Category Archives: Articles

Echtle, (Re)Discover Bigelow House!

Ed Echtle, President of Bigelow House Preservation Association

As those familiar with local history know, the Bigelow House Museum on Olympia’s east side is the oldest surviving home in town. Tucked away in a residential neighborhood, more recent homes now obscure its former prominence overlooking the town. What many don’t know is the home not only showcases original antique furnishings and décor, it also holds the personal records of the Bigelow family, offering a window into more than 150 years of local, state and national history. To better understand the significance of these materials, a brief overview of Bigelow House Museum is in order.

Daniel Bigelow and Ann Elizabeth White traveled the Oregon Trail separately in 1851.  Twenty-eight year old Daniel came on his own as a recent graduate of Harvard Law School, looking for opportunity. Ann Elizabeth arrived with her family at age 15. By 1854 she was working as one of the first schoolteachers in Washington. That year she met and married Daniel and they began married life together on Daniel’s claim, across the bay from downtown.

Daniel’s time in the Boston area exposed him to many social and political causes he adopted as his own. He became a lifelong advocate of female suffrage, public education and equal treatment under the law for non-whites. Together, Daniel and Ann Elizabeth worked throughout their lives to ensure their community and their government embraced these values as well. While Daniel served in the first three legislatures—and later for a term in 1871—Ann Elizabeth was active in the Methodist Church and other social organizations, including the Olympia Women’s Club, the first founded on the west coast.  As key participants, they kept extensive documentation of their part in these activities.

By the time Daniel passed away in 1905, the Bigelows were venerated pioneers, consulted by the press and historians for their insights on the founding of Washington and their opinions on current affairs. After Daniel’s death, Ann Elizabeth, an accomplished businesswoman in her own right, managed their extensive land holdings until her death in 1926. The eight children they raised in the house also went on to become prominent in local affairs. Their youngest son, George, followed his father into law practice and served as Olympia’s city attorney. Among his many accomplishments, George Bigelow was instrumental in securing Priest Point as a city park for Olympia.

George’s son Daniel was born in their home just above the old Bigelow place in 1911. He too became a lawyer and in 1935 married Mary Ann Campbell. In their early married life, they lived upstairs in Bigelow House, while Daniel’s aunts Margaret and Ruth lived downstairs. After their passing, Daniel and Mary Ann modernized the house to make it their own. However, by the 1950s, people interested in the history of the house began asking the Bigelows for tours. Mary Ann and Daniel graciously opened their home and many individuals, school classes, church groups, and others visited to learn stories of the past. Mary Ann especially embraced the family’s history and used her talent for storytelling and music to bring the past alive.

As Daniel and Mary Ann aged, it became increasingly difficult to maintain the house. By the 1990s developers were offering them substantial sums for the homestead. In response, the Bigelows partnered with friends and neighbors to preserve the house as a museum. While the city was reluctant to manage a museum, it facilitated a loan for the purchase of Bigelow House by the newly formed Bigelow House Preservation Association (BHPA). After BHPA purchased Bigelow House, it undertook a year-long renovation, returning the home to its territorial era appearance inside and out. The Museum opened for tours in 1994. Within a few years BHPA repaid the loan from the city as well.

Meanwhile, Daniel and Mary Ann retained a life-estate in the house where they continued to host visitors and tours until their deaths in 2005. Since then, Bigelow House is fully open as a private non-profit museum, providing visitors a look into middle-class domestic life in the Pacific Northwest prior to Washington statehood.

As OHS and Bigelow House move toward a merger in 2014, not only will OHS finally have a place to call home, but Bigelow House will take on a larger role, beyond the story of one family. In coming years, records stored in the house will become a part of the growing OHS collection of materials that will be available for researchers through the new organization. As the combined Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum enters their next phase, the Bigelow House will continue the role established by its builders Daniel and Ann Elizabeth as a place where community can look to its past to gain perspective on its present and future.

Note: you can also find more information on the Bigelow House and the White and Bigelow families on our website at Where Are We?

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Goularte, Egbert-Ingham House, Built 1914

David Goularte

The [Egbert-Ingham] house first appeared in print in the forerunner of The Olympian on December 20, 1914 as having been completed that spring. Called “one of the finest homes in the city”, it cost $6,000. to build. The same article noted that the Carnegie library was also completed that year for $21,000. The average bungalow cost $1200 in 1914.

A wealthy industrialist from Shelby, Ohio built the house as a wedding present for his daughter. He owned 5 factories, one of which manufactured the first bubble gum in America. The daughter, Dana Seltzer Egbert had married Dr. Curtis Egbert, a dentist who had come to Olympia in 1902. They married in 1912, having bought the lot from the Mottman family; the house went up in 1913. Move in day was in the spring of 1914.

Dana Egbert’s first party was in 1915 for ladies to knit mittens for the Belgians who were suffering during the First World War when Germany overran Belgium.

egbert ingham original

Egbert-Ingham at original location, DAHP inventory

The state capitol had not yet been built. The Egberts watched the capitol campus go up from 1917 through the 1928. The house was originally located at 119 West 14th, where the “round” Capitol Information building is now. Dana’s four street trees and some street side landscape are all that’s left. The actual site is now a parking lot.

One of the architects of the capitol, Walter Wilder of Wilder and White, New York City, rented one third-floor room from Dana and had his drafting tables there. He was a friend of the family and supervised the building of the capitol from this house. The whole capitol campus was visible from the house. They were exciting years to watch the magnificent buildings go up between ’17 and ’28.

Dana was very interested in technology like her father and added the first continuous cabinets, the first dishwasher, and the first garbage disposal in Olympia in 1927. She added the wall trim (faux bois) detail in the living room in 1924 and the exterior shutters in 1937. They are still on the house and still operate as shutters as intended.

Dana’s 1946 obituary told that she built the Girl Scout House (on 11th Street, gone now) for the community. First Lady Lou Henry Hoover reputedly stayed with Dana on a visit to Olympia when she was President of the Girl Scouts of America. Many other prominent state and national personalities have been through the house over the years.

Dr. Egbert had died in 1936 of pneumonia, “playing golf in the rain”. Dr. Reed Ingham bought the house from their children in 1947. Reed Ingham was related to Mark Reed, one of the founders of Simpson Timber. The Inghams lived happily here until the fateful day in 1960 when the state told them they had to give up their house for the expansion of the capitol campus. They managed to hold on until 1969 and then the state became the owner of the house. It was to be torn down.

The City of Yelm bought the house from the state for one dollar. Yelm received a grant of $167,000 to use the house for a community center. Yelm could not come up with more funds to move it, however, so the house reverted back to the state.

Again it was to be torn down, but fortunately, the Legislature, after many years of indecision, finally granted funds for the renovation of the 1908 Governor’s Mansion. It was decided to make the house a temporary “Mansion”…saving it from the wrecking ball a second time. When former Governor Dan Evans and Nancy Evans later visited to see their old “home,” Nancy told the Goulartes that of “all the government issued housing she’d had to live in, this one was her favorite.” The Evans lived here in 1973 and ’74 until they moved back into the “real” mansion.

The house then became state offices…the architects of the campus expansion had their office there…just as Walter Wilder once did. When the campus expansion was completed, the house was no longer needed and faced being torn down for the third time.

Egbert-Inham moving

The Egbert-Ingham House crossing the Capitol Way Bridge in 1979

Just days from demolition, James Curnutt bought the house from the state for $1200 and, in a very publicized move, relocated the house to Adams Street in 1979. The front porch was dismantled and thrown into the living room. The rear projections were thrown away. The house had to be winched across the I-5 Bridge because the bridge could not hold both the truck and the house. The truck BACKED the house into the street and between two ancient apple trees and then TURNED it to face west.

The decrepit house had been vacant for 6 years when David and Ruthann Goularte bought it in 1989. David has his drafting table where Walter Wilder once had his.

Built in the waning years of the Edwardian era ended by WWl, the Goulartes chose to restore and create a contemporary version of the time. You might feel as if you’ve returned to the days of the Titanic when you walk in.

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Foutch: Origins of the Olympia Historical Society: part 4

Mark Foutch

For the remainder of 2002, the Olympia Historical Society continued the process of “standing up” its permanent organization while performing its mission and responding to opportunities. Members elected a Board of Directors, who in turn adopted staggered Board terms and elected officers and adopted a budget for the following year. There were three more meetings of the Society, interspersed with two Board meetings. 

The June 6 Meeting

Two short news items in The Olympian, for May 28 and June 3, publicized the Society’s next meeting on June 6 at the Thurston County Public Health and Human Services building on Lilly Road. Presiding officer Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. Members present were Rebecca Christie, Marilyn Connon, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Meta Heller, David Kindle, Winnifred Olsen, Shanna Stevenson, Derek Valley, Lanny Weaver.

Treasurer Drew Crooks reported that OHS had joined South Sound Heritage Association for $25. After a $2.00 account fee the Society’ bank balance was $670.28. There were 39 paid members.


Susan Goff reported a request for an image of the ferry Hartstene Two which had operated from the 1930s-‘60s. Referred to the Stretch Island Maritime Museum.

Derek Valley announced an upcoming exhibit for the County Sesquicentennial, “Thurston County Through Artist’s Eyes,” at the State Capitol Museum opening July 2, and distributed cards for the event. There will also be a special Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) exhibit at SCM. He noted the recent ceremony at the Washington State Historical Society where the Robert Gray Medal was presented to Shanna Stevenson.

Discussion RE:  the Carnegie Library building, on sale for $1 million. Some interest in it as future site for OHS. Anna Fitzgerald outlined some of the building’s needs, plus a capital fund drive and endowment requirement, which she estimated would bring total project cost to $5 million. Issues identified included partnering, funding, parking, accessibility (building lacks elevator). No consensus about pursuing the project but members would keep informed of developments regarding the building.

Discussion Items from Agenda:

Drew Crooks asked that his Treasurer’s responsibilities be transferred to Lois Fenske because she was better qualified and his expertise in historic preservation could be better utilized. Agreed by consensus.

Annamary Fitzgerald reported that the Locke family had approached the Bigelow House Preservation Association about channeling funds for a proposed Chinese community marker in downtown Olympia. BHPA had been approached due to Ed Echtle’s work on Chinese community history locally and in Seattle. She felt it was more appropriate for OHS to be the channel given its broader mission. This prompted an initial discussion of applying for IRS 501(c)(3) status as contributions would provide tax benefits for the donors. OHS could get publicity for its participation in the project, it was consistent with OHS bylaws while someone else would promote the project and raise the money. Members agreed there should be a memorandum of agreement for the work and to establish an account as a restricted fund.

Fall/Winter meetings would be at the Health Department building. The permanent Board will decide whether Society meetings would be monthly or bi-monthly on the first Saturday at 10 a.m.

Continued discussion of IRS status: Annamary Fitzgerald reported that, depending on group income ($10,000 more or less) the fee would be $150 or $450 and a preliminary ruling would be for six years. Drew Crooks thought OHS should wait a year or two, others suggested the Heritage Resource Center could help with the application.  Decision deferred until early 2003 when a permanent Board would be in place.

Lois Fenske agreed to provide information about OHS to The Olympian for its annual “Source Book.”

Committee Reports:

Education Committee: Drew Crooks reported the committee was working on future OHS programs: Jim Hannum on railroads of the area; Dave Burney on Little Hollywood; Susan Goff on the Ostrander family and the Crosby House; Michael Houser on local 1950s-‘60s architecture; and Ed Echtle on the Olympia Chinese community.  Also, the committee would have a booth at the Family History Day August 17 at the State Capitol Museum. Funding needed for exhibit materials and a display board. The display would have information about OHS and historic photos, possible from the recent postcard donation. Derek Valley moved, Marilyn Connon seconded, to allocate $100 for exhibit material. Drew Crooks would consult with OHS officers on display content. Shanna Stevenson will provide a display panel.

Membership Committee: Rebecca Christie suggested printing 250 copies of the membership brochure on 60 lb. Paper, folded. Pat Harper moved, Drew Crooks seconded, to allocate $40 for the brochure.

Nominations Committee: Annamary Fitzgerald will appoint the committee and a slate of nominees for the permanent board would be presented at the August meeting.

Territorial Sesquicentennial: Committee will participate with Olympia Heritage Commission to invite Kent Richards to speak in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens, and help with a possible walking tour of Territorial buildings (sites?) in Olympia.

Program: Eli Sterling presented his “Vision for Capitol Lake.”

The August 1 Meeting

Annamary Fitzgerald called this meeting to order at 7 p.m. at the County Health building.  Present were Bob Arnold, Janet Charles, Rebecca Christie, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Mark Foutch, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, David Kindle, Ron Locke, Brian Miller, Bruce Newman, Winnifred Olsen, Vicki Poitra, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Weaver.

Treasurer Lois Fenske reported expenses of $38 for P.O. Box annual rent, $35.64 for membership brochures, $2 monthly bank fee, and $8.95 for the website. Two new members paid a total of $50 dues. Balance as of August 1, $640.79.


Eve Johnson announced the AASLH conference in Portland. Annamary Fitzgerald said that some South Sound Heritage Association members would be part of a panel presenting there on September 25.

Rebecca Christie announced that the membership brochures were ready for distribution.

OHS now has community rebate cards from Ralph’s Thriftway grocery which rebates one percent of purchases back to OHS from shoppers presenting the card.

Discussion items:

Nominations Committee report: (The minutes do not name members of the committee.) Annamary Fitzgerald announced the slate of candidates for the first permanent Board of Directors election: Lois Fenske, Susan Goff, Roger Easton, Annamary Fitzgerald, Lannny Weaver, Pat Harper, Spencer Daniels, Ed Echltle and Shanna Stevenson. Drew Crooks moved, Rebecca Christie seconded, and the slate was approved for submittal to the membership. OHS members would receive ballots by mail and Email; the ballot directed them to vote for seven of the nine nominees by August 9.

Olympia Chinese Marker: Ed Echtle and Ron Locke presented information about the project. Proposed location is in Heritage Park on the west side of Water Street, site of the last “Chinatown” in Olympia. Winnifred Olsen remembered the site as being more between 5th and 6th on Water since her family’s business was on the corner of 4th.  Treasurer Lois Fenske expressed concern about OHS involvement, costs for banking and time for accounting of funds. She asked if funds would pass through OHS’ primary account or a separate account, both of which would bring fiduciary responsibility to OHS, which she opposed. Ed Echtle had assumed that OHS already had IRS 501(c)(3) status. Both Ed Echtle and Annamary Fitzgerald thought OHS could gain recognition from the project. Bob Arnold noted that Olympia’s nonprofit PARC committee associated with the Parks department already had tax-free status and could serve as the pass-through for project funds. This option should be explored with Jane Boubel, City Parks director. After further discussion, an informal vote was taken with 16 of 25 persons attending in favor of pursuing OHS involvement. Ed Echtle said the Chinese Marker group would return with a more detailed proposal. Project timeline might be as long as five years. Annamary Fitzgerald noted the upcoming OHS program by Ed Echtle on Olympia’s Chinese community.

Committee Reports:

Education Committee: Drew Crooks reported on the tabletop display he was preparing for the Family Heritage Festival, featuring views of Old Olympia including some of the recently-donated postcards. The new membership brochures would be available. Members signed up to staff the display.

Membership Committee: Attendees agreed to distribute the new brochures.

Collections Committee: Drew Crooks has been using Lacey Museum’s collections policy for accessioning donations but an OHS policy should be developed. In another development, there might be an opportunity for OHS to acquire the collection of photographs from The Olympian, which might be de-accessioned from the State Capitol Museum and moved to Tacoma. Drew Crooks and Annamary Fitzgerald spoke in favor of investigating the possibility although storage and staffing  (for access by researchers?) would be a challenge. Drew Crooks moved, Rebecca Christie seconded a motion to look into requiring that collection and other Olympia-related materials if they become available. Motion passed. Winnifred Olsen and her high school classmates could assist with identification and labeling of the photographs. Members signed up for a committee to pursue this issue.


Territorial Sesquicentennial: As discussed June 6, OHS will participate with the Olympia Heritage Commission to invite Kent Richards to speak in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens with a possible walking tour of Territorial Buildings in Olympia. Shanna Stevenson has now confirmed Kent Richards as the speaker.

Bob Arnold announced that the Hazard Stevens House at 1100 Carlyon Avenue was being renovated, and the Yeager House on E. 10th owned by Rose This would be featured on HGTV’s program “Restore America.”

Program: Dave Burney’s presentation, “Finding Little Hollywood.”

Postscript: In a mail and Email notification August 16, Annamary Fitzgerald informed OHS members that Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Ed Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff and Shanna Stevenson had been elected as OHS’ first permanent Board of Directors. The new Directors would now schedule a meeting and elect officers.  Members would be notified of the Board meeting.


First OHS Permanent Board of Directors Meeting

This meeting was called to order by Annamary Fitzgerald at 7:05 p.m., September 12, 2002, at the County Health Department Building on Lilly Road. Board members present:  Spencer Daniels, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff.  (Apparently absent: Roger Easton and Shanna Stevenson). Also attending: David Kindle.

The Board appointed Annamary Fitzgerald, President; Edward Echtle; Vice President; Shanna Stevenson, Secretary; Lois Fenske, Treasurer. All officer positions are for one-year terms per the Bylaws.

Board member terms were then adjusted to achieve the staggered terms called for in the Bylaws:

One-year term expiring December 2003: Spencer Daniels
Two-year terms expiring December 2004: Edward Echtle, Susan Goff
Three-year terms expiring December 2005: Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Shanna Stevenson

Treasurer’s Report: Lois Fenske clarified requirements for financial reporting. The board suggested reports include a current account balance, overview of expenses and membership total be presented at general membership meetings. Lois noted that expenses paid, either donated by members or reimbursed to them must be tracked for accounting records. Annamary Fitzgerald suggested a form could be used to show what funds were spent for and if cash reimbursement or in-kind donations were involved. Lois Fenske also noted that an annual budget must be approved by the Board by November 30 each year.  She will develop a proposed budget to share with the general membership at the October meeting. The Board will approve a final budget at its November meeting.

Board and Membership Meetings: These would alternate month-to-month. A general membership meeting would be Thursday October 3 at 7 p.m., a Board meeting Saturday November 2 at 10 a.m., and a general membership potluck meeting Saturday December 7 at 10 a.m. For 2003, General membership meetings would be in January, March, May, July, September and November; Board meetings in February, April, June, August, October and December.

Committee Reports:

Membership: Spencer Daniels will coordinate efforts.
Collections: Susan Goff will coordinate as potential collections and physical space become available.
Programs: Drew Crooks will continue developing programs for the general membership meetings.
Newsletter: Lois Fenske reported that the newsletter (concept?) has evolved into a quarterly journal of scholarly research.
Fundraising: Focus first on establishing 501(c)(3) status.
Website: Ed Echtle reported that he would add a bibliography of secondary research sources, links to library and archival resources and minutes of previous Society meetings to the website. The Board discussed adding a “virtual bookstore” to provide more public access to locally published research, but concluded that providing information on where and how to purchase them would be the most appropriate OHS web feature for now.  Echtle will document all access information for managing the website for OHS’ records.

Meeting adjourned at 8:37 p.m.

The October 3 General Membership Meeting

President Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order a 7 p.m. at the County Health building. Present: Bob Arnold, Janet Charles, Rebecca Christie, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Mark Foutch, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, David Kindle, Ron Locke, Brian Miller, Bruce Newman, Winnifred Olsen, Vicki Poitra, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Miller.

President Fitzgerald formally announced the Board election results, and the September 12  Board actions on staggered Board terms and officer appointments.

Treasurer Lois Fenske reported the usual expenses: Bank fee, website fee and copying.  OHS has 43 members and the bank balance is $640.09. She distributed a proposed 2003 budget and a form for reporting expenditures in support of OHS activities whether in-kind or reimbursable. The IRS wants to know in-kind and other contributions, and the information can also be used for grant matches. She reconfirmed that the 501(c)(3) application fee for groups with OHS’ income level would be $150. Members thanked Ms. Fenske for her work. The Board will adopt a 2003 budget at its November meeting ; it will be provided to the membership at the January meeting.

Old Business:

The Olympian photograph collection at the State Capitol Museum: WSHS has moved most of the collection to the Tacoma facility. WSHS has expressed no intention to de-accession the collection. Questions to be referred to WSHS Director David Nicandri.  Members acknowledged that the collection was going to a better archival facility with more staff to assist researchers. Drew Crooks remarked that this might be a spur for OHS to develop its own collection housed in Olympia. Alexander Marr (not listed in attendees above) questioned whether St. Martin’s or Evergreen might house collections temporarily. Roger Easton reported that some of the portrait collection from photographers Jeffers and Ron Allen had been purchased from Susan Parish by State Archives. Susan Goff noted that some items, such as a Mottman ashtray she knew about, would not fit with archival storage. Annamary Fitzgerald agreed that OHS’ collection would not be all photographs. Susan Goff noted it would not be wise to locate OHS’ collection in multiple locations. Rebecca Christie reported no response from the Olympia Downtown Association about donated space; this should be followed up.

Family Heritage Day: Drew Crooks reported that the event was not highly attended. WSDOT Photogrammetry had donated some labor, which made the event (OHS’ exhibit?) less expensive to produce. Russ and Genevieve Hupe’ had attended and said they thought people found the exhibit interesting.

New Business:

Olympia School District Sesquicentennial: Shelly Carr from OSD commended OHS for organizing. The first school here was opened in 1852 and the District was planning a two-year celebration. A committee was formed in January and was planning and carrying out events. Lynn Erickson was on the committee, and has played a key part in the oral histories. For example, Wanda Roder, the first woman district administrator (1938-39) for some reason was not part of the established documentary history of the District so her recent oral history was important. Ms. Carr distributed commemorative calendars. Susan Rohrer and Melissa Parr from the State Capital Museum are helping with photo identification. The district newsletter will feature historic information about the district during the two-year celebration. Ms. Carr suggested that OHS could assist this project by helping with oral histories, deciding disposition of tapes and transcriptions, and also helping with Lynn Erickson’s project “The View From Sylvester’s Window.”  All school libraries now have copies of “My Backyard History Book” to interest students in community history. TCTV is planning productions that OHS members could help with.  Winnifred Olsen suggested that her Olympia High School class recently had its 68th reunion and some of them might be good oral history interviewees. She also offered to assist with PTA history in the District. Shanna Stevenson will be providing information on the Cloverfields Farm for Pioneer School. Ms. Carr said the librarian in each school will be in charge of the school’s history. She is preparing a Resource Book and photo exhibit for the celebration.

Territorial Sesquicentennial: Roger Easton reported that he had been appointed to the Sesquicentennial Commission. He had mentioned to Secretary of State Sam Reed that OHS would be doing a project for the observance. Shanna Stevenson mentioned OHS co-sponsorship with Olympia Heritage Commission of the Kent Richard presentation in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens. Consensus was reached that OHS would work on a special project for the Sesquicentennial.


David Kindle announced that the Capitol Theater and office building was undergoing repair but that additional damage had been discovered.

Annamary Fitzgerald announced the Fall Bulb Sale at the Bigelow House Museum, October 12. Vendors of antiques (plants?) and perennials will be there plus a walking tour of the neighborhood by Lauren Danner. Laura Cannon Robinson will give a garden tour of the Bigelow House and evaluate the BHPA proposal for garden restoration there.

Susan Goff announced National Archives Week beginning in October, featuring special  projects and presentations.

Drew Crooks announced an Archaeology Month presentation October 24 at the Lacey Community Center.

City councilmember Mark Foutch noted that the City would be making a decision in November on Public Facility District proposals for a Convention Center. He said Susan Parish had contacted him suggesting a “high tech” permanent local history display in the facility. He suggested it could be pre-wired for AV uses for historical presentations, which might serve as one approach to a local history museum/archive.  Sites under consideration are at the head of East Bay and at the Phoenix Inn/Old Yardbirds property. Russ Hupe’ moved, Winnifred Olsen seconded, motion approved, that the Board would explore options for the proposed PFD Convention Center.

Alexander Marr announced an upcoming Celebration of Chinese Music and Culture at The Evergreen State College.

Program: Ed Echtle’s presentation of  “Olympia Chinese Community History.”

Wrapping Up 2002:  The November 2 Board Meeting

President Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. (minutes say p.m.) at the County Health Building. Board Members Present: Spencer Daniels, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff, Roger Easton, Shanna Stevenson.  Also present: David Kindle.

Treasurer’s Report: Lois Fenske reported an end of year balance of $617.00. She distributed a revised budget for 2003. It now conforms to nonprofit organizations standards for accounting in the cash system. Although the revised budget shows different categories, the amounts are the same as presented at the October general membership meeting. The budget projected an increase to 84 members, total income rising from 2002’s actual of $965 to $3980, attributed to increased member dues, donations and organized fundraising. Expenditures would increase from the current year’s $400.36 to a projected $1667, reflecting growing Society programs such as Outreach Activities, Program Guest Speaker Expense and Travel reimbursement, Publications and Collections, Brochures and Development Activities. Spencer Daniels moved, Ed Echtle seconded, and the Board approved the 2003 Budget.

Membership Management: Membership applications will be received by Treasurer Lois Fenske, who will deposit dues and pass the application forms to Shanna Stevenson who will file the forms and keep a current list of members. Treasurer Fenske will also pass new members’ contact information to President Fitzgerald to add to her list for meeting notifications. Membership renewal requests (reminders?) to be sent by Email with the form available on the website in PFD format. Those without Email will be sent postcards with the forms printed on them.

Collection Issues: Susan Goff will draft a statement of need for suitable physical space for the growing OHS Collection. Ed Echtle and Shanna Stevenson will pursue possible locations and notify Annamary Fitzgerald for the membership to consider at the January meeting. Shanna Stevenson brought up Mark Foutch’s suggestion at the October meeting regarding space for a local history display at the City-proposed PFD funded conference center. President Fitzgerald will draft a letter to the City Council requesting a display cabinet in the facility for quarterly rotating local history displays (similar to Lacey City Hall and Lacey Library). In exchange for this service, OHS would request 400 square feet of storage/office space in the new facility.

Web Update: Ed Echtle will provide a PDF format membership form on the OHS website. He also asked to be informed of upcoming events etc. for the website’s calendar.  He reported that web searches for “Olympia History” bring our website up first. He then reported a request to post commercial ads on the website. Board agreed that he would draft a policy for consideration at the next general membership meeting. For now only public or non-profit resources would be posted, with a future possibility of sponsored links.

Other Business:

President Fitzgerald will review IRS requirements for 501(c)(3) status and assign tasks to Board members to complete the application form.

For the Territorial Sesquicentennial display, Roger Easton suggested “Then and Now” photographs. He will work with Ed Echtle on the project. He also noted ongoing projects providing information on early censuses and land records through the State Archives.

David Kindle reported that the Olympic Club in Centralia was being re-done by McMenamins and was due to open.

Members were reminded to submit reimbursement forms to Treasurer Fenske.  Annamary Fitzgerald asked for program suggestions for upcoming meetings. Michael Houser from the State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation will present the January program on local modern architecture.

The November 2, 2002 Board meeting adjourned at noon.

Not quite 13 ½ months after that first letter dated August 19, 2001, the Olympia Historical Society had completed all the organizing tasks called for in its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. OHS was increasingly recognized as a valuable community resource. Opportunities were constantly appearing which presented the usual practical challenges of “money and time” faced by any volunteer-staffed group. Urgent administrative chores such as building membership and completing the 501(c)(3) application vied for attention as the Society continued to provide interesting and informative programs, displays, responses to inquiries, and web-based resources for its members and the general public. Quite an accomplishment for a group of very talented and dedicated local citizens.



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Kilgannon: Temple Beth Hatfiloh is 75!

Anne Kilgannon, with thanks to Beth Dubey for background information.

Louis Bettman arrived in Olympia and set up a general merchandise store in 1853. Within a year, two other establishments with Jewish proprietors opened for business in the muddy little village that would become the city of Olympia: Goldman and Rosenblatt’s People’s Emporium and M. Louisson’s shop, filled with goods from San Francisco.  They offered the townspeople and local farmers and loggers—and maybe most especially their wives—everything from dress trimmings imported from New York, to violins and groceries. It was the beginning of the end of frontier conditions. Like many of the early Jewish settlers in the west, they came as town dwellers and merchants, not as farmers or workers in the woods or mills.

They were part of a wave of German-speaking Jews leaving Europe between 1830 to 1860, seeking economic betterment and escape from the harsh conditions imposed on them by anti-Semitic regimes then dominant in central Europe. They came to the Pacific Northwest often by way of California, lured west by the gold rush. Some of the young men came alone, unmarried and without connections, who by dint of hard work established themselves and only later found wives and set up families. Others were part of far-flung family networks that supported new endeavors in pioneer towns and built upon their connections to establish businesses. Gustave and Bertha Rosenthal setting up a shipping business and dealt in wool, coal and oysters. The Kaufman brothers sold clothing and Isaac Harris stocked all manner of dry goods. Edward Salomon, who had served as a general during the Civil War, notably came to Olympia as the ninth Territorial Governor. Others followed.

This group concentrated on gaining a foothold in the fast-opening societies; they pitched in to build the towns and create the institutions that promoted economic growth and community survival. They were often more intent on assimilation than finding an outlet for religious expression. Having experienced the persecution and discrimination of the Old Countries, they tended to downplay their separate identity and focused on a more shared pioneer experience. For some, like George Jacob Wolff, feelings of gratitude for freedom dominated their emotions and cemented their attachment to their new homes. While they did establish a Jewish cemetery in 1873—one of the first in the Territory, no synagogue or temple was built in Olympia during this period.

The histories of these first Jewish pioneers have been gathered in an outstanding study, Family of Strangers: Building a Jewish Community in Washington State, by Molly Cone, Howard Droker and Jacqueline Williams, published by the Washington State Jewish Historical Society and the University of Washington Press, 2003. The authors describe three distinct waves of immigration, the first as described, followed by Yiddish-speaking Jews from eastern Europe who came from 1880 to 1924, and a separate population of Sephardic Jews from Turkey and parts of Greece, coming just after the turn of the century. The thesis of these authors is that these waves of immigrant Jews were not only “strangers” in the communities of the west, but also strangers to each other, with completely different origins, languages, customs, and observances. Their history is one of finding their place in the wider community and learning to help each other and live together.

As with any group of people, there was generosity and misunderstandings, conflict and compassion, friendly helping hands and suspicion. Each community in the Territory and then State carved out its own path within patterns shared and repeated in different locations. Other than in Seattle where a burgeoning population allowed more expression of differences, most Jewish immigrants in Washington struggled to create communities of co-religionists of any stripe. This tension of differences and isolation was an undercurrent that influenced the development of religious institutions in the smaller centers. Family of Strangers traces this complex history through several generations and developments up to the near-present. It helps provide the historical context for understanding and appreciating the achievements of each community’s growth and survival.

The progress of the community in Olympia was marked by the welcome received family by family as more Jewish people found their way here. The Jewish Benevolent Society, founded in 1873, leant a helping hand. The next year, land was dedicated for a Jewish cemetery. The Berkowitz/Bean family came in the early years of the twentieth century. It was in their home that the Torahs were kept, to be brought to the Labor Temple or Eagles Lodge for services on High Holidays. The Cohn and Hollander families added to the community, and many others came in the Thirties: the Goldberg family who opened a furniture store to operate alongside Anna Blom’s bookstore, Eddie Dobrin’s women’s apparel store, M.M. Morris’ Specialty Shop, Joe Jenkin’s dry cleaners, and others, to name only a few business establishments.

Finally, by the late 1930s, a strong group existed who could venture taking the next important step as a community.  Centralia and Chehalis had banded together to build a temple in 1930, as had a group in Aberdeen. They shared the architectural plans they had used and supported the Olympia group in their fundraising, headed by Earl Bean. Despite the lingering Depression, the wider community pitched in too, helping with building supplies, purchasing raffle tickets and pledging contributions. Land was cleared on Eighth and Jefferson Street and the venerable Olympia construction firm of Phillips and Newell erected the temple that became the center for religious and community life until 2004. By then the congregation had grown beyond the capacity of the original building and a move was made to the present location.

Temple Beth Hatfiloh was built in time to act as a strong center of activities and refuge as many Jewish people fled Europe in the wake of growing persecution, and then during World War II as a base for families whose members were serving overseas. After the war, although served only by a visiting rabbi for a period, more normal activities and services filled the calendar. A tradition of raising funds for the Olympia-wide charities saw Temple members hosting huge annual rummage sales; in more recent years they have hosted giant book-bagel-and blintz sales. For a time religious education classes had to be offered in Tacoma, but as the Olympia group grew, more could be organized within this community.

With an influx of new families brought to Olympia by the growth of state government and the establishment of Evergreen State College in the 1960s and 1970s, the Temple was assured of a solid foundation and future. Not until the 1980s could the congregation support their own rabbi, at first part-time and then finally full-time. The program for religious education also developed as more families joined. Besides growth in numbers, the congregation has gradually shifted in approach from Orthodox to a mix of Conservative and Reform practices. Eva Goldberg, an early chronicler and leader in the congregation, saw the community as “an extended family” ready to welcome all with open arms and assistance from its earliest days. Something of that spirit still prevails and adds strength and resiliency to this vital Olympia institution.

The Olympia Historical Society congratulates the members of Temple Beth Hatfiloh on the occasion of their seventy-fifth anniversary. They are an integral and important part of the history and growth of Olympia. Their many contributions, energy, success and longevity benefits the whole City.

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Echtle, A Brief History of the South Sound Country

by Edward Echtle

The Olympia area presents numerous opportunities to learn about the people and places of our past.  In rural areas, many historic places survive relatively unchanged from the earliest days of settlement.  Museums, historic houses and cabins, archaeological sites and interpretive markers present the curious traveler a varied menu of sights representing the rich history of Washington’s past.

Native Peoples

For centuries the Chehalis, Cowlitz, Nisqually, and Squaxin peoples made their homes on the inlets, prairies, and valleys of the South Sound region.  Abundant shellfish beds, salmon streams, and edible plants allowed native peoples to prosper and develop a rich cultural heritage with intricate social and economic ties.  At the Squaxin Island Museum, visitors can learn about life in the South Sound Country prior to European contact.  Cultural artifacts combine with oral history to give visitors a look at the continuity of native life up to the present day. Other museums such a the Lewis County Historical Museum (Chehalis) and the Cowlitz River Valley Historical Society and Old Settlers Museum (Morton) display artifacts of native life collected by early settlers.  South of Olympia, the Mima Mounds Natural Preserve invites visitors to walk through a restored example of a prairie ecosystem like those cultivated by natives for centuries.  Through periodic controlled burns, natives promoted the growth of camas root and other food and medicinal plants on these prairies.


Contact and Fur Trade

When outsiders first entered of what is now known as Puget Sound, they marveled at the immense old growth forests that blanketed the shorelines and inland valleys.  An expedition commanded by British Captain George Vancouver in 1892 was the first documented exploration of the South Sound waterways by Europeans.  Lieutenant Peter Puget, who accompanied Vancouver, led a long boat survey party and produced the earliest charts of the area.

By the 1830s, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) established Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River and began scouting a location for an outpost on Puget Sound to conduct trade with the natives.  They followed an ancient trade route north, the shortest distance between the Cowlitz River and Puget Sound.  This trail became the main north-south trail for travelers in the area, known as the “Cowlitz Trail.”  The HBC built the “Nisqually House” trade post adjacent to the village of the Sequalitchew band of the Nisqually people, near what is now the town of Dupont.  The Dupont Museum displays artifacts and images relating to the fort.

At Cowlitz Prairie, near present day Toledo, the Hudson’s Bay Co. also established Cowlitz Farms and Mission to solidify their claim to the region and to diversify their business beyond the fur trade toward agriculture.  Despite their efforts, the numbers of Americans entering the territory soon outstripped the numbers of HBC employees.  Today the site of Cowlitz Mission is still a Catholic Church and its cemetery is the last resting place of many of the earliest Europeans in the area.



By the 1840s, American settlers who traveled the Oregon Trail were pushing northward across the Columbia River.  They too followed the Cowlitz Trail, which settlers saw as a northern extension of the Oregon Trail.  Among the earliest arrivals in what is now Washington was John R. Jackson, who located just on the prairie just north of Cowlitz Farms.  The small cabin, now known as the John R. Jackson House, was an important stop on the Cowlitz Trail and served as the first American courthouse north of the Columbia River.

In 1845 the Simmons-Bush Party were the first Americans to settle on Puget Sound and founded the community of New Market, now Tumwater.  Pioneer George Bush, a “mulatto” arrived in Oregon to find that white settlers banned non-whites from locating there to avoid the contentious politics of the slavery issue.  Rather than separate, the band of pioneers moved north beyond the reach of the exclusion law.  Later, white settlers asked Congress to secure Bush’s claim to his land.  The George Bush Historical Marker located on the Bush’s original homestead land tells the story.  Other Blacks also settled in the South Sound Country.  An early African American homesteader named George Washington settled the area that is now Centralia and platted the town.

The city of Chehalis started life as “Saunders Bottom,” a rather soggy stop along the Cowlitz Trail.  Earlier, settlers founded the town of Claquato on the west side of the valley on higher ground and constructed the Claquato Church in 1858, one of the oldest still standing in Washington.  When the Northern Pacific Railroad built tracks through Chehalis in 1872, settlers relocated to be nearer the station, leaving the town of Claquato relatively unchanged to the present.

In Centralia the Joseph Borst Home is another of the few surviving structures from the early settlement period.  Located at the Cowlitz Trail ford in the Chehalis River, the Borst’s homestead also served as a stop on the trail.  Daniel R. Bigelow was another early arrival whose family home survives today as Bigelow House Museum.  Bigelow arrived in 1851 after crossing the Oregon Trail fresh from Harvard Law School.  His new neighbors immediately solicited his help in organizing the territory of Washington where he served as one of its first legislators.  Other early arrivals included Nathaniel Crosby (grandfather of Bing Crosby) who settled in Tumwater in the 1860s and operated a store.  The Historic Crosby House ca1860 is now part of the Tumwater Historic Park.  Hidden away near Rochester is the site of the 1850s Miller Brewer House, lost to fire in 2017; interpretive signage tell its story.  In Lacey, the Jacob Smith House now serves as a community center.  All of these give visitors a glimpse of early settler domestic life in the Puget Sound country.

Arriving along with American and European settlers, Chinese immigrants also lived and worked in the area.  Despite sparse mention in local histories, they filled an important need for seasonal labor.  The Chinese worked as oyster gatherers, road builders, hop-pickers, and in logging camps and lumber mills.  Due to the low numbers of women in the early west, they also filled the role of launderers, house servants, and cooks.  At Olympia, there was a community of Chinese living in “Chinatown” near the downtown core long before railroad construction began in the area.  A marker located at Olympia’s Heritage Park gives details.


Treaty Wars

In 1854 Isaac Stevens, the first governor of Washington Territory met with native leaders to negotiate secession of their lands to the US.  The first meeting was held at Nisqually, at the council grounds on the banks of She Na Nam creek.  During the winter of 1855-56 some natives rebelled against the settlers because they had not agreed to the treaty.  In response, the settlers formed volunteer militias and constructed a number of forts, including the Borst Blockhouse at Centralia.  Monuments mark the location of other forts in the area including Fort Eaton and Chambers Blockhouse near Lacey, Fort Henness near Rochester, and Rutledge Blockhouse south of Tumwater.  During the short but violent conflict both sides committed armed combatants to the field and tragedy resulted.  In January 1856 natives laid siege to Seattle for an entire day, killing two.  In April, volunteer militia forces massacred the entire population of a Nisqually village.  The Puget Sound War ended with the capture of Leschi and the surrender of Quiemuth, both Nisqually leaders instrumental in organizing the native resistance.  An unknown assailant murdered Quiemuth while he was under guard in Governor Stevens’ office in Olympia; Leschi endured two controversial trials over his role in the conflict.  Bent on retribution, settlers convicted Leschi as a murderer despite his status as a combatant in a war.  Leschi was hanged near Fort Steilacoom in February 1857, yet his fight for treaty rights and native sovereignty remains an immediate issue to the present.  In 2004 a special “Historical Court of Inquiry and Justice” reviewed the facts of the case and found Leschi not guilty of the charges for which he was executed.


From the start, creating an economic industrial base for trade was a priority for settlers.  The Deschutes River Falls at Tumwater was the draw for the Simmons-Bush party as a power source for industry.  There, settlers built the first American sawmill and gristmill on Puget Sound.

The maritime trades played a critical role in the early development of the South Sound region.  Early settlers found overland travel much more arduous than water travel.  Most families in the area owned at least one canoe, usually procured from local natives through barter or sale.  By the 1850s there was regular trade with the outside world as ships arrived and departed carrying passengers and merchandise.   Soon after, steamboats proliferated on Puget Sound, serving as the main form of transportation.  At the Mason County Historical Museum you can learn about the early sternwheelers that served Shelton and South Puget Sound.

Among the earliest industry in the area was production of lumber for export.  As settlement in the Northwest grew, so did the demand for building materials.  Soon, logging operations pushed deep into the forested hills of the South Sound Country.  The Lewis County Historical Museum, Mason County Historical Museum, and the Tenino Depot Museum, all display tools, photos, and artifacts tracing this key part of the region’s development.

By the early 1870s, passenger and freight railroad construction was underway in the area.  The Northern Pacific built its main line from Kalama on the Columbia River to Tacoma on Puget Sound, closely following the Cowlitz Trail route through the South Sound country.  The Lewis County Historical Museum, and the Tenino Depot Museum are both housed in classic depots dating from the heyday of the Northern Pacific Railroad.  Each contains artifacts and photos documenting the importance of railroads to the region.

Agriculture was another important industry.  At Yelm, citizens formed an irrigation district and built a canal system that provided water to numerous local farms on Yelm Prairie from the 1920s to the 1960s.  The Yelm Historical Museum displays information on the impact of this development and information on early settlers and the founding of the community.  In Boistfort Valley, west of Chehalis, hop growing became a major economic force as it did in other parts of western Washington in the late 1800s.  Hop drying barns still survive, now converted for other uses.  Dairy and chicken farming also played a large role in the area’s development.  The town of Winlock was once the “Egg Capital of the World” shipping tons of poultry products over the years.  Exhibits in the Winlock Historical Museum trace the history.

By the 1890s, sandstone quarries at Tenino provided building material used throughout the American west.  Tenino’s distinctive sandstone business district developed as a way to promote the industry and to make the town more fireproof after devastating blazes destroyed the business district.  Many buildings in the area use the stone in their construction, including the east wing of the old State Capitol Building in downtown Olympia.  However, by the 1920s, poured concrete construction largely replaced Tenino sandstone due to its lower cost.



Early settlers saw public education as a key component of a democratic society and took great pains to provide their youth with education opportunities.  One and two-room schoolhouses once dotted the region, serving the children of nearby families in all grades simultaneously.  Few examples of these remain today.  One very intact example is the Gate City School, near Rochester.  Recently, citizens rescued the historic Ticknor School from destruction, relocating it next to the Tenino Depot Museum. Another display at the Joseph Borst Home recreates just such an early schoolhouse.   The Lacey Museum and the Winlock Historical Museum also display artifacts, documents and memories of school life in the area.  Currently the Rainier Historical Society is refurbishing its historic 1915 school as a community center.


The Twentieth Century

By the early 1900s, new immigrants came by steamships and by train to live and work in the South Sound Country.  Scandinavians, Eastern and Southern Europeans, Asians, and others arrived to fill the growing need for labor.  Working conditions for these laborers was harsh and wages low.  Labor unions such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as “Wobblies” found avid followers among these men who came to America looking to better their situation.  The IWW, known for its wildcat strikes and work slowdowns, fought for better conditions and a standard eight-hour work day.  Their activities generated a great deal of ill-will toward them by business owners.  These tensions erupted into violence in 1919 when WWI veterans raided the Centralia IWW Hall in 1919.  The Wobblies shot four veterans and in the ensuing violence a mob lynched IWW member Wesley Everest.  A memorial to the dead veterans and a nearby mural commemorating the Wobblies is in Centralia’s George Washington Park.

Planned company-owned towns with homes designed to accommodate families replaced the formerly all-male bunkhouse camps that typified early industry .  Despite the loss of industries that created them, towns such as Dupont, and Ryderwood remain relatively intact, containing much of their original character.  Other company towns including Bordeaux, (lumber) Tono, (coal) and Vail (lumber) withered when the companies closed their operations.  The Dupont factory, founded in 1912, produced explosives for World War I.  Ryderwood, built by the Long-Bell Lumber Company, was designed as a model family-friendly community.  Driving the magnanimity of companies to create such community however was a desire to subvert the power of the labor unions.  Companies such as DuPont and Long-Bell hoped that family men were less likely to strike.  The DuPont Museum tells the story of the town and its workers and families.

As the pace of industrial development quickened on Puget Sound so did the call for faster means to transport raw materials to processing.  In 1910 the tugboat Sand Man began her long career on Puget Sound as one of the numerous tugs transporting logs, coal, and anything else that needed hauling.  Sand Man was one of the first tugs to use a gasoline engine, making her a very modern and fast vessel.  Sand Man remained a work boat until only recently, before she was restored in 2002.  The Sand Man Foundation maintains the tug at Olympia’s Percival Landing Park for public viewing.

By the early Twentieth Century, many citizens became interested in preserving and marking historical Sites connected to the early settlement era of Washington.  Ezra Meeker of Puyallup conducted a much publicized retracing of the Oregon Trail for the purpose of placing historic markers.  Meeker traveled west to east, dedicating historic markers along the way.

The Great Depression of the 1930s brought Federal Funding for public works projects.  Washington State Parks were among the many beneficiaries of programs such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  Millersylvania State Park, Rainbow Falls State Park, and Lewis and Clark State Park all have buildings, roads, trails, bridges, and other structures built by the CCC.

Few events had the impact on the South Sound area as the World Wars.  During both World War I and World War II, Americans and immigrants streamed into the area to work in wartime industry.  Ship building, logging, agriculture, and numerous other industries switched into high gear, producing record amounts of goods.  Most importantly, families threw themselves into the war efforts, by either serving in the military or as home front volunteers.  At the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis artifacts, documents and oral histories combine to preserve the memory of the sacrifices of those who served.  In Tumwater, the Olympic Flight Museum exhibits aircraft from several conflicts.  The airport itself is also historic, having served as a satellite base for nearby McChord Air Field during WWII.  The US Air Corps stationed a squadron of P-38 Lightnings here and used the area for air combat training.

The visitor to Washington State’s South Sound Country will find these sites and others relating to the rich history of the area, its people, places, and settlements.  Individually, these stories offer an intimate view of family life, business relations, and community involvement.  Together, the historic sites in the South Sound Country represent the diverse heritage representative of the larger history of Pacific Northwest, offering a more complete understanding of the origins of today’s communities.


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Derricott: Personal Reflections of a Former Newsletter Editor

By Mark Derricott, former editor of the OHS Newsletter

I recently re-read a couple of my favorite books: The Histories by Herodotus and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.Aside from realizing that I was much too young when I read them last time, I happened to read those books as my personal life underwent some relatively dramatic turn of events. One repercussion was my leaving the Olympia Historical Society board and turning over the newsletter editorship to someone else (who shall remain nameless until such time as that person steps forward). These developments gave me reason to consider, and here I will relate, some of my thoughts on the three major problems that studying history presents.

herodotusAs we’re all aware, we don’t have time machines that take us to the place we’re studying and that makes recreating history or even a particular timeline within history extremely problematic. Even though that ideal is impossible, it is the ultimate motivation behind the study of history. Amateur and professional historian alike, it drives the work. Let us turn to this example from the Father of History himself:

“So much for what the Persians and Phoenicians say; and I have no intention of passing judgment on its truth or falsity. I prefer to rely on my own knowledge, and to point out who it was in actual fact that first injured the Greeks; then I will proceed with my history, telling the story as I go along of small cities no less than of great. For most those which were great once are small to-day; and those which used to be small were great in my own time. Knowing, therefore, that human prosperity never abides long in the same place, I shall pay attention to both alike.” (Emphasis added.)

Herodotus here defines my first problem, the historian chooses the story to tell from sometimes unreliable sources. Herodotus describes the delineation of his narrative from the broader fabric of history and he was even kind enough to define the limits of his discretion. He explains what he is going to pay attention to within the sources at his disposal. He clings to the notion of provable facts, while still acknowledging that there are reasons to doubt the veracity of any given source. Of course, he also reveals a general personal worldview of city-states pulsating through the years in declinations and ascensions. Whether that in actual fact occurs we shall not here pass judgment. Suffice it to say that Herodotus was one of the earliest Western historians, and his stories still provide the typical template of telling and re-telling history all the way to our own time. We have embraced subjectivity just like Herodotus’s because over the years we have fallen in love with the spaces between a historian and a storyteller and we can’t help but celebrate the latter’s yarn spinning.

Herodotus’ method of presentation is perhaps his most important legacy. This is the narrative mode of the omniscient narrator.  This is the voice that relates everything it sees, and if it were present in your room (as opposed to a book or computer in your lap), it would be able to fill in every single detail that the inquiring mind might have the desire to ask. We see this omniscient narrator often, and particularly in our histories, both in the novel and scholarly form. It’s natural but also powerfully authoritative. Rarely does that narrator betray any deficiency in telling the stories. In history retelling, this is extremely important because who would want to doubt the certainty of someone explaining the story?

The narrative mode appears in the form of Dostoevsky’s narrator in The Brothers Karamazov. How different would the story be without him? Would the story still be a story without the narrator? It certainly would not have been the same story and may not have become the classic that we know it as today. The author, in the voice of the narrator, just as the trial was about to begin explains his method:

“I will say beforehand, and say emphatically, that I am far from considering myself capable of recounting all that took place in court, not only with the proper fullness, but even in the proper order. I keep thinking that if one were to recall everything and explain everything as one ought, it would fill a whole book, even quite a large one. Therefore, let no one grumble if I tell only that which struck me personally and which I have especially remembered. I may have taken secondary things for the most important, and even overlooked the most prominent and necessary features…But anyway I see that it is better not to apologize. I shall do what I can, and my readers will see for themselves that I have done all I could.”

dostoyevsky3The second problem is people don’t always get it down as it happened and may not remember acurately what they saw. On the more brightly human side, nothing is more lovable but frustrating than the personable historian who might have left out a critical detail, or whose story is derailed by putting salient moments out of order. Those winding and erractic tales make getting to the point all the more exciting as we consumers experience the story. Our narrator apologizes and then recants the apology. Let no one grumble, indeed!

We adore the narrator who fully acknowledges his inability to capture everything because they remind us of a beloved relative telling us the story we love—the one that gets hazier as the years progress, but is still as wonderful as it was when we were young. The imperfect story-teller forces us to realize that there was more to the story than we’ll ever be able to know. There are angles unseen, sounds unheard, and bits of the events that anyone and everyone else there may have experienced absolutely otherwise. We are left with the product of a single individual for the events that interest us because we don’t usually get panels in the same room to describe these things, (though there are exceptions).

I find Dostoevsky’s apology just before the trial fascinating even more so because I can see in my mind’s eye that all those who were in courtroom then, all of their children, and their grand-children have long since passed away. I imagine that this story and its imperfections have become the only link we have with that trial—the crescendo of a spectacular story of a little town in Russia. If I were to study that trial as a historian I would be filling in the blanks as best I could knowing that the sources are every bit as questionable as those that Herodotus questioned 2500 years ago. That is one of the legacies and tragedies of the historian.

Much earlier in the same book is my favorite example. If you’ll forgive me for being so personal—aside from indulging me in writing about fiction in a historical newsletter—I’d like to present another passage. I have included along with it my reaction in italics last time I read it. I do this because this passage presents the third problem of the historian, to be shortly introduced.

“The house of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov stood far from the center of town, yet not quite on the outskirts.”

A house not far from downtown must be like any house in almost any neighborhood adjoining Olympia’s downtown.

“It was rather decrepit, but had a pleasant appearance: one storied, with an attic, painted a gray color, and with a red iron roof.”

Not too big and decrepit—must be in the Eastside Neighborhood.

“However, it had many good years left, and was roomy and snug. It had all sorts of closets, all sorts of nooks and unexpected little stairways.”

I don’t know of many one-storied houses with “unexpected little stairways”, but nooks are fun.

“There were rats in it, but Fyodor Pavlovich was not altogether angry with them: “Still, it’s not so boring in the evenings when one is alone.” And indeed he had the custom of dismissing the servants to their cottage for the night and locking himself up in the house alone for the night.”

“This cottage stood in the yard. It was spacious and solid; and Fyodor Pavlovich also appointed his kitchen to be there, though there was a kitchen in the main house; he did not like kitchen smells, and food was carried across the yard winter and summer. As a matter of fact, the house had been built for a large family: it could have accommodated five times as many masters and servants.”

Oh, so it’s some kind of mansion! Up until this point in the book, I didn’t get that Fyodor Pavlovich was a wealthy man living in a huge mansion. One storied?

I’ve even spent a considerable amount of time in Russia and this passage still drew a bright line between my experience with the concept of a house in Olympia and upper-class living standards in mid-nineteenth century Provincial Russia. The realization came that this verse actually describes us (the subject) just as much—if not more—than it describes its own object, the house in which Fyodor Pavlovich lived.

Along with questionable sources and stories, along with questionable memories of the sources, there is further the questionable interaction between the historian and the object of her study. These interactions are the moments that have become narratives, pieces of stories, and presentation of circumstances that humanity–across all languages and every other social barrier–has come to love. This is history. And this is the presentation of history. History is not only the object but the subject; and they together are intertwined and wound inextricably. And to grasp a small part of it, we must multiply the millions of objects by the billions of subjects who have ever lived over the ages.

But I am discussing art and historiography should be scientific! What if we adhere to a scientific principle fit for the scholarliest of scholarship? We can, nay we must, do better! Consider if we’re studying cooking methods from ages ago, even if we use the same instruments: the wood for the fires, the pots that they used in the age we’re studying, and the ingredients taken from the most reliable sources; we still cannot replicate the same food because the trees are hundreds of years older, the pans are hundreds of years degraded (or fashioned newly for experimental purposes and never really used for anything else), and the food itself certainly cannot be reproduced as it would have been long ago. Let us not forget our object: the taste of the food would be compared with a subjective palate that has likely experienced McDonald’s and Starbucks. Would the comparative study be useful for us at all?

Just as if an ancient and untouched village whose centuries old traditions remain intact, where the people speak languages the modern world has never heard, was suddenly discovered. As soon as that modern world enters, flooded by those seeking answers to the questions that vexed academics—whether it’s cracking the code of an ancient language, or revealing extinct engineering practices—everything changes. Those objects interact with those subjects and those people then change how life is carried on in the little village. The residents begin to eat Snickers bars and drink Coca-Cola. They wear different clothing and change their ambitions from farming to moving to a city to experience life in a different way. Even if the changes aren’t dramatic enough to be visible, people act differently or at least not authentically. Our mere presence in our fictional village changes the composition in the village. Regardless of how this happens that village can never return to what it was. The same thing happens when we discover an unknown chapter of history to study.

We can talk and even dream about history, but we cannot recreate and cannot re-live it. It’s simply far too personal. One final, personal example: shortly after my father’s sister died a few years ago, I had a conversation with my dad. He began to talk about his father and I started asking him about a specific event of which my dad had no first-hand knowledge. Before he was able to say, “Your aunt would know” we both fell into silence and realized that a particular moment of my own relative’s life literally had been banished to dustbin of history. That banishment happens every hour of every day.

My family’s history is insignificant, but our collective history is made up of millions of individual moments that disappear over time like a beautiful tapestry slowly falling apart. And all that remains in that tapestry are the moments for which the time becomes known, pieced together from whatever shreds remain. Those remains ultimately form the historical narrative that defines the past—the stories of Herodotus and the unreliable tales of someone hastily taking down notes at the trial. Perhaps, we now live during the Gregoire and Inslee eras. Someone will write about that someday and will shed very little light on our time, now darkened by the passing years. It will be defined from the desks of our politicians and other powerful people but our worlds actually revolve very little around whomever those people happen to be, much less the predilections of whoever decides to write about them.

History is so much more, just like our personal lives are so much more. These stories can be captured, preserved, and protected through thousands of little organizations just like ours. This work will be so much more effective—it can only be effective—with your participation both as a consumer but just as importantly as a producer. It was wonderful to have been a part of this one for last few years.

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Foutch: Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, part 2

By Mark Foutch, President

Incorporation, Bylaws and Progress

(If the exploratory and organizational meetings of 2001 could be considered “conception” and “birth,” then early in 2002 the Olympia Historical Society was “confirmed” and took its first steps.  And suddenly the “toddler” had lots of great ideas.  The challenge would be to choose among them and then focus organizational talent and energy to turn them into reality.)

2002: The January 26th Meeting

On January 9, The Olympian ran a notice that “The Olympia Historical Society’s second organizational meeting will be 2 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Thurston County Courthouse…Agenda items include adopting articles of incorporation, electing officers and setting up committees.  An additional meeting is planned for 2 p.m. Feb. 23.”

Present were Bob Arnold, Karen Bowen, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lynn Erickson, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Gary Foote, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Jerry Handfield, Pat  Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, E.L. Johnson, F. David Kindle, Anne Kilgannon, Bonnie Marie, Charles Roe, Liza Rognas, Ann Shipley, Randolph Stilson, Rae Verhoff, Lanny Weaver and Tom Zahn.

Temporary Chair Annamary Fitzgerald opened the meeting with an announcement on meeting etiquette:  “No one will be allowed to speak for more than 3 minutes before yielding the floor to another member.”  Apparently the past meeting’s experience had caused this measure to be felt necessary.

The proposed Articles of Incorporation passed after a few amendments.  Article I confirmed the group’s official name as “Olympia Historical Society.”  Article II specified that the period of existence of the new corporation was to be “perpetual.”  Article III laid out OHS’ “business and purpose,” drawn from the drafts considered at earlier meetings.  Article IV gave the group’s location as “Olympia, Washington.”  Article V listed Annamary Fitzgerald as the Initial Registered Agent. Article IV listed her address for the record

Article VII specified that the Board of Directors would number not less than three but that the final number, methods of election or appointment, and term of office, would be further specified in the Bylaws.  Article VIII said that classes of membership, qualifications, rights, and method of acceptance for each class would also be specified in the Bylaws.

Article IX listed the Incorporators as:  President Annamary Fitzgerald; Vice President Rebecca Christie; Secretary Spencer Daniels; Treasurer Shanna Stevenson; Board Member Drew Crooks.  Article X directed that, if/when the Corporation were to be dissolved, its assets would be distributed to “another 501(c)(3) or nonprofit groups with similar purposes and objects,”  and exempt from U.S. taxes, or to the Federal , State or local government for “a public purpose.”  Any assets not so distributed would be disposed of by a Court.  And Article XI allowed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation only by a general or special meeting of the membership.

Bob Arnold then moved approval of the draft Bylaws and Lois Fenske seconded.  After five amendments were approved, Bob Arnold again moved approval, Drew Crooks seconded, and the Bylaws were adopted:

Article I dealt with membership and dues (not raised until 10 years later).  Article II dealt with scheduling of meetings and quorum requirements.  Article III established requirements for the Board of Directors, including a minimum number of seven.  Article IV laid out duties of Officers and Directors.  Article V established committees:  Organization, Collections, Publications, Educational Programs and Outreach, Membership, Finance and Fundraising.  All committees were to have no fewer than three members and chairs would serve one-year terms.  Committees would submit quarterly reports to the Board.  And other committees or subcommittees could be appointed by the Board or by a general vote of the members.  Article VI dealt with Financial Provisions and Article VII, controlled acceptance of Gifts and Donations and called for a formal collections policy.  Article VIII, Ethical Behavior, prohibited conflicts of interest by Directors in employment or contracting with/by the Society during a term of office or 12 months thereafter.    Article IX controlled use of the Society’s name and image.  Article X prescribed Robert’s Rules of Order for conducting Board general meetings.  Article XI was the standard indemnity and hold harmless clause.   (There seemed to be no Article XII.)  Article XIII made the Bylaws effective upon adoption, except for Article III.  Election of Directors by the membership would take place after six months or until the membership numbered 50 persons.   Article XIV allowed amendments to the Bylaws only by a vote of the members at a general or special meeting.

The interim officers continued to manage the Society’s business until the conditions in Article XIII were satisfied.   Meanwhile the Society continued with initial administrative tasks and began to explore program topics and other heritage-related activities.

The February 23rd Meeting

This meeting recorded lots of follow-up actions by committees.  Attending were Bob Arnold, Ralph Blankenship, Rebecca Christie, Marilyn Connon, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Susan Goff, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, Anne Kilgannon, David Kindle,  Duane King, E.L.Johnson, Mark Johnson, Bruce Newman, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Weaver, and Derek Valley.

Treasurer Drew Crooks reported that an account had been opened at South Sound Bank with a $100 deposit.

Organization Committee chair Rebecca Christie reported that the Articles of Incorporation had been filed with the Secretary of State for Washington State.



Also, a Post Office Box had been established and OHS’ official address was now P.O. Box 6064, Olympia, WA 98507.

Finance Committee chair Drew Crooks reported that he and Lois Fenske were working out the details to reimburse those who had advanced funds to organize the Society.

Education, Programs and Outreach Committee chair Drew Crooks reported the committee was looking for programs and speakers. He also stated that the Olympia School District would be celebrating its Sesquicentennial in the 2002-3 school year; Lynn Erickson was on a district committee for that event.

For the Society’s first program, Lanny Weaver suggested Lynn Erickson present her project, “The View From Sylvester’s Window.”

Lois Fenske said that South Puget Sound Community College was celebrating its 40th anniversary in September.  Genevieve Hupe’ moved that OHS support the Olympia School District for their Sesquicentenial celebration; Duane King suggested OHS give financial support.  Drew Crooks responded that financial support was impractical but that other support would be desirable, so Duane King withdrew his suggestion.  Mark Johnson moved that OHS support the OSD effort with suggestions from the Education  Committee.  Drew Crooks seconded; motion carried.

For more program suggestions Drew Crooks also recommended Lynn Erickson’s “Sylvester’s Window,” OSD make a presentation, also the 75th anniversary of the Capitol Building (Legislative Building).  Rebecca Christie asked if OHS could cooperate with State Capitol Museum evens and Derek Valley said yes.

Lois Fenske asked what geographical area of interest was OHS’; Rebecca Christie replied that the bylaws did not limit those to the city limits only.

Other program suggestions:  Les Eldridge on maritime history; Ed Echtle for Chinese history; Lisa Rognas’ students from Evergreen; Lois Fenske on SPSCC; Eli Sterling on Heritage Park proposals.

Collections Committee chair Susan Goff had met with Bev Gunstone and Pat Harper.   A Mission Statement should be developed and geographical boundaries set for collectios.   Example:  Lacey Museum had set North Thurston school district boundaries  for their area of interest.   OHS collection policy can be fine-tuned without changing the bylaws.

Webpage chair Ed Echtle reported that a web presence could be secured for about $100 per year, free of advertisements.  Price included an Email address for the officers.  He had drafted a covenant for the webmaster to access the OHS bank account to debit the account to pay for the web.  The Board would discuss that after the meeting.  Anne Kilgannon noted that web access would be a great tool to publicize the Society.  Ed Echtle clarified that the cost would be $15 to start and about $9 monthly and that the URL was available.

Logo committee chair Roger Easton joked that it should be the “Loco Committee” because of all the possible logo options including two of the “oyster” versions, showing the old Capitol and the current Capitol buildings.  Bruce Newman suggested the oyster logo would connect with Native American history.  Marilyn Connon asked about the Lacey and Tumwater society’s logos.  Members agreed “the simpler, the better.”  After a suggestion to adopt an interim logo, Drew Crooks moved and Spencer Daniels seconded to approve an oyster logo in concept and have the committee bring back a refined version.  The motion carried 13-5.

Rebecca Christie brought up the issue of a contact telephone number for the Society.  Ed Echtle said Qwest offered a voice mail service to organizations and he would check into it.  Spencer Daniels cautioned that someone must be willing to monitor the voice mail on a regular basis.

Regarding meeting times and locations, Rebecca Christie had polled many members and suggested that for those members who did not wish to drive at night the group continue to meet on Saturdays in the winter and in summer on the first Thursday of the month.  She had also researched locations including the Library, Coach House, Women’s Club, Fire Department training room, and The Olympian community room. Duane King suggested Churches and she suggested he pursue that option.  Roger Easton would check Puget Power community room and E.L. Johnson, Lincoln School.  Mark Johnson noted that the Courthouse was free and OHS had no funds for room rental.

The group agreed to the following schedule:  Saturday, March 30 at the Courthouse, then beginning in May, 7 p.m., the first Thursday, location TBA.  On Standard Time, Saturday meetings would start at 10 a.m.

Committee Meetings followed:

Finance and Fundraising:  Bruce Newman suggested pursuing City of Olympia Neighborhood organizations for members; Rebecca Christie noted they were already on the mailing list.

Membership:  Members so far were E.L. Johnson, Spencer Daniels, Marilyn Connon, Lanny Weaver and Rebecca Christie.  No chair designated yet.   Drew Crooks will give Rebecca a list of people attending meetings but not yet paying dues.  Committee will draft a cover letter for President’s signature and send them application forms.  Forms to be sent also to City Councilmembers’ inboxes.  Will contact neighborhood and homeowners’ associations asking for publicity.   Will create a membership brochure (print and electronic versions) to be discussed March 12.  Will need facts from other committees to draft brochure language.  Asked OHS members for leads for new members.

Education, Program and Outreach:  Will follow up on program suggestions.  Aim for May or June for the first program.  Will report OHS support to School District and plan an interactive OHS booth for Sesquicentennial Family History Day in August.

Collections:  Chair, Susan Goff.  Members Pat Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Duane  King and Bev Gunstone. Will draft a Mission Statement, proposed geographic area for collections and a collections site or sites for consideration at next meeting.   Attendees’ input:   Anne Kilgannon asked if collections would be limited to “paper only;” Susan Goff responded that the bylaws allowed other formats.   President Christie agreed to forward Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to members.  Bruce Newman suggested a formal portrait of members when the 50 member threshold was reached.

Publications:  Members were Lois Fenske, Shanna Stevenson, Anne Kilgannon, Ann Shipley, Roger Easton and Bob Arnold.  Lois Fenske reported that the committee will present a draft newsletter at a future meeting.  It will include basic information about OHS and also features about Olympia history.

Other Business:  Rebecca Christie reported that OHS was applying for the Stormans’ rebate program.  David Kindle noted that Albertson’s had a similar program.

The meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.

(Some participants at these early meetings report that they seemed tedious, and perhaps they were.  But looking at all that was accomplished, and all that was laid out for future action, progress seems remarkable.  Since then, some things have changed but much remains the same:  The bylaws set the framework for a large, thriving future organization.  The dues structure remained unchanged until 2013.  OHS still has the same P.O. box, website URL, and bank account.  The split 13-5 vote for the ”oyster logo” apparently did not bode well because today’s logo is entirely different.  IRS 501(c)(3) status has not been applied for as the group’s income so far has not warranted it.  The group still tries to schedule board, general meetings and programs a year ahead but often bumps up against individuals’ personal and professional schedules.  Next chapter:  Organizational progress, first programs, and more!)

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O’Connell: Olympia in Minor League Baseball

By Emmett O’Connell

In 1903 John P. Fink, a newspaper man and promoter, had an idea for a baseball league.

Fink seemed to be a jack-of-all-trades sort of promoter in the era, is mostly mentioned in that gray area between public relations and newspapering. He wrote about sports, worked for newspapers, but also ran teams and leagues. In 1903 he is also noted in the first ever mention of the Southwest Washington League as “the manager of the Tacoma druggists” baseball team.

This is the same era that saw the consolidation in the high level minor leagues of the Pacific Coast League between California and Pacific Northwest teams. The highest level of baseball on the west coast to that point had been split between the two. In 1903 the two warring baseball regions joined together in an outlaw league.

The Pacific Coast League was operated outside the rules of organized baseball. That meant, for example, they could sign players outside existing contracts of other leagues that played inside the rules.

Was it because of the attention being paid to the Portland Browns, Tacoma TIgers and Seattle Siwashes in the press that Fink saw opportunity in a baseball circuit throughout timber towns in bottom left hand corner of Washington? The Pacific Coast League was no small undertaking.

Baseball had been growing along the west coast since after the Civil War, with Portland teams playing since the late 1860s. It slowly expanded from a game played between clubs and soldiers to a game of semi-pros and pros, business patrons and fans paying gate.

The new regional league from Los Angeles to Seattle was outside the bounds of baseball law, but Fink sought to toe the line. 1903 was also the first year of the National Association, the agreement major league baseball on the East and midwest and minor leagues throughout the country. This agreement gave certainty to players and owners (mostly owners) that contracts would be recognized across professional leagues and that poached players could not re-enter organized baseball without outlaw teams paying up.

This was also the agreement that Pacific Coast League ignored, if only for a year or so. But, the smaller (class D) Southwest Washington League was inside the law from the beginning. This was even fact trumpeted by the the league in “The Reach Official American League Base Ball Guide.”

The Southwest Washington League, under the protection of the National Association, enjoyed a most successful season, financially and artistically, under the able administration of President John P. Fink, of Olympia. The season opened May 10, 1903, and closed September 6, with Aberdeen and Hoquiam tied for the pennant. Hoquiam refused to play a post-season series to decide the tie, and the league directors awarded the pennant to Aberdeen.

Fink first reached out to organizers of local teams in the timber towns early in 1903, asking them if their communities had it in them to step up to professional baseball. First on his list were Olympia, Chehalis, Centralia, Montesano, Aberdeen and Hoquiam.

These six cities were at the time very similar. Today, they stand apart culturally and demographically, Olympia in particular. In more than a century, Olympia has gone from a timber town in the same classification as Aberdeen and Chehalis (with a state capitol) to a city on the southern edge of the Puget Sound metroplex. Olympia grew from just under 4,000 to more than 10 times that size.

But, as Fink sent out his inquiries in early 1903, these really were cities of the same league.

By February 1903 almost 20 Olympia businessmen had lined up behind the team, putting up the nearly the entire sum needed to enter the league. The entrance fee of $250 that Fink and other organizers wanted in 1903 to enter the league worked out to be about $6,000 today.

Gathering investors, officially forming the league, putting together a board of directors were early steps for the Olympia team in the Southwest League. By mid-February the local electric utility — Olympia Light and Power — promised to rip down a defunct veladrome (bike track) on the bluff above their powerhouse. The plan was to use the timbers to build a grandstand and bleachers on the stadium site, which also coincidentally was along the OL&P’s streetcar line.

In April, Olympia baseball men were calling the home field “Electric Park” but it was not yet fit to practice on. Process on the park is going slow, despite the effort of the OL&P company.

When the Olympia Maroons opened in a exhibition on April 19, 1903 against the Tacoma Athletes, an amatuer team, Olympia won 4-1. Six hundred Olympians supported the Maroons with “lusty yells” according to the newspaper account.

The board of directors meetings for the Olympia Maroons were public in 1903 and were covered like local government meetings. For example, a decision to charge admission is discussed in a regular news column. It cost 25 cents to get into the park, and additional 25 cents to get into the grandstands. Ladies get into the grandstands for free.

And, by May 10 the Southwest Washington League was in action.

The first really big event of the baseball schedule is on May 22 when President Roosevelt came to town and Aberdeen played a “President Day” special the same afternoon. A train full of Harborites came into town with their ball team to see the Bull Moose but the Pippins lost to the Maroons.

As it turns out, Olympia was a pretty bad team. By August, the Morning Olympian was advising against betting on the Maroons. Or, at least during league games, during which the Maroons were apparently snake bit:

Any man will tell you, provided he has money on the game, that he is willing to back the Maroons against any team in the Pacific National or the Outlaw leagues, on exhibition, but when it comes to Southwest Washington league games he will hereafter save his money to buy bread…

That’s a difference between today and then. While teams like Olympia would play throughout the week against teams in and out of their league, only weekend games played against other SWWL teams counted towards the standings. Apparently Olympia was a weekday team.

By August things were getting worse for the league on a much larger scale. Hoquiam was threatening to leave the league.

They seemed to have sarcasm back then as the Hoquiam Perfect Gentlemen were apparently not perfect or gentlemen. Well, if you assumed that amatuer ball players who worked mill jobs during the week and played in the SWL on the weekend, aren’t gentlemen. The all-amatuer team from Hoquiam was leading the league in August against teams made up of a mix of professional and amateurs. This apparently led to a decision by the owners of the other teams to expand the number of league games, which ate into Hoquiam’s small league lead.

Hoquiam stayed in the league, but not without dragging arguments through organizational meetings and letters.

At the end of the first season, half the league had 11 wins, the other 7.

Aberdeen Pippins 11-7 .611
Hoquiam Perfect Gentlemen 11-7 .611
Centralia Midgets 7-11 .389
Olympia Maroons 7-11 .389

In September the Maroons needed financial help. The Elks and Foresters clubs ended up holding a charity baseball game to support the town’s professional ball teams. This is an auspicious end to Olympia pro-baseball in 1903. Two amatuer ball teams were raising funds for the pro team.

The league would play three years before breaking apart. In 1904 the Maroons became the Senators and in 1905 Centralia was replaced by Montesano Farmers.

In early May 1905, the Morning Olympian introduced the players as if they’re elected officials: Senator Cook, Senator Christian, Senator Almost Stubavor Dye. “A newly elected member who represents the Solid South is Senator Autray.”

Its obvious why the Olympian was practically begging Olympians to come out to support the Senators in 1905. Its the same reason Mayor P.H. Carlyon was deciding whether to declare a half civic holiday for their home opener. Just like in the 1903 season, the hope of a warm Olympia May was smashed by the the heat of August and the league was again in financial trouble. In 1903, August featured a dust up between Hoquiam and the league. In 1905 it was the very fate of the league.

In early August the owners came together in an Aberdeen hotel. At the urging of Montesano and Aberdeen, they decided to press on, despite very real financial concerns for the rest of the league.

Then two days later, the Olympian carries this passage in a otherwise typical homestand preview:

The Kids (the team’s nickname in the paper is the Panama Kids for some reason) have played good ball all season, and have been a good advertisement for Olympia all the way. They have not received the support at home that they deserved. The league this year has been faster than ever before and a team that at this time is in second position with a chance still left for the pennant is worth of support of any city in this state. Turn out today, and tardy though you are, be there with the big boost and help the team out, not only with your presence, but encourage them with your two-bit piece. That’s where they need your help most. It costs money to run a team and every citizen should help defray this expense. Olympia needs a team and should be glad to pay for it when she has a team like the present one.

They need you two-bit the most, your fandom second. The team is an advertisement for the city. It costs money to run a team, Olympia needs a team, every citizen should pitch in. Seems like the newspaper is making an argument for a road or a school than a baseball team.

And, unfortunately, the Senators and what they mean for Olympia are in deep trouble as 1905 ends and the baseball men began to look to 1906.

1905 SW Washington League Standings
Montesano 25-10 (.705)
Olympia 20-16 (.555)
Aberdeen 17-17 (.500)
Hoquiam 9-27 (.250)

The Senators finished well behind the Farmers and in late winter 1906 the ground is being laid for a pro-baseball free Southwest Washington. While a league may not come around, but the possibility of an independent team in Olympia is brought up. The increased interest in baseball from amatuer clubs is also mentioned as a bright spot. A local league between Hoquiam and Aberdeen clubs (with the support of the streetcar company between the towns) is promised, but no one knows if they want to start a league between other cities.

While parlaying Olympia interest in reviving the D-level SWL, the Grays Harbor towns (Cosmopolis, in addition to Hoquiam and Aberdeen) jump up into the B-level Northwestern League. The class A Pacific Coast League (by 1906 not an outlaw, but a law-abiding member of Organized Baseball) includes Seattle and Portland along with California cities. The combined Harbor cities join other second tier cities in the region, such as Spokane, Tacoma and Butte, Montana.

Surviving as the Grays Harbor Lumberman and Grays, and the Aberdeen Black Cats, the Harbor super team plays in the Northwestern League until 1910 when the league drops them. The Northwestern League was in those years somewhere in the historic backwash of the legendary (and sometimes considered major league) Pacific Coast League. Cities like Seattle, Portland and Spokane would fall out of the PCL and into the Northwest League and then back up again.

After being bounced out of the Pacific Northwest League in 1910, Grays Harbor baseball supporters tried to put back the old SWL. Olympia had fielded an independent team in 1909 and felt up to the task.

But, only if things would be different in 1910. Olympia only wanted games on the weekend and no expanding the league schedule (like what happened to Hoquiam in 1903) to shoo out smaller clubs. Olympia also asked for a strict salary cap. “What we are planning on is a league run in such a manner that there will be no danger of it getting along nicely until the Fourth of July and then going to pieces,” said a baseball supporter. While Olympia wanted a ball team in 1910, they wanted it under more humble standards.

In addition to the old SWL towns (Olympia, Centralia, Chehalis, Hoquiam and Aberdeen), Elma, South Bend and two Tacoma teams are also considered. But, the 1910 Class D Washington State League did not end up including Olympia. The cost of travel, keeping players and drawing fans drove Olympia’s interest away from the league.

Olympia ended up fielding semi-pro, unaffiliated with Organized Baseball teams through the 1920s. Eventually even interest in that level of baseball lagged in the capital city.

Gordon Newell describes the final death of semi-pro Olympia Senators in Rogues, Buffoons and Statesmen decades later. The midsummer curse did the baseball Senators in again:

The coming of electronic home entertainment media may have provided the final straw which, added to the summer mobility of the family motor car, broke the back of paid admission baseball in the capital city. The sport itself was popular enough. The local merchants organized a twilight league and the sawmills fielded amatuer teams in the sawdust league. The Olympia Senators even began the season bravely under the leadership of ex-major leaguer Ham Hyatt, but by the end of July the lack of patronage caused the semi-pro players to give up in disgust and turn the new Stevens Field over to high school and amatuer teams.

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Foutch: Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, part 1

Background:  For many decades Olympia was content to depend on the State Capital Museum for its local history venue and a place to store many of its important historical assets.  In the early ‘90s it appeared that the Art Deco Thurston County Courthouse on Capitol Way would be torn down and a State History Museum built on that site.  But the courthouse was saved for adaptive reuse and the new History Museum ended up in Tacoma.  Then, after it was determined that the old Lord family mansion housing the State Capital Museum was not suitable for long-term archival use, its “Olympia Collection”  went to Tacoma, also.  For years after that the local historic preservation community has variously muttered about the move of “our” history to Tacoma, or wondered about how to develop a facility to bring it back.  A bond issue for a new Olympia library, which might have included such a room, failed twice in 1997.

Local history and preservation advocates Rebecca Christie,
author of the neighborhood history  Workingman’s Hill, and Annamary Fitzgerald, then-Executive Director of the Bigelow House Preservation
Association, met when both served on the Olympia Heritage Commission.  Both recognized the need for a local history repository and a community-based preservation advocacy organization.

While doing research for her book, Rebecca became aware of historical materials stored in closets, basements, attics and garages.  Many families expressed a desire to have a place where they could donate their materials to be preserved and available to researchers and the general public.

So on August 19, 2001, Rebecca Christie, Annamary Fitzgerald and Liza Rognas signed and sent out letters addressed to “Dear Friend of Olympia History.”  Recipients were invited to a community potluck meal at Rebecca’s home Sunday evening, September 9. 

This letter identified the “Need: Identify, collect and preserve our community’s rich and rapidly vanishing/dispersing historical record,” and then asked, “ How can we locate, gather and house the historic materials currently held in private collections….?” and “What can concerned members of the community do to support other ongoing heritage-related projects?” Attendees would meet for a “…brainstorm discussion and to get the ball rolling.”

The meeting agenda included:
Refining the Statement of Need, selecting the Intended Audience, and drafting a Statement of Purpose.  This last was determined to be, “To identify, preserve, protect, promote, interpret and perpetuate resources associated with the history of the City of Olympia and its identified growth area.”

The file contains no attendance list for this first get-together, but the group did set up “Identified Committees” with these members:

    Invitation List:  Rebecca Christie, Shanna Stevenson, Winnie Olsen
    Program:  Drew Crooks, Pat Harper, Shanna Stevenson
    PR/Publicity:  Liza Rognas, Randy Stilson
    Mission Development:  Bob Arnold

Today, some attendees believe that Roger Easton and Susan Goff also were at that first meeting.Perhaps others were also.

The group concluded its work by outlining “Next Steps:

    Identify Stakeholders for an Organizational Meeting
    Hold Organizational Meeting
    Establish an Olympia Historical Society”

On November 8, 2001, a short item in The Olympian confirmed
that the group was actively pursuing its goals:

“A gathering to explore forming an Olympia Historical Society is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 10), at the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, Room 152.  For more information call Annamary Fitzgerald, ….”

A flier for this meeting listed hosts Annamary Fitzgerald,
Rebecca Christie, Winnifred Olsen, Shanna Stevenson, Pat Harper, Drew Crooks,
Randy Stilson,and  Bob Arnold.  Meeting sponsors were listed as “…interested
individuals and the Conservation Associates of the Pacific Northwest.”

Two vintage engravings grace the reverse of this flier.  One shows a girl on the shore collecting shellfish which she held in the front of her gathered-up dress, while just offshore
a Native American fisher in a traditional canoe casts a net.  The image was framed with oyster shells.  The second engraving shows a bustling port and city viewed from the Westside, with the wooden bridge to “Marshville” and downtown in the right background and a departing steamboat in the foreground.   Mt. Rainier rises in the far distance.  (These two images would later be considered for an official OHS logo.)

The group’s publicity effort brought a very credible response:

Present at this key meeting were: Gerry Alexander, Bob Arnold, Karen Bowen, Ann
Christensen, Rebecca Christie, Marilyn Connon, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels,
Lauren Danner, Edward Echtle, Lynn Erickson, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald,
Chuck Fowler, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Dorothy Hernes,
Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, Dick Johnson, Agnes Kelley, David Kindle, Bonnie
Marie, Winnie Olsen, Susan O’Neal, Susan Parish, Liza Rognas, Don Roselle, Lila
Sjodin, Shanna Stevenson, Randy Stilson, Ed Swan, Kathleen Turner, Lanny Weaver,
Diana Wilkowski, Sandy Yannone, and Tom Zahn.

The agenda included:

Annamary Fitzgerald
Speaker:  Chief Justice Gerry Alexander,
on the topic, “An Olympia Historical Society—A Good Idea”
Motion to organize an O.H.S.
Motion empowering the temporary chair to appoint a Committee on Organization,
responsible for           drafting a
Constitution and Bylaws.
Committees and Interest Areas (signup sheet)
Discussion and Adjourn

After Chief Justice Alexander’s remarks, the group set to
work.  Susan Parish moved, seconded by Ed
Swan, that an Olympia Historical Society be established “on this day, Saturday,
November 10, 2001.”  There was no
discussion and the motion passed unanimously.

Drew Crooks then moved that “Temporary Chair Annamary Fitzgerald
be authorized to appoint a Steering Committee to continue the organizing (of)
the Olympia Historical Society.”  Rebecca
Christie seconded the motion.  Concern
was raised about the possibility of duplicating the work of the State Capital
Museum.  Chuck Fowler volunteered to be
the liaison between the Museum and the Olympia Historical Society.  There was no further discussion and the
motion passed unanimously.

Committees were named:
Organization (Steering Committee), Collections, Education and Programs,
Membership, Finance and Fundraising, and Outreach and Publications.

The next meeting was set for Saturday, January 26, 2002, at
the same location.  Its main order of
business would be to adopt Articles of Incorporation, to appoint a nominating committee
that would present a slate of officers for a Board of Directors, and to set up
standing committees.

The minutes were signed by Patricia Carol Harper, Acting

The Olympia Historical Society had been born.

(End of Part One)

It would seem, then,
that 2012 is actually OHS’ 11th birthday year, not its 10th.  I’d always assumed that filing the Articles
of Incorporation with the Secretary of State’s office marked the most significant
date, not considering all the hard work it had taken to get to that point.  And, given the caliber of all those involved
in OHS’ conception and gestation, it’s not at all surprising that the process
was most impressively organized and carried out meticulously.  Many of those dedicated community volunteers
are still active in local historic preservation; a few are no longer with
us.  We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

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Echtle: Olympia’s Historic Chinese Community

by Edward Echtle




This series of articles about the Chinese in Olympia was prepared by Edward Echtle, Olympia historian, for the Olympia Historical Society website. The Society is grateful to Edward for his willingness to share his years of research into this important aspect of Olympia’s history.

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Partlow: Meet a Family: The Streets and Partlows of West Olympia

Written by Janet Partlow, a descendant of the Streets and Partlow families

Streets_RalphRalph Raymond Streets was born in Brockville, Ontario (on the St. Lawrence seaway) in 1870.  His father John Streets had emigrated to Canada in 1865 from Lincolnshire, England.  John was a shoemaker, and taught the trade to his son, but Ralph had bigger ambitions.  At age 17, he left home for San Diego.

Ralph got to California in  1888, where he met and married Pearl Griswold  (her parents were Ida Wyman and Julius Griswold of  New England Puritan stock). In 1890 he got his American citizenship.  He started working in the lumber trade,  then he and his family went to San Francisco, where their only child Elizabeth was born in 1893.  They flourished in San Francisco, and he continued to rise in the ranks of the lumber business. Sadly in 1902, Pearl died;  Elizabeth was sent to live with her aunt in Nebraska, and Ralph moved to Olympia, taking a steamer ship from San Francisco to Percival landing in November 1902.

westside_millRalph bought and managed the West Side Mill company.  Later he became a vice-president in  another Olympia waterfront lumber company;  he lived on site at 1306 West Bay Drive, near where the old Hardel company was most recently located.During this time he created the Oldport Kennels, where he raised and sold Airedales.

He remarried in 1904 to Susan Porter;  at this point Elizabeth rejoined the family in Olympia.  Daughters Janet, Suzanne and Mary Louise followed, all born in Olympia.  With a larger family, they needed more house room, so around 1912, Ralph had a house built above the Deschutes estuary (today’s Capitol lake). This house still stands today at 2004 Water Street.

By 1915, the family moved back to San Francisco, except daughter Elizabeth, who stayed to finish her senior year at Olympia High School.  She then married Verne Austin Partlow, Sr and the couple settled in Olympia, where they lived out the rest of their lives.

On his retirement in 1936 from the Little River Redwood Company of California, Ralph and Susan moved back to Seattle, where he died in 1941.


Dr . HW Partlow was born in Eagle, Michigan in 1863 of parents Almond and Mary (Blake) Partlow. He was descended from Scots emigrant John Partelo, who settled on the Hudson river just before the Revolutionary War. John was a Loyalist; the events of the war forced his family to move to the Eastern townships of lower Canada, while his descendants eventually left Canada, moving first into Vermont and New York, and later west to Michigan.

HW was raised on a farm, but as a young man he worked in a drug store, which eventually led him to Detroit Medical College and a career as a physician. He moved to Olympia around August 1908 and continued his general medical practice until his death in 1938.
He was married to Ellen Slattery in 1886 and they had four children: Beulah (Robertson), Kenneth, Verne and Katherine (Draham).

slattery_nellEllen Matilda Slattery Partlow was born in 1864 in Peshtigo, Wisconsin of Irish potato famine emigrant parent Catherine MacSweeney Slattery and her Canadian Irish husband John Slattery.

Ellen worked as a milliner; also as a skilled musician (piano) she played for events, which is where she met her husband to be H. W. Partlow. They were married in 1886; they left Eagle, Michigan for Shawano, Wisconsin where he established a medical practice.
They moved to Olympia in the summer of 1908, bringing with them their four children Beulah (Robertson), Kenneth, Verne and Katherine (Draham). Ellen was active in the social and philanthropical life of Olympia. She continued to play and teach piano.
She died in 1953 in Olympia.

This is a continuing newsletter series
that will help you become acquainted with some of the families whose
names you see in our local history, neighborhoods, and street signs.
Their intentional brevity will hopefully pique your curiosity and
consequent research. We welcome contributions from our members and
friends. For additional links to the members of other Olympia area families, please see
the Names section of the website. 

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Munro: Olympia’s African American Trailblazers

Ralph Munro, Secretary of State   1980-2001 resident of Olympia since 1966

Secretary Munro offered following remarks at a First United Methodist Church in Olympia on January 29, 2012 in recognition of their life’s work to further civil rights in Thurston County.

Olympia was a different place in the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s.  Much smaller: state government only had a couple thousand employees. The Legislature came to town for 60 days every second year. There was no freeway. There were no pizza parlors. Many things were different.

Old Highway 99, the Pacific Coast Highway, came down the 4th Avenue hill.  When you reached Capitol Way, you turned left if you were headed for Portland and kept going straight if you wanted to go to Aberdeen or the ocean beaches.

Hundreds of families would travel down from Seattle and  Tacoma on the weekends to eat oysters at Ode Huston’s restaurant on Mud Bay or the Oyster House, downtown on the tide flats.

Tumwater held the biggest business in south Sound—the Olympia Brewing Company, owned by the Schmidt family. “It’s the Water’

And little Lacey was known for its racetrack, golf course and St Martins college.

The entire area was ‘off limits’ to Negro soldiers or airmen from McChord Air Base or Fort Lewis.

There were four African Americans in town……one fellow who worked at the brewery, one as a mechanic downtown, one as a window washer for businesses on main street and one domestic.

No one thought or talked about racism because there was hardly anyone to be racist towards.

Representative Charlie Stokes, a Republican from Seattle, was the only Negro in the Legislature and he had no staff..

When Democrat Sam Smith replaced Charlie, he convinced the Caucus to hire two black students to work in the bill room during the legislative sessions……………Mel Dodd and Duane Browning.  Mel and I lived together, off and on, for several years.

The only other Negro in the Legislative building was the shoe shine man on the third floor.

That was when I discovered how racist Olympia could be: Phone calls in the night: ’are you the guy who lives with the n—- ’………….’he’s the first n—- to live in this neighborhood’… click

One night when we were having dinner in Ben Moore’s café, a fellow at an adjoining table challenged us. ’would you and those two n—-s like to fight your way out of here tonight’.

That was the Olympia that John Grace arrived to.

John was born in Perry, Georgia in 1931. Before he arrived here, he had already graduated from the Georgia Academy for the Blind, and the School for Piano Technology in Vancouver, Washington. He arrived in South Sound on the bus on October 15, 1962 and found a room at the old Governor Hotel[.]

John opened his piano shop at 215 Capitol Way, as time went by and soon his reputation flourished as people recognized that he was the best in town, when it came to pianos.

John was the same then as he is now.  A friendly, outgoing fellow, who walked all over town and made friends on every corner. Although totally blind, he seldom used his cane, and he met many folks who just stopped to help him across the street. His music made him an ambassador for friendship and he was the first Negro to cross the threshold of many Caucasian owned homes.

John would take the bus to Portland on Sunday mornings to go to church.  He was not welcome in Olympia churches even though they always called on him to tune their pianos.  As time went by, he and some others decided it was time for ‘their’ church in Olympia and on the first Sunday in June, 1975, New Life Baptist Church was born at the YWCA.  John was the one who gave the church its name.

So today we honor John Grace, Olympia’s first black business owner in our times and a true ambassador of friendship for our community.

Virgil Clarkson was born in Houston, Texas. Although not part of the ‘deep south’ Texas was fully segregated. He graduated from Texas Southern University, a black institution of higher learning, in 1953 with a degree in Math and Physics.   He was inducted into the Army  and sent to Europe to serve his country. It was there that he accidentally met Dr. Martin Luther King one evening, when he had traveled across the Atlantic to receive his Nobel Prize.

Virgil mustered out of the Army in 1965 at Fort Lawton in Seattle, and saw a job opening with the State Department of Natural Resources in Olympia. His friends urged him not to apply.  They knew the Olympia was a racist town.

Virgil applied and was accepted. He was hired by Gene Little, a member of the First United Methodist church.

On his second day here, he went looking for other Negroes in the community,  and discovered that there weren’t any. He checked the train station, the bus station, the downtown area, none that he could find.  He realized then that he was the first, or one of the first

When a better job opened up at the State Department of Highways, he applied.  Virgil soon realized that the Highway Department had 6000 employees and only six of them were African American.  One was Jim Wilson, who became a lifetime friend.

Things were not always pleasant.  One morning he opened his desk drawer and found a carefully tied and prepared noose laying on top of his paperwork.  Around the same time, Jim Wilson opened a drawer in his desk and found human feces inside.  The threats were subtle but direct.

Virgil found that he was not welcome in any of the local Baptist churches and because of friends who welcomed him, became a member of the First United Methodist Church, where he remains an active member today.

His accomplishments are many.  Founder of ‘open housing ordinances’ for Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Thurston County.  Active member of Kiwanis, leader of the Elks clubs, active in the opera society, five times on the Lacey Council, three times as Mayor, 20 years as member and chair of the Selective Service Board, on the Fair Board. The list goes on and on.

Virgil, the First United Methodist church is proud to have you as a member.

When Lynden Johnson began his first elected term of office, he declared a ‘war’ on poverty.  Money flowed to the states to open up offices and hire organizers to ‘fight poverty at the local level.’

The state office of Economic Opportunity was located on the second floor of the Hotel Olympian, on Legion Street in downtown Olympia.  They began to hire minorities and urged other state agencies to do so as well.

The deputy director for the office was John Finley from Yakima. He and his lovely wife Sylvia moved to the capitol city and began looking for a home.  The only house in Olympia that the realtors would show him was the little red house on Water Street that is now the ‘Swing’ restaurant.  That home had no neighbors.

They eventually found a home in Lacey.

John worked hard and Sylvia volunteered to help get the first library started for the Lacey community.  The local Moose Club heard of her work and invited her to one of their meetings to accept their thanks and a check to help the library grow.

It was a dark and rainy night, when Sylvia Finley was to visit the club and accept the check.  When she arrived at the door on Pacific Avenue, the club members realized that she was a Negro and she was denied entrance to the building.

Racism seemed to be everywhere.  Cities were erupting with protests, fires and anger. Militant blacks stormed into our Governor’s office in the Legislative Building and turned over every desk, emptied the files on the floor and defiantly told the staff: ’we’ll be back!’

Headlines screamed from Tacoma, Seattle, Pasco, Portland of the protests and confrontations.  Fires were set in our central cities and when the fire trucks rolled from the station, their all white teams of firefighters were shot at.

It was an awful time.

In the midst of it all, a courageous woman stepped forward to ask a question.  ‘Why isn’t every child, a wanted child?’ Why can’t I as the proven mother of four wonderful children, adopt a minority child who waits and waits for a family.

Barbara Babcock Dolliver was born and raised in Auburndale, Massachusetts.  After high school graduation, she decided to attend Swarthmore College and it was there that she met her husband to be James Dolliver.

The traveled together to follow Jim’s dream of working in a National Park in the American West and ended up in Everett, Washington.  Jim was a deputy prosecutor and active in politics.  They both ‘hooked their star’ to a young legislator from Seattle named Dan Evans and followed him to the Governor’s office where Jim became the Chief of Staff in 1965.

Barbara was a homemaker, a good mother and a school volunteer.  She raised Beth, James, Peter and Keith and as the civil rights wars broke out, she decided to step into the fray in her own way.

Barbara decided to speak up for women’s rights and to ‘legitimize adoption of a minority child’   There were no press releases, no public statements, no announcements on the courthouse steps.

No, instead, one day she just appeared to us all with a new baby.  And as we unwrapped the little baby blanket over this precious child’s face. We all realized what she had done.

Barbara Babcock Dolliver had broken the barrier.  This wonderful little bundle of joy was a Negro child.  And I must say, that Jennifer was the sweetest baby that I have ever seen.

Barbara, the First United Methodist church is honored by your presence. And finally, two of the finest people in the world.  We will present them together.


Thelma Ann Harrison was born in Mobile, Alabama and graduated from Blount High School. From there she decided to seek a bio chemistry degree at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  In her sophomore year she met Nathaniel Jackson and they were married in 1966 at the Friendship Baptist Church.

Nat was from Lillie, Louisiana and while attending Southern University, he fell head over heels in love with Thelma.  He was an activist and found himself in Chicago in 1965, helping to organize a rally at the huge Soldiers Field for Dr. Martin Luther King.  Marion Anderson was there to sing, Dick Gregory to tell jokes, and Dr King to speak.

When he returned to college, he accepted a job working for the Southwest Alabama Farmers Co-op and was assigned to Marion, Alabama, in the heart of the ‘old south.’  Marion was the hometown of Coretta King, Dr. King’s wife.  His challenge was to organize a visit of Dr. King to Marion.

He soon found that a job that should be easy, was darn tough. Many blacks did not want Dr. King to come.  Things were peaceful and some didn’t want to ‘rock the boat.’  One black man at a local church organizing meeting challenged him.’

‘What are you n—- s up to’

’Things are fine here’

Nat and his team prevailed.  Dr. King did come…the crowd was large, the message was good.

Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated 60 days later.

Thelma Jackson was recruited to come to Richland, Washington to work as a research scientist  for Battelle Northwest. Nat followed her here and took a job working with black youth in the adjoining city of Pasco.  Soon they both found themselves involved in numerous community activities and they met Art Fletcher, the founder of the East Pasco Co-op and later a national civil rights leader.

Nat Jackson was recruited to come to Olympia, Washington to work with the State office of Economic Opportunity in Olympia.

They bought a house in Lacey and Thelma became involved in the Lydia Hawk Elementary School PTA.  She later became their President and she committed her life to seeking equality through education.

Thelma was elected to the North Thurston School Board, and subsequently has served as President for five terms.  She was active in the State School Directors Associations and became their president.  She has served as chair of the Evergreen State College Board of Trustees, first Chair of the Washington Legislative Ethics Board, as a member of the State Advisory Committee on Vocational Education, the League of Women voters. The list goes on and on. She is the mother of three beautiful children and the grandmother of four.

Nat worked on extending affirmative action as a statewide issue, went on Governor Evans’ personal staff setting goals for minorities and women, helped to establish the office of Minority in Women’s Rights, and was a founder of New Life Baptist Church.

Nathaniel and Thelma Jackson have made southern Puget Sound a better place to live.  The First United Methodist church is pleased to honor them today.

I asked each of our honorees who else helped.  Who were the Olympia heroes of this effort?  The names that they gave me are as follows:

Jim and Barbara Dolliver

Warren Flanigan of the Olympia School District

Gene Little of the Methodist church and the Department of Natural Resources

Gil Olson of Reliable Steel

Percy Bean of Olympia Hardware

First United Methodist Church

New Life Baptist, after it was formed by Henry Marshall


George Barner, retired County Commissioner and now Port Commissioner

Al Thompson, a local realtor

Virgil Adams, a local realtor

This is a bit of history about some of my heros.



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Selected Transcriptions and Images from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891

In 1891, the Olympia Tribune published a souvenir issue, consisting of 22 bound pages that were printed and bound at the State Printing Office. The issue contained information on the State of Washington, and on Olympia in particular. It included short biographies and photographs of many of Olympia’s prominent citizens, as well as descriptions and images of several of the businesses, churches, and other institutions. As a companion to this website’s “Residents” and “Where Are We?”projects, we are including transcriptions of some of the biographies contained in the Souvenir Issue, and reproductions of the photographs. These will be added to as time permits. The State Library plans to upload a viewable version of this issue in the future, and links will be provided here.

The original biographies were not in alphabetical order: we have placed them in alphabetical order here for easier access. You may also consult the “Residents” section of this website for further information about the families and people included. Thank you intern Christina Schaller for some of the transcriptions. Following the biographies are reproductions of the images included in the issue, with links, where applicable, to Where Are We? webpages.


Archibald H. Adams
, real estate and insurance broker, was born in New York in 1844. In 1855 he removed to Milwaukee, Wis., where he graduated from the high school and entered into the wholesale drug business in 1859. At the breaking out of the rebellion he enlisted as a private in the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin volunteer infantry and served throughout the war, returning in 1866 as captain in the Thirty-fifth Wisconsin volunteer infantry. He then again entered the drug business, and in the same firm, where he stayed until 1884, when he went to Chicago. Mr. Adams is one of the largest real estate handlers in the city, and by prompt attention and honorable dealing his business is steadily and rapidly increasing.

Two of the most enterprising young business men of this city are J.P. and B.C. Armstrong, who opened a dry goods store here March 17, 1889. They came to Olympia from Chicago, where for many years they had followed their profession, acquiring a thorough knowledge of the dry goods business. Early in 1889 they came to Washington seeking a location to open business for themselves and after visiting the principal cities on Puget Sound they settled in Olympia, attracted by its superior advantages for their line of business. Their business career has been marked with more than ordinary enterprise and their fast increasing trade has twice compelled them to enlarge their store which now ranks among the first in the city. They have always shown a liberal disposition and have given largely to all enterprises that have in any way been a benefit to the business of this city. A short time ago the firm name was changed to B.C. Armstrong, under which name the business is now conducted, and all persons who wish to do business with a straightforward and conscientious house will do well to visit the store and examine the new and elegant stock of B.C. Armstrong.


Oliver Baker
, real estate and insurance broker, was born on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where his early boyhood was spent. In 1861 he went to Boston to learn the carpet business with one of the leading carpet houses on Washington street. He was married in 1864, and came to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was engaged with one of the leading carpet and drapery houses of the western reserve. After being there three years he was admitted to a partnership, and three years after went into business for himself at Akron, Ohio. After good success he opened a branch store at Canton, in the same state. In 1874 he opened a large establishment in Cleveland on Euclid avenue. In 1879 the firm of Baker, Sterling & Co was organized at Toledo, Ohio, and in 1884 Mr. Baker organized the Lima Carpet Co. In 1885 he opened business at St. Paul, Minn., the house being known as late as 1889 as the Oliver Baker Carpet Co. Mr. Baker came to Olympia in the spring of 1890 to engage in the real estate brokerage business under the firm name of Oliver Baker. The venture was successful from the start, and in August of the same year Mr. A.H. Adams, of Chicago, became a partner, under the firm name of Baker & Adams. At this writing the firm is about to be dissolved, Mr. Baker resuming his own firm name. Mr. Baker is a progressive, pushing citizen, who has won his own way in the world.



S.H. Barbee was born March 25, 1853, at Oskaloosa, Iowa. His parents came from Indiana with the first white settlers to Iowa. When he was but one year old they migrated to Western Iowa, settling near Council Bluffs, where his early life was spent on his father’s farm. Imbued with the spirit of his parents, and with “Westward ho!” (his mother named him Horace,) he left the farm at the age of twenty years. He came to Puget Sound and engaged in teaching school at old Fort Nisqually, and remained two years. He then returned home, but soon started for the Black Hills to engage in mining. Not making a “strike,” he shortly returned to Iowa and engaged in the live stock business, successfully conducting one of the largest and finest stock farms in the state. In 1885 he engaged in the real estate busines in Council Bluffs. In the early part of 1888 he returned with his family to Puget Sound, settling at Tacoma, and entering the loan busines. There had been a wonderful change in the sixten years of his absence. He remained there until 1889, when he came to Olympia, he realizing that this would be a large city, and that Tacoma and Seattle had already reached their best. In 1890, with six others, he purchased Puget City, and incorporated the Portland and Puget City Company of which he is secretary. This is a thriving little town, and was selected by Benjamin Holiday as the terminus of the Union Pacific Railway. The location is midway between Tacoma and Olympia. This is only one of the many fine opportunities Mr. Barbee has for his patrons. He has some of the finest additions in the city, but he surely struck the key note in the Second Capital addition. Lots here have doubled in the past six months, and the electric car line survey passes directly through it. He again proved his foresight when he purchased the entire townsite of Port Orchard, where the United States government dry dock will be located. He is selling lots here within the reach of all working men and others who want a home in a brisk, bustling city, where the noise of the hammer and sawmill will always be heard, as this is the only town that adjoins the navy yard.



George A. Barnes, ex-mayor of Olympia, and the present president of the Chamber of Commerce, is one of Oregon’s oldest pioneers, and was born in Brockport, Munroe County, New York, in 1821. He received a common school education, and in early life followed the occupation of a clerk in a general store. In 1848 he crossed the plains and settled in Oregon City, Oregon, where he spent the winter of ’48 and ’49. In May, ’49, he went to the mines in California, where he stayed about a year, and then returned to the east by the way of the Isthmus of Panama. In 1850 he crossed the plains a second time, and located in Portland, Oregon, where he engaged in the merchandising business until 1852, when he came to Olympia. Here he has resided ever since, and for thirty years he has lived in the house which he erected in 1860, on Fourth Street. For fifteen years Mr. Barnes was engaged in merchandising here, and he then started a bank which he conducted for 12 years, when he sold out, and has since been engaged in looking after his own property and in the real estate business. Although so well along in years, he does not have the appearance of being nearly his real age. Mr. Barnes was president of the board of trustees during the time of the town government, and was mayor the year that President Hayes visited Olympia as the guest of the town. He has been president of the Chamber of Commerce for  the past two years. He has always had faith in the future of Olympia, and has done much to make the city the flourishing municipality that it is to-day.



Clarence M. Barton, editor of the TRIBUNE, is an old-time newspaperman, having been in editorial harness for many years in Washington City, Philadelphia and in this state. He was born in Mount Holly, N.J., fifty years ago; was raised and educated in the public schools and the central high school of Philadelphia; was in the United States navy eight years; was at the burning of the Norfolk navy yard in April, 1861; was in the expedition that went to the relief of Fort Pickens, and which destroyed the Judah in Pensacola harbor September, 1861; was in the New Orleans expedition with Farragut; and with other expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico in 1862; was clerk of the Washington, D.C. navy yard five years; taught school five years; was member of the city council and clerk of the only legislature of District of Columbia; was managing editor of the National Republican and other daily newspapers of Washington City, and on the staff of the Philadephia News and the Philadelphia Times; came to Washington from Philadelphia in 1886; had charge of the Tacoma Ledger two years; was the territorial correspondent of the Oregonian one year; was reading clerk of constitutional convention, and secretary of the first and second senate; is the author and compiler of Barton’s Hand-Book and Legislative Manual of Washington; and last year compiled the commercial statistics of the State of Washington for the United States treasury department. Major Barton has been editor of the Olympia TRIBUNE since it started in May last, and resides with his family in this city. He has three married daughters, two of whom reside in Tacoma and one in this city. Major Barton has written many interesting articles relative to the growth and development of this State, and has been correspondent for many of the leading papers of the country.



