Fenske: Captain Calvin Hale and his house on Tullis Street, a Forgotten Piece of Olympia History

by Lois J. Fenske

There is a unique house on the corner of Tullis and Pine streets in North East Olympia.  According to the description from the City of Olympia:  “This charming Queen Anne-style cottage was built for Captain Calvin Hale and his second wife, Pamela Case Hale in 1882.  The Hale House, though small in scale, captures all the spirited elements of the popular Queen Anne style: irregular profile and floor plan, steeply pitched roof, large front porch, elaborate use of fancy shingles, turned posts and other decorative millwork.”

It is currently a private residence as it was when it was built in 1882.  The unpretentious house is listed on the National and Washington State Registers of Historic Places as well as the Olympia Heritage Register.

Calvin Henry Hale was born 26 June 1818 in Norridgewock, Somerset County, Maine.  His father was Ebenezer Hale (1784-1861) and his mother was Ann Dinsmore (1788-1861).

Captain Hale was a master seaman and boat builder.  He married Waitstill Look in about 1841.  According to the 1850 census, they lived in Lincolnville, Waldo County, Maine with two sons, Henry Calvin, born 25 September 1842, and Samuel Look, born in 1846.  They had a daughter, Nancy A., born in late 1850, after the census was taken.

In 1851 Captain Hale, his wife and three young children decided to head west, but not overland.  They boarded a ship that took the family around Cape Horn to Olympia where he obtained a 320 acre donation land claim in North East Olympia.

In all of the federal, state and territorial census from 1860 on, Captain Hale was listed as a farmer (or agriculturist or horticulturist), but he made much more of an impact on his new home in Olympia than just as a farmer.

Captain Hale had been a legislator in Maine and he became active in local affairs soon after his arrival in Olympia.  In 1852 he attended the Monticello Convention and served in the first territorial legislature. At one time, he was the Thurston County Coroner and was on the Olympia City Council.  He also helped establish the Puget Sound Wesleyan Institute, the first school of higher education in the State.  (The original building still exists near the Capital Campus and is used as a private residence.)  Captain Hale was also on the first Board of Regents of the University of Washington.

In 1862, Captain Hale was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to the post of Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Washington and Idaho Territories.  In this capacity he was involved in the Treaty of 1863 with the Nez Perce tribe, among many other treaties over the years.

These were busy years for Captain Hale and Waitstill, Calvin with his local civic duties, his Indian Affairs responsibilities, and, of course, being a farmer.

Waitstill died 4 December 1870 and had been bedridden during the last six years of her life, having injured her spine in a fall.

On 17 August 1872, Captain Hale married Mrs. Pamela C. Case. They had one child, a son, Paul Eaton Hale, born in 1873.  Pamela was a respected school teacher, an astute busiiness woman and a founding member of the Olympia Woman’s Club.  In 1882, she became the first woman ever elected as Thurston County’s Superintendent of Public Schools.

1882 was also the year that the Hales had their house on Tullis Street built.  Captain Hale was only able to enjoy the house for five years.  He died in 1887.

Take a Sunday drive and look at this delightful little house.  It is worth saving for Olympia and the state’s and nation’s historic value.

 

Sources:

Various federal, state and territorial census.

Internet, City of Olympia’s Historic Places.

Internet, Monticello Convenstion Commemoration, Calvin Henry Hale.

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