This bibliography lists books, articles, and transcripts relating to Olympia area history. Many are also available on line, either housed on our website or externally, and links will be underlined. External links (those found on other websites) will open new windows. Many links are in PDF format and require the free Acrobat reader. Please contact us to add to this list, or if you find a broken link. Link here for visual media resources (photographs and films). Link here for geographic resources (maps, walking tours, interactive maps)
NOTE: Some of the historical materials linked or cited on this page may stem from a period or culture in which different standards and norms were dominating public opinion – and some of this historical material is discriminatory. People from a great range of identities, whether due to gender, religion, ethnicity, race, sexuality, disability or class are presented in derogatory ways – both in word and image. The inclusion of any such historical documents does not represent the views of the Society and Museum. We request that you alert us to any contemporary documents that contain racist or discriminatory language and links to these documents will be removed from this page and our website. We apologize in advance for any unintended insensitivity, and encourage you to contact us with additions, corrections, and suggestions for more inclusive or accurate language.
Alexander, Gerry L. “Olympia’s Legal Battles to Retain the Capital.”, Columbia Magazine 14:4 (2000-01), 3-5.
Bates, Kate Stevens. “The Old Stevens Mansion.”Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol 19 No 2 (April 1928) 108-111.
Bigelow, Daniel R., Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow, Margaret Stewart White Ruddell, Margaret White Chambers, Annamary Fitzgerald, ed., Stories of the Oregon Trail: Accounts and Reminiscences, Olympia: Bigelow House Preservation Association, 2000.
Bigelow, Mary Ann. Where the Potholes Are. Olympia: Thurston Regional Planning Council, 1990.
Blankenship, George E. History of Olympia Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M. Olympia, Washington 1852–1935. Olympia: The Masons, 1935.
Blankenship, Georgiana Mitchell, Early History of Thurston County, Washington, Together with Biographies and Reminiscences of those Identified with Pioneer Days Olympia, 1914
Blankenship, Georgiana Mitchell, Old Olympia Landmarks, manuscript at Washington State Library, transcribed here, with links to Where Are We? and Residents pages
Blankenship, Ralph “Meet the Yantises and Blankenships,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter, Summer 2011.
Boba, Eleanor A. “The Governor’s Mansion” Portage 1988 9:3, 13-15, posted by permission
Bond, Gabrielle, Bibliography compiled for Diversity in Local History grant for Squaxin Park interpretation.
Bowman, George. McLane Volunteer Fire Department: Fire Dist. no. 9, 1950 to 1980, Thurston County, Washington Olympia: The Fire Dept, 1989.
Budlong, Caroline Gale, Memories of Pioneer Days, Oregon and Washington Territory, Eugene, OR, Picture Press Printers, 1949
Bullock, Jill. Olympia. Arcadia Publishing, 2010.
Brazier, Don. History of the Washington Legislature: 1854 – 1963 Olympia: Washington State Senate, 2000
Bret, Elizabeth “Living with the Pioneers,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Summer 2010.
Carr, Shelley Sperry, and Stephanie Takase. A Public Mansion, a Private Home: The Governor’s Mansion of Washington State : First 100 Years, [1909-2009]. Centralia, Wash: Gorham Printing, 2009.
Christie, Rebecca. Workingman’s Hill: A History of an Olympia Neighborhood. Olympia: Bigelow House Preservation Association with the Bigelow Highlands Neighborhood Association, 2001; Full searchable text here
City of Olympia, former pages on website, retrieved from Wayback Machine and posted here for information: History of Olympia, Chronology of Elected Officials, History of the lympia Fire Department, History of the Washington Center
The Coast: Olympia and Thurston County, Wash. 17:3 (March, 1909)
Crooks, Drew. A Centennial History of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Olympia, Washington. 1994.
Crooks, Drew, Edward Lange: An Early Artist of Olympia and Washington State, Tenalquot Press, 2019
Crooks, Drew. (ed.) Olympia Washington, A People’s History. City of Olympia 2010.
Crooks, Drew. “Shipwreck and Captivity” Columbia Magazine 8:2 (1994): 17-23.
