Barnes Building/Site of Tacoma Hall

Location: 201-211 Fourth Ave. W
Washington State Register, Local Register, National Historical District; Women’s History

Farmer's cash marketFarmer’s Cash Market, 203 W Fourth as it appeared in 1930
photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society 
barnes buildingAs the Barnes Building at this location appears todayPhotograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

The corner of Fourth and Columbia was part of the core of downtown Olympia from the late 1800s on. This was the site of the Tacoma Hall, built by Charles Williams in about 1861 and the location of several important historic events, including a speech by Susan B. Anthony in 1871. It is shown as the Good Templars Hall, item 15, on the 1879 Bird’s Eye View linked below.

The building currently at the southwest corner of the intersection, known as the Barnes Building, was erected in about 1911-1914. For many years it was the location of the Bolster and Barnes grocery store. Its original partners were John Barnes and John Bolster, whose children married and carried on the business. Their son, John C. Barnes, was one of the original promoters of the Pacific oyster in Washington state. Many other have been located on the ground floor, including the Farmer’s Cash Market shown above in 1930. The building originally housed the fraternal organization Knights of Pythias, but the Odd Fellows have occupied the second floor since their building burned in 1936. For a time it also was the location of the Benson Hotel, accessible on Fourth Avenue.

Surrounding this building on two sides is a shorter L-shaped building, often considered a part of the Barnes Building. The shorter building is still owned by the Barnes family and is described in the Barnes Floral entry on this website.

For more information about and historic photographs of the building, follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory (Tacoma Hall site); (Barnes Building)

Olympia Downtown District National Register

History of the Odd Fellows – selected transcript regarding Olympia Lodge No. 1

Washington State Historical Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1987.12.3; 2010.149.6.2; 

City of Olympia Downtown Walking Tour brochure

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia

For more information about the John Barnes family, see Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

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