Gift of Capitol Lake – 4/9/17

In 1962, Sacramento, California’s Camelia Queen Carole Cottrell visited Olympia, Sacramento’s sister city. Bert Cole, State Land Commissioner and Jim Leader, Olympia’s Ambassador of Friendship, presented Carole with a deed to Capitol Lake, provided she could carry it away with her. Shortly after, several Sacramento citizens arrived and were presented with jars of water from…

Olympia High School domestic science class at AYP – 1/22/17

A group of Olympia High School students poses for a publicity photograph in 1909. Vocational education was a revolutionary concept in the early 20th century. To demonstrate its potential, Oly’s domestic science class opened a model kitchen at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle and served six-course meals there, to astonished and rave reviews. Image selected…

Archives Building under construction – 1/15/17

This photograph from 1962 shows the Washington State Archives building under construction. Erected during the cold-war era, the building doubled as a fallout shelter. Just one of its several floors is above ground. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. Daily…

Olympia Vocational Technical Institute – 10/2/16

In the fall of 1962, the Olympia School District founded the Olympia Vocational Technical Institute (OVTI) in the Montgomery Ward Building on 4th Avenue in downtown Olympia.  Here, soon after its opening, a typing class is pictured with its instructor, Carol McKee. This institution later became South Puget Sound Community College. Photograph selected and captioned…

“Three Little Maids” – 9/18/16

In early Olympia, homegrown entertainment was an important element of community life. Here three prominent members of Olympia Society: Drusilla Percival, Clara Woodruff Burr, and Mrs. J.P. Hoyt, pose as the “Three Little Maids” to promote an upcoming production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the…

Kneeland Hotel demolition and outdoor barbershop – 4/17/16

The April 13, 1949 earthquake resulted in damage to or destruction of several downtown Olympia buildings. Here, a barber sets up temporary “shop” along Fourth Avenue, across from the Kneeland Hotel, which had to be demolished after the quake. (This is now the location of the Schoenfeld Furniture building). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah…

Sylvester Park in early 1950s – 3/20/16

Servicemen enjoy a sunny day in Sylvester Park in the early 1950s. Before I-5 was built, all north-south and east-west travelers had to pass through downtown Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org. Unknown photographer, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest…

Don Rich – 11/8/15

Olympia-born Donald Eugene Ulrich, best known by the stage name Don Rich (August 15, 1941 – July 17, 1974) was a country musician who helped develop the Bakersfield sound in the early 1960s. He was a noted guitarist and fiddler, and a member of the The Buckaroos, the backing band of country singer Buck Owens. Don graduated from Olympia High School in 1959, already having opened for Elvis…

Tenino quarry – 8/30/15

In the late 19th century several sandstone quarries were established in Tenino, Washington. Stone from these quarries shipped for buildings and construction throughout Washington and Oregon, including many distinguished existing structures. This photograph from around 1900 shows the Tenino Stone Company quarry in full operation, with its stepped wall of sandstone in the foreground. The…

Miller’s Department Store – 7/26/15

The Miller’s Department Store was located at the important intersection of Capitol and Legion Ways. This mid-Century modern building was erected about 1949, just before the 1949 earthquake, which caused minor damage to the structure. The building currently houses commercial operations at the ground level, and the large façade above the entryways has been removed.…

Charles Roe

Charlie Roe is an honored local attorney who pioneered the practice area of environmental-resource law beginning when he joined the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in 1960.  Among his many accomplishments was to head the office’s Environmental Protection division (and under other titles) for nearly a quarter-century. Graduating from Tacoma’s Stadium High School in 1949,…

Shanna Stevenson

Shanna Stevenson is a long-time local historian in Olympia. Formerly the Historic Preservation Officer for Olympia, Thurston County and Tumwater. From 2006 to 2014  she served the Washington State Historical Society as the Coordinator of the Women’s History Consortium project. She has a BA in History and Education from Gonzaga University and a Masters in Public Administration…

Dwight Moody

Dwight has been a resident of Olympia since moving here at the age of one (1965). Dwight graduated from Olympia High School and now serves as Historian on the Olympia High School Alumni Association Board. Dwight is an accomplished computer programmer, working for the State of Washington as a Systems Administrator for the past couple…