Crooks, Jennifer. Washington State Capitol Campus, Arcadia 2021
Crowell, Sandra and Stirling, Shirley, eds., Thurston County Water, Woods & Prairies, Thurston County 2019
The Daily Olympian: Louisiana Purchase Edition, 1904 (promotional pamphlet).
Daughters of the American Revolution, Sacajawea Chapter. Location of Houses in Olympia, Washington Territory, in 1873. typescript, n.d.
Derricott, Mark “Applied Historiography: Olympia’s Capital Lake”Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Summer 2011.
Derricott, Mark “Bush Prairie Farm, Then and Now”Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Spring 2011.
Derricott, Mark “The Honorable Lee Creighton”Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Fall 2011.
Derricott, Mark “Personal Reflections of a Former Newsletter Editor”Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Spring 2013.
Downtown Olympia’s Historic Resources Olympia: Olympia Heritage Commission, 1984 (available at Washington State Library).
Easton, Roger. (ed.) Mere Mention: John Miller Murphy’s Local News Column from the Weekly 1889 Newspaper Olympia: Olympia Heritage Commission, 1989. Captured from Wayback Machine to this website.
Eaton, Edgar Eugene. A History of Olympia Newspapers from 1852 to 1885. MA Thesis, University of Washington, 1963.
Echtle, Edward. The Cultural History of the Olympia Oyster. City of Olympia, 2013. Captured from Wayback Machine to this website.
Echtle, Edward. Historic Forest Cemetery. Olympia: Forest Funeral Homes and Cemetery, 2014.
Echtle, Edward. “(Re)Discover Bigelow House!” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Fall 2013.
Echtle, Edward. “A Brief History of the South Sound Country.” South Sound Heritage Association, reposted on Olympia Historical Society/Bigelow House Museum website by permission.
Echtle, Edward. History of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. City of Olympia, 2014, retrieved via Wayback Machine
Echtle, Edward. “Olympia’s Backyard: The History of Priest Point Park”Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Spring 2005, p. 3.
Echtle. Edward “Olympia’s Historic Chinese Community,” series of articles created for Olympia Historical Society website.
“Edmund Sylvester’s Narrative of the Founding of Olympia” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 36 (1945): 331-41 (Transcribed and captured by Ed Echtle and Roger Easton).
Emmons, Della Gould, Leschi of the Nisquallies. T.S. Dennison & Co., 1965.
Erickson, Lynn, Sylvester’s Window accompanying materials, including extensive references.
Fenske, Lois. A History of South Puget Sound Community College, 1957 to 1997: A Chronology of Shifting Power and Control. Olympia: South Puget Sound Community College, 1997. (Available at South Puget Sound Community College library)
Fenske, Lois, “Captain Calvin Hale and his house on Tullis Street, a Forgotten Piece of Olympia History” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Fall 2010.
First Presbyterian Church of Olympia, History of the Organization and Directory of Worship of the First Presbyterian Church, Olympia, Washington, 1854-1904 Olympia, Wash., 1904. Uploaded to this website by permission United Churches of Olympia.
First United Methodist Church of Olympia, ” History of First United Methodist Church,” Olympia United First Methodist Church, accessed April 7, 2022.
Foutch, Mark, “Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, part 1,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Fall 2012.
Foutch, Mark, “Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, part 2,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Spring 2013.
Foutch, Mark, “Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, part 3,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Summer 2013.
Foutch, Mark, “Origins of the Olympia Historical Society: part 4,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Fall 2013.
Frost, Robert. “Olympia Fifty Years Ago” Morning Olympian, 26 January 1908.
Fultz, Hollis. Elkdom in Olympia: A History. Olympia: Warren’s Quick Print, 1966.
Funk, Goldie Robertson. “Captain Doane and His Oyster Pan Roast” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 43 :154-157 (transcribed on this website)
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (Olympia, Wash.). Lutefisk & Liturgy : A Collection of Memories from Members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Olympia, Washington, 1905-2005. Olympia, Wash: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 2005. (Available from Gloria Dei church)
Goforth, Pennelope, “Home Again in Olympia,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Winter 2009.
