Location: 402 Capitol Way S
State Register, National Downtown District, Wohleb, Diversity: Germans

CharliesCharlie’s Saloon, probably around 1902, photo courtesy of Washington  State Historical Society us bankUS Bank (Capital National Bank building) today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly

The intersection of 4th Avenue and Capitol Way (formerly Main Street) has been considered the center of commercial life in Olympia. As an indication of the importance of this intersection, north-south building addresses were renumbered in the 1920s to reflect this intersection as “ground zero.” One of the first commercial buildings at the southeast corner was the two-story brick Turner Block, built by Dr. George Turner, a pharmacist. The upstairs offices housed several legislators, as the location was handy to the Old State Capitol Building as well as downtown. On ground floor were retail establishments, including G. Rosenthal (who also occupied the McKenny Block building across the street), Armstrong Brothers, and Charlie’s Saloon, shown above, owned by Charley Vietzen (see site of Vietzen home).

In 1922 Olympia financier C.J. Lord retained Joseph Wohleb to design the stately building now at this location for the Capital National Bank. The building now is the home of U.S. Bank. It is listed on the State Heritage Register. The building was not significantly affected by either the 1949 or 2001 earthquakes.

C.J. Lord was an influential member of Olympia’s business and industrial life. In addition to founding this bank, he participated in the founding of Washington Veneer, the Olympia Knitting Mills, and Olympia Light and Power, among other businesses. His home, the Lord Mansion, was for many decades the home of the State Capital Museum until its closure in 2016.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photographs, enter the following catalog numbers in collection search box: C1996.6.4 (post earthquake, showing damage to adjacent Pacific Building); 2013.158.1 (Turner Block formerly at this corner can be seen in this photo at the far side of the intersection across from the sandstone McKenny Block on the right); 2015.30.31C1949.3.70 (photo at above left)

Private postcard collection (Turner Block)

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

For more information on the Lord family, see Residents section of this website

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross