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 Museum. I am not going away entirely; the Society’s Interior Design expert David Goularte and I have some restoration in the works for Bigelow House. You won’t want to miss the new look when Bigelow House Museum reopens, probably in 2022!
And finally, it is with great humility that I pass on the following  statement from OHS/BHM Board President Greg Alexander:
“With this last edition, I want to thank David Ponta for his work over the past 5 years dedicated to researching, composing, and posting of the Bulletin. During this time, David has volunteered his valuable time to provide you, our Olympia Historical Society-Bigelow House Museum (OHS-BHM) members, with timely information on programs and events related to heritage, culture, and the arts taking place in the South Sound region. Like you, I have found the Bulletin to be a great source of information and a valued benefit of OHS-BHM membership conveniently delivered to my email in-box. With David’s decision to devote more time to his other interests, OHS-BHM board members will explore in the near future, options for continuing the Bulletin with a new editor and/or format.”
Thanks Greg.
Join us in exploring, preserving and promoting Olympia’s history. We are a non-profit membership-based organization presenting the stories from our past to enrich the present and inform the future of Olympia. The Bigelow House Museum, owned and operated by the Society and Museum, is the oldest residence in Olympia, Washington, and one of the earliest still standing in the Pacific Northwest.
The Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum is now selling a limited number of a wonderful book about local maritime heritage: Tugs and Other Hard-Working Vessels of Puget Sound:  A Scrapbook from the Earlier Days, by Olympia native and naval architect and marine engineer, the late Norman R.  Knutsen.  The book is being made available through the generosity of the Knutsen Family.  The softbound, 345 page book, is extensively illustrated, including many rare images of Olympia maritime history.  The book, with the net proceeds benefitting the Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum, is available by mail only with credit or debit card or PayPal account, and sells for $48.08 including postage, handling and sales tax.  To order your copy, click Here. Note that although this takes you to PayPal, a PayPal account not required for purchase!

We would love you to shop local, but if you do happen to be shopping on line, please consider clicking on the Amazon Smile logo and designating us as the beneficiary of this program, where a percentage of your purchase will go to support our programs. We also partner with Fred Meyer, and Ralph’s/Bayview Thriftway charitable donation programs. Click on any of the links provided here to be taken to their donation pages. 
Many Voices – A Resource Guide.
In response to the many requests Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum has received over the years for resources to study the local history of communities which have often been overlooked, we have put together an in depth collection of online materials focusing on such groups. Ranging from general information to sites focusing on communities of color, of Asian ancestry, Indigenous peoples and places, Latinx, Pacific Islanders, and the LGBTQ+, this work in progress is brimming with fascinating, enlightening information and research materials. These resources may be accessed at HereYOUR INPUT IS WELCOME AND ESSENTIAL TO THIS PROCESS! If you have any suggestions, please submit them to mailto:olyhistory@gmail.com.

Welcome Poet Laureate Ashly McBunch

“I feel the healing power of words are unmistakable.  We, as individuals, have a human sense of duty within our professional and personal circles to use this power to sculpt bridges.  Bridges that connect one Olympian citizen to the next, to see each other as we see ourselves.”
Ashly McBunch was recently appointed to the position of Poet Laureate by the Olympia City Council. During their two year term, McBunch plans to encourage the voices of others through the Poet Laureate platform: “The audience will be inclusive and diverse to show the beauty behind groups not often seen and voices not often heard. It will be about promoting and expansion and provide a safe space for everyone to find peace through expression.” McBunch’s term extends from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2023. They can be reached at poetlaureate@ci.olympia.wa.us.
About the Poet Laureate Program
Every two years the City of Olympia selects a Poet Laureate to engage our entire community in the literary arts. Olympia’s take on the position of Poet Laureate is less an honorary title and more about service over status. Duties include: promoting poetry as an art form, expanding access to the literary arts, and encouraging poetry as a community voice that contributes to a sense of place. Olympia’s next Poet Laureate is called specifically to utilize the power of poetry and language to contribute insight, foster understanding and support healing around issues of equity and inclusion in our community.
  • May 28 – June 11. Lacey Museum – History Scavenger Hunt.


Come explore the Lacey Train Depot and Woodland Creek Community Park and search for markers highlighting historical places and people, and learn some fun facts about the area’s history along the way! The scavenger hunt starts at the parking lot across from the Lacey Train Depot where you’ll find directions and clues for all of the scavenger hunt markers, attached to the new museum sign. Find some historical places and people at the Lacey Train Depot, then head over to Woodland Creek Community Park to continue the search! Participants who find all 10 markers can pick up a goody bag at the Parks, Culture, and Recreation counter at City Hall during public hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Download the Scavenger Hunt DirectionsScavenger Hunt Clue Sheet, the Woodland Creek Community Park Scavenger Hunt Boundary Map, and the Scavenger Hunt Map to get started!

  • June 1, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Gig Harbor History Museum Literary Society ZOOM event: Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes.