Goularte, David, “Egbert-Ingham House, Built 1914,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Fall 2013.
Gribskov, Margaret. “The Women Behind Washington’s Libraries.” Columbia Magazine 11:2 (1997): 37-42.
Hancock, Samuel, Thirteen Years on the Northwest Coast (link includes Hancock’s memoir, a master’s thesis, and annotated transcription)
Hawley, Michael K. & Robert J. Sustek. “The Cultural Imprint of Architecture.” MPA Thesis, The Evergreen State College, 1993.
Heffernan, Trova. Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr. Olympia, Wash: Washington State Heritage Center Legacy Project, 2012.
Holmes, H. E., PGM. Pioneer Links: A Narrative Of The Establishment Of The Independent Order Of Odd Fellows On The Pacific Coast And A History Of Odd Fellowship In Washington To 1880, A Souvenir Of Thirty-Two Years In The Grand Lodge Of Washington IOOF. Seattle: Press of the Washington Odd Fellow Times Bldg, 1913.
Howard, Helen Addison. “Isaac Ingalls Stevens: First Governor of Washington Territory.” Journal of the West 2:3 (1963): 336-346.
Howard, Spencer J. “Capitol Challenge: The Olmsted Brothers’ Landscape Architecture Master Plan for the Washington State Capitol Group in Olympia” Columbia v25, n2. (Summer 2011)
Ingham, Dr. T.R. Some Early Doctors of Olympia. Olympia: Thurston County Historic Commission, 1994.
James, Walter; “Walter James: Reminiscences of My Younger Days” (Hom, Marlon K., ed.; Lai, Him Mark, Lai, Laura, and Choy, Philip P., interviewers.) Chinese America: History and Perspectives 1995: 75-86.
Jessett, Thomas E. Pioneering God’s Country; The History of the Diocese of Olympia, 1853-1967. Seattle: Diocese of Olympia Press, 1967.
Jessett, Thomas E. “The Episcopate of William Morris Barker, Second Missionary Bishop of Olympia.” Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 39:3 (1970): 251-263.
Jessett, Thomas E. St. John’s Church of Olympia (1853-1941): A Brief History. Olympia, Wash.?: The Church?, 1940.
Johnson, Karen L., and Dennis M. Larsen. A Yankee on Puget Sound: Pioneer Dispatches of Edward Jay Allen, 1852-1855. Washington State University Press, 2013.
Johnston, Norman. Washington’s Audacious State Capitol and Its Builders Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988.
Johnston, Norman J. “A Capitol in Search of an Architect.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 1982 73(1): 2-9.
Johnston, Norman J. “The Washington State Capitol Campus and its Peripatetic Planning” Columbia Magazine 13:1 (1999): 16-23.
Kainber, Jim. Olympia High School. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub, 2007.
Kilgannon, Anne “Free Boy, a story about slavery and freedom in Washington Territory,” Olympia Historical Society book review, undated
Kilgannon, Anne “Temple Beth Hatfiloh is 75!” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Summer 2013.
Knopfler, Mary Schouweiler. The View from My Roller Skates: Olympia in the 1930s and 40s As Seen Through the Eyes of a Child. Lacey, WA: Miracle of Mary Pub, 2009.
Knox, Esther. A Diary of the Olympia School District, 1852-1976, ca. 1976; link to Olympia High School Alumni Association website; thank you for providing this service!
Lang, William L. A Confederacy of Ambition: William Winlock Miller and the Making of Washington Territory Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996.
Lockman, Heather. Building a Capital City: Olympia’s Past Revealed Through Its Historic Architecture (researched by Shanna Stevenson) Olympia: Olympia Community Planning and Development Dept, 2000.
Lockman, Heather. “Shaken But Still Standing: Washington’s Legislative Building- Survivor of Three Major Earthquakes.” Columbia, 17:2 (Summer, 2003)
“McMenamins Brings New Life to Olympia’s Cafe, ‘The Spar‘” McMenamins Newsletter December-February 2006-2007, 11-12
Miller, William Winlock. “The Olympia Narrow Gauge Railroad” Washington Historical Quarterly Vol 16 No 4 (October 1925): 243-250 (linked and transcribed on this website)
Miller, Allen and O’Connell, Emmett. “Revisiting Capitol Lake” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Fall 2011.
