Capitol Lake Restrooms and Bath House

Location:  Water Street and Legion Way
mid-Century modern; Diversity: gay and lesbian history

restroomsCapitol Lake Restrooms, undated, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation collection OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACapitol Lake restrooms today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

In late 1960, a civic group was formed named the Committee for the 60s, to study and recommend possible capital improvement projects for Olympia. Among the projects approved and funded was this bath house and restroom facility on the shores of Capitol Lake. The lake was at that time less than ten years old and was a popular swimming spot. The architect, George Ekval, reportedly created this mid-Century modern design, with its striking sawtooth roof, free of charge. The bath house portion of the facility is no longer used.

The building was a focus of a police campaign against gays in the 1970s and early 1980s, culminating in the arrest, in 1980, of a state legislator, director of a social service organization, and the president of Olympia Brewing Company.

The building is on the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory as part of DAHP’s “Nifty from the Last Fifty” project.

Additional resources:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory

mid-Century Modern Tour Guide

Olympia’s Gay and Lesbian History Tour

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