Join the Gig Harbor Museum Literary Society for a discussion of Kelli Estes’ second novel which interweaves the stories of two women from different time periods. Today We Go Home features Larkin Bennett, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who is faced with the gutting experience of losing her closest friend from her unit. Struggling to heal, Bennett discovers an unexpected treasure – the diary of Emily Wilson, a young woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for the Union in the Civil War. Bennet finds herself drawn deeply into Wilson’s life and the secrets she kept. Estes grew up in the dry lands of Eastern Washington and Arizona and now lives in the Seattle area. For questions, please contact Cindy Hackett at cynthia.hale.hackett@gmail.com . Click Here to register for this event, visit Here for more information.

  • June 4, 6:30PM – 8:00PM. Lacey Veterans Service Hub: Mayor’s Virtual Gala and Fundraiser. 

Join Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder for a virtual evening of fun and fundraising, including guest speakers, raffle prizes, a premier video tour of the newly remodeled Lacey Veterans Services Hub, and more! There are 32,000 Veterans living in Thurston County, and the Lacey Veterans Service Hub provides local access to vital programs and services. Proceeds from the Lacey Mayor’s Gala will go to the Lacey Veterans Services Hub to support their programs and services which directly benefit our local Veterans and their families, including:
VA Benefits, Housing and Nutrition
Education, Employment and Training
Counseling, Peer-to-Peer Support
Financial and Legal Aid
Register and purchase raffle tickets at http://ci.lacey.wa.us/2021-mayors-gala. Prizes include:
Alderbrook Resort & Spa – Enjoy your choice of lodging, dining, and spa services – Value $1,000
Glacier Aviation Helicopter Tour – One-hour flight for two – Value $600
Mystic Journey’s Sunset Tour – Three-hour sunset boat cruise for up to 6 people – Value $450
For more information, contact City of Lacey Public Affairs at 360-491-3214, or email  PublicAffairs@ci.lacey.wa.us

  • June 5, 1:00PM – 4:00PM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Heritage Skills Workshop – 19th Century Cosmetics.


Fort Interpreter Elizabeth, of Beth’s Bobbins Blog, will demonstrate how to make up your own 19th century makeup! Using historic recipes and materials found in your local grocery or garden participants will create:
Cold Cream (skin care)
Hungary Water (perfume and base for other cosmetics)
Spanish Rouge (coloring agent)
Pomatum (styling aid)
Burnt Cloves* (coloring agent)
Elizabeth will also be demonstrating the process of steam distillation to extract the “essence” of different herbs and flowers using a period still. Some supplies will be included. This event is taking place at Fort Nisqually, 5519 Five Mile Dr., Tacoma. For more information and to register, visit Here.

  • June 10, 6:00PM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort from Home – Puget Sound Treaty War Panel.
The Puget Sound Treaty War Panel series resumes on Thursday, June 10th, 2021. The conversation will focus on the era leading up to, and include, the signing of the Medicine Creek Treaty. The Puget Sound Treaty War (1855-1866) was the result of contested terms of the Medicine Creek Treaty, negotiated by Governor Isaac Stevens. The treaty, the first of several consecutive treaties negotiated by Stevens in quick succession, sought the relocation of local tribes to reservations in exchange for cash payments and the preservation of hunting and fishing rights. The treaty became a catalyst for the conflict. The Treaty War remains central to Puget Sound history. This free program brings together a panel of historians to discuss the experiences and effects of these events. With representatives from Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin Island and Muckleshoot Tribes, as well as Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, the panel offers a new dialogue among diverse communities impacted by the War and its aftermath.
Panelists will include:
Brandon Reynon, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Puyallup Tribe
Danny Marshall, Chairperson, Steilacoom Indian Tribe
Jerry Eckrom, Historian, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
Nettsie Bullchild, Nisqually Tribe Archives/Tribal Historic Preservation Office Director, Nisqually Tribe
Warren KingGeorge, Historian, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
This panel will be moderated by Jennifer Ott, Assistant Director, HistoryLink.org.
In advance of the panel, we encourage you to learn more about participating Tribes by visiting their websites:
Muckleshoot Tribe: https://www.npaihb.org/member-tribes/muckleshoot-tribe
Nisqually Tribe: http://www.nisqually-nsn.gov
Puyaləpabš (Puyallup): http://www.puyallup-tribe.com/ourtribe
Steilacoom Tribe: http://steilacoomtribe.blogspot.com/2009/01/history.html
Squaxin Island Tribe: https://squaxinisland.org
  • June 10, 6:00PM – 7:30PM. Washington State Historical Society– Crossing Boundaries; Portraits of a Transgender West.
Join WSHS for an immersive discussion surrounding the original exhibition Crossing Boundaries: Portraits of a Transgender West with curator Peter Boag, Professor and Columbia Chair in History of the American West at Washington State University, and author of Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past. As Americans moved across the country to create new lives, some also used the opportunity to establish their authentic selves. Boag discusses his quest to find the history of those who changed their assigned genders when moving west, and how they were written out of American history. Washington State Historical Society’s Lead Curator Gwen Whiting will also discuss the materials used in the exhibition in order to illustrate these underrepresented stories.This program will be livestreamed on Facebook, but you do not need to have a Facebook account, nor to sign in to Facebook, to see it. The live program is viewable for everyone. Click Watch Here to see the program when it begins at 6 PM on June 10, 2021. (Note: At this link, you can also see archived videos from the other public programs WSHS has  presented during the past year.) This program is free, and open to all ages. For more information visit Here The exhibition Crossing Boundaries is on view at the Washington State History Museum from May 29 through December 12, 2021.

