Carlton/Columbia Hotel site

Location: 114 Columbia St NW
Downtown National Historic District

carlton hotelCarlton Hotel, 1902, William Romans and Asahel Curtis, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
Location today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Olympia Downtown National Historic District states that this site, adjacent to an alleyway between State and Fourth Avenues, was once an Indian encampment. It was waterfront property before various fills added blocks to the north and west.

According to early 20th century accounts, the earliest building on this location was the Columbia Hotel, managed by the pioneer John Clark family. It may have been built about 1873 (the 1879 Bird’s Eye view linked below shows the building as two stories with an extension in the rear). George Carlton, a newspaperman, bought the building from John Clark and renamed it the Carlton Hotel. It was a popular spot for politicians, lobbyists, and other travelers, located near the waterfront a scant block from Percival Landing. The photograph at above left was taken by photographer Asahel Curtis or his partner William Romans, as part of a series of photographs they took on April 30, 1902 of older distinguished buildings in Olympia. The building lasted until 1940. The location is now a parking lot, but is located within the boundaries of  the National District. 


Washington State Historical Society, above photograph, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 1943.42.1391; C1950.1301.22.13

Photograph in McMicken Collection, University of Washington, George Blankenship in front of Carlton Hotel. 

Olyblog article, search for Carlton Hotel

1879 Bird’s Eye View

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

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


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