Charles C. Bell, better known in wheeling circles as “Collie” Bell, was born in Southern Minnesota, May 17, 1870. When he was six years of age his parents moved to Minneapolis. Here “Collie” attended the public schools until fifteen years of age, when he commenced a course at the Archibald business college. About this time he purchased a bicycle to ride from his home to schoool. This was the beginning of a successful career as a bicyclist. He soon became quite proficient in handling the wheel, and has taken part in several tournaments and carried off a majority of the prizes. His longest continuous ride was 142 5/8 miles, over a common wagon road, which he made in 11 hours and 49 minutes, including stops for meals. In June, 1889, he went to Ottawa, Kas., where he won the 10-mile national championship. In Kansas he established a new set of records. He was captain of the Minneapolis club for two years, and it was mainly through his efforts that it has grown to its present size. Here he won a 25 mile race for the championship of the northwest. On the track he has made the following records: 1/2 mile, 1 minute, 178 seconds; 1 mile, 2 minutes, 17 seconds; 5 miles, 14 minutes, 49 seconds; 10 miles, 29 minutes 53 seconds. On the road he has made: 1/2 mile, 1 minute, 19 seconds; 10 miles, 33 minutes, 10 seconds; 25 miles, 1 hour, 28 minutes, 45 seconds; 50 miles, 3 hours, 15 minutes; 100 miles, 7 hours, 49 minutes. In all his races he has won over $2,000 worth of prizes.He stands 5 feet, 10 1/2 inches, and weights 178 pounds. Following Horace Greeley’s advice, he came west. Arriving at Olympia he entered the employ of the Western Union Telegraph Co. He remained with this company until the spring of 1890, when he enetered the service of the Northern Pacific Express Co. as express agent between Olympia and Tenino, which is his occupation at present. He is enthusiastic on the subject of bicycling, and is agent for some of the best wheels. Mr. Bell on April 1 entered the services of Tacoma, Olympia & Gray’s Harbor Electric Co., with headquarters at Montesano. He has a general supervision of the company’s system in Gray’s Harbor.



William  W. Bettman, one of Olympia’s young and enterprising business men, was born in this city on February 25, 1866. His early education was secured here, but he was afterwards sent to Portland where he entered the public schools, and at the age of 18 years entered into business at Castle Rock, where he continued for four years. Disposing of his enterprise there, he returned back to Olympia and entered the establishment of his father on Main street, where he has since continued. Mr. Bettman is prominent in the younger social circles of the city. He is the national secretaryof the Ancient Order of Foresters, and takes a deep interest in the work of that order.

Among the recent additions to Olympia’s business houses is the firm of Bilger & Going, who, though established here less than three months ago, has secured a firm hold on the buying public of this city. … Mr. W.L. Bilger is a native of Oregon, and has been for eight years connected with the well known hardware firm of Honeyman, De Hart & Company, at Portland, six years of which he has been one of that firm’s most trusted traveling salesman [sic]



W.W. Binheimer, the leader [of the Capital City Band], was born in Fairfield, Iowa, August 26, 1862. In 1867 his parents removed to Keokuk, Iowa, in 1871 to Farmington, Iowa, and shortly after to Bonapart, in the same state. After getting a common school education Mr. Binheimer, at the age of fifteen years, commenced traveling in a musical organization, where he laid the foundation for the fine musical education which he now enjoys. He followed this profession for ten years, visiting and reaping the musical advantages of all the cities of prominence in the United States. In 1887 he started in the plumbing business in Egan, South Dakota, where he also led and taught the Glenwood Band for two years. He then married and removed to Olympia, where he works diligently at his trade. Under his leadership the Capital City Band has acquired a proficiency that would do credit to an eastern metropolis. During the time Prof. Binheimer was on the road he was leader of the Prairie City Band of Prairie City, Iowa, and several other bands.

Mr. F.G. Blake [of the firm Whitham, Page and Blake] was for eleven years a successful railroad engineer, being in the employ during that time of the O.R. & N Co., the N.P.R.R., the U.P.R.R. and Hunt’s, and recently a member of the well known firm of Wold, Blake & Otness, civil engineers, Tacoma.

W. A. Botkin has lately established, at 609 Fourth street, in the new opera house building, a store which he has well stocked for the wholesale handling of the highest grades of wines, liquors and cigars. Though he has been in business here only since January 19, Mr. Botkin has established himself as one of Olympia’s most reliable tradesmen and gathered around him a class of custom which is in every way desirable. He guarantees all goods to be as represented. Among his brands of whisky are the Chesterfield, the Sterling Silver, the T. W. Samuels and the Salvator Storgo, Old Tom Burke, Hazelwood and many other choice brands for which Mr. Botkin holds the exclusive agency in the Northwest. His stock of wines both American and imported, has been selected with a completeness which would tempt an epicure, and his price on all classes of goods is extremely moderate when quality is taken into consideration.



Colonel Thomas Henderson Boyd although a resident of Tacoma is, by virtue of his appointment as special agent of the United States census department to collect manufacturing statistics of the state, with headquarters at Olympia, entitled to a place in the TRIBUNE’s gallery of prominent citizens. He was born in Pennsylvania thirty-four years ago and has been a resident of Washington two years. His father for many years has been recognized as one of the leading financiers and railroad magnates of the Keystone state, and his family on both sides since the days of Penn have been acknowledged leaders in society and in politics in the Eastern commonwealth. Colonel Boyd is a journalist by profession and has been connected with the leading papers of the state in positions of trust and emolument. He is a Republican in politics, and probably no newspaper man in Washington is so well or so widely known. He was recommnded by United States Senators Squire and Allen and Congressman Wilson for the office of collector of the port of Tacoma, but failed to secure the appointment because of a previous political quarrel with Collector Bradshaw. He was also a prominent candidate for the offices of United States Census Supervisor for the Western district, receiving the endorsement of 98 out of the 105 members of the legislature, and for both the Registership and Receivership of the Olympia land office. Latterly his name has been mentioned for the office of United States Surveyor General. When Hon. Walter J. Thompson was seeking the senatorship, a year and a half ago, he acted as that gentleman’s political manager, and in the late senatorial struggle he was one of Senator Squire’s most ardent supporters. At the present time he is a member of both the Pierce county Republican committee and the Republican city committee of Tacoma. Since coming to Washington Colonel Boyd has amassed considerable property.



James Brewer, senior member of the firm of Brewer & Wright, was born in Lane county, Oregon, March 20, 1859. In 1860 his parents moved to the southern part of Thurston county where his father took up land and engaged in stock raising. James was brought up on a farm and received a common school education. In 1884 he came to Olympia and engaged in the wholesale and retail butcher business. His firm is now doing business at 622 Fourth street, and is the largest wholesale dealer in dressed beef, mutton, pork, veal, poultry, etc., in the county. Mr. Brewer is a republican in politics and is an active member among the young men of that party. He is straight forward in business and has a bright future before him.

John S., a brother of James Brewer, was born on a farm in Thurston county, Washington, August 30, 1860, and like his brother obtained a common school education and a thorough knowledge of stock and stock raising. In 1883 he moved into Olympia and after serving an apprenticeship in the drug business gave his time and attention to the market and grocery business, part of the time looking after the retail departments of his brother’s business, which is now No. 622 Fourth street. It is a well-known fact that the Brewer boys are well versed and competent in every branch of the wholesale and retail butcher business.



Burgess W. Brintnall, superintendent of schools of this city, was born in Medina county, Ohio, on September 10, 1857. He was educated at Lenox College, in Iowa, and first commenced to teach in common schools in that state three years before he graduated from college in 1876. He took charge of graded schools in 1878, and has been employed in that work ever since, with the exception of about one year and a half. He came to this city in 1887, in answer to a telegraphic summons to come and take charge of Olympia’s schools. Under his fostering care the enrollment has increased from about 300 scholars to over 800, and the teacher from five to fourteen. The city has built $60,000 of new school buildings, the construction of which Mr. Brintnall has personally superintended. He was instrumental in organizing the state teachers’ association, and aided in securing the passage of the state school law, through the last legislature serving as chairman of the legislative committee of the above association. Superintendent Brintnall was married in 1880, and has three children. The efficient and thorough schools of this city owe no little to his untiring energy in their behalf.



Frank C. Brown was born in Canandaigua, N. Y., March 4, 1852, and in 1857 removed with his parents to St Joseph, Mich., where he spent his boyhood and youth, and obtained a common school education. At the age of twenty years he removed to Chicago, Ill., where he was employed in the various branches of the hat and cap business for seventeen years, spending a short time in each year traveling in the interest of his business. In January, 1889, he removed to Washington, and after spending some time in looking over the country, settled in Olympia, where, in connection with Mr. T. Z. Slater, he established the house of Slater & Brown, for the sale of clothing, hats, furnishing goods, boots and shores. The business was continued under that name until September of the same year, when Mr. Brown bought Mr. Slater’s interest and soon took in as a partner Mr. Charles A. Ferris, forming the present firm of Brown & Ferris, who are now conducting a prosperous business at 505 Main street.



Freeman W. Brown was born in Warren, Washington county, Vermont, September 2, 1832. Moved to Randolph, Cattaraugus county, New York, in 1850, and went to Iowa surveying government land in 1852-53. In 1854 he came to Oregon and from there to Olympia, being engaged as United States deputy surveyor. He served in Company B, Washington Territory volunteers, in the Indian war of 1855-56, after which he was with the United States topographical survey in the Rocky mountains until 1860. Explored the great basin of Snake river and the lake region of southeast Oregon and Idaho in 1861. Served in the Union army in the quartermasters’ department, from 1862 to the end of the war in 1865. Explored the passes in the Cascade mountains for the territory of Washington, from the Skagit, Salk and Suiatk rivers to the Wenachie river, Lake Chelan, Methow river and the Upper Columbia. In 1867, at Butte Ville, Oregon, he married Miss Ellen E. Mathiot, and then returned to Olympia, locating on a farm south of the city. In 1871 he taught the public school of Olympia. Was surveying United States government lands and county surveyor of Thurston county until 1881.  Ran lines for reconnaissance and location for railroad route from Olympia to Gray’s Harbor, Shoal Water Bay and the mouth of the Columbia, from 1882 to 1885, since which time he has been engaged in mineral and geological surveys in the Cascade and Coast mountains, examining lands, inspecting timber, railroad engineering, and exploring and surveying Washington and Oregon. He located permanently in Olympia in 1887.



R.B. Bryan, the superintendent of public instruction and chairman of the board of education, was born in Hancock county, Ohio, August 1, 1842; son of Dr. E.L. Bryan; moved with his parents when ten years old to Johnson county Iowa; remained there four years; removed to West Mitchell, in Mitchell county, Iowa; remained there until 1852; attended the public schools in Ohio and Iowa until fourteen years of age; completed a course in the West Mitchell academy and entered the Cedar Valley seminary; enlisted in Third Iowa infantry in 1861; participated in the campaigns of Missouri and Tennessee until Sept. 1862; was discharged on account of ill heatlth; enlisted again in 1863 in the Seventh Wisconsin infantry and participated in all the campaigns of the army of the Potomac until Lee surrendered at Appomattox; was wounded at the battle of the Wilderness and again at Spotsylvania; commissioned a second lieutenant in 1865. After the war he was teaching until 1874; elected superintendent of schools of Linn county Kansas, for two terms; engaged in the newspaper business until September, 1884, when he came  to the coast, and in January, 1886, settled in Olympia. In September, 1886, he was elected principal of the public schools of Montesano; in May, 1887, he was appointed superintendent of public schools of Chehalis county and held that position until March 4, 1889. In October 1889, he was elected state superintendent of schools, a position which he still holds.



The present rector of the Episcopal church, the Rev. Horace Hall Buck, was born in Hartford, Conn., June 28, 1855. He was graduated from the Hartford public high school in 1874, from Amherst college in 1878, and from the Berkeley Divinity school, Middletown, Conn., in 1882. He was assistant minister during his deaconate (1882-3) in St. Thomas’ church, New Haven, and was ordained priest in that church by Bishop Williams. Was rector of St. George’s church at Austin, Nevada, for three years, and of St. James’ church Eureka, Nev., for two years, leaving each place only on account of the failure of the mines and consequent inability of the town to support a minister. He was married June, 26, 1884, in Reno, Nev., to Harriet Grosvenor Sumner, formerly like himself of Hartford, Conn., by whom he has three sons. He has been rector of St. John’s church since 1888.


Mr. [L.R.] Byrne, county school superintendent, whose family is of Irish descent, was born July 12, 1867, near Granville, Jackson county, Tennessee. His boyhood was spent on his father’s farm, during which time he acquired a common school education. He afterwards entered the Jennings business college of Nashville, graduating in 1887 at the age of nineteen. He immediately returned to his native county and began his career as a teacher. In October following his graduation he left for Thurston county, Washington, arriving in Olympia the following month. He then began the pursuit of his chosen vocation and continued to be an earnest and energetic teacher in the common schools of the county up to November, 1890, when he, as the democratic nominee, was elected to the office of county school superintendent. In the administration of the affairs of his office he has shown himself to be fully identified with every interest tending to the good of the educational cause and of advantage to Thurston county.



Arthur L. Callow, city clerk of Olympia, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 10, 1869. He came to this state with his parents in 1872, settling in Mason county, and has resided here ever since. He followed ranching and logging when old enough to work, but determined to acquire a better education than the schools of his neighborhood afforded; came to Olympia in 1887 for that purpose. He returned home the following year, but came back here after a few months, and was engaged in clerking and book-keeping until he was elected to the position which he now holds, on December 20th last. His fitness and perfect understanding for the position has been amply shown since he has held it and he enjoys the distinction of being the youngest city clerk in the state, if not the country.



Thos. H. Cavanaugh was born in Vincennes, Knox county, Indiana, March 8, 1844; was removed to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1845, and to Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1850. His father was a printer and publisher. Tom assisted him until 1855, when he left home and went to Chicago. Here he worked on the Evening Journal and in several other offices, and later in St. Louis on the Missouri Democrat. He was in Illinois in 1860, and took part in the presidential campaign with a company of boy railsplitters. In 1861 he was clerk in an auditor’s office, and then went into the army for the month and three years’ service. Served in the Sixth Illinois cavalry and in the second military department until April, 1865. He then returned to Illinois and in that year married Miss Helen Holmes, of Springfield. In 1870 he removed to Kansas. In 1871 was clerk of ways and means committee of the Kansas legislature; 1872 assistant chief clerk of house; 1873 74 secretary of senate, and elected secretary of senate, and elected in 1876 and again in 1878; appointed register United States land office at Oberlin, Kansas, in 1881; resigned 1883, and came to Washington. At the time of his departure from Kansas, Mr. Cavanaugh was chairman of the congressional committee and secretary of state committee. From 1883 to January, 1885, he was special agent of the general land office, which he resigned and purchased the Puget Sound Courier and the Olympia Transcript, and began the publication of the Republican Partisan. He was a delegate to the republican national convention of 1888; member of the national committee, of the state committee, and of the executive committee, and president of the state league of republican clubs. He was appointed by President Harrison, in July, 1889, surveyor general of the Territory of Washington, and was reappointed for the state December 30, 1889.



The subject of this sketch [Answorth H. Chambers] is a native son of Washington, having been born on Chambers’ prairie, Thurston county, June 25, 1851, and is the present representative of his native county in Washington legislature. Though still on the better side of the prime of life, Mr. Chambers has lived to see the present State of Washington separated from Oregon and made a territory, and by means of its wonderful increase of population transplanted into the nation’s glory of states. His parents who were born in Missouri, were the pioneers of Thurston county, settling here in 1847, and are still living at their old homestead. Mr. Chambers’ boyhood was spent on the farm, and his early education was gleaned from the common schools. At the age of 19 he embarked in business for himself at Olympia. His shrewdness and business qualifications soon drew the attention of his fellow citizens, and he was called upon to serve his city as councilman, after which he became Olympia’s mayor, an office which he held for several terms. His business interests extend to several public enterprises, and the welfare of this city is always paramount to personal advantage. Naturally a student, Mr. Chambers has placed himself upon an equal footing with many who possessed collegiate advantages, which in his youth were unattainable in Washington, and he can safely be counted upon as one of Olympia’s staunchest citizens.



J. R. Chaplin, president of this company, is a living illustration of the possibilities of becoming a rich man in a short space of time in the wonderful Puget Sound country. Two years ago he came to Olympia with absolutely no capital at all. By judicious investment of his first earnings, carefully watching the real estate market, and placing his money here and there where it soon doubled, it was not long before he came to be looked upon as one of the progressive solid men of Olympia. Mr. Chaplin formerly occupied the pulpit of the Congregational church. He is a go-ahead man in every particular, and is the financial manager of the Congregational college which is to be established below Butler’s cove on the west side, and which he was mainly instrumental in bringing here. His partner, C. Thoreson, also a young man of good judgement and a thorough real estate man, is secretary and treasurer of the land company. Both are members of the board of trade, and active in all interests that affect the welfare of the state capital. Mr. Chaplin established brick yards in the vicinity of the city which gave employment to a large number of men. The land company own Woodruff’s addition on the west side and other tracts in the vicinity. Woodruff’s addition slopes gradually down to the shores of the bay, and is in full view of the whole city. One of the most beautiful mountain views is to be seen from this part of the city. Water has already been put into the streets here, and a great part of the avenues have been graded. A large part of the street improvements have been made, and many of the best known citizens of the city have either started residences there or will build during the coming summer, contracts having already been let for some very handsome private dwellings. The route for the new motor line has been surveyed through this addition, and this line will soon be in operation. Mr. Chaplin was born in Livingston county, Mich., on April 30, 1851. In early life he was a farmer, but at the age of 24 he entered Adrian college in his native state, and graduated in 1883. He then entered the ministry, in which calling he continued until 1890. He came to this state two years ago last January. On the organization of the Thurston County Land Company he was elected president, and in all that looks to the growth of his adopted city he takes an active interest. He is married and has four children.



Joseph Cheim, one of the city’s best known merchants, was born in Posen, Prussia, on August 14, 1857. He received his education in his native land, and until 1871 worked in a clothing store there. He then came to Marysville, California, and was employed for twelve years with his uncle, Joseph Lask, in the same line of business. In 1883, Mr. Cheim came to Puget Sound and settled in Olympia, where he started “The White House,” and stocked it with clothing, gents’ furnishings, trunks, etc., and his trade has been increasing steadily from that time until the present. In 1888, Mr. Cheim married Miss Rosa, daughter of J. W. Davis, of San Francisco, the well-known inventor of the patent riveted overalls, and the manager for Levi, Strauss & Co. He has one child. He was for several years treasurer of the I. O. O. F. Mr. Cheim is a pushing and enterprising merchant, who has won his own way in life by his sterling integrity and business sagacity. Mr. Cheim has built up a large trade in his several lines, though always carrying for his customers the best that the market affords. He has always been one of the city’s pushing and progressive citizens, and has always confidently asserted that the future of the city would be a glowing one.


Chilberg (1)

Joseph Chilberg, city treasurer of Olympia, was born in Ottumwa, Wapello county, Iowa, on February 1, 1850. His early life was spent on a farm, and at the age of 21 he came to the Territory of Washington, settling in this city, where he engaged in the teaming and trucking business which he continued until 1875, when he went to school for a year. In 1876 he started in the grocery business as a clerk, and eighteen months later he engaged in the same line of business for himself, in which he continued until 1882, when he was burned out on Main street on the spot where he now has his office. He retired from business until 1887, when he became manager of a large grocery business opened by his father-in law, in which position he continued for about a year and a half, when the business was discontinued, and Mr. Chilberg engaged in the real estate business. He is now very largely interested in real estate in this vicinity, and owns and controls some of the best in Thurston county. He was elected to the position of city treasurer last December, and brings to this position a mind well trained for the important duties which he is called upon to perform. Mr. Chilberg is married and has one child, a girl of eleven years of age.



A. H. Christopher, of the firm of O. L. Branson & Co., investment bankers and real estate brokers, in the TRIBUNE building, was born at St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, in 1866. He secured his education first in common schools; then was employed, at the age of 14, as clerk in a general store until 17 years of age, when he entered the Curtiss Business College, St. Paul. At this institution he finished his educational career, remaining there two years. When 19 he went into the mercantile business as senior member of the firm of Christopher bros., general merchandise, at St. Croix for two years, and afterwards occupying the same position with the firm at Avery, Wis., for one and one-half years. After a successful term of business Mr. Christopher moved westward with a view of doing better. He went to Idaho, passing a month in that state, the came to Washington, his object being to carefully and not too hurriedly select the best spot for a permanent home. He visited Portland and Astoria after coming to this state, then Gray’s Harbor and other points, and finally arrived at Olympia. The resources, facilities and advantages of this city, in his own language, “surpassed all other places I visited,” and it took no persuasion for him to remain here. Since his arrival Mr. Christopher has placed the “Summit” and “Evergreen Park” additions to Olympia on the market and invested in property in all parts of the city. He also owns property throughout the state. He has associated himself with an excellent firm and is on the high road to success, and is unmarried.



George F. Conger was born in Geneva, New York, July 4, 1860, where he graduated from Cornell college in the class of 1880.  He then removed to Cleveland, Ohio, where he became a large stockholder in the A.S. Herenden Furniture company, and held the position of secretary for ten years. Having read of the resources of Washington, in February, 1890 he came to Olympia and formed a copartnership under the firm name of Scammell & Conger, doing a real estate and loan business. Mr. Conger has largely invested and is much interested in the industries of Olympia, and is one of Olympia’s most prominent young and active citizens.

Lawrence Cormier, the proprietor [of the Gold Bar restaurant], is a native of Bathurst, New Brunswick. He started west some eight years ago, and after staying in Wisconsin about eleven months, came directly to Olympia. He is an enterprising and energetic man and has built up more than one lucrative business. The large number of peole who are fed daily at the Gold Bar restaurant is conclusive proof that this place is popular. Mr. Cormier is a partner in the grocery and provision business at 518 Fourth street, which is carried on under the firm name of Conachy & Cormier. He is also interested in the Palace Market at 414 Fourth street. His business success has been due to his own efforts and he is to-day one of Olympia’s most respected citizens.

Rev. Luther Covington, A.M., principal of the Olympia Collegiate Institute, was born in Centreville, Maryland, May, 1860. His parents removed to Indiana in 1863, and to Arkansas in 1875. He has an all-absorbing thirst for knowledge, studied under difficulties and great personal sacrifices in Judson university in 1878; in Little Rock high school in 1879 and ’80; in Little Rock university from its establishment in 1882 until he graduated in the classical course in the first regular graduating class in 1886. During his college course he acquired experience in teaching during summer vacations, and after graduating took charge of a  school at Ellsworth of 140 pupils, which he conducted successfully. Accepting a call to preach he entered the Boston university, the school of theology, in 1887, and received the degree of Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1890, and in the same year his Alma Mater conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts. Trusting that the call was from Almighty God he accepted the principalship of the Olympia Collegiate Institute in 1890. Though finding the situation critical in the extreme the prophycy of grand future possibilities inspired him and his helpful and efficient instructors until a large prosperity crowned their efforts. Between 125 and 150 students have enrolled and several students will form a most creditable first year’s graduating class. The revival in the Methodist church extended to the institute and more than fifteen students were graciously converted to God. The zealous loyalty of the patrons bespeaks an ever increasing prosperity.



E. E. Crego, of the firm of McDonald & Crego, was born at Gaines, Orleans county, New York, January 20, 1862. In the fall of 1865 his parents removed with him to Albion, N. Y., where his boyhood was spent. In 1881 he was graduated from the Albion Union high school preparatory to entering college. In 1882 he removed to Rochester and entered upon the study of pharmacy, which he followed for one year with intention of ultimately becoming a physician. After years’ work he decided to abandon his idea of a medial as well as a professional life, and in 1883 accepted a position in the construction department of the U. S. light house service, in connection with the eleventh light house district on Lake Superior, from which he was transferred to the tenth district on lakes Erie, Ontario and St. Lawrence river. Returning from this work Mr. Crego taught school at his native home for two years and in April, 1889, removed to the State of Washington where he occupied himself with newspaper work. Later he was wanted as assistant in the state treasurer’s office which position he only filled for a short time as he interests in realty demanded his time and attention, and in 1890, with his present partner, established the firm of McDonald & Crego, which firm by its reliability has rendered itself prominent in a large number of Olympia’s most profitable transactions, and has given it a precedence worthy of confidence of all.



A. G. Cushman was born September 25, 1868, at Otsego, Allegan county, Michigan; was educated at the high school of Otsego, Mich., commercial college, Valparaiso, Ind., and Michigan state normal school, Ypsilanti, graduating from the last named institution in June, 1887. After completing his education he was engaged two years as cashier for the banking house of W. C. Edsell & Son in his native town. In the spring of 1889 he came to this city, and has been engaged in the real estate business, and has succeeded in making some good investments, prominent among which is a valuable piece of water front property on the east side near the city, to the improvement of which he is giving his attention at the present time, intending to make it a first class prune orchard.



Rev. C. L. Diven, A. M., B. D., pastor of the First Congregational church of Olympia, was born in Kentucky in 1854. He graduated with the highest honors at the University of Missouri in 1880, then studied theology two years in Union Theological Seminary in New York city, and later at Cambridge, Mass. In 1883 he received the degree of bachelor of theology from Harvard University and master of arts from the University of Missouri. He spent nearly two years in foreign study and travel, studying at the universities of Leipzig and Berlin and at the Sorbonne at Paris. He has had two pastorates previous to coming to Olympia, both of which were markedly successful, one in Butte City, Montana, and the other in Plantsville, Connecticut – and prominent New England church of nearly 400 members.



One of the most familiar faces about the streets and public places of Olympia during the session of the legislature, was that of Martin Batcheldor Dunbar, a sturdy pioneer. Judge Dunbar, as he is known among his townspeople where he has been elected justice of peace, is proud in being able to boast that he is one of the original forty-niners. He was born in Maine, September 21, 1820, and shortly afterward moved to Bangor with his parents, where he lived until he was 25 years old. He first left his pleasant home here to go to Boston to attend the consecration of the Bunker Hill monument. He remembers distinctly having met the president, and heard the oration of Daniel Webster delivered on that occasion. The Judge’s father was a manufacturer of doors, sashes and blinds, and his son learned the trade, but in 1844 he went west as far as Chicago, where he worked on the great Catholic cathedral for a year. Then he went to live in Lockport, Ill., until 1848. In the same year he returned to Bangor, and engaged passage in the schooner Eudorus, captain Charles Wiggin, around Cape Horn, stopping on his way at Rio and Juan Fernandez. The schooner arrived at San Francisco in September, 1849. For eleven years he resided in California, for two years he lived in Oregon, then for six years in Idaho, seven years in Wyoming and Utah, and for another three years in British Columbia on the Arctic slope. For the last eleven years he has made his home on the Skagit river, in Skagit county, in the town of Mount Vernon, and is probably the only forty-niner living in the county. When 60 years old he married, and his wife is still living at Mount Vernon, where his home is. He spent much of his time while at Olympia, receiving old acquaintances, and entertaining friends with reminiscences from a great fund of fascinating experiences.



T. V. Eddy was born on a farm in McHenry county, Illinois, October 23, 1853. He was educated in the common schools and the Elgin (Illinois) academy, from which last named institution he graduated with high honors at the age of eighteen years. He then commenced the study of law under the tutorship of Hon. A. B. Coon, of Marenge, Illinois, and pursued the same for five years, while still residing and laboring on the father’s farm, and was admitted to the bar in that state in October, 1880. Mr. Eddy stumped Illinois for Garfield in 1880, and in 1880-81 was clerk of the Illinois senate. In the summer of 1881 he removed to Watertown, South Dakota, where he engaged and continued in the practice of his profession until he removed to Washington two years ago. He took a prominent part in the organization of a state government for South Dakota in 1885, and was speaker of the house of representatives under the samo, and was sent as a delegate to Washington, D. C., to urge upon congress and the president the necessity and justice of the admission of South Dakota to the Union, being unanimously chosen to deliver the address to the president, which he did. Col. Eddy took a prominent part in the last presidential campaign for the republican ticket, speaking throughout the State of Minnesota and part of Iowa. In the first state campaign of Washington, a year and a half ago, he did similar work for that party throughout the state. He has been a resident of Olympia about eighteen months, and is engaged in the practice of the law, being the senior member of the firm of Eddy, Gordon & Skillman. Col. Eddy stands in the front rank of his profession as an advocate and trial lawyer. His manner before a jury is very impressive and forceful, while his arguments are logical and replete with illustrations and rhetorical adornment. As a orator he has no superior in the Northwest. His future is a very bright one.



Arthur Ellis, the wholesale and retail dealer in furniture, bedding and carpets, was born in Norfolk, England, March 24, 1850, and moved to Sunderland, in the north of England, in 1852. After getting a common school education, he worked at the ship carpenter’s trade until he was eighteen years of age, when he removed to America. He worked in the mines in Idaho and Utah until 1879. He then settled in Boise City, Idaho, where he worked at house carpentering and cabinet work until 1884, when he removed to the Sound country, where, after trying Tacoma and other towns, he settled down in Olympia, and started a job shop, where he repaired and made all kids of furniture, and by hard work and good management worked up the leading furniture house in Olympia. By buying goods in car load lots,, direct from the factories in the east, he is prepared to compete with any house on the Sound, and at his store, corner of Main and Third street, will be found a complete line of parlor and bedroom furniture; also a good line of carpets, linoleum and baby carriages.



William K. Esling was born in Philadelphia February 19, 1868. After a seven years’ course he graduated from Girard College in 1883, and was apprenticed to Jas. Grant, a book printer, with whom he remained three years. He then became connected with the Philadelphia Record until the fall of 1889, when he came to Washington. On the funding of the Olympia TRIBUNE, Mr. Esling was made city editor, which position he still fills. He is an active member of the Masonic fraternity, and also the secretary of the Olympia board of trade, and will gladly furnish any desired information regarding the capital city of the State of Washington on.

Robert G. Esterly conducts the only planing mill in Tumwater, and besides handling the local trade, has a good order business throughout the county. He manufactures all kinds of dressed lumber, molds door and window frames, doors, blinds, turnings, scroll work, etc., of superior quality. His mill being located on the line of the railroad, he has excellent facilities for supplying building materials at as low figures as can be had in this section. Mr. Esterly has resided in Tumwater twelve years, off and on, and is highly esteemed by his fellow-towns-men, by whom he was elected a member of the board of trustees in 1889.



Charles A. Ferris was born in Erie, Pa., September 8, 1866, and with his parents soon removed to Essex., N.Y., where he spent his early boyhood. At the age of fourteen he was sent to the New York military academy, New York city, and in 1882 entered Columbia college. After finishing his course in college Mr. Ferris made a short tour through the west and returning to New York, associated himself with Orlando Kellogg in the hotel business, being located in the Adirondack mountains in the summer, and Florida in the winter. In October, 1889, he came to Tacoma, which place his parents had adopted as a home. Being deeply impressed with the resources of the great northwest he located at Olympia after spending three months in looking over the Sound country, and in February, 1890, he formed a copartnership with Mr. F.C. Brown in the clothing, furnishing, boot and shoe business. Messrs. Brown & Ferris are doing a rapidly increasing business at 505 Main street. Mr. Ferris, although a young man, has identified himself with the leading business men of Olympia, and is an active and energetic member of society and the fraternal organizations.



Elisha P. Ferry, Governor of Washington, was born at Monroe, Michigan,  August 9, 1825; studied law there and at Fort Wayne, Indiana, and was admitted to the bar in 1845, at the age of 20 years. In 1846 he removed to Waukegan, Illinois, where he engaged in the practice of his profession. He resided at Waukegan until July, 1869, when he removed to the territory of Washington. He was the first mayor of the city of Waukegan. In 1852 and in 1856 he was presidential elector for the district in which he resided. He was a member of the constitutional convention in Illinois in 1861. From 1861 to 1863 he was bank commisioner in that state. During these years he was a member of Governor Yates’ staff, as assistant adjutant-general, with the rank of colonel, and assisted in organizing, equipping, and sending into the field a large number of Illinois regiments. In 1869 he was appointed surveyor-general of  Washington territory. In 1872 he was appointed governor of the territory, and reappointed in 1876. All of these appointments were conferred upon him by President Grant. He served as governor until November, 1880, when he removed to Seattle, and became a member of the law firm of McNaught, Ferry, McNaught & Mitchell. In September 1887, he retired from the practice of law and entered the Puget Sound National Bank as vice president. On the 4th of  September, 1889, he was nominated by the Republican party for governor of the state, and on the 1st of October was elected to that office. Governor Ferry was married February 4th, 1849 to Miss Sarah B. Kellogg, of Waukegan, Illinois, and has five children — three sons and two daughters. James P., the eldest son, is connected with the Seattle Daily Times. Lincoln P. is now traveling in the East. Pierce P., the youngest of the family, is attending the Michigan University, at Ann Arbor. His daughters are Lizzie P. and Julia P., both residing with him. Governor Ferry has been a strong, consistent republican since the organization of the party, and was a member of the first republican convention held in the United States. The governor is an active member of the Episcopal church. His health was such that he has been obliged, during the past few months, to seek recuperation in Southern California, but is now on the fair road to recovery, and his hosts of friends all over the state expect to see him among them again in a very short time.



A. P. Fitch, city attorney of Olympia, was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on November 11, 1839. In 1860 he entered the law office of George H. Parker, at Davenport, Iowa, where he remained until October of the following year, when he enlisted in company K. 11th regiment Iowa infantry, and served three years, serving with distinction. After the war he located at Hastings, Minnesota, and resumed the study of law in the office of Clagget & Crosby, being admitted to the bar in 1866. He was elected justice in that place, serving two years, and in 1868 removed to Glencoe. He was elected county attorney of McLeod county that fall, and held that position for two years, after which he gave his whole attention to his rapidly increasing law practice. In 1875 he was elected to the state legislature and in the following year was again elected county attorney, serving this time for three successive terms. In 1886 he was elected judge of probate. He was elected town clerk of Glencoe in 1875, and held that position for five successive years, and was on the school board there for many years. He came to Washington in September, 1889, and was elected city attorney of the capital city the present year. He is married, and has one child. He is a member of the Masons, and of the A. O. U. W.

L. E. Follansbee was born in Danbury, New Hampshire, in 1853, and has been identified with the cause of education all his life. He came to Washington eight years ago, since which time he was for four years principal of the high school and superintendent of public instruction of Olympia; president of Collegiate Institute for three years; edited the Northwest Teacher and Educational Journal for four years; conducted all the summer institutes throughout the state for seven years during three months each summer; was a member of the state board of education for four years. Mr. Follansbee has normal graduates in almost every county in the state who are now engaged in teaching, and business graduates in almost every town in Western Washington. He is now president and principal of Calethea College, a description of which will be found in another column.



Councilman R. A. Ford was born in Marshall county, Tenn., in April, 1852, and removed with his parents, W. T. and Ester L. Ford, to Arkansas in 1854. His boyhood life was spent on the farm. He attended the public schools and finished his education at the State University. He taught school for awhile near the old homestead, and in 1875 went to Barber county, Missouri, where he pursued his profession as teacher, demonstrating his special ability and adaptation for the work, and growing in favor with the people. He filled the offices of township collector and assessor, and in 1878 he was elected to the office of county clerk, which position he held for four years, making a fine record for honesty, faithfulness and efficiency and retired to his farm with confidence of the public whom he had served with impartial fidelity. At the earnest solicitation of his former patrons he again entered the school room. Taught a number of terms, giving the highest satisfaction. In 1888 he conducted the grammar department of the Arkansas summer assembly, and was urged by the managers and patrons to continue in this position, but declined on account of removing to Washington. He came to this city two years ago, bought property, and at once identified himself with the people. He brought letters of commendation from the county officers, representatives, senator and prominent business men of his county. Mr. Ford is a valuable acquisition to our city and state. He has already been chosen by a large vote to represent his ward in the city council, and in serving his constituency with great satisfaction and the city efficiently. Mr. Ford possesses those elements of character and qualification which command the confidence of the people and make him a popular and efficient public officer. He has come to make this his home, is in the full vigor of young manhood, and has a promising future before him. We are glad to welcome him and all such to the capital city, and open the door to the largest opportunity.