Miller, Allen, “Centennial of the Wilder and White Plan.” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Spring 2011.
Munro, Ralph, “Olympia’s African American Trailblazers,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Summer 2012.
Newell, Gordon R. So Fair a Dwelling Place: A History of Olympia and Thurston County, Washington. Olympia: Olympia News Publishing, 1950. (scanned to this website)
Newell, Gordon R. Rogues, Buffoons & Statesmen; The Inside Story of Washington’s Capital City & the Hilarious History of 120 Years of State Politics. Seattle, Wash: Superior Pub. Co, 1975. (scanned to this website; click on link for searchable PDFs of this book).
Nicandri, David. Olympia’s Forgotten Pioneers: The Oblates of Mary Immaculate Olympia: State Capitol Historical Association, 1976.
Nicandri, David. (ed.) Olympia’s Old Times and Places. Olympia: State Capital Museum, 1976.
Nicandri, David and Derek Valley. Olympia Wins: Washington’s Capital Controversies. Olympia: Washington State Capital Museum, 1980.
Oakland, Mike (et al.) Images of South Sound Olympia: The Olympian, 2000.
O’Connell, Emmett, “Olympia in Minor League Baseball,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Spring 2013.
O’Connell, Emmett, “The Myth of Connection Between Wilder and White and Capitol Lake,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Summer 2011.
Olsen, Winnifred. You’re Making History Now (Edited by Erica Stillman and Lois Fenske.) Olympia: Olympia Historical Society, 2006.
Olsen, Winnifred and Fenske, Lois, “The History and Memories of Priest Point Park,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter, Summer 2009.
Olympia, City of, Labor History Walking Tour, PDF of narrative created for Heritage Month 2016
Olympia Municipal Government, voter registration forms from 1872 to 1890, transcribed by Shanna Stevenson, volunteer for Washington State Archives. Enter a name in the search box or scroll through this list of over 2,000 residents, including women, who were allowed to vote between 1883 and 1886.
Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue of 1891 (selected transcriptions and images, courtesy Washington State Library)
The Olympian, “Celebrating the Dream: Olympia’s 150th Birthday Olympia”, The Daily Olympian, 2000.
Palmer, Gayle, and Shanna Stevenson, Thurston County Places Names: A Heritage Guide, Thurston County Historic Commission, 1992. (Copied to this website from Wayback Machine)
Partlow, Janet, “Meet a Family: the Streets and Partlows of West Olympia,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter, Summer 2012.
Plywood Pioneers Association, 1969, Olympia Veneer Company
Plywood Pioneers Association, 1969, Washington Veneer Company
Rainey, Thomas. “A Short History of Industry and Manufacturing in Thurston County, Washington,” Washington State Employment Security Office
Ramsey, Guy Reed, Postmarked Washington: Thurston County. [Thurston County, Wash.]: Thurston County Historic Commission, 1988. Captured to this website from Wayback Machine
Rathbun, J. C. History of Thurston County, Washington. Olympia: Paladium Publishing, 1895. (Transcribed by Ed Echtle, linked Internet Archive)
Reddick, SuAnn M. and Cary C. Collins. “Medicine Creek to Fox Island: Cadastral Scams and Contested Domains” Oregon Historical Quarterly 106:3 (Fall, 2005)
Richards, Kent D. Isaac I. Stevens: Young Man in a Hurry. Brigham Young U. Press, 1979.
Rosenberg, Jessica and Gitana Garofalo. “Riot Grrrl: Revolutions From Within” Signs, Vol. 23, No. 3, (Spring, 1998), 809-841.
Ross, Deborah Jane. Konrad and Albertina. [Philadelphia]: Xlibris, 2009.
Ross, Deborah Jane, Tales from Schneider’s Creek. [Philadelphia]: Xlibris, 2013
Ross, Deborah, “The Loft on Cherry,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter, Winter 2010-11.
