-sponsored Creative Commons. In addition to serving the Washington National Guard since the late 1930s, the Armory was a venue for social gatherings, sports events, and fundraisers. This photo portrays Governor Langlie, his wife, and other dignitaries, at the 1941 Inaugural Ball. Please submit your own memories of the Armory to the Olympia Armory Storytelling Project, olympiaarmory.org. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

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12/26/2021 – Sylvester Mansion

 

 

Throughout 2021 we have been featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The cityscape project portrays what Sylvester Park and Olympia might have looked like through history, from the vantage point of a window high in the tower of Sylvester Mansion, overlooking the park. For this last image of the year, we show the mansion, this image captured soon after it was built around 1856.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross, Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

 

 

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12/12/21 – Hazard Stevens

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Pictured in the 1874 cityscape is Hazard Stevens. He was the son of first Washington Territorial governor, Isaac Stevens. After serving in the Civil War, Hazard returned to Olympia and became a developer and city booster. He established Cloverfields Farm on Carlyon Street, where his house still stands. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org.

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11/28/21 – Mary Ann Bigelow

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 2001 cityscape includes Mary Ann Bigelow. Mrs. Bigelow, an artist and author, was named Mother of the Year in 1964, the occasion for the above photograph with her son. The Bigelows sold their home, now the Bigelow House Museum, to the Bigelow House Historic Preservation Association, but continued to live in the home until their deaths. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross, Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org.

 

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Dixy Lee Ray – 11/21/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1972 cityscape features Dixy Lee Ray, who was elected in 1978 as Washington State’s first female governor. Ray ran as a Democrat, despite having no previous political experience, and her one term was marked by controversy as well as achievement. She is pictured in the cityscape with one of her beloved dogs, whom she always kept with her. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 1980 Photo courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Amanda Benek Smith – 11/14/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Pictured in the 1950 cityscape is Amanda Benek Smith. In 1953, Smith was elected as the first female mayor of Olympia. She oversaw several civic improvements during her tenure as mayor and was noted for her spirit of openness. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org.

Susan Parish collection, Washington State Archives

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Belle Reeves – 11/7/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from artist Robert Chamberlain’s Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Pictured in the 1933 cityscape is Washington Secretary of State Belle Reeves. First elected as Chelan legislative representative through a write-in campaign, Mrs. Reeves spent her entire career in politics, many years as the only female representative, then as the state’s first female Secretary of State. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org.

Washington State Archives, general photograph collection

 

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Thurston County Courthouse (Old State Capitol) – 10/31/21

 

 

 

 

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1899 cityscape features the beautiful building that graces the east side of Sylvester Park. It was built in 1892 to serve as the Thurston County Courthouse. It is now the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The clock tower shown in this photo burned in 1928; several turrets were lost in the 1949 earthquake. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross, Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

Jeffers photograph, State Library collection

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Spring 2022 Printing of Thurston County: Water, Woods and Prairies Now Available

Produced by the Thurston County Board of Commissioners and the Thurston County Historic Commission, and distributed by the Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum, Thurston County: Water, Woods and Prairies is a 290 page, fully illustrated volume containing essays authored by local historians about Native Americans, maritime explorers, loggers, early settlers and farmers, as well as the story of the state capital and contemporary times. The book is fully footnoted, indexed and features 250 illustrations as well as an extensive bibliography.

To order your copy, fill out the form below. If paying ahead with credit card or Paypal Account, be sure to proceed to step two.

Note: For updates to the first printing of Water, Woods and Prairies, please download this document.

Thank you for your support. Questions? Email olyhistory@gmail.com


Thurston County: Water, Woods and Prairies



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Bigelow House Photograph Collection

Seven Oars Photo—Women on beachfront holding oars with small girl. Margaret Bigelow at far right.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation., we have been able to scan over 200 items from the Bigelow House‘s collection of family photographs. Over one hundred of these have now been added to our website and convey a sense of the family, home, friendships, and daily life. Click on the following links to be taken to individually-themed webpages. Contact us if you would like more information,  higher resolution images, or other details, or if you have additional identifications or corrections. 

 

Bigelow Family
       Daniel Richardson Bigelow
       Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow
            Tirzah Bigelow
            Evaline Bigelow
            Margaret Bigelow
                  Korean Girls’ Seminary, Hawaii
            Ruth Bigelow
            Duncan Bigelow
            Ray Bigelow
            George Bigelow
                 Daniel Sylvester Bigelow
                 Mary Ann Campbell Bigelow
Bigelow House
Bigelow Garden
Pastimes
       Fun with Friends
       Boating
       Camping
The White Family
Friends and Neighbors

Bigelow House Museum Collections,  © Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information.

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Friends and Neighbors

In addition to family photos, the Bigelow family collected dozens of photographs of friends and neighbors in the form of “cartes de visite,”  a type of photographic calling card popular in the 19th century. This page shows a few of these, all Olympia area residents. Each image provides a link to the page of our Who Are We? feature where you can find out more about the person in the photo. 

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

 

 

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Korean Girls’ Seminary, Hawaii

In 1916 and 1917, Margaret Bigelow went to Honolulu, Hawaii by boat to teach at the Korean Girls’ Seminary, established by Syngman Rhee in 1916 in the Puunui area on the island.  The school was to improve the educational opportunities for the daughters particularly of those working on sugar plantations in the area. These photographs show Margaret with her students at the school and the Hawaiian area at the time.

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

 

 

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Pastimes – Camping

Many Olympia families took to campsites in the summertime for fun, recreation, and get-togethers. The images on this page show a beachfront shack that the Bigelows repaired to in the early 20th century summer. 

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Pastimes – Boating

Living close to Budd Inlet and Priest Point Park, the Bigelow family enjoyed waterfront activities.  These images are iconic snapshots of water sports that many families around Olympia enjoyed during the summer.

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Pastimes – Fun with friends

The Bigelow children enjoyed a wide variety of friends and social activities. The images on this page show some of the many get-togethers they experienced as young adults in the early 20th century. 

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Bigelow Garden

Daniel R. Bigelow claimed and was granted 160 acres under the Oregon Donation Land Law.  The property included a spring which remains flowing on the property.  Daniel and his wife established the “Bigelow Orchard” and raised a variety of crops and livestock, according to early agricultural census records.  The property had a variety of outbuildings but only one remains. The Bigelows exhibited produce at local fairs and were mentioned in early newspaper articles about their crops.  In later life Ann Elizabeth with her family were noted for the “show place” at their home which included naturalized daffodils and tulips, dahlias and especially roses.  Ann Elizabeth exhibited the prize-wining roses at the local Rose Carnival. Many of the featured photos show the family in the garden, especially during the height of the blooming season and their enjoyment of the property.

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Bigelow House

The Bigelow House, listed on local, state and national registers of historic places, was built by 1860 and is a fine example of the Carpenter Gothic style.  The house, which was restored in the 1990s, retains the signature elements of the style on the exterior.  The house interior features authentic furnishings and artwork as well as the records of the long residence of the Bigelow family.  Focused on the territorial period of Washington, the house includes elements the continued residency of the family to 2005.  The house is open to the public for docent guided tours.  The photographs in this collection, on this and other pages, show both the interior and exterior of the house and grounds over the years.

See also Bigelow House in Where Are We? feature; The Story of the Bigelow House

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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The White Family

Margaret Stewart was born in Ohio in 1819, the daughter of Ann McLaughlin (1795-1847) and Reverend William Stewart (1794-1885).  Margaret married William Nathan White in Illinois in 1835.  William Nathan White came over the Oregon Trail in 1850 and Margaret White followed in 1851.  After living in Oregon and then Chehalis area, they moved to Chambers Prairie where White was killed during the Puget Sound Indian War in 1856.  Margaret married Stephen Ruddell (1816-1891) in 1857. 

In 1871, she joined her daughter Ann Elizabeth Bigelow in calling for a Suffrage Convention and attended the Washington Territory Woman’s Suffrage Association convention in Olympia in November 1871.  The Whites had a large family:  Ann Elizabeth, William Nathan, George, Mary Ellen (Byrd), Anson, Clara (Dunbar) and John Lee.  Mrs. White had a son Rigdon after her marriage to Stephen Ruddell. Margaret and Stephen, and Margaret’s three daughters all lived in close proximity on Olympia’s East Side, and their homes are all still in existence. 

See additional photographs of the family in our Who Are We? collection, as well as locations associated with the family: Dunbar House, Byrd House, and Ruddell House

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Mary Ann Campbell Bigelow

Mary Ann Campbell Bigelow 1913-2005

Mary Ann Campbell married Daniel Sylvester Bigelow in 1935 and moved into the Bigelow House sharing it first with Margaret and then for many years with Ruth and her husband.  It was not until Ruth’s death in 1950 that the family lived in the entire house.

Mary Ann and Daniel were stewards of the historic house and were recognized with a statewide preservation award for their care in 1993.

 Mary Ann led her family to Florida as the Washington State representatives in the All America Family Search; in 1964, she was named Washington State Mother of the Year; in 1999 she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Olympia YWCA; and in 2001, she was celebrated as a Living Legend of Thurston County by the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Thurston County.

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

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Daniel Sylvester Bigelow

Daniel Sylvester Bigelow 1911-2005

Daniel Bigelow was the oldest child of George Royal and Edith Sylvester Bigelow.  He followed in the family tradition of law, graduating from the University of Washington Law School.  He worked for the State of Washington.    He married Mary Ann Campbell in 1935.  They had four sons:  George, John, David and Tim.  They lived in the Bigelow House from the time of their marriage.  Both were active in the Methodist Church. He followed his father’s interest in the YMCA.

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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George Royal Bigelow

George Royal Bigelow 1881-1961

The youngest of the D. R. and Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow family attended Tacoma High School (with Margaret) and Ohio Wesleyan University before graduating from the University of Washington Law School.  He married Edith Sylvester (1881-1973) in 1910.  They had four children. He was a long- time attorney in Olympia, including serving as the city attorney for many years.  He was a partner in the firm of Bigelow and Manier for over 50 years.  George Bigelow was very active in the Methodist Church and YMCA, including working for the Y in France in 1918-1919.  Their home was just east of the Bigelow House on Glass Avenue.

See also links at Who Are We?

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Richardson Lee (Ray) Bigelow

Richardson Lee (Ray) Bigelow 1873-1967

Ray Bigelow married Belle Knox (1878-1927) in 1900. They had one child.  Ray was working as a dairyman in 1910 and he worked at Sloan Shipyards in Olympia in World War I.  He was later an insurance agent and built the Bigelow Apartments in 1922 and continued to manage them into the 1940s.

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Ruth Bigelow

Ruth Bigelow 1860-1950

Ruth worked at the Territorial Legislature as a “Messenger” in 1879 and was attending Union Academy  also in 1879. She passed teacher exam that same year.  It is unclear if she taught locally.

She married Albert Wright (1860-1953)  in 1910 at the Bigelow House and lived her entire life there.  The Wright Family were local saddle makers.