The Rev. T. B. Ford, D. D., the present pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal church of this city, is a native of Tennessee. He is the oldest son of Wm. T. Ford and E. L. Ford, who emigrated to Arkansas when he was about six years old. He grew up on a farm and enjoyed the pursuits of rural life. He attended the common schools of the country and improved the best educational advantages within this reach. He made a profession of religion in 1867, and in the spring of the following year entered the mini try of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was assigned to a charge in Arkansas which at that time belonged with Missouri. At the end of his fourth year in the conference he was appointed by Bishop Scott presiding elder. He assisted in the organization of the Arkansas conference in 1873, and remained a member of that body until last year, when he transferred to the Puget Sound conference. He served his old conferences acceptably as presiding elder for nearly four terms, as pastor of some of the principle churches, and as the financial agent of the Little Rock University. He was elected by his conference to three successive general conferences, and was chosen twice by the general conference as a member of the general missionary and church extension committees, in which capacity he served his district and the church with great efficiency, securing a large increase in both the appropriations and collections. In 1884, Mr. Ford was nominated by the republican party of his state, for the office of state superintendent of public instruction. In 1888 the Chattanooga, now the United States Grant University, conferred on him the degree of D. D., which he wears with becoming modesty. At the last session of the Puget Sound conference he was appointed by Bishop Newman to the First Church in Olympia, and entered upon the work with great vigor, bringing to his new charge the benefits of his wide experience. Aside from his work as pastor, Mr. Ford takes great interest in the causes of education and reform, he is an earnest advocate of the public school system, and of denominational higher education, he is enthusiastic for the highest intellectual culture, the highest spiritual experience and attainment, and the rigid maintenance of evangelical standards as the only means of the permanent elevation of humanity. Dr. Ford comes to the coast highly recommended as an able preacher, and his services in this city are being highly appreciated by his congregation and the general public.



Prof. [Albion L.] Francis was born at Brainard, Vermont, in 1842, and at the age of three accompanied his parents to St. Charles, Illinois. In the spring of 1852 his family started across the continent, accompanying a wagon train which followed the Platte trail to Green River, Wyoming, where they branched off to the Oregon trail, and after six months of weary traveling arrived at Oregon City. The remainder of Prof. Francis’ boyhood was spent on a farm near that place, and his early education was limited to the resources of a country school. While yet a mere lad he developed a wonderful love for music, which his puritanical parents strongly objected to, for which reason his early studies in the divine art were prosecuted under many difficulties; but, notwithstanding the objection of his family circle, the undaunted young musician, by means of secret practice in hay lofts and garrets, and the possession of a limited though dearly cherished musical library, so far perfected himself that at the age of twenty-three he left his home and took a position in Salem, Oregon, as an instructor in music. Here his great natural talents rapidly asserted themselves; and among other things he organized the Salem band, during which work he played at sight upon brass instruments which had heretofore been utter strangers to him. With a musical reputation thoroughly founded, in 1874 Prof. Francis removed to Portland, Oregon, where he organized what was then the finest military band in the northwest. In 1880 the professor removed to Victoria, B. C., and spent five years in instructing the queen’s subjects in musical matters, after which he returned to Portland and remained five years. In 1888 he left Portland for Southern California, stopping in Los Angeles, where he perfected himself in orchestral playing under Prof. A. W. Wilharting and Emil Seifert. In 1890 his love for the northwest returned him hither, and he selected Olympia as his abiding place, where he has rapidly established himself in the hearts of the music loving public. Prof. Francis’ career has at every point stamped him as an artist richly endowed, and besides his wonderful instrumental work, he is the author of several well known compositions, among which is “Beautiful Lena,” and the temperance anthem, “The blue-ribbon war song,” Prof. Francis is also well informed on the construction of all musical instruments, and is himself the possessor of several old and highly valued violins.



Robert Frost was born at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, October 25, 1835. Was educated at St. John’s Wood National School, London. At the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a builder, from whom he ran away early in 1853, and went to sea. As a sailor he visited every country except the East Indies. On New Year’s day, 1856, he crossed the Columbia bar, at the time being a sailor on the old brig Susan Abigail, afterwards sunk by the Shenandoah. Mr. Frost lived a while in Portland, Oregon City and The  Dalles, chiefly engaged at mason work. In 1858 he went to the Frazer river mines, British Columbia, with the McLaughlin party, and helped to fight a way through the Indians; was in the fight in McLaughlin’s canyon, Okanogan river. Having been starved out at mining on Frazer river, he worked his way to Olympia and landed here in 1858, “flat broke,” and could not go any further. He worked at anything he could get to do. For three years he set type in the Standard office. In 1862 he married Miss Louisa Holmes, of Olympia, and the union has been blessed with four children. Mr. Frost started a hardware store in 1871, and still continues in that business. He was county coroner for seven years; at different times member of the city council; is one of the directors of the Capital National Bank; member of the board of trade, and president of the Olympia Gas and Electric Light Company. He began in Olympia without a penny, and is to-day prosperous in business, owns considerable property and is one of our most esteemed citizens. A proper sketch of his life would fill pages of this “Souvenir.”




George Gelbach was born in Pennsylvania about 45 years ago, and in 1865, after a common school education, emigrated to Wisconsin, where he remained five years. In May, 1870, Mr. Gelbach removed to Washington Territory and settled at Tumwater, bought the middle falls, built the Washington  Flour Mill and successfully operated a flour milling business until 1890, when he sold to the Olympia Electric Light and Power  company and engaged in the real estate business, and is now handling choice business and residence property on reasonable terms. Mr. Gelbach is one who always takes an interest in public affairs and is propertly known as the father of Tumwater.



Milton Giles was born in Lowell, Mass., in 1842. He was educated at the Baptist Theological Institute in New Hampshire, and at the age of fourteen years removed with his parents to Dixon, Ill. At the breaking out of the civil war, Mr. Giles enlisted in the Thirteenth Illinois infantry, under the first call for troops. He served with distinction and valor  three years and three months, participating in twenty-two different battles in ten different Southern states. Mr. Giles was under Grant at Vicksburg, and had the honor of being the first “Yankee” to enter that city after the surrender. He fought with Gen. Hooker at Lookout Mountain, in the battle above the clouds, and was one of the 242 to return to Springfield, Ill., of the remainder of the 1,000 brave men who went to the front at their country’s call. After the war Mr. Giles engaged in railroading on the United States military roads, and on the Illinois Central railroad, but resigned and engaged in farming. Here he made a dire failure, and then went to Virginia City, Nevada, in the palmy days of that great mining center. He made considerable money there and left it where he found it, and came to Olympia, where he engaged in the meat, vegetable and fish market business, purchasing the old Farmer’s market at the corner of Fifth and Main Streets. Here he has made quite a success. Mr. Giles married at Monticello, Iowa, Miss Mary A. Lammon, sister of J.M. Lammon, of this city, and has five children, four boys and one daughter. He resides in a very comfortable if not pretentious dwelling at the corner of Ninth and Jefferson streets.

Herbert L. Gill was born at Duffryn Mawr, Chester county, Pa., September 4, 1857. He received his education in West Chester and Philadelphia, and has been a publisher since 1878. Was proprietor of papers in eastern Pennsylvania, several weeklies and a daily in the heart of the Rockies in southwestern Colorado for three years, then five years in southwestern Kansas, publishing and owning five papers. Was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1886 on the Republican ticket. In the early part of 1890 he came to Olympia and will permanently remain. Upon his arrival he assisted in starting the Daily Olympia Tribune and assumed the business management. In March last, with Major C.M. Bartin, his father-in-law, he leased the paper, and his long journalistic experience insures the success of the venture. Mr. Gill will continue as business manager of the paper.

Among the later additions to the business firms of Olympia is that of Rose & Godard, who, late in the year 1890, opened their handsome and magnificantly stocked jewelry and optical salesroom at 222  Fourth street… Both the member of this firm are young and energetic business men, and besides their qualifications as affable salesmen, they are both practical watchmakers, having gained their experience by years of service in the great watch factories of Waltham, Mass., Elgin, Ill., and Lancaster, Pa. … Mr. [W.C.] Godard, the junior member of the firm, has located permanently in Olympia, having moved hither with his family shortly after the opening of their magnificant establishment.



John F. Gowey, ex-mayor of Olympia, was born in  Champaign county, Ohio, on December 7, 1846, and commenced life as a clerk in a general merchandise store. He afterwards entered the Ohio Wesleyan university at Delaware, Ohio, and studied law with Gen. John H. Young, at Urbana, Ohio. In 1872 he was elected to the Ohio legislature, and his course while a member of that body was such that he was re-elected to the same office by his fellow citizens. In 1876 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Champaign, and in 1878 was re-elected to the same office. In 1880 he was a delegate to the republican national convention at Chicago that nominated Garfield for the presidency. In April, 1882, he was appointed by Preisdent Arthur register of the United States land office at Olympia, which position he held until August, 1886, when his term of office expired and he resumed the practice of law. In November of that year he was elected a member of the territorial counsel. In 1887 he was elected president of the First National bank, and resigned that position a few months ago. In 1889 he was elected mayor of Olympia, and in May following was sent as delegated to the constitutional convention. He is a Free and Accepted Mason, also 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, member of Royal Arch Masons, also K. of P. Taking into consideration his extensive private interests, his prominent part in the business, social, political and fraternal organizations of the community, it would be difficult to find a busier man in the capital city today than John F. Gowey, her popular ex-mayor. Mr. Gowey has been married twice; first to Clara McDonald of Woodstock, Champaign county, Ohio, April 25, 1867, by whom he had one child, Frank McDonald Gowey, born January 4, 1869. On November 3, 1886, he married his present wife, Miss Georgiana Stevens, a native of Boston, but since 1866 a resident of Olympia. Mr. Gowey was nominated by President Harrison in 1890, and confirmed as minister to Japan, but declined on account of private business.



John W. Hanna, lesse [sic] and  manager of the Olympia theater, was born December 2, 1848, in Freeport, Harrison county, Ohio, where he spent his boyhood and obtained a common school education. In 1866, at the age of eighteen, he went to Mattoon, Ill., and established himself in the book and staionery business, also managing the local theater until 1889. In 1870 Mr. Hanna married Miss Mary E. Henderson, and they now have three daughters and one son. In 1889 Mr. Hanna came to Tacoma and took the management of the New Tacoma opera house.
 The New Olympia Theater
The Olympia theater was built in 1890 by Mr. John Miller Murphy, the editor and sole proprietor of the oldest newspaper in the State of Washington. The theater is under the control of the lessee and sole manager, Mr. John W. Hanna, the well known “Puget Sound” theatrical manager, who is also lessee and sole manager of the Seattle opera house, Seattle, Wash., and is the only one that books companies and plays them in the principal theaters of the far Northwest. Mr. Hanna has had years of experience in the theatrical business, and has as thorough and practical a knowledge of it as any one in the profession. He is an honest, reliable business man, young in years and full of energy. He was the first manager of the new theater at Tacoma, and voluntarily severed his connection with the house upon its changing ownership, so that he now gives his whole time and attention to his two theaters and his other amusement enterprises…



Gus Harris, of the dry goods and clothing concern of I. Harris & Sons, was born in Walla Walla, Wash., April 3, 1864, and soon removed with his parents to New York, and in 1870 moved with his parents to Olympia. He received his schooling in Olympia, and in Portland, Oregon, after which he was employed in business with his father.
In January 1888 he was taken in partnership with a third interest and has since shown business energy and tact in building up the large and prospering house which keeps apace with all eastern markets in dry goods, carpets, clothing, boots, shoe, etc.



Mitchel Harris was born in Salem, Oregon, September 18, 1862, and obtained his schooling in Olympia and Portland, Oregon, after which he was engaged in the mercantile business in Colfax, Washington. In 1882 Mr. Harris was employed by his father in the general dry goods business, and in 1888 was taken in co-partnership with his father and brother. The present concern of I. Harris &  Sons are carrying on one of the largest clothing houses in Washington.



Capt. Z.J. Hatch was born on a farm in  Southerland county, New York, June 15, 1846, where he spent his boyhood and received a common school education. In 1807 he removed to Ellenville, Ulster county, New York, where as principal he took chage of the public school with eight hundred scholars. In the summer of 1870 he resigned that position and was teller in the First National bank until Ausut 4, 1872, when he resigned from the bank and came to Portland, Oregon. Entering first the employ of the Northern Pacific railroad company as civil engineer at Kalama, Washington territory, and then book keeper in Portland for Wasserman & Co., and for one year in charge of the Tacoma Sand  company in Tacoma. He started in September, 1874, for Virginia City, but in Portland he met Capt. N.B. Scott and at once accepted the position of purser on the steamboat Ohio, which he held for one year, and then became interested as a partner in the City of Salem, on which he run as purser for a year. In 1876 the business department of this company, the Willamette River Steamboat company, was given in charge of Mr. Hatch, which he carried on until the company sold to the W.V. & C.R.R. Co., in 1879. Mr. Hatch then leased the Pacific docks and carried on a large wheat and shipping business until the winter floods of 1881 washed away the whole of his business. He then bought and run the steamboat A.A. McCully, on the Willamette River and built the Yaquina. In 1882 he returned to his early home and married Miss Addie A., daughter of Col. I.P. Tremaine, president of the Union National Bank of Ellenville. Upon his return he continued steamboating on the Willamette river until November, 1886, when he bought an interest in the Fleetwood and brought her to Puget Sound, where she plied between Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle until February of the year when the Columbia River and Puget Sound Navigation company was formed, when Capt. Hatch became master of the Bailey Gatzert. This company own and operate the following steamboats: Telephone, between Portland and Astoria; Fleetwood, between Tacoma, Seattle and Port Townsend and the Bailey Gatzert, between Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle.



Louis F. Henderson was born in Boston, Mass., on Sept. 17, 1853. His education was received in the high school at New Orleans, Louisiana; at the Miles Military Academy, Brattleboro,  Vermont; high school, Ithaca, New York, and at Cornell University, New York, graduating from the latter in 1874. During the last years of his college course Mr. Henderson taught school in New York state and after his graduation he accepted a position as instructor in McClure’s Military Academy at Oakland, Cal., where he stayed one year. He then went to Oregon and for a year taught school in Lane county, after which he taught in the Collegiate Institute at Albany in that state. A year afterwards he went to Portland, where he was located until he come [sic] to this city in November, 1889. He was the principal of the high school in Portland, resigning that position to come to Olympia to engage in the real estate business with his brother. Mr. Henderson is well known all over the Pacific coast as a botanist and last year accompanied the government expedition into the Olympian mountains in that capacity. He has one of the finest herbariums in the state at his residence in this city. Mr. Henderson married, in 1883, Miss Kate Robinson, of Lockport, New York, and has two children. He is interested in real estate all over Thurston county and carries on an abstract and fire insurance in connection with his real estate business.



The present pastor of the First Unitarian church, Rev. Napoleon Hoagland, is a native of Illinois. His birthplace was on a farm in the southern part of Shelby county, one of the south-central counties of the state. He attended district school a few months each year as opportunity offered, till he fitted himself for a teacher, which occupation he followed for nearly six years. Then he entered the Unitarian Theological school at Meadville, Pa., and after a four years’ course he graduated in 1885. Within a month from commencement day he had accepted work in a parish in Greeley,Col. Here he remained till 1887 when he left to take charge of a new movement in Wichita, Kan. Here a new church was duly organized and here he remained till called to Olympia. Soon after his arrival in Olympia he married Miss Julia Cornley, a native of Worcester, England. The wedding took place at Portland. Dr. Eliot, the old friend of the society, performing the ceremony.



S.R. Hogin is a native of the Hawkeye state, having been born in Sigourney, Keokuk county, Iowa. His grandfather, Hon. James L. Hogin, a well known pioneer, came to Iowa when that state was yet an unsubdued wilderness. He was a noble representative of the generation that settled and made Iowa one of the best states in the union, and was a member of the Iowa senate in 1854. The father of the subject of this sketch, came to Iowa in the forties, and was for forty years a leading and successful businessman; and the old home, where the family has resided for more than forty-two years, is yet known as one among the best and most hospitable of Iowa homes. J.C. Hogin was regarded as a man of sterling worth, and in the business, social and political circles enjoyed a wide acquaintance and numbered among his intimate personal friends United States Senators Harland, Kirkwood, and Wilson; the galliant Gen. M.M. Crocker; the eminent political leader John H. Bear; the brilliant and loyal ex-Gov. W.M. Stone; the well known Iowa attorneys Woodin, Mackey ans Sampson; and belonged to that class of sturdy pioneers who by their faith and works laid the foundation of Iowa’s greatness. He was a member of the Iowa senate in 1864.
S.R. Hogin received his early education in the schools of his native place. Later he attended Eastman College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and graduated in the centennial year, 1886. Returning to his native city, he entered as a student the law office of his brother-in-law, Hon. J.A. Donnell, and was admitted to the bar in 1878. Mr. Hogin has always taken an active interest in politics, being a sturdy Republican, and for many years represented his county in the district and state conventions, and attended the national convention at Chicago in 1880. In 1884 he removed to Kansa and located at Wakeeney, Trego county. Was a member of the firm of Danford & Hogin, one of the leading law firms of the Twenty-third judicial district. During this time Mr. Hogin established his reputation as an able and reliable lawyer, and was retained in many important cases, notably the case of the State vs. Fellows, being employed by Trego county in the prosecution of Chas. A. Fellows for the murder of his young wife, a case of unusual interest, as it was the first case in that district in which the murderer received the death penalty. While enjoying a lucrative practice in the courts, Mr. H. was recognized as one of the leading and most successful land attorneys in the Wakeeney land district, at that time one of the busiest in the United States. Mr. Hogin came to Washington in 1889; was admitted to practice in Cowlitz county before Judge Bloomfield; located in this city in the fall of 1890, and has great faith in the future of Olympia. Mr. Hogin has many of the elements necessary for a successful career; an experienced lawyer, possessing a bright intellect, a generous dispotion, withal a genial courteous gentleman. He has already established a good business and gained many friends who predict for him a brilliant and useful career, and an honorable place among the progressive citizens of the capital city of this commonwealth.



C.F. Holton, proprietor of “The Holton,” was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on July, 21, 1848. It was in 1877 that he came to Washington and in 1884 located in this city, and has resided here ever since. He opened “The Holton” on October 12, 1886, and fitted it up in magnificant style to compare favorable with any similar establishment in the state. In all that pertains to the advancement of the city of Olympia, and in all that has for its object the growth of the town, he takes a deep interest.



James C. Horr, mayor of Olympia, was born in Waitsfield, Washington county, Vermont, on January 17, 1832, but  moved with his parents to Loraine county, Ohio, when only two years of age. He was brought up on a farm, and worked hard during his younger days. At the age of 21 he went to Australia to seek his fortune, and remained in that country for twelve years. He was in the mines in and around Ballarat, and during the latter part of his stay there he was the superintendent of Cobb & Company’s coach lines, that run to Ballarat and through the western country, this company operating the largest stage line in the world. In 1865 he returned home, and with his brother operated the largest cheese factory in the state of Ohio. The climate there not agreeing with  him, he moved to  California in 1868, and until 1872 he was engaged in ranching in Santa Cruz county, in that state. In the latter year he was appointed special agent of the treasury department, and was stationed at San Francisco and Port Townsend. He held this position until 1885, when under the Cleveland administrtion in 1885, he was one of the first men removed. During the latter part of his incumbency he had charge of the district including the state of Oregon and the territories of Washington and Alaska. He then went into the grain and feed business in this city, in which he has continued ever since. In 1876, Mr. Horr was elected mayor of Olympia, and in 1877 he represented this district in the legislature. He was re-elected to his present position last December. His fitness for the position that he now holds has been exemplified in many cases, and ever since his residence here he has been indefatigable in his efforts for Olympia’s growth and prosperity. He is married but has no children, his only child having died while he was a resident of California. Mayor Horr has always been a staunch republican in politics, and has done yeoman service for that party, although never allowing politics to  interfere with the discharge of his duties as a public officer.



Frank A. Howard, one of the few persons now residing in this city who were born in the present State of Washington, when it was a part of the territory of Oregon, first saw light of day on the townsite of Olympia, June 25, 1857, and has made this his home ever since. He was educated in the public schools of Olympia, among his first teachers were J.P. Judson and Steve Ruddell. Mr. Howard has traveled over the United States several times, meeting with many interesting experiences and adventures. He was married in Providence, R.I. to Miss Lillie Howard of the same name but no relation. While proprietor of the Pacific House he entertained many distinguished personages who visited this city among whom were Gen. Sherman, Ex-President Hayes and party, Gen. Winfield Scott, Gen. McDowell and others. After retiring from hotel life Mr. Howard lived on the east side, until he sold Sebree’s addition to W.E. Sebree, when he built a residence on Howard Flats and  moved there. He has owned many acres of property now within the corporate limits od the city, comprising Sebree’s, Howard’s, Olympia Heights and other additions. Besides a large amount of property which he possesses in Olympia, Mr. Howard has a valuable additon to Spokane Falls, Mr. Howard is engaged in the brokerage business at 353 Fourth street, is in a prosperous condition and is a respected citizen. For the welfare of Olympia, his native place, he is ever ready to lend a helping hand.

Mason Irwin, judge of the superior court of Chehalis and Mason counties, was born in 1850; a native of Juniata county, Pennsylvania, where he spent his boyhood and youth on a farm, attending the common schools and Airy View academy. In 1870, Mr. Irwin removed to Pittsbugh, Pennsylvania, where he was employed as a store clerk for three years, when in 1873 he became a bank cashier in Juniata county, which position he held for four years. Mr. Irwin began the study of law in 1877, in Mifflintown, the county seat of Juniata county, and was admitted to the bar in 1879. In 1881, Mr. Irwin was elected prosecuting attorney of Juniata county, which office he held until 1884, and in the spring of 1885 he removed to Washington Territory locating first at Yakima and then at Montesano, Chehalis county, where he still resides. In 1889 Mr. Irwin was elected to the office of judge of the superior courts of Chehalis, Thurston Mason and Lewis counties, which duties he discheaged to the satisfaction and pleasure of all. By his upright, fearless and manly bearing, he has won the esteem of all with whom he has come in contact.  By an act of the last legislature, which created of Thurston county a separate judicial district, Judge Irwin was relieved of some of his duties, and his jurisdiction now covers Chehalis and Mason counties. Mr. Irwin was married in 1887, to a daughter of Dr. Newell, of this city.

Edwin F. Janes was born on a farm in Napoli,  Cattaraugus county, New York, October 21, 1839, and has followed agricultural pursuits most of the time since starting in life for himself. He received a common school education, with a few terms in Chamberlain institute – a rare privilege in those days. He then entered a store at Randolph, New York, where he remained three years. In 1869 he married the daughter of Marcus M. Jones of Randolph, and has been blessed with four sons. In May, 1889, Mr. Janes, accompanied by his mother-in-law (Mrs. M.M. Jones, who is now a widow living with Mr. Janes’ family), and his eldest son Carey, came to the great northwest and after looking over the sound towns, thought it best to locate at Olympia; for, as Mr. Janes says, they were charmed by the climate and fruit. As with all others who came about that time, the investments then made proved good ones. After remaining here during the summer, they returned east. Mr. Janes made another visit to Olympia in the spring of 1890, and m oved his family here in the following September. One son is still attending Meadville College in New York State. Mr. Janes’ investments have been on Fourth street in East Olympia, in Maple Park, and on the west side – all good property. Mr. Janes has proved to be one of the enterprising citizens of the place. He is a man with an extended business experience, of rare good judgment, and has contributed his share toward bringing about the new life of which the city has partaken during the last few years.

Mr. G. Kaufman
, the head of the well-known firm of Toklas & Kaufman, was born in Germany on December 24, 1838. After receiving a thorough business education in his native country, he first engaged there in the wool, hide and commission business. In 1860 he went to Sunderland, England, and engaged in the watch, jewelry and diamond trade, continuing there until 1865, when he returned to Germany and married Miss Louisa Toklas, a sister of his present partner. In 1880 Mr. Kaufman came to America and after traveling extensively all over the United States finally located in Olympia, establishing the famous firm of Toklas & Kaufman, of which he is managing partner. His wife remaining in Germany to finish the education of the children in the German colleges, joined him here in 1886. To his untiring efforts and strict attention to business and to himself alone, he owes his great financial success and present high standing in the community. Mr. Kaufman is past vice president of the board of trade, and is also past master workman of A.O.U.W., and is occupying the position of treasurer of Harmony lodge of F. & A. Masons, which office he has held for three consecutive terms. Since his residence in this city he has ever been one of the formost promoters of public welfare and is always ready with hand and purse to further all movements looking towards the advancement of hs adopted city in which he has always taken a deep interest.

Nathan G. Kaufman
was born in Kempen, Germany, September 22, 1866, and received a thorough education at Royal college in that place, from which he graduated in the spring of 1881. In October of the same year he emigrated to America, landing in New York. After a stay of several months in that city he went south to Texas, and there entered the mercantile business of his uncle at Bessoides. In September, 1882, he left for the Pacific coast, and after a short stay in San Francisco he came to Olympia, where his father was already established as a member of the firm of Toklas & Kaufman. Here he remained until 1885, when he was given charge of the firm’s branch house at Puyallup, which he managed until 1888, when he was recalled to Olympia, Mr. W. Toklas, one of the partners having left. In 1889 Mr. Kaufman went to Spokane Falls and took a position as dry goods salesman with the Great Eastern company at that place. Prior to his departure for that city he induced the firm to secure larger and more commodious premises. The Olympia block was consequently erected as the outcome of his suggestions. He personally designed the plans and interior arrangements of the establishment, and after its completion in the fall of 1889 returned to Olympia and took the management. Through push and energetic business methods he has worked the business of the firm to its present standing. The marvelous growth of the firm is better described on another page. Although it is not generally known in Olympia, Mr. Kaufman is an excellent caricature sketch artist, and as a writer has has also gained quite a fame, having written several good stories.

W.F. Keady
, county clerk, ex-officio clerk superior court, was born in Washington, Pa., in 1821; attended common schools until twelve; at fourteen receiving a scholarship in Washington college; attended there one year when his father’s death compelled him to commence work to help support the family. At sixteen was apprenticed to a tobacco manufacturer, working until twenty-two years old, his marriage having occurred in the meantime. He then worked at printing until twenty-four, and in 1846 assisted in establishing the Brownsville Clipper, remaining with it until 1848. Then worked at cigar making in Pittsburg, Pa., Wheeling, Va., and elsewhere until 1851, and again returned to the Brownsville Clipper until the fall of 1852, when he went to Middleport, Ill., and worked on the Iroquois Journal for six months then purchased a half interest and shortly after the entire business, and improved the paper, editing and publishing it until 1856. He was then appointed postmaster, serving four years; then retired, and for a few years amused himself buying farms and improving them, dealing in stock etc. In 1867 he bought half of the Kankakee Gazette; sold it in 1870, and bought the Kankakee Journal, changing it to the Kankakee Times, and giving a half interest to his son George, continued to publish it until 1881, when he came to Olympia. In 1882 was appointed justice of the peac, and in October, 1889, was elected on the Republican ticket, clerk of Thurston county. He has for seven years been president of the school board. Mr. Keady is an active member of the Episcopal church, of which he is junior warden.

Dr. Kincaid
was born in the north of Ireland in 1832 of Scotch parents. After his father’s death he came with his mother to Canada and was educated at Queen’s University graduating as M.D. in 1862 with highest honors. Immediately after taking his degree he started for New York and studied the practical part of his profession at the Bellevue and Island hospitals of that city, and was while there a private student of Austin Flint, secretary, and that able surgeon, Frank H. Hamilton, medical director of the U.S. Army. The latter urged him to enter the service of the U.S. government. The Dr. passed his examination for a surgeon of the U.S. Army before a board in Bleecher street, New York, and the next morning started for the seat of war and on his arrival at Washington D.C., was placed by Surgeon General Barnes on the staff of Armory Square hispital, where he remained on duty attending to the wounded brought in from the bloody battlefields of the Wilderness, Mine Run, Cold Harbor, Spottsylvania Court House and Petersburg, and had the honor to be selected from among the surgeons in Washington to form a post military hospital outside of Fort Lincoln when Early was in the valley. However a speedy retreat of that general from the view of Nash rendered the hospital useless. The Dr. then returned to his post at Armory Square but was soon transferred for duty to the department of the east, with headquarters at Governor’s Island hospital and at the foot of Broadway in New York, where he remained until promoted to be medical inspector for the state of Maine with headquarters at Portland, and was at that post until the close of the war. He then returned to Canada to visit his aged mother, and at her earnest request commenced the practice of his profession in the city of Peterboro, where he succeeded in bulding up one of the largest and most lucrative practices in central Canada, which he held for twenty-five years, and had during the whole of that time the positions of surgeon to the county of Peterboro, surgeon to the city of Peterboro, surgeon major with the rank of colonel in the British Army, surgeon to the Midland Railway Company of Canada, and senior surgeon Nicholls hospital, and in addition to other minor offices was elected senator for the University of Queen’s College; by a unanimous vote of the city and county of Peterboro was elected to represent them in parliament. In the latter part of 1888 the Dr. finding his family growing up, and realizing the limited field for young men to rise to good positions in Canada, resolved to come to the United States. He looked long and earnestly for a location and selected Olympia, where he commenced his practice in Wahsington in 1889, and is well satisfield with his success. He at once saw the advantages of the capital city and made up his mind from the first that Olympia was destined to be a large, healthy, intellectual and progressive city. The Dr. does not hope at his age to make a great stake but he feels satisfield that he will live to see Olympia a city of 30,000 and that his three sons will rise to good positions and become legal and useful citizens of this great, free and progressive country. Dr. Kincaid was married in 1865 in Perth, Canada, to Margaret M., daughter of James Bell, then manager of the commercial bank of Canada.

Allison E. Laberee
, one of Olympia’s best known residents, was born in the province of Quebec, Canada, on April 7, 1859. He received a common school education, and spent his early life on a farm, getting the advantages only of what the district schools of his neighborhood afforded. Eight years ago he came to the then Territory of Washington, fully believing in the future of the northwest. He settled in Olympia, and for two years followed the occupation of book-keeping. He then formed a partnership with Mr. G.H. Foster, under the firm name of Foster & Laberee, in the hack and livery business, about six years ago. As the business prospered and increased, the old firm finally merged into the Gurney Cab and Transfer Company of Olympia, Mr. Laberee being elected secretary and treasurer of the new company. Mr. Laberee married about four years ago, Miss Carrie H. Root, and during all the years of his residence in this city he has been one of its most pushing and progressive citizens.

Rev. T. Johnston Lamont
, pastor of the Presbyterian church of Olympia, is of Scotch descent. He was born in in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 9, 1842. His early days were spent in Kentucky and Illinois. In 1861 he was among the first to enlist in the volunteer service for the suppression of the great rebellion. He participated in several battles, the most prominent of which were those of Fort Donelson and Shiloh. In the latter he received a bullet wound in the left knee, which made him a cripple for life. As soon as able to get around he entered college at Beloit, Wisconsin, and continued there till his course was finished. At this time he engaged in business at Rockford, Ill., continuing for a period of seven years. In 1874 he entered McCormic Theological Seminary at Chicago, Ill. After graduating he began preaching in Chicago, and remained there until 1886. During his stay in the prairie city, while pastor of the Reunion Presbyterian church, he built the edifice now occupied by that society. Six years of Mr. Lamont’s life were spent in the editorial profession. He edited and published the Chicago Witness, a weekly religious periodical. From his printing office several prominent periodicals were issued. In 1886 he accepted an appointment from the home mission board at Anaconda, Mont. For four years he labored in this mining town, erecting a beautiful church edifice and gathering together a large membership. As a result of an attack of la grippe, in connection with the high altitude, he was obliged to seek a more moderate climate. Six months were spent at Spokane as pastor of Centenary Presbyterian church. His health not improving there, he decided to come to this coast. While attending synod at Tacoma in October, 1890, he was invited to preach for the church in Olympia, which resulted in his settlement as stated supply for the church in this city. Thus far Mr. Lamont has met with great encouragement in his work. A large number have already been addded to the membership. Pastor and people are cordially united in prosecuting church work. All the services are well attended and sustained. The church evinces new life and activity in all departments. Among its officers and members there is an evident determination, with God’s blessing, to make the First Presbyterian church of Olympia power for good in the community, a center of spiritual influences, and a rallying point for christian work. Mr. Lamont is delighted with the climate of Puget Sound, and, with the continuation of his present improving health, thinks Olympia is just the place for him to live in, and for all who wish to enjoy beautiful scenery and healthful surroundings.

Charles  Frederick Leavenworth
was born in Rochester, New York, on October 2, 1845. His first occupation was that of a freight clerk in the New York Central railroad office. At the age of fifteen years he ran away to enlist in the army in the New York infantry, but he returned home soon after and completed his education in the high school at Rochester. At the close of the war he crossed the plains, and was at Council  Bluffs when, in August, 1865, he heard of the Plum creek massacre. With a party he joined a relief train from Grand Island, and after driving off the Indians rescued the only white man that was left alive and brought him back to Omaha. He then went through to Cheyenne and was there at the outbreak of the celebrated Bear river desperado fight when Pat McLally, the first man in that memorable fight, was killed. For two years Mr. Leavenworth conducted a ranch at Lone Tree creek, near Cheyenne. He went to Mexico during the mining excitement of 1868, and after being there a short time, with a party of seven fitted out and started for Arizona. The Indians soon afterwards stole their horses and the party walked five hundred miles to Cheyenne.  He then went through Utah, Nevada and California, visiting San Francisco, settling in Santa Rosa, where he remained for two years. He was married in March, 1873, at Sonora, to Miss Kate M. Mead. He then went to the San Joaquin valley and settled at Modesto, where he built and operated the gas and water works, staying there for seven years. He also went into the milling business, and built the first steam flour mill in Modesto. In 1883 he came to Washington, settling at Tacoma. In 1884 he went to Port Hadlock, where he built a large saw mill, but afterwards sold that out, and returning to Tacoma, with Messrs. W.D. Taylor and H.B. Thomas bought out the Watson saw mill. That was sold in 1885, and Mr. Leavenworth then went to Gray’s Harbor, where he built the Cosmopolis mill, the largest saw mill on Gray’s Harbor. That he sold out in 1888, and he then settled in this city. In 1888 he built the Olympia and Gray’s Harbor Electric Company’s telephone line, between this city and Gray’s Harbor, and still owns a controlling interest in that company. In the same year he bought out the McKennry drug store in this city and became president of the newly organized Pacific Drug Company and also bought out the Wisdom drug store in Portland and formed the Wisdom Drug Company in that city, being its president. He has done a great deal in developing this country, and deserves considerable praise for his indefatigable labors in this respect.

[M]illard Lemon was born in Idaho, then a part of Oregon. His youth was spent within the limits of this state. He has resided several years in Oregon and California, and graduated in letters from De Pauw University of Greencastle, Ind., in 1880. He went to South America in January, 1881, and was resident engineer upon government railroad construction in Chile until 1888, when he returned to California, and soon after to this state, where he has since resided. In all that pertains to the advancement of this city both members of [the firm of Lemon & Whitham, Civil Engineers] take a deep interest.

Thomas Linklitar [sic, should read Linklater]
, one of the oldest settlers in that part of Puget Sound where Olympia now is located, was born in Scotland in 1819, and came to Washington Territory in 1834, and setled Tenalcut Prairie, and was one of the original members of the Hudson Bay company. When Olympia became a place of importance he took up land on the Nesqually river, where he farmed up to within a short time of his death, February 20, 1890.

Doing business under the firm name of Marr & Ross, are proprietors of the Acme Drug Store, a prominent institution of this city, and one that ranks A No. 1 among the drug houses on the Sound…. Mr. [Robert] Marr [was] born in Scotland, near Dundee, on January 29, 1844. … Mr. Marr left his native land when 18 years old, arriving in New York in April, 1862. He remained in that city about two years and then moved west to Iowa, then to Nebraska, and afterwards to Kansas, arriving at Leavenworth in September, 1865; drifting about until October of 1867, he then settled in Wilson county, Kansas, where he remained until 1884, the date of his removal to Washington, the “Evergreen,” where, as he and Mr. Ross state, they expect their bones to be laid to rest.

