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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Genealogy Resources

(Legacy page from Roger Easton’s WAResearcher website). Not all links are still active   List of Thurston County Pioneer Settlers Pioneer Biographies Genealogy Resources in Washington State Archives Holdings Inventory for Washington State Archives, SW Regional Branch LINKS Societies: Olympia Genealogical Society Thurston County, WA Genealogy Washington State Genealogical Society WSGS Thurston County Resources Misc.…

The Importance of Being Earnest – 5/31/2020

Our focus this month has been Thurston County’s long love affair with amateur theatrics. School dramatic performances have always been popular with students and parents alike. In this Daily Olympian publicity photograph from 1966, Tumwater High School students Virginia Hamrick, Jim Damitio, Rick Yarber, Kathy Kohse, and Candy Street rehearse a performance of The Importance…

Washington Junior High Glee Club – 12/2/19

The Daily Olympian captured youngsters from Washington Junior High School in December 1963 as they practiced for an upcoming Christmas concert. Pictured here are Freddy Dobler, Tom Cooper, and Doug Parris, members of the school’s glee club. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum,…

History of Women’s Suffrage in Olympia

Excerpted in part from Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices: The Campaign for Equal Rights in Washington by Shanna Stevenson, published by the Washington State Historical Society 2009.  Copyright Washington State Historical Society—Used by permission, all rights reserved.  As the territorial and state capital of Washington, Olympia was central to women’s suffrage history of Washington.  During the…

Margaret McKenny autographs books for youngsters – 10/20/19

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 resident of Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by…

Washington State Teachers’ Association – 9/8/19

The Washington State Teachers Association, now the Washington Education Association, is one of the state’s oldest professional associations. In this photograph from April 1889, its charter members and their families pose at the Territorial Capitol to celebrate the association’s foundation. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and…

Ben Helle

Ben Helle is an archivist with Washington State Archives (Office of the Secretary of the State), having previously served as Government Records Archivist for the Ohio Historical Society. He received his BA with an emphasis in anthropology from Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1993 and has worked in the archives field since 1995. He has…

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…

View from the Westside – 11/19/18

In this photograph from around 1904, we are looking across the Fourth Avenue Bridge towards downtown Olympia, from the Westside. Visible buildings that still exist include the Old State Capitol Building (now Superintendent of Public Instruction), with its clock tower still intact; and the Iverson and Overhulse homes in foreground left. Photograph selected and captioned…

Jack Gimblet’s boxer – 11/4/18

Early Olympia saloon keeper Jack Gimblet had this professional photograph taken of his handsome boxer “Jerry” in this image from around the turn of the century.  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, State Capital Museum collection,…

Trena Belsito Worthington with the Rosellinis – 6/17/18

Olympia attorney Trena Belsito Worthington, at left, confers with Governor Albert and First Lady Ethel Rosellini as they barbecue a fish on Capitol Campus. In addition to being a successful lawyer, in an age where female attorneys were rare, Mrs. Worthington was responsible for the design and construction of five nearly identical homes in southeast…

Anna and Maggie – 3/25/18

This sweet photograph from around 1870 commemorates the teenaged friendship of early Olympia residents Anna Pullen and Maggie Sutton. Anna later married printer Martin Kelly and Maggie became a teacher in Tumwater. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.  circa 1870 photograph, State…

Peace Pilgrim – 3/18/18

Peace Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman, was an American non-denominational spiritual teacher and peace activist. Starting on January 1, 1953, in Pasadena, California, she adopted the name “Peace Pilgrim” and walked across the United States for 28 years, advocating for world peace. She’s shown here in 1966, walking by the Daily Olympian building at State and Capitol (now…

Abandoned Territorial Capitol in snow – 12/3/17

This photograph from December 1911 shows the abandoned Washington Territorial Capitol in the snow. The structure was eventually razed when Capitol Campus was created a few years later. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.  1911 photograph, Washington State…

Furgison collection

Krystalyn Furgison’s father-in-law was given a collection of 39 glass plate negatives, mostly depicting Olympia area residents from around the turn of the 20th century. Ms. Furgison has meticulously researched the photographs and agreed to share them with the Society and Museum’s website. Following is a PDF containing the results of Ms. Furgison’s research. Individual…

Olympia band – 9/17/17

In the days before radio and television, home-grown entertainment was an important component of Olympia society. Here a small band poses solemnly for their studio portrait, in about 1885. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Photo courtesy Washington State Historical Society.