See additional links in Who Are We?

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Duncan Jotham Bigelow

Duncan Jotham Bigelow 1871-1945

Duncan Bigelow attended the Olympia Collegiate Institute, graduating in 1892.  He later owned a large dairy farm on land near Bigelow Lake where he had an award winning herd and also farmed in South Bay.    He married Sarah Markham (1872-1965) in 1893.  Duncan Bigelow also ran unsuccessfully for Thurston County Sheriff.

See also listing in  Who Are We?

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Margaret Bigelow

Margaret Bigelow 1878 -1937

Margaret was the youngest of the Bigelow daughters.  She graduated from Tacoma High School and taught in several schools locally.  She later graduated from Ellensburg Normal School, attended Ohio Wesleyan University and later attended Columbia University and secured a Master of Arts there in 1914.  She returned to teach in Olympia and then went to Hawaii from 1916 to 1917 where she taught at the Korean Girls’ Seminary in the Honolulu area (a separate page of this Photograph Collection is devoted to her time at the Seminary). 

A musician, she gave piano lessons and was active in local music and theatrics.  Notably, she was part of the “Jubilee” at the Methodist Church in 1910 when Washington women permanently won the vote.

Margaret lived out her life in the Bigelow House.

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Evaline Bigelow

Evaline Bigelow 1858-1959

Evaline attended the Union Academy and taught in schools in several areas of western Washington before her marriage to William Bonney (1856-1945) in 1882.  Both William and Evaline were active in the Washington State Historical Society, where William was a curator. The Bonneys had two children who lived to adulthood.  Zaidee (high school teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma) and Victor (government chemist)/ Eva Bonney was Charter member of Nesika Women’s Club in Tacoma and active in the Daughters of Pioneers.

See additional photo in Who Are We? feature

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Tirzah Bigelow

Tirzah Bigelow 1855-1927

Tirzah  was the oldest of the Bigelow children.  She attended Union Academy, founded by Daniel Bigelow, and taught in the Olympia and Tacoma area.  She married the Union Academy Principal, Miller Royal (1852-3?-1910) in 1877 and they had two children–Ethel Royal Hardman and Bonnie Royal Gastra. Tirzah and Miller were later divorced and she retook her maiden name. Tirzah owned property in the Bigelow House area and is buried in the Forest Cemetery as Tirzah Bigelow.

See also Tirzah Bigelow in our Who Are We? feature

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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Daniel Richardson Bigelow

Daniel Richardson Bigelow 1824-1905

Daniel Bigelow was born in New York and graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York and read law at Harvard before coming west in 1851 via the Oregon Trail to Portland, Oregon and then north by ship to Olympia.  Active in politics, he was a member of the first Territorial Legislature of Washington in 1854, held a number of other county and territorial offices and advocated for women’s voting rights.  He married Ann Elizabeth White in 1854.  They later built the Bigelow house and reared a large family.  He was instrumental in founding the Methodist Church in Olympia and related ventures. Bigelow lived to be last survivor of the first legislature. 

See also additional images on this page in our Who Are We? feature; Searchable PDF of Bigelow materials at State Library, including Daniel Bigelow’s diary, pages from family Bible, and photographs. (Caution: large PDF file; diary is handwritten so may not be searchable) Link to State Library catalog page

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

Bigelow House Museum Collections,  © Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information.

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The Bigelow Family

The Bigelow Family

After their marriage in 1854, Daniel Richardson and Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow raised a large family at the Bigelow House. Click on individual pages in the Bigelow House Photograph Collection to see images of family members, mostly at the Bigelow House and at other important events in their lives.  There are also photos of Ann Elizabeth’s mother, father, sisters and grandfather, as well as descendants of the original settlers.

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

Bigelow House Museum Collections,  © Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information.

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Ann Elizabeth Bigelow

Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow 1836-1926

Born 1836 in Springfield, Illinois, Ann Elizabeth White traveled with her family over the Oregon Trail in 1851.  After teaching for a number of years, she married Daniel Bigelow in 1854 at her parents’ home.  Daniel and Ann Elizabeth Bigelow were stalwarts in both the Methodist Church and the local Temperance Group.  The Bigelows were both active in the Territorial women’s suffrage movement. Notably in 1871 Susan B. Anthony had dinner at the Bigelow House and declared Mrs. Bigelow “Splendid.”

After Daniel Bigelow’s death in 1905 she continued to live on in the Bigelow House until her death in 1926. She was interested in gardening and managed her own property. 

See also entry for Ann Elizabeth White in our Who Are We? feature 

Digitization and posting of these images from the Bigelow House Collection funded through the Pendleton & Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation.

©Bigelow House Museum Collections,  Copyright Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. No commercial use of images permitted. Contact olyhistory@gmail.com for rights information

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10/24/21 – Marshville Bridge

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1874 cityscape includes the Marshville Bridge, built in 1869 to connect downtown Olympia with West Olympia. In this photograph from around that time, we see the bridge in the foreground, spanning the Deschutes Estuary; downtown Olympia is in the center; and beyond, we can see the hillside home of Daniel and Ann Elizabeth Bigelow, now the Bigelow House Museum.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross, Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/

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10/10/21 – Farmer’s Market

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 2001 cityscape features the Olympia Farmers Market, near the northern tip of the Port of Olympia. The market, one of the largest in Puget Sound, was built at this location in 1996.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

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October 3, 2021 – Robert Chamberlain

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from artist Robert Chamberlain’s Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Many interesting and charming surprises are included in each cityscape. In the 1950 cityscape, a young man is seen in Sylvester Park. This is “a portrait of the artist as a young man,” Mr. Chamberlain himself as a youngster. He gave us permission to publish this updated self-portrait – made many decades later! Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/

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Margaret McKenny – 9/26/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1950 cityscape depicts Margaret McKenny in conversation with a young man who will be featured on his own account in an upcoming Looking Back. Miss McKenny grew up in Olympia and in her adulthood became a world-renowned mushroom expert, naturalist, and environmental advocate. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

1962 photograph, The Olympian collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Josephine Corliss Preston – 9/19/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In the 1933 cityscape we see the Old State Capitol Building, which had recently been repurposed to the house the Superintendent of Public Instruction after the Legislative Building was completed in 1926. Pictured revisiting her old haunts is Josephine Corliss Preston, former superintendent from 1913-1929, and the first woman elected to office in Washington State.    Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

Superintendent of Public Instruction Election Pamphlet, 1915

 

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Olympia Opera House – 9/12/2021

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. At the far right of the 1899 cityscape is the Olympia Opera House, built in 1890 by publisher John Miller Murphy. Over its short 35 year life, it hosted national celebrities such as Mark Twain, and many local productions.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

Olympia Opera House, State Library photograph collection, Washington State Archives, about 1890

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Capitol Center building – 9/5/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Shown in the distance of the 1972 cityscape is the Capitol Center Building, erected in 1966. The building was the feather in local architect G. Stacey Bennett’s cap. It featured cutting edge modernism with its glass curtain effect, termed the Miesian style, after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It has been rehabilitated and remodeled as the Views on Fifth apartment building. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

late 1960s photo, courtesy Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

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Mother Joseph – 8/29/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1899 cityscape includes an elderly Mother Joseph visiting St. Peter’s Hospital, one of the many schools and hospitals that her order, the Sisters of Providence, built during her long tenure in the Pacific Northwest. Mother Joseph is honored with statues in our Legislative Building and the U.S. Senate Statuary Hall.  For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

Courtesy Providence archives

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Isaac Ellis – 8/22/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1874 cityscape includes Isaac (Ike) Ellis. Ellis was a noted and successful lumberman, establishing efficient logging and milling operations throughout Puget Sound. Later in his life, he invested in a short-lived racetrack in what is now Lacey.  For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/.

Unknown photographer, 1860-1880, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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George Bush – 8/15/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1856 cityscape includes George Bush, early American settler. He and the Simmons party arrived first in Oregon Territory; but as a mixed race man, Bush was not welcome there. The party proceeded north to what is now Tumwater, where Bush and his wife Isabella helped countless fellow settlers to establish their homesteads. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information see. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Heritage Fountain – 8/8/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 2001 cityscape includes the popular Heritage Fountain, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The property was acquired by the city, with the fountain donated by a generous family. It was dedicated in 1996 and is one of the few public recreational water features in our city. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

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Joyce Simmons Cheeka – 8/1/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1972 cityscape includes Joyce Simmons Cheeka, Squaxin Island Tribe activist. Mrs. Cheeka was trained as a Rememberer, responsible for preserving and celebrating her tribal culture.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

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5th Avenue dam construction – 7/24/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1950 cityscape features construction of the Fifth Avenue dam and bridge to create Capitol Lake. In this photo from 1949 we can see the project from the vantage point of the Fourth Avenue Bridge. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/.

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Hotel Olympian – 7/18/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. When the state acquired the Old State Capitol Building and moved the seat of government to downtown Olympia, it was apparent that downtown accommodations were inadequate to house all of the legislators, lobbyists and others during legislative session. After much delay, the elegant five-story Hotel Olympian, pictured in the 1933 cityscape, was completed in 1920, directly to the north of Sylvester Park. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1933-2/6/27/21

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S.S. Beaver – 7/11/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The S.S. Beaver, pictured in the 1856 cityscape, was the first steam-operated vessel in Puget Sound. She was owned by the British Hudson’s Bay Company and plied the waters of our sound and all the way to Alaska, until she foundered in 1888. The Vancouver (B.C.) Maritime Museum has a display with several of her salvaged parts. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Bicycles – 7/4/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1899 cityscape features a bicycle parade around the grounds of Sylvester Park. Bicycling was all the rage in the last years of the 19th century. Pictured here are Olympia’s Robert Blankenship and another unidentified man with their “wheels,” including a high-wheeled pennyfarthing, already going out of style when the photo was taken.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

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Bertha Eugley – 6/27/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In the 1899 cityscape we see Bertha Eugley in front of her millinery (hat) store on 6th Avenue (now Legion). Late nineteenth century women would not dream of going out in public without a hat, and Mrs. Eugley made sure that those who could afford it had the opportunity to sport her latest, elaborate creations. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

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Anna Conner Hartsuck – 6/20/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1874 cityscape includes Anna Conner Hartsuck, a so-called “Mercer Girl,” brought to the Pacific Northwest in the 1860s to remedy a deficit of eligible brides. The Mercer Girls story inspired the TV series “Here Come the Brides.” Anna married Mark Hartsuck and was a prominent member of Olympia society.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/

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Clara Sylvester – 6/13/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1856 cityscape depicts Clara Pottle Sylvester with her husband, Olympia’s co-founder Edmund Sylvester, pointing out their new home, then under construction. Clara arrived in Olympia as a newlywed in 1854. She was an ardent supporter of women’s suffrage and helped establish the Woman’s Club, one of the first on the West Coast.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Bulletin – 6/1/21

June 1, 2021      
 

To all our very valued Bulletin recipients,

Due to increasing personal time constraints, I am reluctantly stepping away from writing the Bulletin. My association with OHS-BHM has been one of the most enlightening experiences I have had, with both the Bulletin and my repair and restoration work on the Bigelow House Museum. I am not going away entirely; the Society’s Interior Design expert David Goularte and I have some restoration in the works for Bigelow House. You won’t want to miss the new look when Bigelow House Museum reopens, probably in 2022!
 