James Mars
, the most well-known colored gentleman in Olympia, was born in Ghent, N.Y., in 1828, and removed with his parents in 1834 to Salem, Mass., from where he entered a seafaring life which he continued until 1849, when he located in San Francisco, Cal. Mr. Mars remained in San Francisco for two years and then mined in the mountains of California until 1858, when he removed to Victoria, B.C., from whence he steamboated for twelve years. In 1865 Mr. Mars married Mary Jane Thomas, and in 1870 removed to Olympia, where in 1878 he started what is now the Our House restaurant, located on the corner of Fourth and Franklin streets. The restaurant is exactly what the name implies — a place where one can feel at home and enjoy home cooking.

Alfred Martin
, private secretary to Hon. Chas. E. Laughton, was born in London, England, in 1860.At an early age he entered the office of the general manager of the London & North Western Railway company of England, being shortly afterwards appointed confidential clerk to the assistant goods manager (superintendent of transportation) of that company. He came to the United States in 1882 as private secretary to the land commissioner of the Northern Pacific Railroad company, and in 1884 went to New York to become confidential clerk to Hon. John Jay Knox (ex-comptroller of the currency), president of the National Bank of the Republic of that city. He removed to Seattle in 1888, finding employment as private secretary to the chief engineer of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway company, subsequently becoming assistant to the president of that company. He resigned the latter position in December, 1889, to accept that of private secretary to Hon. Elisha P. Ferry, the first governor of the state, and now acts in the same capacity in the office of Hon. Chas. E. Laughton, lieutenant governor and acting governor. Mr. Martin’s father, the late Frederick Martin, F.S.S. of London, England, was at one time assistant to Thomas Carlyle, and was a writer of some note, being the author of the “History of Lloyd’s and Marine Insurance,” “History of Banks and Bankers,” editor of the Statesman’s Year Book, and numerous other works.

Thomas J. McBratney
, councilman from the second ward, was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1846. He came here from Illinois  nine years agho, and soon won the esteem of his fellow townsmen by his many admirable qualities of mind and heart. He has always taken a lively interest in municipal affairs, and represents the second ward in the city council, where his excellent judgment and commonsense method of dealing with business propositions renders the public good and efficient service. He is a horseshoer by trade, having spent his lifetime in this business, and has for the past eight years conducted the largest horseshoeing and blacksmithing shop in the capital city. He also deals in wagons, carriages and implements, and repairs them as well. Mr. McBratney represented the second ward two years ago also, his re-election to the position the present year bearing evidence of the esteem of his fellow citizens, and of his perfect fitness for the position which he holds.

Joseph McCarrogher
was born in the county of Armagh, in 1853. His boyhood was spent in his native country, and it was in 1871 that he came to America. He was raised on a farm and received his education in the public schools in Ireland. On coming to this country he settled at Atchison, Kan., and worked there at railroading, starting as a fireman on a locomotive and working up to an engineer’s position. In 1872 he went to California and was in San Francisco for about a year. The following year he went to the mines at Virginia City at mining and as an engineer in mining up to 1878. In the latter year he came to Olympia and worked at different callings until he went as an engineer on Sound steamers. He continued in this until about a year ago, when he went into the real estate business, in which he has been quite successful, owning and controlling some very valuable property in this city and vicinity. Mr. McCarrogher was one of the census enumerators that took the census of the new State of Washington last year, and for several years, every summer, he has been engaged in the coast survey service. He has also been connected with the fire department for some time, and is president of the Barnes Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. He is a member of the I.O.O.F. , and has won his way to his present position by his own unaded efforts.

Walter T. McDonald, of the firm of McDonald & Crego, real estate, loan and insurance brokers, at the corner of Main and Fifth streets, was born in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, November 7, 1852. After receiving a common school education, at the age of sixteen years, he went into the drug store conducted by his father. After remaining one year he found that he did not like that calling, and he returned to school to take a business course, on the completion of which he became bookkeeper for the engine and machine works of George B.Stevenson & Company, in his native town. He remained there for four years and then formed a partnership under the firm name of McDonald, Skidmore & Co., and took a large belt saw mill to the frontiers of Michigan. Selling out to his partner he returned to his old home and received the appointment of joint freight and ticket agent of the Columbus, Hocking Valley and  Toledo and the Pennsylvania railroad companies, and assistant traveling passenger agent. In October, 1889, on a leave of absence, Mr. McDonald took a pleasure trip through the Northwest and after looking over the new State of Washington, realized that it had a bright future and decided to locate in Olympia. Returning home he resigned his position there, and arrived back in this city on December 4, 1889, and on December 28, of that year was one of the seven incorporators of the Portland and Puget City Company, being elected its president, a position which he still holds. This company located the townsite of Puget City, which is located on the east side of Puget Sound, between this city and Tacoma. Owing to its location being at the head of the seven bays and its deep water frontage, and advantages with its agricultural lands backing it up, it has a bright and prosperous future. It has a population of 150, with a hotel, two stores, a saw mill, etc. During the raising of subsidies for our railroads last spring, he took quite an active part and gave much of his time to the cause, and last fall when it came time to raise money to make the fight for the permanent location of the state capital, he gave three weeks of his time to this matter and was on the printing and finance committees. In October he traveled all over Eastern Washington making arrangements with the different newspapers to support Olympia for the capital, making a very successful trip. He is always interested in anything that insures to the advancement of his adopted city.

Val A. Milroy
, postmaster of Olympia, was born in Rensselear, Jasper county, Indiana, on August 17, 1855. He resided there until eleven years of age, and his early education was received in the schools of that town. In 1866 his parents removed to Delphi, in Carroll county, in the same state, when he came to Washington Territory and settled in Olympia. For the first two years after coming here he worked on a farm and went to school, and in the summer time was employed in surveying. Then for seven years he worked as a compositor on different papers in this city and still employed his time in the summer at surveying in different parts of the state. In 1878 he acted as clerk to his father, who was the Indian agent at the Puyallup and Nesqually reservations, and remained with him three years. In 1881 he entered into the livery business here with Mr. O’Connor and continued in that line until 1884, when he was again emloyed with his father as clerk on the Yakima Indian reservation. Mr. Milroy then went to Portland and took a course in the business college, and was appointed postmaster of Olympia in 1889. His performance of the duties of this office have been such as to win encomiums from all classes of citizens, and fact has been demonstrated that he is the right man in the right place.

John R. Mitchell
, of the law firm of Root & Mitchell, was born at Alchie, Halifax county, Va., January 31, 1861, and was educated at public and private schools until the age of eighteen, at which time he engaged in mercantile business in his native town. At the age of twenty-five he commenced the study of the law, under the care and direction of Henry Edmunds of the Halifax bar. He arrived in Olympia on Saturday, the 28th day of April, 1888, and on the 30th day of the same month entered into partnership with M.A.  Root, who was at that time probate judge, and with whom he has continued ever since. Mr. Mitchell was admitted to the bar by the United States district court at Olympia on the 23d day of November, 1889. During the summer of 1890, he took a course of law at the University of Virginia. He was nominated for the position of county attorney by the democratic convention of Thurston county in 1880, but declined the same, and was elected city attorney for the city of Olympia in December, 1890, and resigned the same in January, 1891.

C.M. Moore, proprietor of the City Market, was born in Adams county, Illinois, on August 24, 1857. When only three years of age he removed with his parents to Iowa, where he resided until he was fifteen years of age. He then removed to Colorado, where he remained for four and a half years, where he was engaged in the meat market and fruiting business. He came to Olympia in 1877 and started in the meat market busines, but after a period of three years he accepted a position in the internal revenue service under Collector Hayden. He was afterwards engaged in the United States land register’s office for about a year, and in 1882 was elected auditor of Thurston county, efficiently filling that office for two terms. He then went to Helena, Mont., where he remained for a year, then returning and purchasing the city meat market in 1886, since which time he has conducted that business. Mr. Moore was married in 1886 to a daughter of Dr. Ostrander, and has hosts of friends in his adopted city.

Hon. Philip D. Moore,
the present state librarian, was born in New Jersey, of Quaker parents, in 1826, and spent his early years upon a farm. During the years 1837, 1838 and 1839, he served an apprenticeship to the drug business at Macon, Georgia, and, subsequently, continued his study of pharmacy in new York city, where he carried on a drug store for many years. He came to Puget sound in 1862, as deputy collector of customs, but in 1863, President Lincoln appointed him collector of internal revenue for Washington and Idaho, upon the recommendation and at the request of Hon. Salmon P. Chase, Rev. Dr. Bellows, Rev. T. Starr King and the New Jersey republican state committee. After serving in that capacity for about five years, he again accepted the office of deputy collector of customs. He filled that office under four different collectors. Subsequently he engaged in mining pursuits in California and Arizona, but retaining his attachment to this commonwealth, he returned and engaged in farming in Mason county, which country seat he still owns. In the winter of 1890 he was appointed by Governor Ferry and confirmed by the senate, as state librarian, which office he is now filling to the satisfaction of the bench and bar, as well as the board of library commissioners, and his administration of the state library was commended by Governor Laughton in highly complimentary terms in his last message. Mr. Moore has been an active politician, in the best sense of the word, during his long and eventful life. He retains a distinct recollection of the campaign of 1832, and in 1836, had the honor of shaking hands and talking with General Harrison, the hero of Tippecanoe. In 1844 he was engaged for five months in the canvass for Henry Clay, and in like manner was engaged with Joshua R. Giddings, of Ohio, in the Fremont campaign of 1856.  Being an active and pronounced anti-slavery man, he enjoyed the acquaintance of Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker, Frederick Douglas, Sam’l J. May and other leading abolitionists. Mr. Moore married in New Jersey in 1847 and his wife and all their children and grandchildren are residents of this state. While he may rightfully be classed with the pioneers of Washington, yet he is in hearty sympathy with the more recent and wonderful development, progress and prosperity of this state, and should be ranked among the most enthusiastic of our enterprising citizens.

I.S. Moulthrop was born in Delaware county, Iowa, July 2, 1863. At the age of ten he was sent east to be educated, and passed through the high school at Birmingham, New York. His first venture was in training and driving thoroughbred trotting horses, and his courageous and daring nature made him a successful driver and winner of many races. When the roller skating craze started in the New England states he was one of the first to see the harvest in this line, and devoting his time and energy to the rink business he soon became master of it, and controller of several of the largest rinks in the East, including the celebrated Olympia club of New York city, where 3,000 skaters occupied the floor at each session. When this business began to wane he sold out, and having a desire to see other countries, he traveled for eighteen months, after which he returned to New York and entered into the laundry business with  his brother, remaining until 1889. Hearing so much of the far West and Puget Sound he determined to go and see it, and after visiting all the cities and towns on the Sound decided that Olympia was the place, and immediately arranged to open a steam laundry, which has proven a great success. Mr. Moulthrop is a firm believer in the growth of Olympia and is loading himself with all the real estate he can carry. He is also the manager of the Olympia roller skating rink, which is patronized by the elite of the city and is a decided success.

M.E. Mumford
was born in Illinois, January 2, 1841. In early life he was a school techer and for some time was the principal of the city schools at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, following the close of the rebellion. At the breaking out of the war Mr. Mumford enlisted in the Thirty-first regiment Wisconsin infantry and served for three years, he being a member of the famous Twentieth army corps attached to Sherman’s army in memorable march to the sea. After the war he returned to Wisconsin and after his teaching experience was county superintendent of schools of Crawford county for two years and in 1875 and 1876 was elected sheriff of that county. He then went to Kansas, settling in Cloud county in 1877. There he remained for twelve years, eight years of which he was engaged in the real estate, loan and abstracting business. He came to Washington about a year and a half ago, settling in Tacoma where he accepted a position as manager of the Pierce County Absteact and Title Insurance Company. He came here the present year, assisting in organizing, is one of the proprietors and manager of the Olympia Abstract and Title Insurance Company, a position that his years of experience in this line of business peculiarly fits him for. Mr. Mumford is married and has a family of seven children.

John Miller Murphy, councilman from the first ward, was born in 1839 near Fort Wayne, Ind. He came to Portland, Or., with his sister in 1851, and attended school until 1852; then came to Olympia, still pursuing his studies, also clerking, until 1856, when he returned to Portland and was apprenticed to the Times Publishing company, remaining with them one year. He then became foreman on the Democratic Standard, remaning with it until the close of its career. He then removed to Oregon City, working on the Argus until 1859. In June of that year he went to Vancouver and founded the Vancouver Chronicle, which, after a few months, he sold, and came to Olympia, and established the Washington Standard, which he has since conducted never missing an issue. Mr. Murphy was for six years territorial auditor; was also quarter-master general for four years, and has on four occasions been a member of the city council, and now represents the first ward in that body. He is a member of Olympia Lodge I.O.O.F., and is past chief patriarch of Alpha Encampment. He has also been a volunteer fireman since the organization of that department in this city.

One of Olympia’s most energetic and successful real estate, loan and insurance brokers, is Fred Neuffer, whose office is on Fourth street, next door to the post office. One of Mr. Neuffer’s specialities is the buying and selling of all kinds of improved and unimproved city and farm property in acreage in lots from five to two thousand acres. Mr. Neuffer also makes a speciality of locating settlers on homesteads and lumber claims, and has some of the finest agricultural and lumber lands in the state. In insurance he represents some of the best known companies in the country, in fire, life and accident insurance. Among these companies may be mentioned the Farmers’ Fire Ins.  Co. of Seattle; New York Life Ins. Co. of New York and the Travelers’ Accident Ins. Co. of Hartford, Conn. He loans money in sums from $500 to $10,000 on improved farms and city property. Mr. Neuffer makes a specialty of investing money for non-residents and his conservative management in this, in placing the funds in property which is constantly and rapidly increasing in value, is appreciated by those who have invested; and for those who wish to  invest in Washington real estate but who are far removed from the state, Mr. Neuffer will guarantee a good percentage on all investments and will be found to be a reliable and prompt agent in all business relations. Call upon him or write, and information will be cheerfully given.

Dr. John S. Newcomb
was born April 24, 1862, In Black Rock, N.S. When eight years old he removed with his parents to the State of Maine, where he continued to live until the fall of 1885, when he went to Albany, N.Y., and commenced the study of medicine under the tutorship of Dr. Wm. Hailes, professor of histology and pathological anatomy. Dr. Newcomb graduated from the medical department of Union University of Albany in the spring of 1888, after which he traveled westward and visited several states and territories in search of a suitable location for the practice of his profession, but without finding the desired place until he landed at Olympia, Washington. Dr. Newcomb at once received a favorable impression of Olympia, and engaged as assistant to Dr. Warren Riley, with the intention of making this place his future home, and is meeting with deserved success.

Gottlieb Noschka
, merchant tailor, was born in Werben, Germany, August 22, 1848. At the age of sixteen years he commenced learning his trade, and in 1866 left home and worked in the leading cities of Germany and Switzerland until 1880 when he went to London where he remained until 1882. While in London Mr. Noschka was married to his present wife, who has worked with him in the shiop until the last year. He has two children, a son and a daughter. In 1882 he, with his young wife, landed in New York. In 1884 they went to San Francisco and a year later came to Puget Sound. After a six months sojourn in Seattle he came up to Olympia. From a small beginning he has worked up to the magnificent business which he now enjoys. His motto has been to please his customers and has extended his business to several of the neighboring towns. He counts among his regular patrons the leading men of the city and state. He never fails to appreciate a kindness. Mr. Noschka early acquired possession of real estate which now gives him a handsome competence. He has shown his progressive spirit by erecting, last summer, two double tenement houses and intends, the coming summer, to build a flat with six tenement apartments. It is his purpose to then retire to his farm on Wadel’s Creek, this county. Mr. Noschka is one of the enterprising men of the city. He was instrumental in organizing the board of trade, and has otherwise assisted in advancing the interests of the city. He is a member of Olympia Lodge No. 1 of Odd Fellows and is president of the Germania Verein.

Rossell G. O’Brien, adjutant general of the State of Washington, was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1846, and came with his parents to the State of Illinois when only five years of age. The public schools of that state furnished him his early education, and he afterwards attended Springfield college, at Springfield, Ill. As a boy he worked on a farm, but when still young he went to Chicago and entered an insurance office as clerk, where he remained but a short time, going thence into the dry goods house of J.B. Shea, in that city. He had become a member of the Ellsworth zouaves of Chicago when only 16 years of age, and had been identified some time with the military, when early in 1864 he enlisted in the army and was given the second lieutenancy of company D. 134th Illinois infantry and he was discharged on October 24th of that year. He then returned to civil life, and was a clerk in the freight department of the Chicago & Alton railroad until he went into the establishment of George & C.W. Sherwood, dealers in school books and manufacturers of school furniture, Mr. O’Brien having charge of the school furniture and philosophical apparatus departments. He remained with this house until 1870, when he came to Olympia and was appointed assistant assessor in the United States revenue department. On the consolidation of this department he was made deputy collector, and held this office for five years. He was then appointed in charge of the Tacoma Land company’s office at Tacoma, where he remained for several  months, leaving that position to accept the appointment as clerk of the supreme court of the territory, and clerk of the district court of the second judicial district, holding the two positions at the same time. He was appointed United States commissioners in 1876, and held that position continuously for thirteen years. As far back as 1878 he was elected quartermaster general of the Territory of Washington, and it was in 1881 that he was elected adjutant general, a position which he has ever since held. He organized the first company of the national guard of Washington, here in Olympia in 1883, and from this nucleus has sprung the splendid organization that the state now has. He commanded this first company until a captain was found, and then went on with the organization of the national guard throughout the state. He was elected a member of the city council in 1881, and has served continuously until the present year, with the exception of a period of about six months. He is married and has two children. In all things that concern the welfare of the State of Washington Gen. O’Brien takes a deep interest.

A.S. Oliver
, D.D.S., was born in Canada on July 12, 1865. When quite young he went to St. Louis, Mo., where he resided until 1882, when he went to Livingston, Montana, where he first began the practice of dentistry. After a few years, Dr. Oliver decided to take a full course in his chosen profession, and with that end in view entered the Missouri dental college, from which he graduated in 1889. About a year ago he came to this state and settled in Olympia. His offices are in the Stuart block, and he has already built up a large and lucrative practice. He makes a specialty of crown, bridge and gold plate work, in which he has had a great deal of experience, both as a student and practitioner.

Mr. L.P. Ouellette, the present county surveyor of Thurston county, was born in Essex county, Ontario, in the year 1855.After taking a complete course in civil engineering at L’Assumption College, at the age of 22 Mr. Ouellette turned his attention toward the great west, making his residence at Denver, Colorado. During his stay in that mountainous state he for two terms occupied the position of deputy county surveyor of Arapaho county, in which Denver is situated. In 1883 Mr. Ouellette came to Olympia, and in 1887 accepted the presidency of the Puget Sound and Chehalis Railway, which line he was largely instrumental in founding and contructing. In addition to his public duties Mr. Ouellette carries on at his office in the Woodruff block, on Main street, Olympia, a general business, including all classes of surveying, platting, etc., and is prepared at all times to furnish plats and blue prints of all descriptions, and state, county, and township maps, which are revised to date according to the records of the land office.

Miss Mary L. Page, … member of the firm [Whitham, Page & Blake], is a graduate from the school of architecture in the University of Illinois, but since coming to Olympia has been engaged in mapping and platting; she has executed some very elaborate and important work, and has gained a reputation as an accurate draughtsman.

D.S. Paisley
was born in Ohio, in 1832. He was educated in the common schools of his home district and at the age of fifteen years he was sent to Bethany, Virginia, to finish his education. Upon its completion he removed to New Orleans, and for seven years he was engaged in steamboating. He subsequently located at St. Louis and for seven years was in the service of the government. Was foreman of a large iron foundry at Pittsburg, Penn., and afterwards established a foundry at Wheeling, West Virginia, which he conducted one year. He then built a foundry at New Cumberland, Virginia, when he went upon the road. In 1860 he went to Cleveland, Ohio, and later had charge of a foundry at Marquette, Michigan. He had charge of four foundries in Cleveland until 1887, whe he came to Olympia and has since been identified with this city, being last year a member of the firm of Williams & Paisley, engaged in plumbing and dealing in hardware. Mr. Paisley is a man of a fine business education and habits and makes a success of whatever he undertakes.

One of the most popular and best known young men of this city is Samuel M. Percival, eldest son of Capt. S.W. Percival, and born in Olympia thirty-three years ago. He received his education at the Bishop Scott grammar school of Oregon, and at the California military academy, after which he engaged in business with his father in this city. Early in life he developed a taste for steamboating and soon entered the service of one of the steamboat companies of Puget Sound, working himself up to the position of master and pilot, which pursuit he followed for a number of year. In 1884 he returned to Olympia to engage in business, and has ever since been closely identified with the business of this city. His career has been marked by unceasing zeal and integrity, and anything he undertakes is sure to be done well. Mr. Percival is now the manager and sole agent of Percival’s addition to Olympia, which is acknowledged to be the finest residence property in the city. The lots are all 60 by 120 feet in size, the alleys are all 20 feet wide. Almost every prominent building in this city can be seen from any lot in this addition. Mr. Percival is selling this property to builders only. He has many calls from speculators but will not sell except to those who desire to build homes.

One of the most respected pioneers of Olympia is Samuel W. Percival. He was born in Hanover, Mass., September 3, 1823. After receiving a common school education he went to sea and soon became a master mariner. He arrived in San Francisco early in 1850, and stuck to the sea on this coast, and took one of the first loads of lumber out of the Columbia River. On January 1, 1853, Capt. Percival visited Puget Sound, and attracted  by the wonderful advantages for inland commcerce sought a place to make a home, and selected a donation claim of 320 acres at Olympia, where he built and operated a saw mill, furnishing the early settlers, as well as many vessels, with lumber. It was his mill that furnished most of the lumber used in the barricade across the city, behind which the settlers took refuge, during a raid of the Indians at the time of the Indian war. Capt. Percival, soon after his arrival, entered the merchandise business, in connection with which he built the principal wharf and warehouse of this city. By his close attention to business and square and upright dealing, he soon succeeded in building up one of the largest mercantile houses on the sound.
He always had great faith in the future of Olympia, and has given largely of his means towards any and  all enterprises that would in any way benefit the city; in fact, he is one of the men who have been the backbone of Olympia. About ten years ago Mr. Percival retired from active business, at which time he transferred his wharf property to his son, J.C. Percival, who has since transformed it into a fine and well equipped dock. Some years ago Capt. Percival built a fine residence on his property on the west side where he now lives. His residence is one of the most imposing in the city, situated as it is on a prominent point overlooking the entire city, with a clear view for eight miles down the sound.

J.C. Phelps
, assistant superintendent of the Port Townsend & Southern railroad, was born in Tioga county, New York, in 1857, and immigrated with his parents to Kirksville, Mo., in 1869, when he entered the employment of the Western Union Telegraph company in 1870. Although a mere boy he served an apprenticeship, and mastered in two years all obstacles and became a thorough operator, capable of filling any position in that line. Mr. Phelps then accepted positions on various roads, and at last was promoted by the Gould system on the Wabash & St. Louis as conductor, and distinguished himself on the September 15, 1887, by saving the lives of a train load of passengers at the risk of his own, between Moberly and St. Louis. Two months after his heroic act he was granted a two months’ leave of absence under full pay and a complimentary pass over all connecting lines, and while visiting Galveston was offered and accepted charge of construction on the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe railroad, between Brenham and Taylor, Texas. Resigning this the following year, he came to Washington Territory in 1889, where he was employed with the Union Pacific Railroad company as chief clerk in the superintendent’s office of the Washington divison. In 1890 he accepted his present position.

T.H. Phipps
was born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1846, where at a young age he learned the carpenter trade, at which he worked for some years in London. Mr. Phipps was also employed in London for some time as a baker.  In 1871 he came to the United States and located in Kansas, where for five years he worked as carpenter for the A.T.&S.F.R.R.Co. In 1876 Mr. Phipps embarked in the general merchandise business in Ellenwood, Barton county, Kansas, and in 1882 removed to Washington Territory and located on Oyster Bay, Mason county, where he carried on the cranberry culture for six years. In November, 1888, Mr. Phipps removed to Olympia, where he started a soda and bottling business, which is at the present time the only one of its kind in Thurston county. His business includes the manufacture of all kinds of carbonated beverages.

Thomas Prather was born in Boone county, Missouri on July 2, 1832, and until the age of sixteen years he worked on a farm. At that time he crossed the plains to California, where he remained one year, when he returned to Missouri. In the spring of 1852 he again crossed the plains to The Dalles, Oregon, and wintered in Portland. In the spring of 1853 he came to Olympia. He then spent eight years on government survey, and helped to divide the first six townships in the new territory. He then engaged in mining in Boise City and British Columbia for about eight years. Mr. Prather helped to make the first preliminary survey of the Northern Pacific railroad between the Sound and Priest’s rapids on the Columbia river, assisting Girard S. Hurd and Major Tilton, being engaged from 1866 to 1868 in this work. He was engaged for several years in this city in the nursery business. Mr. Prather was in the Indian war, and was one of the eighty-six of the first company raised for that war, in 1855, under Judge Gilmore Hayes, serving six months, being mustered in as second sergeant in the United States service at Fort Steilacoom. In 1858 he was elected sergeant-at-arms of the territorial house of representatives, and two years afterwards was re-elected to the same position. Five years ago he was elected county commissioner of Thurston county, and served in that position until last December. Mr. Prather married thirteen years ago to Miss Agnes W. Winsor, and has two children. From 1877 to 1880 he was employed at the insane asylum  at Steilacoom, and about eighteen years ago was a teacher at Cape Flattery under Gen. T.I. McKenny.

G.S. Prince, sheriff of Thurston county, was born in Barnbridge, New York State, on December 18, 1851. After a common school education, he learned the trade of a machinist, and worked at that calling in Michigan, California and this state. He came to the Pacific coast in 1874, setttling at San Francisco and in 1878 came to Washington Territory, settling at Tumwater. There he resided until 1884, when he removed to Bucoda. In 1880 he was elected justice of the peace, and his course while in that position was such that he was elected to a second term by his fellow townsmen. He was elected last November to the position of sheriff, and his fitness for this position which requires a man peculiarly fitted for it has been amply shown since he has occupied it. Sheriff Prince is married and has one child. He is one of the progressive men of the state and is interested in all that pertains to its welfare.

John C. Rathbun
was born in New Haven, Connecticut, December 19, 1854. In the summer of 1856 his parents moved to western Missouri, where amid the varied experiences of pioneer life he grew to manhood. He attended the district school until sixteen years of age, when he entered upon a successful career as teacher. In June, 1877, he graduated as a bachelor of science from the state university of Wisconsin, and the following November was elected county school superintendent in his home country, at a time when the county gave a political majority of six hundred against him. He was re-elected two years later. His administration of school affairs was highly satisfactory to the educational interests and he was strongly urged to be a candidate for a third term, but after a prolonged contest the republican convention nominated him for representative in the legislature. He made a thorough canvas but failed of an election. While school superintendent he was appointed by the state superintendent a member of the board of visitors to one of the normal schools of the state. In 1884 he was one of two delegates from his senatorial district to the state convention that elected delegates to the republican national convention in Chicago. From 1882 to 1885 he published the Buffalo County Herald. In the latter year he removed to Texas, and assisted in organizing the new county of Midland in that state. His paper there, the Staked Plain, took a front rank among the paperes of western Texas as urging the development of that portion of the state. In some respects a democratic state convention in Texas practically shapes legislation, and in the spring campaign of 1886 Mr. Rathbun was unanimously selected by the people of his county a delegate to the state convention at Galveston, to urge a plank in the democratic platform favoring needed land legislation for the west. In 1888 there was no republican state ticket put in nomination, and Mr. Rathbun was  nonminated for commissioner of the general land office on the prohibition ticket, which was generally supported by the republicans. In 1888 he turned his attention to the then coming state of Washington, and the following spring, after giving the Sound country a thorough inspection, located at Olympia and published the Olympia Review until  last July. Mr. Rathbun has had a thorough education in the law, but owing to his newspaper connections has been but little in active practice. He was regularly a candidate for county attorney in Texas in 1888, but having determined to remove to Washington, withdrew from the campaign. He served as justice of the peace two terms in Wisconsin, one term in Texas, and at the last general election in Thurston county was elected justice of the peace for Olympia precinct. At the inauguration of the new city administration last December he was chosen police justice. He is also a member of the city board of education. Since locating in Olympia he has given encouragement to every enterprise that would benefit the city. Probably no one, in proportion to the amount of money invested, subscribed last summer as liberally to the railroad subsidies and the capital campaign fund. He is not of the razzle dazzle sort; an acquaintance with him, however, seldom fails to impress one with his sterling qualities as a practical man of affairs. He is a man of good judgment and of large intelligence. He has been a member of several secret orders and at present is Past Chancellor in the Knights of Pythias and is also far advanced in the Masonic order.

Among those who have always taken an active interest in the growth of Olympia, John D. Reagh may be singled out. Mr. Reagh was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1849. After taking the educational course afforded by the public schools he turned  his attention to ranching. Attracted toward the west, he went to California in 1876, and devoted his time to mining until 1882, when he came to Olympia. For the past eleven years he has been engaged in the wood business, and supplies nearly all the large steamers touching at Olympia. His daily pastronage requires from fifty to sixty cords of wood. Unlike other lines of business, Mr. Reagh is enabled to bring in outside capital and keep it here. He employes from 75 to 100 men with a pay roll of $2,000. He has been tendered a number of public offices, but on every occasion has declined. Mr. Reagh is an active member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

Hon. Thomas M. Reed
, auditor of the State of Washington, was born in Sharpsburg, Kentucky, December 8, 1825. His grandfather, Thomas Reed, was one of the pioneers of the then “Wild and Far West.” Mr. Reed at the age of twelve years was thrown on his own resources, and during the spring and summer he labored at farm work at $8 per month, with which he paid for his schooling during the winter months, and clothed himself. At the age of eighteen Mr. Reed began teaching school, and in 1849 he went by the way of Panama to San Francisco, where, in partnership with John Conness, who was afterwards senator for Claifornia, he mined for two years. He then entered the mercantile business at Georgetown, El Dorado county, and removed from California to Olympia in December 1857. He was prosecuting attorney at Lewiston, Idaho district of Washington territory, for two years, and in 1862 was a member of the territorial legislature, representing Idaho county, then part of this territory. He was speaker of the house for that session. He then practiced law in Lewiston for two years, and in 1865 was elected a member of the Idaho legislature for Nez Perce county. In 1877 he was elected to the legislative council of Washington territory, and was its president for one session. He was also a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1889. As a citizen of Olympia he is identified with many important interests; was a member of the city council; is one of the principal stockholders in the new hotel, Olympia; is interested in the Gas and Electric Light company, and a director of the First National bank. He is also a stockholder of the Oregon and C.V. Railroad company, of which for two years he was president. Mr. Reed has been in public life during the greater part of his existence, and his extensive experience in state affairs will be of incalculable benefit to his constituents. We cannot close our remarks without referring to his eminent standing in the Masonic fraternity, as he is a 33d degree Mason in A.S.&A. riters. He is and has been for twenty-nine years grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of Masons in this state, and for three years was grand master — the highest state office. He is grand high priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons; also grand recorder of the Grand Jurisdiction for Washington of the Knights Templar. He was prominent in organizing the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter of the territory. Thus is will be seen Mr. Reed is a busy man. Although he has accomplished more than falls to the lot of the average man to do, he is in vigorous health and excellent trim to fight the remainder of life’s battle.

Warren Riley
was born in Marietta, Ohio, in October, 1843, and spent his early days on the farm of his father. He enlisted in company L, 1st Ohio cavalry, upon the organization of that regiment in 1861. He was disabled at the battle of Corinth, after which he returned home and assisted in the organization of the 148th Ohio infantry, and was commissioned lieutenant in the same by  Governor Todd. After rendering important service in the capture of John  Morgan, he was commissioned captain of the 46th battalion of Ohio state troops. In May, 1864, he was transferred and placed in charge of camp of reconstruction of cavalry in the army of the Cumberland under General Baldy Smth, at Nashville, Tenn. During the fall of 1864 he commanded a portion of company L, 1st Ohio volunteer cavalry, doing excellent execution with the same. He was subsequently assigned duty at headquarters of General  Geo. H. Thomas, where he served until six months after the close of the war. He Took part in all the principal engagements of the army of the Cumberland, from Mill Springs to the destruction of Hood’s army at Nashville. After the close of the war he engaged in mechanical work, and at the same time pursued the study of surgery, in which he had a considerable experience during the war. He afterward entered the college at Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from the same in 1880. After practicing a short time in Ohio he removed to the Pacific coast, settling in Olympia in 1881, where he has built up a large practice, and is now one of the most distinguished physicians and surgeons for which the coast is noted.

W.H. Roberts
is a native of Toronto, Can. He left Canada for the United States in 1862, and with a party of miners started west, and was one of the first settlers in Virginia City, Montana, soon after the first gold excitement in that place. Through ill health he was compelled to go to California, and military enthusiasm having just reached its height, he enlisted as a private in the Second California infantry. Through good conduct he was soon promoted to the rank of sergeant, which he held until his honorable discharge in 1865. Having been taught music as an accomplishment in his early years, he found it at this time very useful as a means of living, and had quite a large class in San Francisco. About the year 1871 he took up his abode in Olympia, where he continued teaching music until 1879, when, at the request of a large number of citizens of Port Townsend, he organized a class in that city; and in the same year, under the administration of the late collector of customs, Hon. H.A. Webster, he was appointed inspector in the customs department, a position which he also held under Hon. A.W. Bash, until his duties as legislative correspondent for the Oregonian took him back to Olympia, when soon afterwareds he received the appointment of deputy collector of internal revenue under Major J.R. Hayden. In 1884 he was appointed to do the clerical and accountant’s work in the office of the county auditor, and in November, 1889, he was elected county clerk and clerk of the superior court of Thurston county, on the Republican ticket, running ahead of his ticket over 200 votes, which position he fills at the present time. Besides the above, Mr. Roberts is the commander of George H. Thomas Post No. 5, Grand Army of the Republic.

J.W. Robinson
was born October 5, 1855, on a farm near Wilmington, Clinton county, Ohio. He received a common school education and began teaching early in life, and by his earnings in this way completed a collegiate course and then studied law. He was admitted and has ever since practiced his chosen profession. He came to Washington territory in the fall of 1883 and located at Olympia. He soon acquired a large business and has always been recognized as an able lawyer and a fearless advocate. In 1886 he was elected prosecuting attorney for the district extending from the head of Puget Sound to the Columbia river, and held that office for one term. Full of life and energy, with an indomitable will, he has always suceeded in everything he undertook. He has been engaged in many enterprises for the development of this state, and has acquired large property interests here and elsewhere. On May 1, 1889, he founded the daily and weekly TRIBUNE, of which he is still the owner. On March 16, 1891, Governor Laughton appointed him superior judge for Thurston county, and he entered at once upon the discharge of his duties and is acquiting himself with much credit. After his appointment to the bench he leased the TRIBUNE to Barton & Gill, its present publishers. Judge Robinson has for years been prominent in the politics of his adopted state, and being a man of marked individuality, the great independence of character, and with positive convictions boldly asserted, is known everywhere for his devotion to friends and his hatred of enemies. He is a bachelor.

W.A. Rogers, one of our prominent contractors, was born at Plymouth, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, December 6, 1849. At the age of twelve, with his parents, he moved to the city of Sheboygan, where he attended school until he was seventeen years old, when he removed to Menomonee, the same state, and there learned the carpenter’s trade. In 1875 he went to Roberts, St. Croix county, where he owned and conducted a wagon shop and also carpentered, until 1882, when Minnesota attracted him, and he moved to Fisher, in that state. In 1884 he went to Grand Forks, Dakota, and contracted until 1885, when he came to Tacoma. In August of the same year he arrived in Olympia and has remained here ever since, following the avocation for which he is most ably fitted. He was married at Wilson, Wis., January 8, 1874, to Miss Mary J. Lamson, and has five children. Mr. Rogers is a contractor of wide experience, and can well feel proud of the name of faithfully fulfilling his agreements. He has contracted many buildings in this city, and in every instance has displayed exceptional qualifications as a builder. Like most of the knowing ones he is holding fast to his real estate possessions in this city. He is an esteemed citizen, and on all buildings of a public character he is invarably consulted.