  • June 10, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM. Gig Harbor History Museum Literary Society ZOOM Event: Thunderbird Film Preview and Discussion.
Eric Lindal will preview his new film on the history of the Thunderbird sailboat and what makes this boat so exciting and sought-after. Designed in Seattle in 1958 and named Thunderbird 26, it has an almost cult-like status among sailors and boat lovers. This virtual presentation will be hosted by the Museum’s  Executive Director, Stephanie Lile. To participate and receive a link to this fascinating presentation, you may  email Robin Harrison at operations@harborhistorymuseum.org.
  • June 13, 2:00 PM. Historic Fort Steilacoom Virtual Event – The Pig War of 1859.

Join the Fort for an online talk by historian and author Mike Vouri about the Pig War of 1859 in Washington Territory. Long before the San Juan Islands were a vacation destination, they were the focus of an international crisis ignited by an unlikely incident: The shooting of a pig in a potato patch. Mike Vouri is the author of five books about national, state and regional history, including The Pig War: Stand-off at Griffin Bay. In order to sign up for this free event, visit Everbrite.

  • June 14, 7:00 PM. Tacoma Historical Society – Homewaters Author Interview.
Join THS  for their June virtual meeting, as the Society’s Communications Manager Kim Davenport interviews David B. Williams, author of the new book Homewaters
Not far from Seattle skyscrapers live 150-year-old clams, more than 250 species of fish, and underwater kelp forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. For millennia, vibrant Coast Salish communities have lived beside these waters dense with nutrient-rich foods, with cultures intertwined through exchanges across the waterways. Transformed by settlement and resource extraction, Puget Sound and its future health now depend on a better understanding of the region’s ecological complexities. Focusing on the area south of Port Townsend and between the Cascade and Olympic mountains, Williams uncovers human and natural histories in, on, and around the Sound. In conversations with archaeologists, biologists, and tribal authorities, Williams traces how generations of humans have interacted with such species as geoducks, salmon, orcas, rockfish, and herring. He sheds light on how warfare shaped development and how people have moved across this maritime highway, in canoes, the mosquito fleet, and today’s ferry system. The book also takes an unflinching look at how the Sound’s ecosystems have suffered from human behavior, including pollution, habitat destruction, and the effects of climate change. Tune in on the THS  YouTube Channel, or on their Facebook page to watch.
  • June 17, 7:00PM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort from Home Nightcap – Medical Treatments and Remedies of the 19th Century.
Victorian medicine was a unique mix of old beliefs and scientific discovery. Dr. Tolmie, Fort Nisqually’s Chief Factor and a practicing Doctor, joined his contemporaries in applying both approaches in his treatments and remedies. Join Fort Nisqually Curator, Caitlin, for Fort from Home Nightcap: Medical Treatments and Remedies of the 19th Century. Visit Register Now to sign up.
  • June 19, 10:00AM – 5:00PM. Washington State Historical Society– Honoring Juneteenth.
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger proclaimed the end of slavery in the state of Texas, two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Variously referred to as Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Jubilee Day, June 19 is celebrated in most major cities in the United States on varying levels. Washington State Historical Society encourages you to join in the acknowledgement of this vital date  with their many partners who preserve the history of Black Americans and  Washingtonians, including:
The Black Heritage Society of Washington State
The Buffalo Soldiers Museum
Northwest African American Museum
You can also connect with more Black arts and heritage organizations in our state through the Artist Trust website.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture offers several blogposts about the legacy and celebration of Juneteenth, including these selections:
The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth | National Museum of African American History and Culture (si.edu)
Celebrating Juneteenth | National Museum of African American History and Culture (si.edu)
 And below are some comprehensive lists of books and reading materials regarding Juneteenth:
10 Books to Celebrate Juneteenth No Matter Your Age — Black & Bookish (blackandbookish.com)
Books to Read for Juneteenth, as Recommended by DC’s Black Educators (msn.com)
9 Books About Juneteenth We Recommend for Parents and Their Kids – Age of Learning Age of Learning
  • June 26, 11:00AM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum: Fort from Home – Victorian Cooking; Let’s Get Saucy! 
Fort from Home Victorian Cooking is a monthly series that resents demonstrations of historical recipes, presents historical food research, and provides tips on how to adapt Victorian cooking to a modern kitchen. This month, Fort Interpreter Lawrence, aka Thornhill, will share his top receipts for Victorian era sauces. Bring your kitchen queries: Questions are encouraged throughout the session (via text chat)!  Visit Register Now to sign up.