And finally, it is with great humility that I pass on the following  statement from OHS/BHM Board President Greg Alexander:
 
“With this last edition, I want to thank David Ponta for his work over the past 5 years dedicated to researching, composing, and posting of the Bulletin. During this time, David has volunteered his valuable time to provide you, our Olympia Historical Society-Bigelow House Museum (OHS-BHM) members, with timely information on programs and events related to heritage, culture, and the arts taking place in the South Sound region. Like you, I have found the Bulletin to be a great source of information and a valued benefit of OHS-BHM membership conveniently delivered to my email in-box. With David’s decision to devote more time to his other interests, OHS-BHM board members will explore in the near future, options for continuing the Bulletin with a new editor and/or format.”
 
Thanks Greg.
 
Join us in exploring, preserving and promoting Olympia’s history. We are a non-profit membership-based organization 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 the oldest residence in Olympia, Washington, and one of the earliest still standing in the Pacific Northwest.
 
The Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum is now selling a limited number of a wonderful book about local maritime heritage: Tugs and Other Hard-Working Vessels of Puget Sound:  A Scrapbook from the Earlier Days, by Olympia native and naval architect and marine engineer, the late Norman R.  Knutsen.  The book is being made available through the generosity of the Knutsen Family.  The softbound, 345 page book, is extensively illustrated, including many rare images of Olympia maritime history.  The book, with the net proceeds benefitting the Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum, is available by mail only with credit or debit card or PayPal account, and sells for $48.08 including postage, handling and sales tax.  To order your copy, click Here. Note that although this takes you to PayPal, a PayPal account not required for purchase!
 

We would love you to shop local, but if you do happen to be shopping on line, please consider clicking on the Amazon Smile logo and designating us as the beneficiary of this program, where a percentage of your purchase will go to support our programs. We also partner with Fred Meyer, and Ralph’s/Bayview Thriftway charitable donation programs. Click on any of the links provided here to be taken to their donation pages. 
THANK YOU!!!
_______________________________________________________________
 
Many Voices – A Resource Guide.
 
In response to the many requests Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum has received over the years for resources to study the local history of communities which have often been overlooked, we have put together an in depth collection of online materials focusing on such groups. Ranging from general information to sites focusing on communities of color, of Asian ancestry, Indigenous peoples and places, Latinx, Pacific Islanders, and the LGBTQ+, this work in progress is brimming with fascinating, enlightening information and research materials. These resources may be accessed at HereYOUR INPUT IS WELCOME AND ESSENTIAL TO THIS PROCESS! If you have any suggestions, please submit them to mailto:olyhistory@gmail.com.
______________________________________________________________
 

Welcome Poet Laureate Ashly McBunch

“I feel the healing power of words are unmistakable.  We, as individuals, have a human sense of duty within our professional and personal circles to use this power to sculpt bridges.  Bridges that connect one Olympian citizen to the next, to see each other as we see ourselves.”
 
Ashly McBunch was recently appointed to the position of Poet Laureate by the Olympia City Council. During their two year term, McBunch plans to encourage the voices of others through the Poet Laureate platform: “The audience will be inclusive and diverse to show the beauty behind groups not often seen and voices not often heard. It will be about promoting and expansion and provide a safe space for everyone to find peace through expression.” McBunch’s term extends from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2023. They can be reached at poetlaureate@ci.olympia.wa.us.
 
About the Poet Laureate Program
 
Every two years the City of Olympia selects a Poet Laureate to engage our entire community in the literary arts. Olympia’s take on the position of Poet Laureate is less an honorary title and more about service over status. Duties include: promoting poetry as an art form, expanding access to the literary arts, and encouraging poetry as a community voice that contributes to a sense of place. Olympia’s next Poet Laureate is called specifically to utilize the power of poetry and language to contribute insight, foster understanding and support healing around issues of equity and inclusion in our community.
______________________________________________________________
  • May 28 – June 11. Lacey Museum – History Scavenger Hunt.

 

Come explore the Lacey Train Depot and Woodland Creek Community Park and search for markers highlighting historical places and people, and learn some fun facts about the area’s history along the way! The scavenger hunt starts at the parking lot across from the Lacey Train Depot where you’ll find directions and clues for all of the scavenger hunt markers, attached to the new museum sign. Find some historical places and people at the Lacey Train Depot, then head over to Woodland Creek Community Park to continue the search! Participants who find all 10 markers can pick up a goody bag at the Parks, Culture, and Recreation counter at City Hall during public hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Download the Scavenger Hunt DirectionsScavenger Hunt Clue Sheet, the Woodland Creek Community Park Scavenger Hunt Boundary Map, and the Scavenger Hunt Map to get started!

  • June 1, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Gig Harbor History Museum Literary Society ZOOM event: Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes.

 


 

Join the Gig Harbor Museum Literary Society for a discussion of Kelli Estes’ second novel which interweaves the stories of two women from different time periods. Today We Go Home features Larkin Bennett, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who is faced with the gutting experience of losing her closest friend from her unit. Struggling to heal, Bennett discovers an unexpected treasure – the diary of Emily Wilson, a young woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for the Union in the Civil War. Bennet finds herself drawn deeply into Wilson’s life and the secrets she kept. Estes grew up in the dry lands of Eastern Washington and Arizona and now lives in the Seattle area. For questions, please contact Cindy Hackett at cynthia.hale.hackett@gmail.com . Click Here to register for this event, visit Here for more information.

  • June 4, 6:30PM – 8:00PM. Lacey Veterans Service Hub: Mayor’s Virtual Gala and Fundraiser. 

Join Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder for a virtual evening of fun and fundraising, including guest speakers, raffle prizes, a premier video tour of the newly remodeled Lacey Veterans Services Hub, and more! There are 32,000 Veterans living in Thurston County, and the Lacey Veterans Service Hub provides local access to vital programs and services. Proceeds from the Lacey Mayor’s Gala will go to the Lacey Veterans Services Hub to support their programs and services which directly benefit our local Veterans and their families, including:
 
VA Benefits, Housing and Nutrition
Education, Employment and Training
Counseling, Peer-to-Peer Support
Financial and Legal Aid
 
Register and purchase raffle tickets at http://ci.lacey.wa.us/2021-mayors-gala. Prizes include:
 
Alderbrook Resort & Spa – Enjoy your choice of lodging, dining, and spa services – Value $1,000
Glacier Aviation Helicopter Tour – One-hour flight for two – Value $600
Mystic Journey’s Sunset Tour – Three-hour sunset boat cruise for up to 6 people – Value $450
 
For more information, contact City of Lacey Public Affairs at 360-491-3214, or email  PublicAffairs@ci.lacey.wa.us

  • June 5, 1:00PM – 4:00PM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Heritage Skills Workshop – 19th Century Cosmetics.

 


 
Fort Interpreter Elizabeth, of Beth’s Bobbins Blog, will demonstrate how to make up your own 19th century makeup! Using historic recipes and materials found in your local grocery or garden participants will create:
 
Cold Cream (skin care)
Hungary Water (perfume and base for other cosmetics)
Spanish Rouge (coloring agent)
Pomatum (styling aid)
Burnt Cloves* (coloring agent)
 
Elizabeth will also be demonstrating the process of steam distillation to extract the “essence” of different herbs and flowers using a period still. Some supplies will be included. This event is taking place at Fort Nisqually, 5519 Five Mile Dr., Tacoma. For more information and to register, visit Here.

  • June 10, 6:00PM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort from Home – Puget Sound Treaty War Panel.
The Puget Sound Treaty War Panel series resumes on Thursday, June 10th, 2021. The conversation will focus on the era leading up to, and include, the signing of the Medicine Creek Treaty. The Puget Sound Treaty War (1855-1866) was the result of contested terms of the Medicine Creek Treaty, negotiated by Governor Isaac Stevens. The treaty, the first of several consecutive treaties negotiated by Stevens in quick succession, sought the relocation of local tribes to reservations in exchange for cash payments and the preservation of hunting and fishing rights. The treaty became a catalyst for the conflict. The Treaty War remains central to Puget Sound history. This free program brings together a panel of historians to discuss the experiences and effects of these events. With representatives from Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin Island and Muckleshoot Tribes, as well as Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, the panel offers a new dialogue among diverse communities impacted by the War and its aftermath.
 
Panelists will include:
 
Brandon Reynon, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Puyallup Tribe
Danny Marshall, Chairperson, Steilacoom Indian Tribe
Jerry Eckrom, Historian, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
Nettsie Bullchild, Nisqually Tribe Archives/Tribal Historic Preservation Office Director, Nisqually Tribe
Warren KingGeorge, Historian, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
 
This panel will be moderated by Jennifer Ott, Assistant Director, HistoryLink.org.
In advance of the panel, we encourage you to learn more about participating Tribes by visiting their websites:
 
Muckleshoot Tribe: https://www.npaihb.org/member-tribes/muckleshoot-tribe
Nisqually Tribe: http://www.nisqually-nsn.gov
Puyaləpabš (Puyallup): http://www.puyallup-tribe.com/ourtribe
Steilacoom Tribe: http://steilacoomtribe.blogspot.com/2009/01/history.html
Squaxin Island Tribe: https://squaxinisland.org
  • June 10, 6:00PM – 7:30PM. Washington State Historical Society– Crossing Boundaries; Portraits of a Transgender West.
 
 
Join WSHS for an immersive discussion surrounding the original exhibition Crossing Boundaries: Portraits of a Transgender West with curator Peter Boag, Professor and Columbia Chair in History of the American West at Washington State University, and author of Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past. As Americans moved across the country to create new lives, some also used the opportunity to establish their authentic selves. Boag discusses his quest to find the history of those who changed their assigned genders when moving west, and how they were written out of American history. Washington State Historical Society’s Lead Curator Gwen Whiting will also discuss the materials used in the exhibition in order to illustrate these underrepresented stories.This program will be livestreamed on Facebook, but you do not need to have a Facebook account, nor to sign in to Facebook, to see it. The live program is viewable for everyone. Click Watch Here to see the program when it begins at 6 PM on June 10, 2021. (Note: At this link, you can also see archived videos from the other public programs WSHS has  presented during the past year.) This program is free, and open to all ages. For more information visit Here The exhibition Crossing Boundaries is on view at the Washington State History Museum from May 29 through December 12, 2021.

  • June 10, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM. Gig Harbor History Museum Literary Society ZOOM Event: Thunderbird Film Preview and Discussion.
 