Milo A. Root
, ex-probate judge of Thurston County, and one of the best known of Washington lawyers, was born in Illinois, on January 22, 1863. His education was received in the State of New York, his parents moving to that state when he was thirteen years of age. He graduated from the Albany Law School in 1883, and later in the same year came to this state and settled in this city, beginning here the practice of law. He served two terms as probate judge of this county, being elected first in 1886, and was returned in 1888, his last term having just expired. He was the secretary of the Olympia Board of Trade for several months, and has done yeoman service for the city in that position. He was elected alderman last December, on the re-incorporation of the city, and resigned a short time since. Mr. Root is interested in, and is a dirctor in the Gray’s Harbor Electric Company, a company which furnishes telephone connection between this city and the Gray’s Harbor cities, besides to a portion of Mason County. In all that pertains to the growth, advancement, or prosperity of Olympia, Judge Root takes an active interest. He  is married, but has no children.

One of Olympia’s oldest merchants, in point of years in business, is Mr. G. Rosenthal, who was born in  Bavaria, Germany, on July 4, 1840. It was in 1855 that he came to America to seek his fortune in a new country, and he settled in Boston, where he was clerking for four years. He then went to New York, and at the breaking out of the rebellion offered himself to his adopted country as a soldier, but being short in stature he was refused by the mustering officer. He then went to California, where he remained from 1861 to 1863. In June of the latter year he came to Olympia, and has resided here ever since. After clerking for a few years he started into business for himself in 1869, and for twenty-two years he has been one of the leading merchants of this city. He first conducted a general merchandise store, and continued in that line until about two years ago when he gave up his hardware, grocery and crockery departments to devote himself exclusively to clothing, dry goods and gents’ furnishing goods, boots, shoes, hats and caps, a line in which he carries one of the most complete and varied stocks to be found in the northwest, his store at the corner of Main and Fourth streets being one of the best known in Southwestern Washington. Mr. Rosenthal has never aspired to public office, but has rather devoted his time and energies to his private business, although in 1869 his friends and neighbors prevailed upon him to accept the office of county trasurer, which position he filled with credit to himself and his constituents. He is married and has four children. In all that relates to the welfare or prosperity of the city of Olympia Mr. Rosenthal always takes an active and deep interest, and is one of the first to assist in all public-spirited enterprises.

Doing business under the firn name of Marr & Ross, are proprietors of the Acme Drug Store, a prominent institution of this city, and one that ranks A No. 1 among the drug houses on the Sound. .. Mr. Ross was only 16 years of age when he concluded to leave the family nest and assume for himself the responsibilityof life; even at this age he felt the need of more elbow room than Canada afforded, and so pushed out for the United States, making Cleveland, Ohio, his objective point. Here he received his first lessons in pill-making and kindred arts. After a three years’ residence in Cleveland, family ties and early friendships wooed him back to the native heath, only to find after some years’ trial that nothing short of a home in the “land of the free” would satisfy him; whereupon he recrossed the line, this time going to Minneapolis, Minn., where he remained, filling several responsible positions in some of the first drug stores of that city, until his removal to Olympia to enter the above mentioned partnership, which was formed February 21, 1890.

George Savidge, chief of police of Olympia, was born in Allentown, N.J., on February 6, 1842. He was educated in the public schools of his native town, and early learned the trade of harness making, working in Allentown. At the breaking out of the civil war he enlisted in company G, Eleventh New Jersey infantry, and served with distinction and bravery for a term of three years. For meritorious conduct he was several times promoted, and at the time of his discharge was captain of his company. In 1855 he engaged in the railroading and express business in his native state, and the conducted a stage line between  Allentown and Philadelphia until 1871. From that time until 1880 he was engaged in different pursuits in different parts of the country, but in the latter year he went to St. Peter, Minn.., where he was engaged in farming for seven years, removing then to Mankato in the same state. Here he stayed only about six months, and removed to this city in 1888. He was appointed chief of police in February, 1889, a position which he has ever since held. In the discharge of the responsible duties of this office he has ever been found a conscientious and pains taking officer, and has made hosts of friends in the city of his adoption.

George B. Scammell
, one of Olympia’s enterprising real estate dealers, was born in St. Johns, N.B., on July 23, 1860. After a common school education, he enterd the office of a ship broker in his native city, where he stayed until he went to New York city, in 1874, and entered into the business of marine underwriting and average adjustment. He stayed in the metropolis until three years ago, when he came to Olympia and entered into the real estate, loan and insurance business. He has now some of the finest property in the city, including Scammell’s addition, Main Street property, some at Gray’s Harbor, Tumwater, and other points. For some time Mr. Scammell was in partnership with Mr. Conger, under the firm name of Scammell & Conger, but has now taken the real estate and loan departments, making loans on real estate and improved property. Mr. Scammell is a member of the Olympia Board of Trade, and in all the movements that have for their objects the good of the city, Mr. Scammell takes an active part, being one of the foremost workers on all such enterprises.

George L. Sickles, councilman from the second ward, was born in Oswego county, New York, on September 28, 1847. He was brought up on a farm and received a common school education. He then went into the business of brick making in Waterloo, Wisconsin, and afterwards followed the same line of business in Buena Vista county, Iowa, and in the states of Nebraska, Minnesota and Dakota. Believing in the future of the Northwest he came to Washington territory about two years ago, settling in Tacoma. He came to Olympia about a year and a half ago, and was elected alderman last December. He is on many of the important committees of the city council; and takes a deep interest in all that relates to the welfare of the city. He is interested in real estate in and about the city although in no regular business at present. Mr. Sickles is married and has two children.

John A. Silsby
was born at Bucksport, Maine, March 25, 1835. He was a sailmaker and miller, and in the mercantile business for seventeen years. At Bucksport he lived until the fall of 1878, when with his wife and daughter, the latter now Mrs. P.S. Weston, he came to Olympia, where for two years he clerked in the grocery store of S. Stork, and for one year was the employe of F.R. Brown. In 1881 Mr. Silsby entered into the mercantile business on his own account, at the corner of Seventh and Main streets, which property he purchased of the Episcopal church, and which is one of the most valuable business sites in Olympia. November 29, 1887, his wife, sister of J.H. Munson of this city, died. On November 9, 1890, Mr. Wilsby married Miss Jane Barnett, a Tacoma lady of geat intellectual ability. Mr. Silsby is trustee and steward in the M.E. Church of Olympia. As a business man he has been succesful and prospered to such an extent that he is among our heaviest property holders, and is an influential citizen. It is the intention of Mr. Silsby to practically show his faith in Olympia becoming a great city by adding one to the many brick blocks already erected and in process of erection.

Oley R. Simenson is a native of Norway, and is now forty-three years of age. In 1850 he was brought to America where he lived on a farm in La Crosse, Wis., until fourteen years of age. He then served four years at the printers’ trade, when he took a two years’ academic course and then learned the jewelers’ trade at Clear Lake, Iowa, which trade he has ever since pursued. In October, 1883, Mr. Simenson came to Olympia and established his present jewelry business at 315 Main street, where he carries a complete line of watches, jewelry and silverware. For two terms Mr. Simenson was councilman for the Second ward. He has a handsome residence corner of Maple Park and Franklin streets, and his family consists of his wife and two children, a boy and a girl.

J.W. Smyth
, one of our substantial citizens was born at Mr. Holly, N.J., in 1834, and educated at the Mt. Holly institute. He learned the harness trade with Lace & Phillips, at Philadelphia, and was with his father afterwareds, who was then a wholesale boot and shoe dealer in the same city. When yet a young man he went to Ohio, where he followed harness making for fifteen years. From there he drifted to southern Illinois, where he had to carry arms all the time on account of the Indians, and his family narrowly escaped being mobbed by war refugees at  Shawneetown. Going back to Ohio he worked until he earned sufficient money to return to New Jersey. In the forepart of 1862 he enlisted in Camden, N.J., upon the call of President Lincoln, and served till the close of the war, reenlisting as a vereran in the field. He was a member of the Tenth New Jersey veteran volunteers under Col. Pierson. He was in all the battles of the wilderness until the capture of Lee, in which he officiated as first lieutenant, commanding a company. He entered the war as a private; was detailed as quartermaster several times; was on General Penrose’s staff, and in the First division of the famous Sixth corps, under Wright. His promotion was due to bravery in the field. After the war he went to Indiana, purchased a farm and remained there four years. Then on account of ill health he went to Kanses. In that state he invested $4,000 in real estate, which he sitll owns, and while there, for twelve years, was in the stock and grain business. In April, 1888, he came to Gray’s Harbor, Washington, prior to the boom there, with very little money. He remained there six months, and then came to Olympia, with only twenty five cents in his pocket, and has been here ever since. Mr. Smyth was married in Philadelphia to Miss Mary Brooks, of Morlton, N.J. He is engaged in this city in the real estate business, and is feeling much younger than when he arrived. He has met with success, and has property thorughout the city. Mr. Smyth has two children, a daughter (at Gray’s Harbor), and a son who is expected to arrive here soon to go into business with his father. Both children are married.

Benjamin F. Snyder
, one of the enterprising and pushing real estate dealers of Olympia, was born in Brown county, Ohio, August 17, 1851. He removed to Illinois with his parents when only three years of age. Until the age of twenty-five he followed farming. He moved to Nebraska in 1865, and went to stock raising about ten years after. He continued in this business until 1881 when he came to this state and settled in Tumwater. He was in the sash and door manufacturing business there for three years, when he went to Bucoda and engaged with the Settle Manufacturing company. There he stayed for two years, when he returned to Tumwater and became interested in a fruit ranch, which he still runs. He shortly afterwards entered the employ of Messrs. Spring & White, of this city, in the sash and door business, but about a year ago went into the real estate business, his office being at No. 224 Fourth street. He is interested in property in and about Olympia and has some choice lots for investors. Mr. Snyder is a member of the K. of P. and of the I.O.O.F.

John G. Sparks
is of Scotch descent, and was born in 1811 near new Albany, Indiana. He went to Illinois in 1832, and was there married. He studied law under Judges Allen and Underwood, and was admitted to the bar in 1844. He practiced in the courts of Illinois until 1844, when he went to Columbia, California, and continued the practice of his profession until 1858. He was located at The Dales, Oregon, for two years, from where he went to Walla Walla. While in that city he was appointed internal revenue assessor by President Lincoln, which office he filled until after President Lincoln’s death in 1854. He came to this city in 1862, and is to-day one of Olympia’s most respected citizens. He has served one term as territorial auditor and four terms as justice of the peace. He has gained for himself an enviable reputation here, and has a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

springer and white mill

(drawing by Edward Lange)

The Olympia Planing Mills were established March 1, 1887, by C.H. Springer, Allen White, and Allen & Harkness, under the firm name of Springer, White & Co. It was the [first] business of the kind to be established in Olympia. The plant has been enlarged several times until at present it is one of the most complete establishments of its kind on Puget Sound. The plant includes logging camps, a complete sawmill located in Chehalis County, in the center of one of the finest bodies of cedar and fir timber in the state, where giant trees are worked into timber and shipped direct to Olympia by the Northern Pacific Railroad, and is then worked again into doors, windows, casings, etc. of finest quality. The firm at present consists of C.H. Springer and Allen White, Messrs. Allen & Harkness having retired. Springer and White, by fair and honest dealing and close attention to business, have built up a large trade in this and adjoining counties, especially Chehalis and Mason counties. At present they have fifty men in their employ, the most of whom are first class mechanics, to whom the very highest wages are paid. They will the coming season turn at least two million feet of lumber into doors, windows, finished lumber, etc. Both the present members of the firm are practical mechanics, having been engaged in the sash and door business almost exclusively all their lives and to this fact they attribute largely their success in business. Their patrons from adjoining cities, when visiting the capital city, are called to visit their large establishment at the corner of Second and Jefferson Streets.

Alden Hatch Steele, M.D
., was born at Oswego, N.Y.,  Feb. 10, 1823. His father, Orlo Steele, and his mother,  Fanny  Abbey, were born in Connecticut. Alden was the youngest of three brothers, William, a graduate of West Point, who served acceptably in the Mexican War, and Elijah, a lawyer, who was for many years Superior Judge in Siskiyou Co.,  Cal. Both have passed away. Dr. Steele studied medicine with Dr. P.H. Hard, at Oswego, and  Dr. James R. Wood, the distinguished professor of surgery, New York; and graduated at the medical department of the University of New York in 1846. He first began practice at Oswego, afterward, at Southport (now Kenosha), Wisconsin, for a year. In March, 1849, he started for Oregon with a stage company, and overtook the Rifle Regiment, U.S.A., and was invited to join the officers; so he came in their company to Vancouver. After spending a few weeks there, he went to Oregon City, and settled, in October, 1879, practising his profession there for 14 years. In 1852, Dr. Steele administered chloroform in amputating a limb at the thigh — the first used in surgery north of San Francisco. He was a member of the city council eleven years, part of the time as recorder, and three years as mayor. In August, 1854, he was married to Miss Hannah H. Blackler, from Marblehead, Mass. Her grandfather Blackler was a captain in the war of the revolution, and commanded the flotilla with which Washington crossed the Delaware the night before the battle of Trenton. Of their two children born in Oregon, the daughter Fanny is now living and is the wife of Gen’l Russell G. O’Brien. For a short season in 1857, Dr. Steele was with Gen’l Palmer on the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation, and there, as at Oregon City, had a wonderful control of the red men. He was called to their wigwams often, in case of sickness, and so strong was their confidence in him, that in personal quarrels or whiskey rows, he could invariably quiet the combatants, and take away their liquor. In 1863, when troops and officers were called east for the war of the rebellion, Dr. Steele was appointed surgeon at Fort Dalles, where the post hospital was virtually a general hospital., and a very large number of cases passed under his care. Among them was a company of the 14th Infantry, reenlisted after the war, under command of Lieut.  Col. Coppinger, and who became seriously affected with scurvy during their trip to this coast. After three years service in the dry climate of the Dalles, Dr. Steele’s health began to fail, and he was transferred to Fort Stevens, at the mouth of the Columbia, where his health was restored, and in June, ’67, to Fort Steilacoom, W.T. That post was “broken up” in April, ‘689, and the troops sent to Alaska. Decling further service in the army, Dr. Steele then came to Olympia, where he has since resided. In 1869 and ’70, when Col. Samuel Ross, of the U.S. Army, was superintendent of Indian affairs in Washington Territory, Dr. Steele was physician to the Indians of Nesqually and Chehalis Reservations, including Squaxon Island. Here he won the full confidence of the Indians, as he had done in other places. For 15 years he was examining surgeon for pensions, U.S.A., for both army and navy, commencing in 1873. He was appointed by Gov. Ferry, regent of the territorial university for two terms, from 1876 to 1880, and as medical inspector of territorial penitentiary, six years. He was medical examiner for the N.Y. Mutual Life Ins.  Co. for 25 years, and for several other insurance companies, meanwhile. After removing from Oregon, he was elected honorary member of the Oregon medical society, and on giving up professional labors in Olympia was elected honorary member of the medical society of the state.

Edmund Sylvester
, the pioneer settler of Olympia, was born at Deer Isle, Maine, in 1821. When yet a young man he came around Cape Horn and sailed up the Columbia river in 1844, taking up as a claim the territory now covered by the city of Albina, Oregon. He assisted in building the first house in Portland, Oregon. In 1846 he came to Puget Sound and took up as a homestead the land on which Olympia has since been built. He erected the first hotel in this city, and this hostlery was known as the “New England.” He made a free gift of a public square; also, the old district school grounds, and the land known as the capitol grounds. He died in Seattle a few years ago, leaving a wife and daughter.

The firm of Talcott Bros., dealers in watches, diamonds, jewelry, silver and silver plated ware, optical goods, sewing machiens, etc., was established in 1872 by C.R. Talcott, now senior member of the firm. The growth of the business of this firm is but another example of what can be done by push, integrity, and good business principles. Although started in a small way their growth has been rapid, until now they are one of the representative firms of Olympia, having the largest store and carrying by far the largest stock of any house in their line of business. The business was started in a window of a commission house, and by fair dealing and enterprise it rapidly increased until it has reached its present magnificent proportions. G.N. Talcott was admitted to the firm in 1882, and G.L. Talcott in 1890, and the business was much the gainer by this infusion of new blood. These gentlemen are natives of Pittsfield, Ill., and since their advent to this city have gained a deservedly high reputation among the representative business men of Olympia. In 1880 they bought the present location of their magnificent store and erected thereon the first two story brick store in the Capital City. In 1884 they bought the adjoining property and built another store whch they are now renting. Last summer they put in a large fire proof vault which would do honor to any banking institution in the country. In this vault they will have 100 safe deposit boxes which they will rent to their patrons for the safe deposit of all valuables. The wonderful success of this firm has been due to its own endeavors, and it has become a credit to the city. They not only carry the largest stock on their line of business and see to it that their customers get the full value for money, but they are enterprising and energetic citizens as well as business men, and take an active interest in all that tends toward the advancement of their adopted city. It is such men as these that have done much toward giving this city the impetus which has advanced it so rapidly. It s a pleasure to say that they are representative citizens of Olympia.

C. Thoreson
 … Secretary and treasurer of the [Thurston County Land Company], was born in Christiana, Norway, on May 17, 1852.  After graduating from the high school he served as a clerk in a general merchandise store until 1872, when he came to Rochelle, Ill., where he engaged as clerk in a dry goods store for two years, when he went to Hamilton county, Iowa, where he entered into the mercantile business, in which line he continued until he sold out in 1880. He was then elected county recorder and held that office for two terms. He then went into the real estate and loan business, continuing until he came to this state last May. Mr. Thoreson is married, but has no children.

Harry C. Tillotson
, city engineer of Olympia, was born in Marshall, Calhoun country, Michigan, on October 17, 1862. He was educated as a civil engineer, and graduated at Cauandaugua, New Yor, in 1880. He first was engaged in railroad building in Ohio, and has been engaged in that class of work and city engineering ever since. In 1884 he was assistant engineer on the famous Ohio river bridge at Point Pleasant, Virginia, and in 1887 he was assistant city engineer of Duluth, Minn. Mr. Tillotson first came to the state of Washington in 1888, and settled in this city last June. For the past season he has been engaged as resident engineer in charge of construction of Northern Pacific railroad line through Olympia. He was elected city engineer last December, and his thorough training for the position and his capabilities for such an important place, although still quite a young man, has been amply shown in the sterling work and the many radical and efficient improvements that he has made in the city engineer’s department, even in the short time that he has been at the head.

Le Roy M. Tozier
was born in Portland, Oregon, April 8, 1867. When five years of age he removed to Hillsboro, Washington county, Oregon, where his father was elected sheriff, afterward representative, and then judge of Washington county. He received his education at Pacific university and Tualatin academy, taking a four years’ course, but leaving when having gone but three. Since that time he has traversed the Pacific coast, occasionally going east. Five years of this time he spent in the clothing business at different places. Mr. Tozier came to Olympia November 6, 1889, and established business at the corner of Fourth and Washington streets, at which place he has enjoyed large business. Mr. Tozier has recently interested himself with business men in Portland, Oregon, in the real estate business, and wil operate there and in Olympia.

One of Olympia’s oldest and best known citizens is Peterfield Turpin who came here in 1858. Mr. Turpin was born in Warsaw, Gallatin county, Kentucky, on May 3, 1840. He received an appointment as surveyor under Gen. James Tilton, by President Buchanan, in the general land office here in 1858, and continued for some years. He is now a capitalist, well provided as far as the needs of this life are concerned. In 1883 Mr. Turpin was a member of the territorial legislature and has had many cases of trust and importance within the gift of his fellow citizens. He was married in 1860 and has two children, a son, F.B. Turpin, who is now residing in Seattle, and a daughter, Mrs. George B. Scammell, residing in this city. He resides at the corner of Main and Sixth streets, surrounded by his family, preferring a residence in the place where he has spent the best years of his life for the good of his city and state, rather than in the East, where a great part of his large property is situated.

James G. Tusten is one of the men who by strict attention to conservative business methods has built for himself a good business in Olympia. He was born at Tusten, Waushara county, Wisconsin, July 14, 1864, his native town being named in honor of his father, Thomas R. Tusten, who was one of the pioneers of the Badger state. In 1872 his parents left Wisconsin for the southern states, and after traveling through several states and territories during the succeeding two years, settled in Texas and engaged in cotton raising. They followed this for three years until the fall of 1877 they removed to Kansas, and the next spring started across the plains to try their fortunes in the northwest. After four months’ travel they reached Oregon City, and in the following spring came to Tacoma, where his father had a contract to build the Northern Pacific railway from Tacoma to Wilkeson. Mr. Tusten has remained in Washington ever since, except for three years he was farming at Hood River, Oregon. In September 1885, he opened a small candy store in Olympia, where he has met with a good degree of success. His business having grown beyond his expectations, in November, 1890, he was obliged to seek larger accommodations. At this time he formed a partnership with Mr. Swenta Johnson, and has since, under the firm name of Tusten & Johnson, been doing a wholesale and retail business in French, American and home made candies, fruits of all kinds, cigars, tobaccos, snuff, cutlery and smokers’ supplies. Connected with their store Tusten & Johnson have commodious club rooms and ice cream parlors. Mr. Tusten is a most affable gentleman, strictly attentive to his business, and courteous to his customers.

John P. Tweed
, county auditor of Thurston county, was born in Cincinati, Ohio, in 1846. He attended the school there until nineteen years of age, then entered upon his business career as clerk in a commission house, continuing therein until twenty-two years of age, when he removed to Evansville, Indiana, and purchased an interest in a planing mill. He remained in that business for three years, thence went to White county, Indiana, and engaged in farming until the spring of 1872. From there he came to Washington, remaining only a few months, when he went to San Jose, California. During his residence of five years there Mr. Tweed clerked in various public offices. In August, 1878, he returned to Washington, coming to Olympia, and in 1879 entered the surveyor general’s office as clerk, continuing therein for eight years, until a change in administration. In the fall of 1888 Mr. Tweed was elected to his present position of auditor of Thurston county.  The wisdom of selecting a man of Mr. Tweed’s extensive clerical experience for this responsible position is freely acknowledged by all, irrespective of party, and the affairs of his office have been administered with a business-life promptness and accuracy which, with his agreeable social qualities, has made him one of the most popular officials in the county.

Among Olympia’s progressive business men there is no one better known or more renowned for his energy and business foresight than the subject of this sketch. Born in Nebraska, Mr. Van Epps at an early age became one of Washington’s young pioneers. About two years since he succeeded his father Hon. T.C. Van Epps in conducting his present wholesale and retail bookselling house and general fancy goods bazaar. By close attention to business this young merchant has placed his establishment among the first in his line of trade in the entire northwest, and has given Olympia’s citizens opportunities of purchasing at home many classes of goods which they were formerly compelled to purchase in foreign markets. His trade in holiday goods runs far up into the thousands and during the last holiday season his sales exceeded those of any other establishment in Thurston county. Mr. Van Epps’ experience is a thorough example of what youth, energy and close attention to business details can accomplish, and a bright future surely lies before this young merchant.

Alderman Samuel G. Ward was born in Toulon, Stark county,Illinois, on January 17, 1843. He came across the isthmus in 1853, and came to Washington in 1862, and from that year until 1866 he was engaged in trading and mining in the Powder river mines in eastern Oregon. In the latter year he returned to Washington, settling at Tumwter, and engaged in the milling business for four years. From 1870 to 1878 he was in the mercantile business in the same place. It was in the latter year that he was elected to the legislature as a representative from Thurston county, and he then took up his residence in this city and went into business. In 1882 Mr. Ward became the local agent for the Northern Pacific express company, a position that he has ever since held, being the agent also for the Northern pacific railroad company, and the ticket agent for that road. It was in December last year that he was elected to the city council to represent ward one. He is married, and has a family of three children. In all enterprises of this city Alderman Ward always takes an active and deep interest.

Mr. Robert N. Whitham [of the civil engineering firm Whitham, Page & Blake] is a graduate from the school of engineering in the University of Illinois, and has had large experience in relocating government surveys.

Mr. Frank C. Williams was born in London, Eng., August 31, 1866. In September, 1874, with his widowed mother, he went to Toronto, Canada, where he received a common school education, and at the same time, when only thirteen years of age, he learned the undertaking business with V.P. Humphrey of Toronto. Mr. Williams then attended the Toronto medical school and Toronto university, where he attained a thorough and practical knowledge of arterial embalming, continuing in the undertaking business in the meantime. In 1887 he removed to Buffalo, N.Y., and a year later he came to Olympia, Wash., and entered the employ of Rabbeson and Harned, undertakers; also doing bill posting and playing first class attractions in Columbia hall until the Olympia theater was opened, when he became stage manager for that theater and city bill poster.

The firm of A.W. Wisner & Co. is composed of A.W. Wisner and J.E. Poe, and they are at present conducting a general real estate and insurance business and have recently purchased the “Home Plat,” a beautiful suburb of Olympia, which they have just placed on the market. They propose in the near future, however, to make fire insurance a specialty, Mr. Wisner having had many years experience as an underwriter … Mr. Wisner was detailed by the Capital Campaign Committee of Olympia to work in Whitman county during the recent campaign, and the result of the election there shows that he did his work well …

J.R. Wood
, one of Olympia’s oldest and best known citizens, was born in the town of Henston, Duchess county, N.Y., on January 3, 1825.  Catching the western fever at the early age of sixteen years, he went to Michigan, and for a time lived near Detroit. In 1847 he went to Wisconsin and settled near the present city of Racine, voting for the adoption of the first constitution of that state. When the California gold excitement broke out in 1849, he started for that reputed El Dorado, met his father and a small party of friends, crossing the plains to near the present city of Los Angeles, where they arrived on Christmas eve, and then proceeding to San Francisco, which was reached on March 12, 1850. In November, 1850, Mr. Wood arrived in Oregon, and in the following month he reached Puget Sound, settling in this city, where he has ever since resided. He established the first brewery in Olympia, and successfully conducted the same for twenty years. In the various Indian wars that the early settlers of Puget Sound were obliged to undergo, Mr. Wood took a prominent part, and was a regular volunteer under the call  for troops issued by Governor Stevens, in 1856. Mr. Wood has occupied his present residence on Fifth street ever since 1851. He married the daughter of Judge Yeustis in 1859, and has two  children, one son and one daughter. He has many very pleaant and interesting as well as startling reminiscences of the early pioneer days of Puget Sound to relate, when he was one among the very few white settlers in what is now the present State of Washington.

S.C. Woodruff,
one of Olympia’s best known citizens, was born in Hong Kong,  China, on September 20, 1858. His father was in the government employ there at the time, being the surveyor of the Port of Shanghai. When six years of age young Woodruff came to the territory of Washington, and settled in Olympia, where his education was received. He first went into the job printing business, and afterwards entered into mercantile life as a book seller, in which line he continued, in this city, for seven years. He then removed to Seattle, where he was in the same trade for two years, until he was appointed accountant in the State Insane Asylum, being afterwards secretary of the trustees of that institution, a position which  he held for six years. Two years ago he came back to Olympia and entered into the real estate business. He plotted, laid out and put on the market that beautiful suburb known as Woodruff’s Addition, and sold all of it within a year. He also laid out the town site of Gate City, twenty miles from here, and has sold a large portion of that delightful place. In 1887 he erected the handsome building on Main Street, known as Woodruff’s Block, which is an ornament and credit to the city. He was assistant postmaster of Olympia for five years and is an active member of the A.O.U.W. and of the Elks, president of the School Board and secretary of Olympia Hotel Co. He has done a great deal to upbuild and develop the city of Olympia, and is recognized as one of the pushing and enterprising residents of this thriving and rapidly growing community.


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Zindt: Memories of Olympia in the 1920s and 1930s

by Mary Zindt

My brothers and I spent the summers doing farm chores. A hike to McAllister Springs was always included during summer vacation. It was about two miles from home. We went through a tunnel under Old Pacific Highway and then on a trail to the pristine, beautiful springs.

This natural gushing fountain of crystal clear water flowed over colorful pebbles to form McAllister Creek. Nature had landscaped this area with vine maple trees, salmon berry bushes and smaller plants. In the Fall, hordes of salmon fought their way upstream to this place to spawn.

An elderly man, Mr. King, boarded and roomed with us for a while. One day he took me to Olympia to see the parade of Circus animals up 4th Avenue. The elephants were huge! We didn’t to go to the circus and returned home.

In 1925 my family moved to a wooded 10 acres along a 2-lane gravel road (now Sleater-Kinney Road). I had just graduated from the 8th grade from McAllister School. There was seasonal work at the Olympia Canning Co. (peeling pears by hand, operating apple peeling machine, etc.) Many women worked there, many as young as I (18).

My education had been disrupted. One day I decided that I would like to attend Business College. We didn’t have funds for this. However, an uncle in Chicago said he would help. Daily transportation was not available. Pacific Highway was about a mile away. But somehow I managed. My day had secured a contract hauling U.S. mail by truck from the Nisqually Railroad Station to Olympia. He left home at midnight and returned in late morning. On Thursday afternoons he made a trip from the Olympia Post Office to Shelton Post Office in his Hudson touring car. Sometimes I would skip an afternoon class and enjoy the tour to Shelton.

The country was still in a deep Depression. As I became proficient at typing and shorthand I found temporary work. Carlton Sears had four Rexall Drug Stores in Olympia. The main store was at Capitol Way and 5th Avenue where I worked half days “jerking” sodas at the lunch counter and helping Mrs. Sears with bookkeeping in the office upstairs. Later on there was a half day job at the Ready Mix Concrete plant in the Port of Olympia area. The office was in a trailer (two small rooms), but no restrooms!!

The foundation of our new house was concrete from this Ready Mix plant.

By this time I had purchased my first car, a used Pontiac sedan. The Washington State Licensing Department was giving a test for typists. I passed the test and was hired.

The typewriter in the Department was partly electric (there was a carriage return button and lever for advancing the carriage to the next blank form). An early version of the electric typewriter?

Finally my employment became more permanent. I now had enough income to repay my uncle. Besides the monetary assistance, it encouraged me on my life’s journey, an impetus moving me forward at a time the United States was experiencing a deep Depression.

Mary Zindt was born in 1910 in DuPont, WA to Catherine and Emil Zindt, one of the first babies born in DuPont. Emil worked for the DuPont Powder Company which had come to DuPont in 1909. The first lived in DuPont, then moved to a house on Reservation Road.

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Miller and O’Connell: Revisiting Capitol Lake

The previous two newsletters contained articles on the history of Capitol Lake, whose authors maintain divergent conclusions. As our newsletter policies maintain, the Olympia Historical Society welcomes submissions on any subject of local history and does not take positions on the points of view of our contributors.

Mr. Miller submitted the following:

Unfortunately the membership of the Olympia Historical Society was purposefully deceived by an article in the June newsletter by Emmett O’Connell entitled: “The Myth of Connection between Wilder and White and Capitol Lake.” The article was false on two counts. First it is an historical fact that Wilder and White’s 1911 plan for the State Capitol Campus included the reflecting Capitol Lake. The August 29, 1911, “Report of Group Plan” signed by Wilder and White and which is in the State Archives states: “A tide lock at the Boulevard would form a lake and the whole effect would be visible from most parts of the city as well as from the sound.” A full copy of the document is attached. Second, Mr. O’Connell deceptively overlays the 1912 Olmsted Brothers plan, which was rejected by the State Capitol Commission, as if it was the Wilder and White plan for Capitol Lake and the Campus. This history is clearly laid out in Professor Norman J. Johnston’s definitive book on the subject: Washington’s Audacious State Capitol, at pages 33-37 and page 124.

Mr. O’Connell submitted the following:

I have two thoughts about the discussion reflecting the piece I submitted earlier this year on the history of Capitol Lake.

First, in “The myth of the connection between Wilder and White and Capitol Lake” I opaquely described the early history of the Wilder and White era of capitol campus design. Based on a master’s thesis by Mark Epstein, I overlayed the Olmsted Brother’s plan for a more limited lagoon with the current Capitol Lake. I don’t think I was wrong in showing that overlay, but I would admit that I didn’t explain it well.

According the Norman Johnston, the Olmsted’s group plan was rejected in 1912 not because of its more limited lake, but because it suggested a new axis for the campus. The axis on which the group would be built was an important consideration for the Capitol Commission, as explained below.

By the time the campus landscape planning was completed in the late 1920s, the Olmsted Brothers were brought back in by the commission, and depending on what history you believe, waterfront improvements either reverted back to the Olmsted’s vision (according to Epstein) or were dropped altogether (according to Johnston).

Second, I find the suggestion that Walter Wilder and Harry White’s “Report of Group Plan” as the last word in any discussion of Capitol Lake’s history troubling. Yes, they did mention a lake in that letter, but its worth exploring the entire letter to see the lake’s context in their minds.

The “Report of Group Plan” is correspondence from Wilder and White to the Capitol Commission dated August 29, 1911. The document is just over 4 pages long and in it Wilder and White quickly lay out three questions to be answered by the letter:

1. Was Olympia the right place for a permanent state capitol for Washington State?

2. Can the city express any special character possessed by the state?

3. Can Olympia’s growth be directed to “enhance the importance of the state.” This was an important question because capitol buildings in many older states had become crowded and overgrown by their host cities.

In terms of the first question, Wilder and White demur because of their limited knowledge of the state. They do point out that a coastal city was a proper choice because the state itself is coastal. And, in terms of Olympia’s small size compared to other cities, Wilder and White point out that the city can be more attentive to the needs of the state government than trying to compete with Tacoma or Seattle.

Wilder and White move quickly from the second question into the third, answering that it is:

…in the possibilities that (Olympia) contains for expressing the character of the state, that the city in general as well as the site for the capitol is remarkable, and we believe careful development of these possibilities, will result in an effect unequalled by any capitol in the world.

Most of the report (the remaining three pages) deal with answering the third question, how Olympia’s growth could be shaped to emphasis the capitol campus they proposed.

They then discuss the alternative of the north south orientation of the campus that they recommend, the east west orientation which would connect the campus to Capitol Way (Main Street then). Wilder and White criticize this approach, calling it “nothing but an accidental importance, starting nowhere and ending indefinitely…” Changing the approach to the east would also turn the capitol’s back on Olympia and ignore the approach from the water.

More specific recommendations reconnect their vision of the north south axis with the possibilities they earlier mentioned. They go into detail about a new road, which would be a possible extension of 4th Avenue, that would “connect the main ridges contained within the city” and continue to coastal towns. This road would be connected to the campus by another, which would extend along the east shore of what is now Capitol Lake and continue to the then proposed Pacific Highway and then onto Tumwater.

Wilder and White then propose regrading the hill between Water Street and the campus, creating space for a park-like setting for city and “other public buildings.”

Then, they discuss the building of a tide lock at the boulevard first mentioned earlier to “form a lake and the whole effect would be visible from most parts of the city as well as from the Sound.” In the entire document, this is the only mention of a tide lock and a lake.

Then follows a more philosophical discussion of why the city growing the manner they prescribe, while a sacrifice, would benefit Olympia in the long run. They quickly pivot from their specific recommendations about the growth of the city to the benefits that would be created by “any sacrifice made by property owners in the city for the sake of its beauty…”

The sacrifices on the part of the city would, in our opinion, be trifling compared to the advantages that would accrue from them, while the development outlined would facilitate the natural travel through the city and direct it past the most beautiful portions.

