Jocelyn Dohm – 6/1/24

Looking Back’s theme for 2024 is Many Streams, celebrating our rich and diverse history. Jocelyn Dohm, at left, founded the Sherwood Press, specializing in high-end small-scale printed materials using traditional techniques.  She and her life-long partner Marjorie Sayre were active in the political and arts communities. Jocelyn is pictured here with American Association of University…

Quiemuth – 5/19/24

Looking Back’s theme for 2024 is Many Streams, celebrating our rich and diverse history. Pictured here is Quiemuth, an older half-brother to Leschi, the famed Nisqually leader. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, https://olympiahistory.org/many-streams-a-resource-guide/. Pen and ink portrait, undated, creator unknown, courtesy Washington…

Nettie Chiang – 5/12/24

Looking Back’s theme for 2024 is Many Streams, celebrating our rich and diverse history. Pictured here is Nettie Chiang, Chinese-born wife of restaurateur James Toone, in a colorized studio photograph by Ida Smith.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, https://olympiahistory.org/many-streams-a-resource-guide/. Ida Smith photograph,…

David Shelton – 12/3/23

Throughout 2023 we’ll be exploring the origins of area place names. Shelton, Washington, was named for Mason County settler David Shelton, pictured here, who served in the Washington Territorial legislature.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Rogers Photo, about 1889, Courtesy State…

Charles Mason – 11/19/23

Throughout 2023 we’ll be exploring the origins of area place names. Mason County is named for Charles H. Mason. Mason was Washington’s first Territorial Secretary, serving from the territory’s formation in 1853 until 1859. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. unknown photographer,…

Benjamin Franklin and Elizabeth Ann Kennedy – 8/27/23

Throughout 2023 we’ll be exploring the origins of area place names. Kennedy Creek, on the border between Thurston and Mason Counties, is named for settlers Benjamin Franklin Kennedy and his wife Elizabeth Ann Kennedy, pictured here in a painting based on a photograph. The Kennedys were early settlers in Mason County.   Image selected and captioned…

Stories of the Oregon Trail

Click here to view and download a searchable scan of the publication Stories of the Oregon Trail: Accounts & Reminiscences by Daniel R. Bigelow, Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow, Margaret Stewart White Ruddell, and Margaret White Chambers, edited by Annamary Fitzgerald and published in 2000 by the Bigelow House Preservation Association.  Note: Some of the historical…

Margaret McKenny – 5/7/23

Throughout 2023 we’ll be exploring the origins of area place names. Renowned and beloved mycologist (mushroom expert) Margaret McKenny meets with young Freddy Dobler, Gary Bichsel and Greg Bichsel at Pat’s Bookery in downtown Olympia, to autograph her book The Savory Wild Mushroom. A local park, campground, and elementary school are all named after Miss McKenny, a lifelong…

Georgia Pacific Building Docomo page – captured from Wayback Machine

This page was captured from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine on May 17, 2017 and describes the endangered status of the Georgia Pacific Building in the Port of Olympia. Original URL http://www.docomomo-wewa.org/endangered_detail.php?id=10 Georgia – Pacific Plywood Co. Office   The number of formally recognized and designated Modern resources in Washington State is low. Less than…

Capitol Park Apartments – Blog entry by Steven L

This blog entry from Steven L was captured by the Wayback Machine from the now-defunct OlyBlog.net website. The capture URL is https://web.archive.org/web/20160412032816/http://olyblog.net/capitol-park-apartments Capitol Park Apartments Sat, 06/27/2009 – 5:06pm — Anonymous Although I called them Capital Apartments in a recent post, apparently they were also known as the Capitol Park Apartments. Shortly before they were demolished to…

General Administration Building endangered – captured page from Docomomo

This page was captured from the Wayback Machine of a page from the Docomomo.org website featuring endangered properties. Original URL: https://www.docomomo-wewa.org/endangered_detail.php?id=9, captured on May 19, 2011.      General Administration Building The Department of General Administration (GA) continues with plans to create an ambitious new Executive Office Plaza/Heritage Center despite its effect on this significant…

Old State Capitol Annex – 10/16/22

In 1901, Washington State purchased the Thurston County Courthouse, adjacent to Sylvester Park, to serve as the state’s Legislative Building. An annex to the original building was built to accommodate state government functions. This photograph from around 1902 shows the groundbreaking for the annex. Governor John R. Rogers is in front, wielding a ceremonial shovel.…

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…

E.N. Steele

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia pages] E.N. Steele About 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,…

Caleb Reinhart

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia pages] Caleb S Reinhart About 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.…

William Winlock Miller

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

Francis Henry

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia page] 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 Born in Galena, Illinois, January 27, 1827, Francis Henry was the first white child born in Galena. His parents, William and…

Elwood Evans

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

Thornton McElroy

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia page] 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 Started from Pittsfield, Illinois by ox team, date 1849. Arrival on coast at Oregon City, Oregon Territory in 1849.…

George Barnes

[Captured from Wayback machine that archived deleted City of Olympia page] Born: Dundee (Yates County), New York Died: November 18, 1912, Olympia, Washington. Spouse: Mary Ann Kandle (Married July 1842) About 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…