Eric Lindal will preview his new film on the history of the Thunderbird sailboat and what makes this boat so exciting and sought-after. Designed in Seattle in 1958 and named Thunderbird 26, it has an almost cult-like status among sailors and boat lovers. This virtual presentation will be hosted by the Museum’s  Executive Director, Stephanie Lile. To participate and receive a link to this fascinating presentation, you may  email Robin Harrison at operations@harborhistorymuseum.org.
  • June 13, 2:00 PM. Historic Fort Steilacoom Virtual Event – The Pig War of 1859.

Join the Fort for an online talk by historian and author Mike Vouri about the Pig War of 1859 in Washington Territory. Long before the San Juan Islands were a vacation destination, they were the focus of an international crisis ignited by an unlikely incident: The shooting of a pig in a potato patch. Mike Vouri is the author of five books about national, state and regional history, including The Pig War: Stand-off at Griffin Bay. In order to sign up for this free event, visit Everbrite.

  • June 14, 7:00 PM. Tacoma Historical Society – Homewaters Author Interview.
 
 
Join THS  for their June virtual meeting, as the Society’s Communications Manager Kim Davenport interviews David B. Williams, author of the new book Homewaters
Not far from Seattle skyscrapers live 150-year-old clams, more than 250 species of fish, and underwater kelp forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. For millennia, vibrant Coast Salish communities have lived beside these waters dense with nutrient-rich foods, with cultures intertwined through exchanges across the waterways. Transformed by settlement and resource extraction, Puget Sound and its future health now depend on a better understanding of the region’s ecological complexities. Focusing on the area south of Port Townsend and between the Cascade and Olympic mountains, Williams uncovers human and natural histories in, on, and around the Sound. In conversations with archaeologists, biologists, and tribal authorities, Williams traces how generations of humans have interacted with such species as geoducks, salmon, orcas, rockfish, and herring. He sheds light on how warfare shaped development and how people have moved across this maritime highway, in canoes, the mosquito fleet, and today’s ferry system. The book also takes an unflinching look at how the Sound’s ecosystems have suffered from human behavior, including pollution, habitat destruction, and the effects of climate change. Tune in on the THS  YouTube Channel, or on their Facebook page to watch.
  • June 17, 7:00PM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort from Home Nightcap – Medical Treatments and Remedies of the 19th Century.
 
 
Victorian medicine was a unique mix of old beliefs and scientific discovery. Dr. Tolmie, Fort Nisqually’s Chief Factor and a practicing Doctor, joined his contemporaries in applying both approaches in his treatments and remedies. Join Fort Nisqually Curator, Caitlin, for Fort from Home Nightcap: Medical Treatments and Remedies of the 19th Century. Visit Register Now to sign up.
  • June 19, 10:00AM – 5:00PM. Washington State Historical Society– Honoring Juneteenth.
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger proclaimed the end of slavery in the state of Texas, two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Variously referred to as Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Jubilee Day, June 19 is celebrated in most major cities in the United States on varying levels. Washington State Historical Society encourages you to join in the acknowledgement of this vital date  with their many partners who preserve the history of Black Americans and  Washingtonians, including:
 
The Black Heritage Society of Washington State
BlackPast.org
The Buffalo Soldiers Museum
Northwest African American Museum
 
You can also connect with more Black arts and heritage organizations in our state through the Artist Trust website.
 
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture offers several blogposts about the legacy and celebration of Juneteenth, including these selections:
 
The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth | National Museum of African American History and Culture (si.edu)
Celebrating Juneteenth | National Museum of African American History and Culture (si.edu)
 
 And below are some comprehensive lists of books and reading materials regarding Juneteenth:
 
10 Books to Celebrate Juneteenth No Matter Your Age — Black & Bookish (blackandbookish.com)
Books to Read for Juneteenth, as Recommended by DC’s Black Educators (msn.com)
9 Books About Juneteenth We Recommend for Parents and Their Kids – Age of Learning Age of Learning
 
  • June 26, 11:00AM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort from Home – Victorian Cooking; Let’s Get Saucy! 
 
 
Fort from Home Victorian Cooking is a monthly series that resents demonstrations of historical recipes, presents historical food research, and provides tips on how to adapt Victorian cooking to a modern kitchen. This month, Fort Interpreter Lawrence, aka Thornhill, will share his top receipts for Victorian era sauces. Bring your kitchen queries: Questions are encouraged throughout the session (via text chat)!  Visit Register Now to sign up.
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Barbara O’Neill – 6/6/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Barbara O’Neill, pictured in the 2001 cityscape, was a commanding presence in our area for many years. While operating a soul food restaurant on Fourth Avenue, she instituted a practice of providing free holiday meals for those in need. The tradition continued after her death, with the annual Barb’s Family and Friends program, led by her children and numerous volunteers and supporters. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

 

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Memorial Clinic – 5/23/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1950 cityscape begins to include some of downtown Olympia’s iconic mid-Century architecture. The Memorial Clinic just east of the Fourth Avenue bridge, designed in 1948 by father-son team Joseph and Robert Wohleb, was an innovative concept at the time, grouping several physicians and specialties under one roof. The building was demolished in 2015.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/

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Security Building – 5/16/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The Security Building on Fourth Avenue, pictured in the 1933 cityscape, was Olympia’s first “skyscraper,” at five stories! The building features elaborate rosettes and pineapple motifs, a variety of rare stones, and mahogany woodwork throughout. Built on pilings that extended 60 feet deep, the building survived both the 1949 and the 2001 earthquakes. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1933-2/

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Trolleys – 5/9/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1899 cityscape shows one of Olympia’s five yellow trolleys proceeding southward on Main Street (now Capitol Way). The trolley system was electrified in 1892, with power supplied by the hydroelectric plant at Deschutes Falls. The system ran until 1933; a remnant exists in the form of a trolley pole at 11th and Capitol. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

 

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First Congregational Church – 5/2/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Religious communities have always played an important role in the life of our residents. First Congregational church, pictured here at its first location on 9th and Capitol (out of view in the 1874 cityscape), was the fifth church to be organized in Olympia. The congregation still exists, part of the federated United Churches of Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. 

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Washington Center – 4/18/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The site of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts has been an entertainment mecca since the 1920s, beginning with the Liberty movie theater. As suburban multiplexes spelled the slow demise of downtown cinema venues, the city of Olympia teamed up with the state to develop the current entertainment complex. The cityscape for 2001 features the center as it appeared before its much-needed facelift in 2014. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

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Bulletin – 5/1/21

May 1, 2021      
 

The Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum is now selling a limited number of a wonderful book about local maritime heritage: Tugs and Other Hard-Working Vessels of Puget Sound:  A Scrapbook from the Earlier Days, by Olympia native and naval architect and marine engineer, the late Norman R.  Knutsen.  The book is being made available through the generosity of the Knutsen Family.  The softbound, 345 page book, is extensively illustrated, including many rare images of Olympia maritime history.  The book, with the net proceeds benefitting the Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum, is available by mail only with credit or debit card or PayPal account, and sells for $48.08 including postage, handling and sales tax.  To order your copy, click Here. Note that although this takes you to PayPal, a PayPal account not required for purchase!
 

 
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Many Voices – A Resource Guide.
 
In response to the many requests Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum has received over the years for resources to study the local history of communities which have often been overlooked, we have put together an in depth collection of online materials focusing on such groups. Ranging from general information to sites focusing on communities of color, of Asian ancestry, Indigenous peoples and places, Latinx, Pacific Islanders, and the LGBTQ+, this work in progress is brimming with fascinating, enlightening information and research materials. These resources may be accessed at Here
 
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Maritime Washington National Heritage Area.
 
Help chart a course for the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area! Spanning 3,000 miles of Washington State’s shoreline, this new heritage area will support our coastal communities in celebrating, maintaining, and sharing their water-based stories. Join the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation to navigate the seas ahead by identifying your favorite maritime places, taking a survey on the future of our saltwater shorelines, or attending a virtual workshop for Pierce & Thurston Counties on Thursday, April 29. Get involved and learn more at Preserve WA.
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Statue of Nisqually Billy Frank Jr. going to the U.S. Capitol.

Governor Inslee just after signing the Billy Frank Jr. statue bill. Looking on, from left, were Nisqually Tribal Chairman Ken Choke, Lt. Gov. Denny Heck, state Rep. Debra Lekanoff and tribal councilman and son of Billy Frank Jr., Willie Frank III.

Governor Jay Inslee has signed HB 1372 – 2021-22, which will place a statue of Nisqually treaty rights advocate Billy Frank Jr. in the U.S. Capitol. Each state is allowed two statues in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, Frank’s will replace an existing statue of Oregon Trail pioneer Marcus Whitman, which has stood in the Capitol for approximately 70 years. Billy Frank Jr. died in 2014 at the age of 83. In his younger years, he was a self-described “getting arrested guy” at treaty fishing rights protests, which eventually led to the Boldt Decision, a 1974 federal court case that reaffirmed tribal rights. In later decades, Frank became a widely admired advocate for Northwest salmon and natural resource protection. Inslee and other state officials were ushered into the school by Nisqually drummers and singers wearing hand-sewn regalia. Numerous relatives and descendants of Frank attended the signing ceremony and sat beneath a mounted, weathered dugout canoe paddled by their elder when he was young. “He’d be happy to see this,” said Willie Frank III, speaking of his father, at the bill signing ceremony. “But he’d also tell all of us up here on the stage that we’re not done. We’re a long ways from being done. We have a lot more work to do.” Inslee signed Democratic state Rep. Debra Lekanoff’s bill at the Wa He Lut Indian School on the banks of the Nisqually River near Olympia, near where the Frank family had once lived.
 
Washington state’s second presence in the Capitol statuary collection is a 1980 casting of Mother Joseph, a 19th century Catholic nun who was responsible for the construction of hospitals, schools and orphanages throughout the Northwest.

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  • May 4, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Gig Harbor History Museum Literary Society ZOOM event: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
 
 
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise”. Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return. This event is FREE and open to the public. For questions, please contact Cindy Hackett at cynthia.hale.hackett@gmail.com . ZOOM event information will be provided the weekend prior to the event, visit Here for more details.
 
  • May 8, 11:00 AM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort from Home – Tinsmithing.
 
 
Join Fort Nisqually for a program on tinsmithing – learn about basic tools and techniques of 19th century tinsmithing and tin objects from Fort Nisqually Living History Museum’s collection. The program will include a demonstration of how tin cups were made by hand and how the process changed with the introduction of simple machines.
The Fort from Home series brings the talents and expertise of Fort Nisqually interpreters to audiences through live, interactive virtual programming. For more information and to register, visit Tickets.
 
  • May 11 6:00 PM. Lacey Museum – History Talks via ZOOM! A Snapshot in Time: Salmon, Historical Craft, and the Culvert Case.
 
Historian Joseph Taylor
 
Narratives about the past usually trace change over time, but legal proceedings insist on the opposite: the past is fixed in time and place. For historians, the demands are very different when writing for this standard. Contexts are narrow and specific. All that matters is the moment. What happened later is irrelevant. In this virtual event, historian Joseph Taylor will discuss how he addressed these demands while working as an expert witness in U.S. et al. v. Washington, commonly called the “Culvert Case.” He will explain the challenges of reconstructing ecological and cultural conditions at the time of the Stevens treaties in 1854 and 1855, as well as the implications of this form of history on how we understand our own times. To register for this free event, visit Here.
 