Sapp, Bernice A. Memorials for Thurston County Pioneer and Historical Society, Olympia Washington Olympia: Thurston County Pioneer and Historical Society, 1952. (Scrapbook consisting largely of obituaries viewable at Washington State Library)
Sapp, Bernice, Olympia 100 Years Ago, Echtle Edward, and Ross, Deborah, eds. (Excerpt from Newell, So Fair a Dwelling Place, with Interactive Map and Hyperlinks to Where Are We? pages)
Schreiner, Charles F. A History of the Bishops of the Diocese of Olympia: The Episcopal Church in Western Washington. [Seattle]: Diocese of Olympia, 1986.
A Short History of Budd Inlet. Olympia: Thurston County Historic Commission, 1992. Captured to this website from the Wayback Machine.
Smith, Larry (ed.) How the West Was Once; A History of West Olympia, by Larry Smith’s Eighth Grade English Classes, Jefferson Junior High School Olympia, Jefferson Junior High, 1974.
Smith, Levi Lathrop, Diary 1847-1848, Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, scanned and uploaded to this website by permission. see also transcriptions by Tanis and Easton below.
Steele, E. N. The Rise and Decline of the Olympia Oyster. Elma, Wash., Fulco Publications, 1957, link to the Internet Archives.
Simmons, Katharine N. “The Cultural Beginnings of Olympia, Washington, 1850-1865.” M.A. Thesis, Washington State College, 1948.
Stevens, Hazard. Olympia. Boston (1891?). Link to Washington State Library
Stevenson, Shanna. “Daniel R. Bigelow: A Man of Principle Who Stood Against the Political Order” Columbia Magazine 7:4 (1993), 31-35.
Stevenson, Shanna, “First All-Woman Jury in Washington State”
Stevenson, Shanna. History of the Port of Olympia Olympia, Port of Olympia (1982).
Stevenson, Shanna. Marking Time: Thurston County Historical Markers. Olympia: POSSCA, 1983.
Stevenson, Shanna. St. Peter’s Hospital: A History. Olympia: St. Peter Hospital Centennial Committee, 1987.
Stevenson, Shanna. Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey: A Pictorial History Norfolk: Donning Co, 1996.
Stevenson, Shanna. Olympiana: Historical Vignettes of Olympia’s People and Places Olympia: Washington State Capital Museum, 1982.
Stevenson, Shanna. History of Women’s Suffrage in Olympia
Strong, Harry McElroy. “T.F. McElroy: Pioneer Publisher of Washington’s First Newspaper“ Columbia 14:2 (Summer 2000): 32-37.
Talcott, G. Noyes, and David W. Owens. Oral History Interview with G. Noyes Talcott, May 14-July 22, 1975, Including Articles and Documents Pertaining to the Chambers/Talcott Families. [Olympia]: State of Washington, Division of Archives and Records Management, 1975.
Tanis, James R., (ed.). “The Journal of Levi Lathrop Smith, 1847-1848” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 43 (1952): 277-301 (transcribed by Lacey historian Roger Easton); link here to print version (JSTOR log-in required). See also Smith manuscript above.
Thurston County Pioneer & Historical Society, Cooking Favorites of Olympia, 1966, Women’s Clubs Publishing Co, Chicago.
Thurston County Sesquicentennial. Olympia: The Daily Olympian, 2002.
Told By The Pioneers: Tales of Frontier Life as Told By Those Who Remember the Days of the Territory and Early Statehood of Washington. Olympia: Works Progress Administration, 1937 & 1938. [Online at Washington State Library: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3]
United Churches of Olympia, A History of the United Churches 1854-1980. United Churches of Olympia, 1980, uploaded to this website by permission.
Weir, Allen. “Olympia, The Capital of the State of Washington” The Washington Historian 2:3 (April, 1901): 107-111.
Yockey, Beth. Olympia Federal Savings: The First Hundred Years. Seattle: Abecedary Press, 2006.
Youmans, Vance H. “Christian Churches in the Early History of Olympia,” Pacific Northwest Forum, v4 n1 (Winter-Spring 1991) 121-123. (May be viewable at Washington State Library)
Zindt, Mary, “Memories of Olympia,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Winter 2010-11.