Pablo G. (Paul) Campos

Paul is a long-time Olympia area resident, moving to Olympia shortly after joining the staff at the Washington State Senate. He is married to Mary Ann and their three children all graduated from Olympia High School. Paul was raised in the small town of Harrah in the Yakima Valley. He graduated from White Swan High…

Cheryl Bayle

Cheryl is a long time resident of Olympia, having moved here with her family as an elementary school student. She graduated from Olympia High School and attended the University of Washington graduating with a BA in Art. She undertook graduate work in urban planning and design also at UW. After an exploratory museum studies seminar…

Legislative Building after earthquake – 1/4/15

Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1950 This aerial photograph, taken in 1950, shows the dome of the Legislative Building under repair after the 1949 earthquake. Among the many repairs required, the original stone lantern atop the dome was replaced with a lighter weight lantern. An elaborate scaffold was built, with a tramway to transport…

Hotel Olympian – 11/9/14

Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1937, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives When the state acquired the Old State Capitol Building in 1902, it was apparent that downtown accommodations were inadequate to house all of the legislators, lobbyists and others during legislative session. After much delay, the five-story Hotel Olympian was built in 1918 directly to the north…

Japanese at Labor Temple – 10/26/14

Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives, photograph by Vibert Jeffers This photograph of a group of second-generation (Nisei) and third-generation Japanese-Americans was taken at the Labor Temple, also known as the Woodruff Building, in downtown Olympia in October of 1938. The banner over the group can be translated as Olympia Japanese Nisei Association of Kindred…

Olympia Light and Power – 10/5/14

Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives, photograph by Mae Cummins The Olympia Light & Power Company, organized in 1890, brought the first electricity to Olympia and Tumwater, Washington. The waterwheel-generated hydroelectric power plant at Tumwater Falls also powered the streetcars between Olympia and Tumwater. In 1923 it was purchased by Puget Sound Power & Light…

Mann’s Seeds – 9/21/14

Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1960s Champion Bramwell Mann, an early Olympia pioneer, held a variety of public offices, including territorial librarian, Thurston County Treasurer, and mayor. His most lasting legacy to local historians is a survey he sent out to other Thurston County pioneers and their descendants, asking questions about…

Ruth Stubbs at Allison Springs – 8/17/14

Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives Ruth Stubbs, now Ruth Stubbs Lewis, recalls that this photograph was taken as a publicity photograph for a calendar, in August of 1950. The Allison Trout Farms diverted Mud Bay’s Allison Creek into a privately owned set of artificially created pools and streams. Mrs. Lewis remembers…

Anderson Apartments – 7/20/14

Attribution: Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Photograph Collection, Washington State Archives, 1938 The Anderson Apartment building was located on North Capitol Way, adjacent to Zeigler’s Welding. Like other lodging establishments in this part of the city, many of its lodgers were men and women engaged in the port area’s industrial activities, such as seafaring, wood…

Beer Cans at Broyles Market – 7/6/14

Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, July 1938 In this photograph from 1938, Olympia’s Broyles Grocery store is advertising “Beer in Keg Lined Cans.” Beer cans were first introduced in 1934, but only gained widespread acceptance during World War II, when they became popular with US Troops. Photograph selected and captioned by the…

Fire at National Wood Pipe – 6/15/14

In early days of western cities’ development, municipal water was conducted through threaded wooden pipes, a healthier and cheaper material than lead. Our thriving port, with its abundant nearby forest resources, was a natural location for wood-based industries. The National Wood Pipe Company established a factory at the north end of Olympia’s central peninsula (near the…

Funeral Procession for Unclaimed Dead – 5/25/14

State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives On March 18, 1900, the City of Olympia was honored to host the funeral for unclaimed dead Spanish-American War soldiers from Washington State. This photograph shows the funeral procession, which began at the Olympia Opera House (near the current location of City Hall) to the…

St. Martin’s College – 5/14/14

State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives St. Martin’s College in Lacey, Washington, now St. Martin’s University, was founded in 1895. In this early aerial photograph we see Old Main, constructed between 1913 and 1923, with the steam plant being the only other visible structure among the surrounding fields and forests. Photograph selected…

Stevenson: Thurston County Markers

Marking Time: Thurston County Historical Markers by Shanna B. Stevenson Olympia: POSSCA, 1983. Historical markers erected throughout the years by various groups to commemorate persons or events of local historical importance present a valuable resource and recognize in a special way our unique heritage. Listed here are markers throughout Thurston County which show in a…