Joseph Taylor grew up in California and Oregon, and has worked in the area as a commercial fisherman and truck driver. A graduate of the University of Washington (1996), his primary fields of research in the last ten years have been in environmental history and the history of western North America. Taylor is currently a professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada.
 
  • May 13, 7:00PM – 9:30PM. Washington State Historical Society– Cooper.
 

D.B.Cooper, the hijacked plane and some recovered cash.
 
Alive or deceased? Disgruntled or ingenious? Folk hero or terrorist? This program explores the layers of myth and mystery surrounding the 1971 hijacking of Northwest Orient Flight 305 and the enigmatic figure at that story’s center. See material released by the FBI and hear harrowing first-hand accounts of crisis decision making from that Thanksgiving eve flight. Learn how to make D.B. Cooper’s favorite mixed drink, review fashions from the time period, and decide if you think a human could survive a mid-flight jettison from a Boeing 727 aft staircase. Included in your ticket purchase is a downloadable event kit with the cocktail recipe so you can prep the ingredients, as well as items to get you ready for other History After Hours activities! This event is limited to those 21 and over. For more information, visit Tickets.
 
  • May 15, 11:00 AM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort from Home – The Beaver, Otter, and Fairy.
 
 
Join Fort Nisqually Interpreter, Tug, for a discussion on early steam navigation on the Puget Sound. Tug will share the history of three historic vessels, the Beaver, Otter, and Fairy and present his hand made model of the steamer Fairy and other artifacts. For more information and to register, visit Tickets.
 
  • May 20, 5:00PM – 6:45PM. Washington State Historical Society– South Sound Japanese American Day of Remembrance. Never Again: The story of the Japanese American incarceration.
 
 

A young girl imprisoned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Hunt, Idaho during World War II. Courtesy Densho Digital Repository.
 
Join the WSHS online to see a performance of Never again: The story of the Japanese American incarceration, presented by Dukesbay Productions. The play features a collection of first-person stories of people who were forced into incarceration camps during World War II. Over the course of several scenes, five actors will bring this powerful history to life. Tacoma-based actor, producer, co-founder of Dukesbay Productions, and descendant of World War II incarceration Aya Hashiguchi Clark edited and directed the play. She researched and identified the stories of the individuals featured in this production through Densho, a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving, educating, and sharing the story of World War II-era incarceration of Japanese Americans. This program will be live streamed on Facebook, but you do not need a Facebook account to access it. The live program is viewable for everyone. Click  Here to see the program when it begins at 5 PM on May 20, 2021. For more information about this program and how to view, as well as suggestions for FREE! wifi, visit Here.
 
  • May 20, 7:00PM – 8:00PM. Washington State Historical Society– University of Washington Tacoma Scholarly Selections – Day of Remembrance. Never Again is Now: Japanese American Incarceration, Anti-Asian Violence, and Immigration Detention in the 21st Century.
 
Join WSHS for a panel discussion about the history and meaning of U.S. government surveillance of Japanese Americans and World War II incarceration, in the context of  contemporary issues of anti-Asian violence, immigration and labor, private detention centers, and border patrol. Informed by history, the panel will address relevant questions about democracy and civil liberties, neoliberal policies, citizenship, and American identity. Panelists will also consider the possibilities of solidarity between social justice movements for freedom and equality, including Black Lives Matter. Click Watch Here to see the program when it begins at 7 PM on May 20, 2021. For more information on connecting, as well as a full participants and their backgrounds, visit Here.
 
  • May 27, 11:00 AM. Gig Harbor History Museum Literary Society Virtualevent: .
 
 
Join David Williams, author of the new book Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound for an interview with Claire Keller-Scholz, Art, Culture, & Heritage Administrator at Metro Parks Tacoma and former Curator at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. Williams research, including at the Museum’s archives and library, sheds new light on Fort Nisqually’s relationship to the Puget Sound. Homewaters weaves history and science into a fascinating and hopeful narrative, one that will introduce newcomers to the astonishing life that inhabits the Sound and offers longtime residents new insight into and appreciation of the waters they call home. Not far from Seattle skyscrapers live 150-year-old clams, more than 250 species of fish, and underwater kelp forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. For millennia, vibrant Coast Salish communities have lived beside these waters dense with nutrient-rich foods, with cultures intertwined through exchanges across the waterways. Transformed by settlement and resource extraction, Puget Sound and its future health now depend on a better understanding of the region’s ecological complexities. Focusing on the area south of Port Townsend and between the Cascade and Olympic mountains, Williams uncovers human and natural histories in, on, and around the Sound. In conversations with archaeologists, biologists, and tribal authorities, Williams traces how generations of humans have interacted with such species as geoducks, salmon, orcas, rockfish, and herring. He sheds light on how warfare shaped development and how people have moved across this maritime highway, in canoes, the mosquito fleet, and today’s ferry system. The book also takes an unflinching look at how the Sound’s ecosystems have suffered from human behavior, including pollution, habitat destruction, and the effects of climate change. For more information and to register for this event, visit Tickets.
 
  • May 27, 7:30 PM. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Main Stage- Welcome to Indian Country.
 
Welcome to Indian Country features an all Native American cast who offer seven songs and seven stories about life, love, connecting to culture, survival and resilience. This show exemplifies the vibrant life of modern Native people as well as honors ancestors. In partnership with Indigenous Performance Productions, the Washington Center is providing technical theater support and regional partnership on the co-creation of Welcome to Indian Country. This effort is supported in part by grants from Washington Women’s Foundation, City of Olympia, and the Nisqually Indian Tribe. The Washington Center Main Stage is located at 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia. For more information visit Here, or contact 360-753-8586.
 
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Governor Hotel – 4/11/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1972 cityscape pictures The Governor Hotel at the corner of 7th and Legion. The hotel has existed here since 1890, but in three different incarnations. The latest structure was built in 1970 in a mid-Century modern design by architectural firm Camp, Dresser, McKee. It is seen here during Pride Week 2014. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/.

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Lower Main Street – 4/4/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In its early decades, as seen in the 1856 cityscape, Olympia’s commercial core was located in the few blocks north of State Avenue. In this photograph, taken much later, around 1902, we can still see remnants of the Bettman store, the balconied Washington Hotel, and the seat of the first territorial legislature beyond it (now the location of Chelsea Farms restaurant on Capitol Way north). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Bulletin – 4/1/21

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3/28/21 – Miller’s

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The Miller’s Department Store building was erected at Legion Way and Capitol Way about 1949, around the time this photograph was taken. The building has housed a number of retail establishments throughout the years. Damage from the 2001 earthquake and other alterations have largely eliminated its original mid-Century modern architectural features. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/. Jeffers photo, 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Washington Veneer – 3/21/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. With the completion of the Carlyon Fill in 1911, the port area of Olympia was able to accommodate dramatic industrial growth. The Washington Veneer Company was founded in 1924, joining the existing Olympia Veneer cooperative at the northern tip of the Port. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1933-2/.

unknown photographer and date, State Library photograph collection, Washington State Archives

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3/14/21 – Sylvester Park with 7th Avenue “lid”

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. This photo, taken from the Old State Capitol building, shows Sylvester Park around the end of the 19th century. To the south of the park we see the planking of “the lid,” the predecessor of the 7th Avenue railroad tunnel. It was originally a trench dug along Seventh Avenue and capped by wooden planking. The trench was replaced by the current tunnel in 1913. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

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3/7/21 – Washington Standard

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. John Miller Murphy, prolific, opinionated, long-lived editor of the Washington Standard, came to Olympia with his sister in 1851 and published the Standard from 1860 until 1921. The Standard building was located on Third Avenue (now State Avenue). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/.

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2/28/21 – Leschi

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Leschi, a member of the Nisqually tribe, was designated a leader of the tribe in treaty negotiations after Washington gained territorial status, but refused to sign the Medicine Creek treaty, deeming it inadequate to preserve the Nisqually way of life. He was later judicially murdered for his role in the so-called Indian Wars of the 1850s, but posthumously exonerated in 2004. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information https://olympiahistory.org/1841-cheetwoot/

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2/21/21 – Procession of the Species

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In 1995, Earthbound Productions founder Eli Sterling spearheaded the Procession of the Species, an annual event commemorating Earth Day and the natural environment. The event features thousands of participants and spectators and involves months of preparation. This angler fish is a perennial favorite. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

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2/14/21 – KGY

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Radio station KGY is one of the oldest on the Pacific Coast, licensed in 1916. In 1960 it moved into a mid-Century modern building design by G. Stacey Bennett, at the far northern tip of the Port area. The 1972 Sylvester’s Window narrative describes the welcome voice of KGY’s long-time and beloved Dick Pust, announcing a snow day during the blizzard of January 1972. Both Dick and the station tower are visible in the cityscape for 1972. Dick has now (2021) retired from radio broadcasting and is working on a memoir. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

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2/7/2021- Centennial Parade

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In May 1950, Olympia held a week-long celebration of our city’s centennial. The Olympian put together a multi-page spread, residents dressed as pioneers, culminating with the Grand Centennial Parade of Progress. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/.

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Bulletin – February 2021

February 1, 2021        

 

It’s Time to Renew, Join, Rejoin!

 

The annual membership drive for 2021 for Olympia Historical Society  & Bigelow House Museum is underway! Notices for renewals will be sent to current and past members and interested persons in the community via e-mail only this year. We always welcome new members as well! Your annual dues support the newsletter, the Thurston County History Journal, continued programming, operation of the Bigelow House Museum, our website, and our continuing work toward a local downtown history museum and history archive for public research.  As a small, all volunteer organization, your contributions have always been critical to our success. Please join, rejoin, or renew for 2021 now, via either the membership notice being sent to you, or CLICK HERE!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bigelow House Museum remains closed. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Museum, and due to cancellation of fundraising events, we are asking our friends to consider an extra donation this year. Please help support the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow Museum through our $25 for 25 Campaign! We recognize that economic fallout from the pandemic may make this difficult for some. However, please do consider a $25.00 donation, or whatever amount you can give, to help ensure the future of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Click DONATE to give $25 or any other amount to this campaign, either by credit card or with your PayPal account. Or you can mail us a check; go to our Get Involved page for more information. If you are not yet a member of the Society and Museum, please consider visiting our  Membership Page and joining now! And, while OHS&BHM fully supports area businesses, we realize that many are finding local shopping difficult in these trying times. If you are an Amazon customer, please consider donating to OHS&BHM through Amazon’s SMILE program. Information can be found at SMILE. We also partner with Fred Meyer, and Ralph’s/Bayview Thriftway charitable donation programs. Information is available at the Get Involved link, above.

 
And mark your calendars for a special virtual presentation on February 21, 2021 at 1:30 pm. Dr. Thelma Jackson will present, The Presence of Blacks in Thurston County: 1950-1975. Dr. Jackson’s presentation in early 2020 was a standing-room only event at the Olympia Center, and you will not want to miss this follow-up. The Zoom link and other information will be sent ahead of the program. To receive the link, email olyhistory@gmail.com.
 

Dr. Thelma Jackson
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Attorney General Sues to Save National Archives in Seattle.
 
Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, together with twenty-nine federally recognized tribes, Alaskan tribal entities, and tribal communities from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, as well as nine community organizations, historical preservation societies and museums and the state of Oregon, have filed a law suit against the federal government to stop the sale of the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) building in Seattle. The building hosts exclusive and un-digitized tribal and treaty records, as well as Chinese Exclusion Act case files and records regarding the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The records are invaluable resources for researchers, historians and individuals seeking information about their family history or heritage. Tribal members use federal archive records to establish tribal membership, demonstrate and enforce tribal rights to fishing and other activities, trace their lineage and ancestry and access native school records. If these historical records are removed from the Pacific Northwest, many tribal members will be prevented from exercising these important rights. According NARA’s Seattle director, only “.001% of the facility’s 56,000 cubic feet of records are digitized and available online.” The archives house a significant collection of tribal and treaty records relating to the 272 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The archives contain original drafts of tribal treaties and original copies of correspondence from treaty negotiations during the mid-19th century. The federal government did not consult with Northwest tribal leaders before deciding to move these significant pieces of tribal history thousands of miles away from the Northwest, depriving local tribes of access to these critical historical documents. The move to sell the building was initiated by the Public Records Reform Board, under Donald Trump. Visit the Washington Attorney General’s Office for additional information.

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Washington State Historical Society has gathered some fun and engaging learning activities and lessons for your family to use at home, from coloring pages featuring Washington icons, to their new museum app, to podcasts and social studies curriculum!
 
Explore Washington History Online
 
Explore the Historical Society’s collections online by entering a type of object (baskets, for example) or a subject (logging, for example) and see what comes up!
 
Explore Using The New App
 
Explore exhibitions at the History Museum using the new app, WA State History Museum. It’s free to download from the app store for iPhones, and free to use the web app on Android smartphones or on computers.
 
Activity Sheets for the App
 
Ready to have fun and do activities while virtually visiting the museum? Download and print the activity sheets (below) to begin exploring an exhibition through the WA State History Museum app from the comfort of home!
 
Washington: My Home
Hope in Hard Times
Unforgiving Waters: Shipwrecks of the Pacific Northwest
The Not-So-Ordinary
 
History Lessons To Go
 
Do you want to learn more deeply and engage with new historical content? Try a “History Lesson To Go” as part of your distance learning! These lessons also connect with information on the WA State History Museum app.
 
CSI Lewis: The Mystery of Meriwether Lewis’ Death
Point of View Part 1: Understanding Treaties
Point of View Part 2: Using Art to Understand the Past
 
Stories of Pacific Northwest History from Columbia Magazine and Podcast
 
Find amazing articles about the rich history of the Pacific Northwest in the archives of the award-winning popular history magazine, COLUMBIA.
 
Listen to the Columbia Conversations Podcast, hosted by Feliks Banel , a producer, host, and historian for KIRO Radio, and editor of Columbia.  The podcasts  feature interviews with historians from around Washington and the Old Oregon Territory, plus historic sound files.
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 The Washington State Legislature is in session, and History buffs should know about the Legislature’s Heritage Caucus, which meets regularly during the session to discuss heritage, arts, and other cultural and recreational issues. Organized in 1990, the Caucus is a bipartisan gathering of state legislators and other elected officials; staff from state heritage, arts, and cultural agencies, and nonprofit organizations; and citizens interested in supporting Washington’s cultural, heritage and the arts. Additional heritage related resources offered by the Legislature include workshops which provide training in the skills needed to operate small to medium-size museums and heritage organizations, conferences such as the Pacific Northwest History Conference, offered continuously since 1947, which brings together scholars, students, and the public to discuss and debate new perspectives on Northwest history. For more information on the Caucus, visit ARTSWA.
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  • February  2, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Gig Harbor Literary Society ZOOM event: No – No Boy by John Okada. 
 

No-No Boy has the honor of being among the first of what has become an entire literary canon of Asian American literature,” writes novelist Ruth Ozeki in her new foreword. First published in 1957, No-No Boy was virtually ignored by a public eager to put World War II and the Japanese internment behind them. It was not until the mid-1970s that a new generation of Japanese American writers and scholars recognized the novel’s importance and popularized it as one of literature’s most powerful testaments to the Asian American experience.
 
No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life “no-no boys.” Yamada answered “no” twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. As Ozeki writes, Ichiro’s “obsessive, tormented” voice subverts Japanese postwar “model-minority” stereotypes, showing a fractured community and one man’s “threnody of guilt, rage, and blame as he tries to negotiate his reentry into a shattered world.” The first edition of No-No Boy since 1979 presents this important work to new generations of readers.
 
This event is FREE and open to the public. For questions, please contact Cindy Hackett at cynthia.hale.hackett@gmail.com . ZOOM event information will be provided the weekend prior to the event, visit Here for more information.

  • February 5, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM. Lacey Timberland Library (Lacey). Virtual Event – People and Microbes on the Move: an Evening with Science Journalist and Author Sonia Shah.

Sonia Shah

Join the Lacey Timberland Library for an evening with prizewinning science journalist and author Sonia Shah. Sonia will be reading from her most recent book with a Q & A to follow. Sonia is the author of five nonfiction books, including the topical titles Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Coronaviruses and Beyond and The Next Great Migration: the Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move, published in 2020. Sonia’s writing explores the intersection of science, politics, and human rights. She has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street JournalScientific American, and the Nation; and has been featured and interviewed on RadiolabFresh AirDemocracy Now!, Senator Bernie Sanders’ Coronavirus roundtable, CNN with Fareed Zakaria, and TED Connects. Registration for this event closes February 5, visit HERE for more information.

  • February 10, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM. Timberland Regional Library. Virtual Event – Julia Butler Hansen: A Trailblazing Washington Politician. 

Julia Butler Hansen
 

Julia Butler Hansen was the second woman and first female Democrat elected to the U.S. Congress from Washington State. Undefeated in 41 consecutive elections, she retired in 1974. In her amazing career, Julia came to be known as The Duchess of CathlametThe Sage of Wahkiakum CountyThe Little Old Lady in Logging BootsMrs. Highways, or Madame Queen. Her name was recognizable enough that her campaign buttons eventually just said “Julia” in script, which is also how she was addressed by her constituents. Join Historian John Hughes to learn about her trailblazing career, spent championing issues like transportation, education, and women’s rights. Hughes’ presentation and biography examines the fascinating woman behind the nicknames. Historian John Hughes is the author of Julia Butler Hansen: A Trailblazing Washington Politician and Ahead of the Curve. For more information and to register, visit TRL Events.

  • February 11, 7:00 PM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum (Tacoma): Fort From Home Nightcap – 19th Century Birth Control.   

19th Century Birth Control Devices

Fort from Home brings the talents and expertise of Fort Nisqually historians to you live through interactive virtual programming!  Join the Fort for a Fort from Home Nightcap: 19th Century Birth control. Fort Interpreter Elizabeth will share her research on 19th century birth control, including types, availability, and conventions. Visit Register Now for more information and to sign up. Questions? Contact Event and Volunteer Coordinator Elizabeth Rudrud at elizabeth.rudrud@tacomaparks.com, or call 253.404.3970.

  • February 20, 11:00 AM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum (Tacoma): Fort from Home for KIDS! – Crochet. 

Fort from Home for Kids is a kid-friendly program led by Fort Nisqually high school Apprentice Interpreters. Learn heritage skills at home! This month, Fort Nisqually Apprentice Interpreter Abigail teaches you the basics of crochet. Please have ready simple knitting supplies, including a crochet hook and yarn. Questions? Contact fortnisqually@tacomaparks.com. For more information and to register for this virtual event, visit Crochet.

  • February 22, 6:00 PM. Lacey Museum – History Talks via ZOOM! A People’s History of the Seven Inlets of the Southern Salish Sea.

The historical narrative of the Squaxin Island people is an ancient history from time immemorial and can be traced back to the recession of glaciers. They are the people of the seven inlets of Steh-Chass of Olympia, Noo-Seh-Chatl of Henderson Inlet, Squi-Aitl of Eld Inlet, Sawamish/T’Peeksin of Totten Inlet, Sa-Heh-Wa-Mish of Hammersley Inlet, S’Hotle-Ma-Mish of Carr Inlet, and Squaksin-wa-mish of Case Inlet. Their history is one of hospitality, medicine, longevity of life, regional trading networks and the birthplace of NW Tribal religious movement.  To register for this free vent, visit Seven Inlets.

  • February 25, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Washington State Historical Society  – Black History is Washington History – From Migration to Mark Making: George Bush, Jacob Lawrence, and the impact of Black Pioneers in Washington State.
 In 1972, the State of Washington invited artist Jacob Lawrence to create a work of significance about a central figure in Black history in Washington. He chose to paint five panels in gouache on paper representing a historical narrative about settler George Bush, a Black pioneer who, in 1844, co-founded the first permanent settlement in what is now Tumwater, after migrating from Missouri to escape the racism of the region. Jacob Lawrence was an internationally renowned painter who lived in Seattle and taught as an art professor at the University of Washington. Lawrence was also a member of the Washington State Arts Commission and was one of the first Black visual artists to focus on African American history as the subject matter of his art. The five-part work he created for this commission is highly regarded, and a significant part of the Washington State Historical Society’s collection. The WSHS also holds in its collections items from the late 1800s and early 1900s that belonged to the Bush family, along with photographs and negatives showing Bush family members, as well as letters and documents related to the work of George Bush JR., the state’s first Black legislator relating to land ownership for Black settlers. Join the Museum for a program about the rich and detailed paintings that comprise Lawrence’s work and the historical objects that help us understand the Bush legacy. Learn about the contributions of both of these men to Washington’s history.  This FREE! virtual event is taking place via Facebook Live @HistoryMuseum. For more information visit WSHM.
  • February 27, 11:00 AM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum (Tacoma): Fort from Home – Victorian Cooking: Offal. 
The Fort from Home Victorian Cooking Series presents demonstrations of historical recipes and historical food research, and provides tips on how to adapt Victorian cooking to a modern kitchen. This month it is about all things offal, defined as the entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food, which are surprisingly nutritious, despite their name rhyming with “awful.” Fort Interpreter Lawrence, AKA Thornhill, will be using the organs harvested from last month’s Butchering and Curing workshop to demonstrate and discuss using animal organs in a Victorian kitchen. Questions? Contact fortnisqually@tacomaparks.com. For more information and to register for this virtual event, visit Offal.
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Little Hollywood – 1/31/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. A neighborhood known as Little Hollywood had existed for many years along the shores of the Deschutes Estuary (now Capitol Lake), but expanded during the Great Depression, as depicted in the cityscape for 1933. Buildings were a mixture of float houses, temporary structures known as shanties, and more permanent structures such as Zamberlin’s Market, pictured here. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1933-2/.