Olympia High School – 4/27/14

State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov   The institution formally named William Winlock Miller High School, but  known by all as Olympia High School, has existed at three locations. The second location, featured here, was built in 1919, on Capitol Way between 12th and 13th, on what is now East Capitol…

Mosquito Fleet at Percival Landing – 4/20/14

In the days when Puget Sound was the equivalent of our Interstate 5, dozens of small, privately owned steam-driven freight and passenger vessels, dubbed the Mosquito Fleet, plied the waterways between Olympia, at the southern end, all the way to Vancouver, in British Columbia. In this photograph, probably from the 1890s, three sternwheelers – the Northern Light,…

Old State Capitol Building after 1949 Earthquake – 4/13/14

On April 13, 1949 a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Puget Sound, the largest ever recorded. It caused extensive damage and destruction to downtown Olympia and to the State Capitol Campus buildings, as well as the entire Puget Sound region. The Old State Capitol Building (now Office of Superintendent of Instruction) is shown here undergoing repairs.…

Tim Ransom

Vice President Term 2012-2014 Tim Ransom has lived in Washington State since 1974 and in Olympia since 1993.  After receiving his doctorate in Psychology from the University of California, he has pursued a number of careers, including behavioral scientist, professional photographer, musician, owner/operator of an art gallery/custom framing shop, and environmental educator (for The Whale Museum…

Paul Parker

Paul Parker has spent over 30 years working in and around state legislatures, here in Washington and his native state of Michigan. He has worked as committee staff and lobbyist, and taught public policy at The Evergreen State College. His policy experience lies primarily in the areas of land use, water and natural resources, transportation,…

2418 Otis

Location: 2418  Otis Street SE Local Register 2418 Otis House, 1940 Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives 2418 Otis House today (2011), photo courtesy Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation This Tudor cottage in the Wildwood neighborhood was built in 1940 for Roy  Graham, a builder. It was added to the Local Register in 2018. …

421 Quince

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

Adams/Martin House

Location: 1639 Bigelow Ave NE Local register Adams/Martin House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives Adams/Martin House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel The Adams/Martin House is an attractive small bungalow in the Bigelow Highlands neighborhood. It was built in 1927 by J.B. and Ella Prilman Adams. Adams was listed as a carpenter and may…

Agnew Duplex

Location: 1023 Olympia Ave NE Local register; Olympia Avenue Historical District Agnew Duplex, 1938, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives Agnew Duplex today (2014), photo by Deb Ross The Agnew Duplex was built in 1926 for Elsie and Clifford Agnew. The Agnews owned the City Dye Works and Star Laundry (it’s possible the woman pictured in…

Allen House

Location: 3217 Fairfield Rd SE local register Allen House, 1957, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives Allen House today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross Built around 1920, The Allen House was originally located near Union and Columbia. It was moved to make way for a state parking garage in the late 1950s. The adjacent Partlow House had…

Anderson, Edward House

Location: 417 Olympic Way SW Local register; Diversity: Scandinavians Edward Anderson House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives Edward Anderson House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross Edward Anderson was the fourth of the Swedish-born Anderson brothers, who established Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM) Company, which designed and sold pre-cut homes. The homes were very…

Anderson, Karl House

Location: 2319 Water St SW South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Diversity: Scandinavians Karl Anderson House, 1946, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives Karl Anderson House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross Karl Anderson was the fifth of the seven Anderson brothers to arrive in Olympia from Sweden to help establish the Tumwater Lumber Mills. Unlike his brother Ossian, he did…

Anderson, Olof House

Location: 410 Sherman St NW Local register; Diversity: Scandinavians Olof Anderson House, 1953, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives Olof Anderson House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross This large colonial revival house was built in 1935 by Olof Anderson, the youngest of the Anderson brothers who emigrated from Sweden and founded Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM). TLM…

Anderson, Ossian House

Location: 205 25th Ave SE Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Diversity: Scandinavians Ossian Anderson House, 1960, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives Ossian Anderson House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross Ossian Anderson was the third brother to arrive in Olympia from Sweden to help found the Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM) kit home…

Archives Building

Location: 1129 Washington St SE mid-Century modern Archives Building under construction (from Capitol Way), 1963, Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives Archives building today (from Washington Street) (2014), photo by Deb Ross The 1963 Archives Building was one of the last to be built in the first phase of development of East Capitol Campus in the early 1960s.…