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David Goularte

David has always been interested in history.  His maternal great great grandfather Joseph de Bettencourt came to California shortly after the Civil War to work on the western portion of the trans-continental railroad.  The Bettencourts were early settlers of Livermore, California. A portion of the original ranch is still in the family.

David has a BA in Interior Design from San Jose State University and has been in the field since 1967. After a few years as a buyer, and retail floor designer for furniture stores, he moved to Seattle in 1977. After a stint as retail floor designer for all the Doces and all the Ken Schoenfelt chains, David opened his design business in 1980. He moved his business to Olympia in 1989.

Besides designing many west coast and Olympia houses and businesses, David has worked in the Senior Living field since 1990.  Today he acts as consultant to Koelsch Senior Living Communities building new communities in the west and into Illinois.

David became involved with the Bigelow House Museum when it was being restored in the early 90’s.  His main contribution was meticulously uncovering the layers of wall coverings in the different rooms and choosing authentic reproductions for the restoration.  He helped with all aspects of the interior. It has been an ongoing project since then, and just this year another room was papered in  a Carpenter Gothic pattern circa 1845.  

David has been an honorary board member of the Bigelow House Museum since 1995 and recently also a board member of the merged OHS&BHM.  He is also on the board of a couple other organizations as well as on the Olympia Design Review Board.

David and his wife are fortunate owners of two historic properties, the Reed Block (1891) which Ruthann’s Drees occupies, and of the Egbert-Ingham House (1914).

 

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Jean Wilkinson

Jean Wilkinson is a Puget Sound native. She was born and grew up in Bellingham, and moved to Tacoma to attend the University of Puget Sound where she earned a B.A. in History. After spending a year in Saarbrucken, Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship, Jean attended the University of Washington School of Law, attaining a J.D. in 1985. She moved to Thurston County in 1988.
Until her retirement in 2020 Jean served as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Washington for 35 years. During her career, Jean immersed herself in Washington State government, providing legal representation to more than 20 state agencies in all three branches of government, and to two statewide elected officials. One of Jean’s favorite types of legal research involved trips to the Washington State Archives.

Jean’s introduction to Olympia area history was a 1989 Bigelow House tour led by Mary Ann Bigelow. Jean is a longtime member of Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, as well as the Washington State Historical Society. Jean’s favorite type of reading is history. On trips, she and her husband, Jim Fulton, enjoy spending long days at historical sites, taking tours and carefully reading interpretive materials. In becoming more involved with the society Jean looks forward to promoting local historical knowledge and events in the Thurston County Community.
Jean and Jim raised their two children in the Gull Harbor area of North Olympia and proudly sent them to Olympia public schools.

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Sylvester Park – 1/25/2021

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. After the construction of the magnificent Thurston County Courthouse, now the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the town commons was beautified into a public park with winding pathways, bandstand, and fountain. In the year of the 1899 cityscape, Olympia celebrated the last year of the century with a bicycle parade through the park. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

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Columbia Hall – 1/17/2021

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Columbia Hall, pictured in the 1874 cityscape, was built in 1869 on 4th Avenue, near the center of downtown Olympia. It served a myriad of functions: fire station on the ground floor, city offices above, entertainment hall (it hosted the state’s first inaugural ball in 1889), police headquarters, courthouse, and theater. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/

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Konrad Schneider – 1/10/2021

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In 1856, Olympia’s cofounder Edmund Sylvester was overseeing construction of his Italianate mansion, located just south of the town common now named after him. A German immigrant, Konrad Schneider, was responsible for much of the home’s construction. Schneider had just returned to Olympia after building the New Dungeness lighthouse outside of Sequim. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Charles Wilkes – 1/3/2021

Throughout 2021 we will be featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In 1838, an American naval officer, Charles Wilkes, was given command of an expedition to explore the Pacific Ocean and document its shores and islands. Wilkes reached the southern end of Puget Sound in July 1841. He and his crew were among the first Americans to set foot at what is now Olympia.   Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1841-cheetwoot/.

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Admittance Day – 12/27/2020

In this image from November 1939, a group of Cub Scouts participates in a parade celebrating the Golden Anniversary of Washington’s admittance as a state into the Union.  The float, though, commemorates an earlier occasion, namely the arrival of the first U.S. citizen settlers over the Oregon Trail. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Richards Studio, 1939, courtesy Tacoma Public Library

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GP Tester – 12/20/2020

Manufacturing giant Georgia Pacific took over the Washington Veneer plywood plant in Olympia and built its headquarters in the Port area, a building noted for its modern architecture demonstrating the versatile uses of plywood. In this photograph from 1955, a tester at the headquarters analyzes the strength of plywood. The building is now occupied by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and is on the National Register.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. Richards Studio, 1955, courtesy Tacoma Public Library

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Ron Dodge – 12/13/2020

Olympia native Ron Dodge was a 19 year old up-and-coming baseball player for Tacoma’s Cheney Studs when this photograph was taken of him in 1955. After playing for several different baseball teams, Ron signed up as a pilot with the U.S. Navy, and was sent to Vietnam, where he was shot down and held as a prisoner of war. His remains were finally returned home in 1981. Ron’s cousin John Dodge was a longtime reporter for the Olympian. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society.

Richards Studio, 1955, courtesy  Tacoma Public Library

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Ken Balsley – 12/6/2020

A young Ken Balsley poses for his photograph, accompanying an article from 1971 that identified him as a student representative to The Evergreen State College Board of Trustees. Ken has remained in the Olympia area, as an influential journalist, broadcaster, commentator, and political activist. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, August 1971, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Land Office – 11/29/2020

Throughout much of the 19th century, citizens were entitled to claim acreage under a series of federal laws designed to encourage Americans to settle in Western territories and states. As the population of the West grew rapidly in the 1870s and 1880s, United States Land Offices were established to process land claims. A group of early settlers poses here outside the Land Office in downtown Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Unidentified photographer, around 1880, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Vote for Olympia poster – 11/22/2020

When Washington achieved statehood in 1889, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that Olympia would remain the capital of the new state. A concerted campaign featuring posters like this one, and “bribes” in the form of local restaurateur Woodbury Doane’s famous pan-roasted oysters, helped Olympia retain its status over contenders Ellensburg and North Yakima. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Poster, 1889, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Oxen team at Bordeaux – 11/15/2020

The Bordeaux logging community was established in the 1880s by French Canadian-born Thomas Bordeaux. Before the advent of a logging railroad, teams of oxen laboriously pulled the huge logs along makeshift corduroy roads. This photograph of one such team is said to be the model for the oxen team depicted in bronze on the doors of the Legislative Building.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Unknown photographer, 1880s, Washington State Archives

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Diamond Jubilee Cake – 11/8/2020

Washington State celebrated its Diamond Jubilee (75th anniversary) in November 1964 with a 600 pound cake. Although there had been concerns that the cake would not fit inside the doors of the Legislative Building, it survived the journey, accompanied by sisters Christy, Gayle, and Sarah Conger, of Olympia. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, November 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

 

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Olympia High School football team of 1909 – 10/25/2020

The Olympia High School football team of 1909 included the children of many of Olympia’s most prominent citizens. The sweaters, emblazoned with a capital “O,” were made at Olympia Knitting Mills, then in its infancy. Eventually the company grew to become a large operation that shipped knitted sportswear as far away as China. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Unidentified photographer, 1909, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Hays children at Governor’s Mansion – 10/18/2020

It may surprise some that there was no Washington State-owned Governor’s Mansion until 1909. The current mansion on Capitol Campus was first occupied by Governor Marion Hay and his family. In this photograph, taken around that time, two of the governor’s seven children pose on the mansion grounds with a member of the Mansion staff. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. Unknown photographer, about 1911, Washington State Archives

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Donald Anthony White demonstration – 10/11/2020

Donald Anthony White, a young Black man, was sentenced to death after being convicted of murder. Protesters against the death penalty, including folk singer Joan Baez, convened on the steps of the Legislative Building in 1964, seeking clemency for White, who had been diagnosed as schizophrenic. He was granted a new trial and his sentence commuted to life in prison. He later graduated from high school and college while in prison. White’s story galvanized the nationwide anti-death penalty movement. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.  Unknown photographer, 1964, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Franklin Roosevelt in Olympia – 10/4/2020

On October 1, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went on a whirlwind tour of the Olympic Peninsula, and then stopped for a few minutes in Olympia. Rain throughout the day had forced him to tour in a closed-top car for most of the trip, but he quickly changed to an open car just before he reached the capital, accompanied by a rainbow and a throng of spectators. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Merle Junk photo, 1937, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Velodrome – 9/27/2020

Bicycles and bicycle racing were immensely popular at the turn of the 20th century. A velodrome (bicycle racing arena) was constructed near the current site of Olympia High School, and races were held weekly. In this photo from around 1900, the contenders race by in a blur while spectators, many bearing umbrellas, fill the stands. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

W.A. Van Epps photo, about 1900, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Olympia Cafe – 9/20/2020

In 1914, photographer Robert Esterley took a series of photographs documenting downtown businesses, their owners, and staff. Shown here is The Olympia Cafe at 116 4th Avenue. It was owned by John Baretich. In the 1930s he hired architect Joseph Wohleb to design an art moderne-style building for the same location. The Baretich building is currently the home of the Danang Restaurant. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. Robert Esterley photo, 1914, Washington State Historical Society

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Olympia Brewing Company poster – 9/16/2020

Leopold Schmidt began brewing beer in 1896 at the foot of Tumwater Falls. By 1906 he had built the large complex seen in this advertising poster. The Old Brewhouse building, still in existence, takes center stage; beyond it we can see the Schmidt Mansion on the hillside, but most other structures in the image were obliterated when I-5 came through in the 1960s. Image  selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Advertising poster, early 1900s, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Sky River II – 9/6/2020

In 1969, the second annual Sky River Rock Festival took place in Tenino over Labor Day weekend. (The first Sky River was in Snohomish County.) Held over the objections of local residents, the festival lineup included James CottonCountry Joe and the FishFlying Burrito BrothersBuddy GuyDan Hicks and His Hot Licks, among others. Daily Olympian staff were on hand to document the three-day long event. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, 1969, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Burmeister Saloon – 7/26/2020

In 1853, Charles Burmeister established one of the earliest saloons in Olympia. It was located on Fourth Avenue and Washington Street, where the State Theater is now. This photograph from the 1860s shows Burmeister, his wife, and others in front of the saloon. The building was later moved further west on Fourth Avenue but succumbed to the extension of downtown’s masonry buildings in the early 1900s. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Unknown photographer, 1860s, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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McClarty Orchestra – 8/23/2020

The Olympia jazz scene was hopping in the 1930s and 1940s, with both local and nationally known groups performing in several area venues. In this photo from that era, Olympia’s own Herb McClarty Trio takes the stage at the Eagles Club Ballroom. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Vibert Jeffers photo, 1930s-1940s, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Mary O’Neil – 8/16/2020

Mary O’Neil was one of the earliest territorial schoolteachers, arriving in Olympia in 1863. In 1910, several of her former students gathered to honor her, posing here on the steps of the State Capitol Building (now Office of Superintendant of Public Instruction). Miss O’Neil is in the center of the front row. Many of her students came to be prominent civic leaders. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Unknown photographer, 1910, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Bulletin – 9/1/2020

September 1, 2020     
 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

 
September 2020 marks 25 years since the official opening of the Bigelow House Museum. Please help support the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow Museum through our $25 for 25 Campaign! We had planned a special event, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic that won’t be happening, as the Bigelow House Museum is closed for the foreseeable future. In addition, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel our biggest fundraiser, the annual Holiday Tour of Homes. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Museum, and due to cancellation of fundraising events, we are asking our friends to consider an extra donation this year. We recognize that economic fallout from the pandemic may make this difficult for some. However, please do consider a $25.00 donation, or whatever amount you can give, to help ensure the future of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Click DONATE to give $25 or any other amount to this campaign, either by credit card or with your PayPal account. Or you can mail us a check; go to our Get Involved page for more information. If you are not yet a member of the Society and Museum, please consider visiting our  Membership Page and joining now! And, while OHS&BHM fully supports area businesses, we realize that many are finding local shopping difficult in these trying times. If you are an Amazon customer, please consider donating to OHS&BHM through Amazon’s SMILE program. Information can be found at SMILE. We also partner with Fred Meyer, and Ralph’s/Bayview Thriftway charitable donation programs. Information is available at the Get Involved link, above.
 

THANK YOU!!!

 
Sylvester’s Window is a nonprofit, educational project that teaches local history through a series of cityscapes created by artist Robert Chamberlain, all drawn from the same perspective: the tower window of Edmund Sylvester’s home in Downtown Olympia. Growing up in Tenino, Chamberlain was drawn to art from an early age, stating in an interview “As a kid in school, I drew pictures instead of doing my class work.” His art appears across Washington, from office walls to coffee mugs. Sylvester’s Window, created between 2000 and 2004, is considered to be Chamberlain’s most significant work. By arrangement with the creator of the project, Lynn Erickson, the Olympia Historical Society and  Bigelow House Museum has posted the eight cityscapes, as well as extensive educational materials and research on our website. The materials are fully word-searchable and a rich source of information about Olympia’s history. The reproductions and materials are made possible by special arrangement with Ms. Erickson. Launch your visit here: Sylvester’s Window.  Originals are displayed at the Olympia branch of Timberland Library. Please respect copyrights; for permission to use any and all materials from this project, contact OHS&BHM at olyhistory@gmail.com.
 
While COVID-19 appears to be plateauing in some areas of Washington, many sites remain closed, and it’s a good idea to CALL BEFORE GOING. Remaining home whenever possible continues to be the best course of action to limit the spread in the Evergreen State. If you need a little inspiration for that during these trying times, give a listen to this prescient tune by British singer songwriter Richard Thompson, from nearly thirty years ago  Keep Your Distance. Click the arrow on that page to play.
 

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  • Washington State Historical Society’s New Head of Collections Asks That You Help Document COVID-19 in the Evergreen State.

Margaret Wetherbee hit the ground running at the Washington State Historical Society, joining the organization days after its buildings closed due to COVID-19 safety protocols. A fifth-generation Washingtonian, her passion for the stories of the Evergreen State began at a young age. Wetherbee has worked as a collections professional at the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, the Riverside Metropolitan Museum in Riverside, CA and others.  “I’m reaching out to citizens across the state to ask for their participation in documenting this historic event for the Historical Society’s collections. We want to capture what you’re going through right now as it unfolds, because this is an extraordinary time in our history. We will continue to collect as we experience the impacts over the coming years.” Washington’s coronavirus history will be notable as one of the first pandemic hot spots in the United States. The Historical Society’s director, Jennifer Kilmer, remarked, “Future Washingtonians will research these days, asking how we coped with the suddenly vacated office buildings, curtailed services, and medical supply shortages. They’ll want to know how this event impacted our lives on a personal level. Just as we are now looking to the 1918 flu epidemic for insight into our present experience, folks in the future will want to know about our Stay Home/Stay Healthy protocol, and how we managed to come together to help one another.” The Historical Society is asking for digital content including (but not limited to) photographs, audio and video clips, screenshots of social media memes or posts, reports, correspondence, observations and anecdotes. The Historical Society would also like physical objects and ephemera (homemade masks, coronavirus closure notices, decals, diaries, letters, etc.) but asks that you gather and save objects until their Research Center reopens. For details, visit Collecting the COVID-19 Experience .
 

  • Washington State History Museum – IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts Exhibition, Northwest Native Festival and Virtual Arts Market. 

IN THE SPIRIT is an annual celebration of diverse Native arts and culture. This event traditionally honors the artists whose work has been selected for the IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts Exhibition, which was unable to be exhibited this year in-museum due to COVID-19, but you can view the Virtual Exhibition online. There will also be an IN THE SPIRIT Virtual Arts Marketplace featuring talented emerging artists and your favorite vendors who normally sell their creations during the festival, which will go live on September 10. Visit In the Spirit Contemporary Native Arts for details and schedule.
 

  • September 5. South Sound Maritime Heritage Association – Scaled-Down, Virtual Olympia Harbor Days Event.   

In 1974, the tugboats and crews of the Puget Sound returned to the beautiful waterfront of Olympia to celebrate the end of the summer season. This gathering was the start of Olympia Harbor Days, an annual FREE family festival dedicated to the community as a celebration of maritime heritage. In 1978 , Harbor Fair, an arts, crafts, food and music festival, was added. Today, Olympia Harbor Days is the third largest festival in Thurston County and home of the World’s Largest Vintage Tugboat Races, attracting over 55,000 visitors annually, featuring 300+ booths, ships, activities, music and food. Touring the tugboats and watching them race remains the highlight of the festival, something “kids” young and old never seem to grow tired of. Due to COVID-19, this year’s event will be LITE, with virtual content ranging from self guided tours along the Percival Landing Boardwalk to an instructional video on creating tugboats out of LEGO! For more information, visit Olympia Harbor Days.
 

  • September 10. Nisqually Health Department 2nd Annual Walk for Hope, Life is Precious Suicide Prevention Event.   

COVID-19 has profound impacts beyond the physical. Social isolation, anxiety, fear of contagion, uncertainty, chronic stress and economic difficulties may lead to the development or worsening of depressive, anxiety, substance use and other psychiatric disorders, including suicide. Addressing the issue of suicide has never been more timely. Visit Suicide Prevention for more information about this virtual event.
 

  • September 14, 7:00 PM. Tacoma Historical Society September Virtual Meeting.

Join THS for their September virtual meeting, which will be shared as a live broadcast on both Youtube  and Facebook at 7 PM on Monday, September 14. The featured speaker will be board president Bill Baarsma, who will share some of his extensive research into Tacoma’s political history with the presentation: The Great Tacoma Recall Election of September 15, 1970, and How it Transformed Tacoma Politics. The meeting will also include the presentation of Tacoma Historical Society’s annual awards, recognizing significant contributions to Tacoma history in a variety of areas. Be sure to tune in to be the first to learn who will be presented with our Murray Morgan Award, Alan C. Liddle Award, and Ronald E. Magden Award!
 

  • September 17, 8:00 AM to September 19, 7:00 PM. Harbor History Museum – History Rocks! Online Auction.  

Join the Museum on Saturday, September 19th, at 6:30 PM for a live stream of their auction program, complete with bidding opportunities and a look at the past 10 years and a peek at what’s to come in the next decade! The auction is the Museum’s biggest fundraiser of the year,  and it needs your support during these challenging times. Today’s stories are the history of tomorrow and the funds raised during History Rocks will help maintain these legacies for the future.  Contributions during History Rocks help to support student educational outreach through the Midway School Program, new virtual programming for students who cannot attend programs in residence, the restoration of the Shenandoah, and the documentation and preservation of our communities’ rich and dynamic stories. This event is FREE and open to the public. For questions, please contact Robin Harrison, Operations and Marketing Manager, at operations@harborhistorymuseum.org. You may Click Here to register.
 

  • September 21, 6:00 PM. Lacey Museum – History Talks! Washington Suffragists: Ahead of Their Time.  

Although 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the federal 19th amendment giving women the right to vote, Washington women won the vote a decade earlier in 1910. Well-known local historian Shanna Stevenson will discuss the history of suffrage in Washington State. Her presentation will include the fascinating tale of local women who played a major role in the movement as well as the pioneering women who were political leaders of Thurston County. This VIRTUAL EVENT will take place Via ZOOM. To register for this free online event, visit Lacey Museum Webinar
 

  • September 25 – 27, 1:00, 5:00 & 7:00 PM. Nisqually Indian Tribe – Annual Wellbriety Pow-Wow.   

Join the Nisqually Nation for their 20th Annual Wellbriety Pow-Wow! This event is open to  Nisqually tribal members, the tribal community and the general public.

Event dates and times include:
           25th: Coastal Jam 5 PM.
           26th: Grand Entry 1 PM & 7 PM.
           27th: Grand Entry 1 PM.
Where: Nisqually Youth and Community Center
Master of Ceremonies: Sonny Eaglespeaker & Casey Wallahee
Arena Director: Buchanan Wallahee
Host Drum: Creekside
Head Man Dancer: Melvin Blacketer
Head Woman Dancer: Bridget Eaglespeaker
 
For vendor space/table and royalty context information please contact: Daydishka McCloud at 360-456-5221, ext. 1239. This event is taking place at the Nisqually Youth and Community Center, located at 1937 Lashi St. S.E. in Olympia.
 

  • September 26, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Historic Fort Steilacoom (Lakewood): Fall Living History Open House & Annual Used Book Sale.  

Experience life at a fort in the Pacific Northwest!  Living historians in period dress will demonstrate daily activities of soldiers at a 19th Century fort and host guided tours of the historic structures.  Taking place at Quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Additionally, the book sale will be held in Quarters 2 those same hours.  Get terrific bargains on a wide variety of books!  Complimentary admission, but donations are always appreciated. Historic Fort Steilacoom is located on the grounds of Western State Hospital at 9601 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood. 253-582-5838.
 

 
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George Adams – 8/30/2020

George Adams, a member of the Skokomish Tribe in Mason County, was one of the first Native Americans elected to the Washington State Legislature, serving for sixteen years. In this photograph taken early in his career, Adams poses in traditional attire. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

 

Posted in Looking Back - Images from page 2 of the Sunday Olympian | Comments Off on George Adams – 8/30/2020

Sylvester’s Window: 2001 – Arts Walk

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Sylvester’s Window: 1950 – Grand Parade of Progress

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Sylvester’s Window: 1972 – The Big Snow

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