They then propose that the “present park” – Sylvester Park as far as I can tell – should be physically connected to their park and civic district proposed for below the campus.

They then cover their opinion of whether a foundation laid during a previous capitol building effort should be employed. Wilder and White write that taking into consideration the entire cost of the capitol campus, the sunk cost of an old set of foundations should not be considered, especially if they interfere with their design.

At the close of the letter, they refer to the need for more detailed plans for the campus.

While Wilder and White do mention a lake in this letter, it is important to put their suggestion in context. The reference is a single sentence in a more than four page long letter. It is also one suggestion of how the city itself should grow.

This is an important point in the discussion of the campus and Capitol Lake. By placing the lake in the discussion of how the city should grow and outside the group plan, they make it secondary. Their primary concern with the letter is the axis upon which the group is oriented. Obviously the city should grow around that axis, but that growth is secondary to the axis itself.

Also, like the grading between Water Street and the campus, the road to Tumwater and the location of a post office and other civic buildings below the campus, very little of what Wilder and White wanted in Olympia’s growth actually happened. In fact, the lake is practically the only thing they advised that was carried through.

Also, by using words like “sacrifice” when talking about the city’s growth, its also questionable whether Wilder and White ever saw these improvements as even part of the capitol campus. It seems likely that the roads, civic buildings and the lake would be constructed by the city itself and be complimentary to the campus.

I’m not trying to point out that Wilder and White didn’t envision a lake at the base of the campus. What I am trying to do is put their vision in its proper context. Their suggestion of a lake wasn’t the first one and the connection between what Wilder and White actually suggested and what eventually came about is tenuous.

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Derricott: Judge Lee Creighton

Mark Derricott, Editor


Does Aristotle’s theory of the whole can become greater than the sum of its parts hold true if we apply it to our community? Can something as abstract as a community possibly transcend the totality of its individuals? If so, how does that happen? If the Olympia Municipal Code is any guide, our community has adopted that theory. A municipal ordinance provides that we may name our public buildings after those who have “contributed outstanding civic service to the city”.[i] Though a great honor that may be, it is nonetheless an insufficient gesture of gratitude for any individual on whom it is bestowed. And if that is the so, a newsletter article is altogether unable to comprehend the life of an exceptional individual. Judge Scott K. Ahlf, Olympia Municipal Court Judge summed up the obvious problem when describing the life of his predecessor: “You can’t say enough about Lee Creighton. He gave everything to this court; to this community.” For all of our inability to express it, we can still recognize some of Lee Creighton’s contributions to the success of our own community.

Transition to an Elected Judge

Historical processes that dramatically shape any community often have facially innocuous origins. So it is with Olympia, Washington in 2002. That year, the Court Rules and Procedures Committee, which is a standing committee of the Washington State Bar Association’s Board of Governors,[ii] adopted General Rule 29 which streamlined the procedures for courts of limited jurisdiction, including municipal courts. It mandated that cities elect, rather than appoint, their full time judges. It also provided for the rules by which municipalities create their own judicial departments mirroring the federal government’s three distinct branches of government.

Up until that time, Olympia’s judges were appointed by the city manager and approved by its city council. The judge was not a full time position and often local attorneys would serve as the judge while devoting the remainder of their time to their practices. With General Rule 29, Olympia was required to elect its judge for the first time. Thus, the people of Olympia had a direct and final say in the choice of its judge and consequently the administration of its judicial department. This meant a dramatic transition in how the city manages its criminal justice system. Prior to the change, the judicial department had been under the Administrative Services department (i.e. the delegate of the City Manager). The change resulted in a new Court Services department, split off and operated independently under the direction of the judge. This included the budgets, choice of personnel and operations—in fact all decisions but salary and benefits were now under the independent control of the new Court Services department.

To head the transition, Lee Creighton was elected as Olympia’s first municipal court judge. His personality was apparent before he took the bench. During the election season which took the city’s prosecutor, Lee Creighton, to the bench, Steve Hall remembered that Creighton had campaign t-shirts printed. He asked his friend Steve Hall, at the time assistant city manager to wear one during a run that Hall had entered. When Hall refused on the basis that he was a city employee and could not take a position in an election, Creighton rationalized his disappointment with the rejoinder: “Well, you’re so slow no one would see it anyway.”

After Judge Creighton took over, Hall was assigned to assist in the transition to a separate full department in the government. Operating procedures was the primary concern to most of the staff, which approached 20 individuals at the time. Perhaps that is a problem that Olympians can appreciate more than most communities. Hall attributes a relatively smooth transition to Judge Creighton’s leadership. Judge Creighton quickly signed a memorandum of understanding that adopted the existing city policies and procedures concerning employment and operation. While there were certainly other speed bumps along the way, the transition was consummated with relative speed and ease.

As anyone who has been through a transition in the administration of government can attest, it is not an easy process, but time and leadership help. Bonnie Woodrow, Olympia Municipal Court Administrator was present for the transition. “We knew it was coming, so we were able to get ready, but a transition like that doesn’t happen without the cooperation of a lot of people. Information channels needed to be maintained or established so that we were informed of what we we’re all doing. Things that happened naturally before the transition had to be recreated in separate departments.”

For Hall, this was a historic moment in the development of our city. According to Hall, Judge Creighton brought three essential attributes to the position and the city’s government: “1.) His exemplary ethical standards; 2.) His professional management of court staff. Judge Creighton implemented fair and equitable administrative guidelines for dealing with his new staff; and, 3.) His personal attitude toward everyone who came into the courtroom—ensuring they were cared for and respected. Judge Creighton made them feel like city government treated them well regardless of the outcome.”

Judge Creighton’s Courtroom

As one might expect, the courtroom experience began to reflect Judge Creighton’s attitude and personality immediately. It bears mentioning that municipal court is not the easiest place to be a staff person. People are often upset and sometimes even indignant at the idea of taking time off from things they would rather be doing to show up to municipal court and answer for misdemeanors, (crimes punishable by less than a year in jail, e.g. drinking in public or driving with a suspended license). Too often, these frustrations are taken out on the staff given that they are often the most visible individuals. Judge Creighton noticed this and was always attempting to remedy it. At times, when defendants would get belligerent with the staff, they would sometimes notify the judge through their information system between the time they entered the courtroom and were heard. Judge Creighton’s orders often included requiring a defendant to issue an apology to the aggrieved staff person after the hearing.

Judge Creighton’s courtroom accolades are plentiful. Kalo Wilcox, once a city prosecutor, now a judge in Thurston County District Court extolled Judge Creighton’s strong advocacy for crime victims, his protection of constitutional rights, but also his sense of humor. “Anyone could see the respect he had for the accused who would appear before him.” Woodrow explained when questioned for examples. “He would listen to them; take the time to talk to them; and to treat them as people. You could see his compassion. People wanted to do well for him, they didn’t want to disappoint him and that came not out of fear, but from the respect that they all knew he was giving them.”

According to witnesses, Judge Creighton found ways to accommodate the necessity of decorum in the courtroom while still appealing to the ironical humor that life always presents. He was a huge X-Files fan; fashioned himself an “X-Filian”; and couldn’t resist giving weekly updates on the series from the bench. Monica Schneider, at the time the Probation Program Manager, recounts an unforgettable example of his courtroom humor: “I was in court on a probation matter and a defendant who I knew from high school was being sentenced. I was merely a bystander during that hearing and wasn’t paying too much attention when all of a sudden I heard, “I don’t care if you put me on probation, just don’t make me report to Monica.” I looked up surprised and then looked at Lee, who said, “Why? Did you two go to the prom together with some bad result?”

Options Program

With the judge now responsible for the judicial department of the city, Judge Creighton had a full slate of administrative responsibilities when he wasn’t on the bench. Judicial administration included the probation department in which offenders are often placed after or in lieu of jail time sentences.

One true labor of love Judge Creighton was the Options Program of the Olympia Municipal Jail. Monica Schneider, the probation services manager explains: “The options programs were introduced back in 1996 after the Olympia Jail and Municipal Court contacted a consultant to do a study about jail population management and alternatives to incarceration. Originally, in 1996, when [Judge Creighton] was a prosecutor for the City of Olympia, the initial programs offered were minimal. I was hired to head the probation department and develop programs to alleviate jail crowding. The programs focused on enhancing probation services to defendants by providing more intensive supervision (ISP) for some offenders (specifically multiple DUI and DV offenders). In the first couple of years we offered standard probation services, intensive supervision probation, community service, and had a part time work crew program.

“People want a fair and responsible government, and they want offenders to be held accountable.” Remarked Judge Ahlf, “Jails are often on the third tier to funding from voters, but police officers are first.” Therefore, there is too little jail space to accommodate offenders. Innovative and creative programs like the Options Program can help bridge that gap by ensuring that people found to have committed crimes remain accountable, but within the voters’ constraints.

As the Options Program was developed, several additional jail time alternatives were introduced including: Electronic Home Monitoring, Day Jail, Work Crew, In-custody work crew, Driving Under the Influence Alternative program, and Community Service.

“Judge Creighton was instrumental in the development and continued success with all of our programs. He was extremely supportive in lobbying the prosecutors, the police/jail, and the City Council to allow us to be creative and offer new ideas or make changes to the programs to keep them fresh and flexible with the changing times. I very much appreciated working with Judge Creighton for a variety of reasons,” Schneider concluded, “he was supportive, he was innovative, and he promoted creativity in his staff. He was always open to new ideas and willing to give any reasonable one a chance to develop. Lee was a champion of the probation department.”

Off the Bench

As Judge Ahlf presciently remarked: The measure of how someone feels about their boss is whether his or her advice is still revered when no longer the boss. His staff still defers to his predecessor. “Even years later, I hear: ‘Lee would do this or that.’”

Charisma isn’t necessary to manage an effective organization, but it can certainly help. While charismatic leaders often crowd the pages of the history books, very few people have been able to describe what it actually means on a daily basis. It’s a much more difficult quality to define on a personal level, but people who knew Judge Creighton well seemed to understand charisma even if it’s not articulable. Hall told the city council on May 10, 2011 “Until tonight I thought I was [Judge Creighton’s] best friend in the whole world. Then I heard that he told [Paul Wohl] and [Judge Ahlf] the same thing.”

“He insisted on being called Lee [in the office].” Woodrow summarized his off the bench demeanor: “With him, it was hard to separate the professional from the personal because he brought you into his family. He cared about you and you knew it.”

Woodrow was quick to remark that “He always treated everyone as an equal. He always used the word ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. Schneider remembers: “Lee had a great personality and was also someone who was easy to get along with.” “There was no one more appreciative than me, when it came to smoothing things over with other departments.”

In what became a common theme that reverberated through any discussion about Judge Creighton, humor was a readily accessible arrow in his trusty quiver. During a particularly contentious dispute over budget allocation between departments responsible for the city’s justice administration, (including flying spreadsheets, angry emails, and the inevitable pep talk, kumbaya speeches, with their subsequent dressing downs) “Judge Creighton stopped us to talk […] and the first thing that came out was ‘Can’t we all just get along….’ There was nothing we could do but laugh.”

When smoothing out wrinkles between departments wasn’t necessary, Judge Creighton was able to keep morale up by being himself. His colleagues recall an uncanny ability to imitate voices as disparate as the characters of a Monty Python sketch, and Elmer Fudd which would certainly have been hilarious until the moment it wasn’t. Woodrow remembers that he would settle into neighboring offices to share a lighthearted moment, even in the face of relentless deadlines. She laughed as she recalled “Sometimes, I could not get him out of my office.” His administrative assistant during his years as a prosecutor knew the secret: “I would yell at him: “Go to your room!” and he would.” Diane Vanderhoof explained proudly.

As all of us living in Olympia well understand, our quaggy winters wax and wane through the long hours that comprise the majority our working lives. The other participants of our office environments typically determine the length of each hour. Those who worked with Judge Creighton universally remember him with fondness and gratitude for the burden he helped to bear. One of the ways particularly fitting for an Olympian was his love of coffee—he was a connoisseur of all the local coffee shops—and he didn’t hesitate to spread those joyful tidings. “On exceptionally bad days,” Woodrow remembers, “[Judge Creighton] would get the one who was having the horrible day a huge mocha coffee.” The remarkable feature here of course is that one must recognize that your office mate is suffering though through a difficult day before attempting to remedy it.

His staff did what they could to repay a professional career that so deeply touched and influenced them. After the diagnosis of an illness, Judge Creighton finally decided to withdraw from the bench though it was personally devastating to leave his work that he found so fulfilling, and the people that he had grown so close to over the years. After he retired, as a testament to his character and commitment, his staff continued to keep in touch with him by, among other ways of expressing their love and gratitude, mowing his lawn.

On May 10, 2011, the Olympia city council voted to call its court buildings and offices, the Lee Creighton Justice Center. Mayor Doug Mah extolled Lee Creighton’s “Service, Dedication, and Respect” as reasons that it is fitting that Olympia’s justice center bears his name. In testimony before the council that day, Paul Wohl who followed Lee Creighton as an Olympia city prosecutor remarked: “I’m not sure our community understands the loss. This seems to me to be the perfect way to honor and show that his principles are still with us.”


We cannot attribute a respectful courtroom, a well-functioning probation program, or an efficient administrative department to one individual. The efforts of many are required to bring about these accomplishments. However, it is difficult to miss that some of those individuals become inspirations to others and that influence cascades through successor generations. Judge Creighton touched many individuals in our Olympia government, and the true to the cause of effective leadership they have carried on his legacy. Judge Creighton’s life is unquestionably an example of this.

Our City Manager summarized the historical significance accurately: “Judge Creighton was an important figure in the history of Olympia.” While perhaps counterintuitive to those who have not considered it, history is relentlessly unfolding before our eyes. It is people like Lee Creighton that give us all an opportunity to remark on that fact which further allows us to comprehend a reconcilliation of past and present.

Thus we return to our initial question. In the lives of certain individuals one can see clearly the typically opaque interaction found between the individual and the community. Communities are the individuals who comprise them. The forces, good or bad, that result from that interaction determine the success or failure of the concept of community. After all, no community appears on any map. There are cities and towns, but they become communities only because its individuals sacrifice their individuality for the spirit of their community thanks to the love they have for their fellow human beings. So it is with Lee Creighton.

The city did not name its justice center after Lee Creighton because he was its first elected judge, because he supervised the transition to a full judiciary under the city’s administration, or because he saw to the effective administration of justice. Our community remembers and reveres him because he committed the better part of his individuality to our city; he committed his time and emotional resources to furthering his vision of a community based on mutual respect and quality of life to all of those with whom he came in contact. Some of us talk about these goals, but Lee was able to personify them and the memories of those who knew him attest to that. In that regard, Lee Creighton was as much as a city pioneer as anyone who lived at the city’s founding and it is appropriate to remember him as such; but perhaps his greatest legacy is the lesson his example taught—each of us has the capability to do the same.

[i] In 2010, the Olympia City Council adopted an ordinance now at 12.62.010 which provides that the city will choose to name its public buildngs after “[a]n individual, living or deceased, who has contributed outstanding civic service to the city and, if deceased, has been so for a period of at least one year.”

[ii] The Washington State Bar Association is the licensing authority for all attorneys in the state of Washington.

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Derricott, Applied Historiography: Olympia’s Capital Lake

Mark Derricott*

The excellent recent piece about Capitol Lake by Mr. Allen Miller and a formidable rejoinder in this quarter’s newsletter by Mr. Emmett O’Connell reveals a rich dialogue about our local history. Mr. O’Connell’s appeal to “true historical context” counters Mr. Miller’s exhortation to perfect the Wilder and White plan on its 100th birthday. These authors evidently disagree on the true intention of the designers of our Capitol Campus. Who is correct and how do we decide? And what does it matter? These are not simple questions and a sincere desire to answer them require examining and thinking about methodology in the the study of history, and the implications for us as producers and consumers of history.

If the truth of our history is worth discovering, the path its seekers must follow begins with considering what knowledge of the truth about anything that no longer exists might possibly mean. Before clarifying the object of history, however, we should weigh the value of that object. Why do White and Wilder’s intentions 100 years ago make any difference to us in deciding what we should do now? Is there something in their actions that should go beyond mere historical curiosity for us today? The answer for both Miller and O’Connell seems to be an emphatic “Yes!” What could some of their reasons be? There is often a strong, even sentimental, attachment to the past captured in such objects as the family bible or other heirlooms. These instill in us a sense of belonging to our particular place in time—a personal link to the past. This can be a grounding force in an often turbulent world. Often, history can be a rhetorical device that congeals a point of view in some time or place which may perhaps say more about now than then. People often view history as a guide to how events in our lifetimes follow causal laws, and through its study we can understand the present or predict the future, or avoid repeating mistakes. Historical share prices certainly aid the trader in this view. For many others, history is simply an inexplicable curiosity that drives research and consumption of books, media documentaries, side of the road historical markers, and bedtime stories. If nothing else, studying history provides some context for us, but some have believed its function is much broader than that. In fact, in some accounts, history is the only expression of our collective being that there ever could be and it is only by uncovering the past which bore us, can we look at and really understand ourselves.

One perplexing but beautiful aspect of the study of history is the subject-object problem first articulated by Georg Friedrich Hegel. The objects of history are the vanished events that make up the past which historians now study. These historians are the subjects in Hegel’s dichotomy; there is history (object), but also the historians (subject) who study history (object). Together, these asymmetrical components comprise Hegel’s Totality. The issue of whether they can be wrested from each other, even for the sake of conversation, provides a glimpse of the problems touched upon by both Miller and O’Connell.

Hegel spent his life meditating on the collective consciousness of humanity. There, he believed he discovered what in German is known as Geist or Spirit. The Spirit of ’76 is perhaps America’s most prominent use of the term. Hegel argued that we are unable to view history except in terms of this Geist: our subjective view of those vanished objects, events, places and everything else that comprise time now departed. Only by attempting to comprehend the organic development of Spirit can we approach something as intangible as the past, even in terms specific events. Over time, our views change and are changed, understanding develops through dialogues like the one between Miller and O’Connell—a view is put forward, it is criticized and/or corrected, expounded upon, or otherwise developed, then replaced again by a new idea, which is in turn criticized, or so Hegel believed continuing the process.

In our example of Capitol Lake, there is a point of departure, for the sake of convenience only. In reality, there are none and the development of concepts and ideas is perpetual. This constant negation giving rise to creation, like green shoots in a forest fire or a decimated economy, is not the slow uncovering of a fixed object, but the same story told from different, various, angles.[1] After all, we as the subject and history as the object are eternally alienated by the passage of time. No matter how much we study, it’s still only through the interaction of the subject and object that we can come to comprehend it. Through Hegel’s lens, one might consider the question of whether there is actually any true history. It is a profound question!

That back and forth, negation-creation, occurs also in the thought surrounding the study of history. Hegel was not the first philosopher to engage in historiography, but he raised the questions have occupied the study of history since. Hegel’s critics believed there was an easier, more tangible path to its discovery. Leopold von Ranke rebelled against the subject-object framework offering instead that history can and should be reconstructed. He believed that a scientific, positivist approach to the study of history was possible and necessary. His formulation of this is one all students of historiography know well: wie es eigentlich gewesen (“how things actually were”). In the Preface to his History of the Latin and Germanic Nations from 1494-1514, Ranke wrote:

The book attempts to see these histories and the other, related histories of the Latin and Germanic nations in their unity. To history has been assigned the office of judging the past, of instruction the present for the benefit of future ages. To such high offices this work does not aspire: It wants only to show what happened (wie es eigentlich gewesen).[2]  

In this view, historians are like nineteenth century scientists, weighing and measuring objects and gathering data about facts. At first blush, this is an intuitive and attainable goal. With relentless objectivity any historian should be able to reconstruct the past through rigorous research, patient study, and accurate communication. On this view, our question about the process of designing Capital Lake should be easily answered. Mr. O’Connell’s appeal to the source materials follows the von Rankian tradition and his journalistic scrutiny, admirably applied, may well leave the reader satisfied that his facts comprise the truth. Did this mean that Hegel’s subject could be converted into a completely accurate instrument conveying the object as it was to us in an unaltered form? As one might imagine, this orientation to the practice gave other historians of the time pause. And it did not take long.

Johan Gustav Droysen, was a historian, politician, and critic of Ranke’s methodology. His Outline of the Principles of History, which was published in 1868, offers an Hegelian counterpoint to the von Rankian tradition. Droysen’s passage seems to delight in the difficult problem of the often sparse collection of materials which historians have for evidence, and how little contact we have with the objects of our studies. “They are remnants of that which happened […] which still lie directly before our eyes.”[3] He wrote. Droysen might embrace the power of history as a legitimizing authority to rhetorical maneuvers. Droysen quickly returned to Hegel’s subject as the more important problem for the modern historian: “We thus look at them in a quite different way from that in which they occurred, and which they had in the wishes and deeds of those who enacted them.[4]” Droysen was a Prussian nationalist, and strong supporter of German unification, under Prussia’s leadership. His work in German history can be said to employ a persuasive tendency toward unification or even perhaps his idea that Germany’s history is moving toward an inexorable unification as its conclusion. Droysen provides insight into the role and power of history in one’s own time and is a fascinating example of the use of rhetorical devices, and a powerful example in the value in the study of history. If we are unable to uncover the object of study to such an extent that we can reveal the past as it actually was, when is the historian’s work finished and is it futile to engage in it in the first place? Droysen would seem to argue that even though time alienates our object more with each day, that doesn’t mean the practice is without value. More important than the reason for study is Droysen’s recognition and strong arguments for ensuring that students of history understand that the subject in Hegel’s dichotomy should not attempt to alienate themselves from their object. Finally, both then and today, we see the subjective in the study of history, and its potential problems, which allow us to bear in mind the necessity of radical criticism in its production and consumption.

Clearly one’s conception of the past influences one’s view of the present. In both Miller and O’Connell’s work, we see an appeal to history that should lead us into a conception of our future. This is a common occurrence. Except in family history many individuals in our country consider history only terms of how it should shape the future, a legitimizing force for a point of view. (Without that personal connection, history is often tragically banished to true/false tests full of birth and death dates.) We need not elaborate the role historical appeals to versions of national history have played in the history of the modern world. As any observant individual in post-modern America is well aware, history has become a moving object, a victim of relentless rhetorical devices, visible across the entire political spectrum. On the other hand, it does not mean that the work of historians, and that which Miller and O’Connell contribute to it loses any value because it may be used to persuade. It does however shed new light on how history might fit into the Hegelian formulation of consciousness.

Droysen’s student, Friedrich Meinecke was one of the most well-known historians of the 20th century. He attempted to synthesize the work of his forbearers, including both von Ranke and Droysen. In his view, elements of art, positivism, and the subjective scholarly curiosity are beneficial if not critical ingredients in the output of the historian. In 1928, Meinecke published his essay “Values and Causalities in History” offering elucidation of his beliefs. At this stage in our conversation, the subject rather than separated from from the object—as would have seemed desirable to von Ranke and his followers—instead have fused together within a swirling mass, giving rise to the question of whether historians could ever find a compelling reason to separate them.

And although [art] too, can never fully reveal these depths, it can give us an intuitive understanding of them, can give us a sympathetic sense of them through unmediated seeing. Only a path no longer purely scientific, this is, no longer purely causal can lead us a step further into the depths of reality. Where science fails to, it is wiser for history use these supra-scientific means than to apply scientific means where their application must lead inevitably to false results.[5]

Here, Meinecke has hit upon a fascinating argument: our ability to uncover the object is stronger when we don’t try to alienate that object from the subject. It is overly simplistic to get lost in the debate of whether history is an art or science, but that can clarify the problem for further analysis, debate, and development. In Hegel’s terms the subject and object don’t correspond to, but rather transcend, the art and science dichotomy. Can the science and art of journalism applied to historical scholarship take us back to the formulations of Wilder and White’s intentions? Where science is lacking can art fill in the gaps? Or vice versa? Of course, in scientific inquiry, it is sometimes impossible to replicate the conditions one is attempting to study. We cannot put ourselves back into the work chambers of our famous designers. Even if we could, would Mr. Miller’s cross examination or Mr. O’Connell’s exclusive interview uncover Wilder and White’s artistic inclinations as they are captured in the plans they produce?

An empowering resolution of these questions can be found in Charles Beard’s work. He was a dominant influence on 20th Century American historiography. Like Miller and O’Connell today, Beard was concerned with the relation between our past and our future environment and his own community’s social issues. As pragmatism was giving way to analytical philosophy, the debate within history faculties raged over the questions of whether history can be a science, and whether that study can or should be conducted according to scientific constraints. Beard offered an answer on how we might hold historiography to the positivist promise to which some of its practitioners aspire. Beard’s essay “That Noble Dream” reveals some of his conclusions: “Seekers after truth in particular and general have less reason to fear a [positivist methodology] than they have to fear any history that comes under the guise of the Ranke formula or historicism.[6]” Beard in the speech finally embraced the position that history as an object cannot be removed from the totality it forms with its subject.

Still more pressing, because so generally neglected, is the task of exploring the assumptions upon which the selection and organization of historical facts proceed. In the nature of things they proceed upon some assumptions concerning the substance of history as actuality. We do not acquire the colorless, neutral mind by declaring our intention to do so. Rather do we clarify the mind by admitting its cultural interest and patterns—interests and patterns that will control, or intrude upon the selection and organization of historical materials.[7]

Rather than discounting the subjective like von Ranke, or embracing it like Droysen, Beard made the inclusion of it and the explicit criticism of it part of the content of historical “truth”. Of course, Beard did not discover the end of history and his work did not resolve these questions, but he finally did seem to embrace that the dialectic process is perpetual and the historian is a necessary ingredient in it. And this perpetual conversation can shed light on one’s approach to the study of the events in question.

The waterway or body now known Capitol Lake is a much loved landmark and the more we study its history, the more we can approach an appreciation of our community. We also learn, thanks to the work of Miller and O’Connell, more about the sentimental attachment each of us have for our community, in its current form. On the other hand, if someone were to discover that lost plans actually proposed a radically different lake or estuary other than our current options, would that limit or change our views of what we believe the future should be? To read our subjective view by present aspirations back into it as O’Connell implicitly believes Miller does, we also unfairly confine the study of the past to unnecessary rigidness even if the work is defensible by scientific standards. The desire or necessity to see primarily ourselves in history as subjective, is always lurking. At times that subjective view certainly can cloud the object of study itself, but can a historian ever remove her fingerprints from her work? Inadequate and useless remnants, evidence, source materials, perjuring witnesses, falsified affidavits, need not thwart the work. The inability to resolve the truth of our past—if only because we didn’t live then—need not be a cause of remorse, nor should it become a reason to believe studying history is a futile act.

Beard said in the first line of his famous two volume work, The Rise of American Civilization, “the history of a civilization, if intelligently conceived, may be an instrument of civilization.” As we have seen that civilizing agent is not a static moment, but a dynamic process whose end is not the discovery of the truth of the past (even if that were possible). The civilizing arises through relentless action itself and this includes the study, production, consumption, and perhaps most of all, criticism of history. The fusion of these threads of thought is the driving spirit behind the study of history and as long as that criticism, back and forth, and perpetual development continues, subjects like Beard, Droysen, Meinecke and probably von Ranke too as well as their objects, will civilize us. As Hegel wrote: “Geist is the spirit of self-activity itself.” The phrase may well have particular poignancy for the historian in all of us. As we experience and delight in Miller and O’Connell’s work (like others who are as deeply committed) it becomes easier to conclude that the action or work should never end, but should continuously push us to further action: “Criterion of Spirit is its action, its active essence. It makes itself what it essentially is.”[8] That action occurs with the study of the history of Capitol Lake, as much as it does with our action to any future form it may or may not take.

*Many thanks to Thad Curtz for his frequent reading recommendations and his patience in discussing the questions they provoke.

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O’Connell: The Myth of Connection Between Wilder and White and Capitol Lake

This article originally appeared on the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Natural Resource Department Weblog and was reprinted here as another view of the history of the development of Capitol Lake. The Olympia Historical Society takes no positions on the analysis or conclusions of the authors who submit articles for consideration in our newsletters.


The creation of what we now know as Capitol Lake was not the natural outgrowth of a landscaping plan for the Capitol Campus. Rather, it was the result of a decades-long lobbying effort by local businessmen, politicians and city-fathers to create an appealing water feature and “scrape the moss off” Olympia.

Recently, lake defenders have distorted the origin story of Capitol Lake for use as a cloak of legacy. The defenders of the lake present the argument that the Wilder and White plan for the campus was the origin of the lake idea. This position is wrong. They claim that restoring the estuary would disparage our own history. The true origins of Capitol Lake inform not only our misunderstanding of local history, but also how we move forward with the future of the lake and the Deschutes River estuary.

The initial campus plan called for a modest reflecting pool, but it was a group of prominent Olympia citizens that suggested creating a much larger lake by impounding the Deschutes River with a dam running east-to-west. This more drastic proposal was not embraced by the State Capitol Commission and was immediately rejected.

The first suggestion of a dam at the mouth of the Deschutes actually pre-dates Wilder and White by more than a decade. Ironically, Leopold Schmidt, the founder of the Olympia Brewing Company, proposed damming the river with a set of locks in 1895 to facilitate shipping to his planned brewery. Later opposition by Tumwater and the Olympia Brewing Company would prove to be the largest impediment to the damming of the river for decades to follow.

Capitol Planners Called For Free Flowing Deschutes River

During the early days of drafting a capitol campus plan, Wilder and White worked with the large and renowned Olmsted Brother firm to develop a larger landscape plan for the campus. Based on Wilder and White’s rough drawings that included some sort of reflecting pool, the Olmsted firm added more detail to the plans.

There are numerous representations by Wilder and White about what shape the campus could eventually take. This image below in particular has been used by current lake defenders as the best representation of what their vision for the lake was.


This is actually a draft that was meant to show the arrangement of the buildings in the capitol group, not to show any details of any proposed water feature. While you could read into the picture a proposal similar to the current lake, it included no actual detail of how that would be accomplished. It simply presented the idea of a pond.

When the planners started putting details down on paper, John Olmsted wrote about a reflecting pool that changed with the tides. From a Jan. 19, 1912 letter to the State Capitol Commission:

…extend a dike with a driveway upon it along the east side of the channel from Capitol Park to 6th Street (Legion Way) and to acquire all the flats between the river and the proposed Capitol Avenue, this area to be mainly devoted to a salt water pond which would be kept nearly up to high water level, merely fluctuating a foot or two at every tide so as to ensure a change of water.

(Epstein, 66).

Here is the more detailed plan for the Wilder/White and Olmsted saltwater pond laid over a more current aerial photo of Capitol Lake:


This reflecting pool would have had a much smaller footprint than the current version. Olmsted, along with architects Walter Wilder and Harry White never intended to block the Deschutes River or block the incoming tide to create a reflecting pool.

Actually, the entire idea behind the originally proposed reflecting pool was to take advantage of the tides. The pool itself would be filled by salt water and refreshed by the tides. A sill would keep the pond filled and ensure mudflats weren’t exposed, but the tide would not be totally blocked.

As late as 1927, when construction of the domed legislative building was in full swing, the designers of the campus continued to pursue the modest saltwater tidal pond rather than an aggressively dammed estuary (Epstein, 67).

Carlyon’s Lake becomes Capitol Lake

Today’s Capitol Lake strongly resembles a plan drawn up by former Olympia mayor and state legislator P.H. Carlyon. His 1916 plan would have included a dam at 4th Avenue (just north of the current dam), replacing the wooden bridge that at the time spanned the mouth of the Deschutes River.

While the Carlyon lake plan was likely popular locally, it lacked any further support:

Vigorously oppose closing waterway

City’s proposal is fought at hearing before state commissioner.

…State Lands Commissioner Clark V. Salvidge has taken under advisement the petition presented by the city of Olympia and by Senator P.H. Carlyon in a hearing before him last Tuesday, for the vacation of the Des Chutes waterway, the construction of a dam in the river at Fourth street and the creation of a lake south of that street…

The city officials and Dr. Carlyon are practically alone in their advocacy of the change…

(Olympia News, 1916)

Carlyon’s lake was impossible at the time for two reasons:

  • The so-called Des Chutes Waterway was privately owned. The state-owned Capitol Campus at the time was limited to the bluff at Capitol Point and didn’t include any lowlands. It wouldn’t be until 1937 that the state started a serious effort to purchase property that would be inundated by a dam.
  • Closing the Deschutes by an east-to-west running dam would stop water traffic from reaching Tumwater and possibly ruin power generation at the Deschutes falls. In the early 1900s, Tumwater’s downtown businesses still depended on water traffic.

Carlyon’s lake proposal was not his first effort in municipal terraforming. During his time as mayor of Olympia, he made significant efforts to complete the Carlyon fill, which created dozens of city blocks on the east side of downtown. This fill coincidentally also obliterated acres of the Moxlie and Indian creek estuaries. (Newell, 242)

Carlyon’s interest in the construction of the eventual permanent capitol campus (and lake) was primarily to put Olympia in its proper place among northwest cities.

This episode took place soon after the initial approval of the Wilder and White plan in 1911 (Newell 246):

Olympians were delighted when the plan for a complete capitol group was complete… (but) Everett boosters had been engaged in a last minute plot to steal the capital for their city and a bill had been introduced to move the supreme court and library to Seattle.

…Representative H.E. Foster of King county led the opposition with the traditional charge that Olympia was a sleepy village inhabited by mossbacks. “What has Olympia ever done for the state?” he wanted to know. “Although it’s been the seat of government for 50 years it has been at a standstill, progressing very little. Olympia is asleep and does not deserve any consideration from us.”

Dr. Carlyon, representative from Thurston County, having just put together the great downtown dredge and fill project, was speechless with indignation. William Ray, also of King County, added his voice to the defenders of the capital city, explaining that “the reason Olympia hasn’t been going ahead with other cities in the Northwest is simply this: every legislative session, some cranks come down here with some idea of moving the capital and agitate the question during the session. No business man or eastern capital is going to invest here until the question is settled once and for all…”

Even though it was rejected soundly in 1916, the Carlyon’s Deschutes Waterway project did not go away.

In 1937 the state Legislature allowed the use of bond revenue from state trust land to start buying property along the Deschutes waterway, the first step in the process to complete the aggressive lake plan. A 1941 ad for a mayoral candidate listed “develop the Deschutes Waterway” as a campaign goal (Olympia News-Graphic, 1940).

In early 1941, with the land in the waterway being bought up by the state (Olympia News, March 1941), a delegation of state capitol campus commissioners and “prominent Olympians” visited a Tumwater town meeting to persuade their neighbors to drop their objections to the larger lake plan. And, by a 29-3 vote, the Tumwater residents agreed. (Olympia News, June 1941). Among the reasons for Tumwater’s acquiescence was a new overland rail line that made shipping by water unnecessary.

Olympia’s final push for Capitol Lake

The final 1947 debate on whether to fund closing the Deschutes waterway was certainly a debate between Thurston County and the rest of the state. The proposal to issue $1 million in bonds for the project actually received a negative vote in a House committee due to its proposed funding mechanism.

Rep. Ella Wintler (R-Vancouver), chair of the committee that gave the negative vote, was quoted as opposing the bill because it took the state’s priority away from constructing buildings. She added that the only reason it advanced to the House floor after receiving a poor committee report was because of consideration for Olympia’s Rep. George Yantis. (Daily Olympian, February 1947)

Rep. George Kinnear (R-King County) added:

It is high time the Legislature settled down and realized we are in big business. Miss Wintler’s thoughts are so sound they are irrefutable. There are serious responsibilities we have begun to overlook the business for which we are here – conducting the business of the state.

After passing the House, it was only because of an extraordinary effort by another Olympia state senator, that the bill got any consideration in the Senate. State Sen. Carl Mohler (Thurston County) worked out a deal with a Senate committee chair to give the committee extra time to consider the bill. Mohler’s arguments put a strong emphasis on the project’s funding; the funds would come from a trust, not directly from the pockets of taxpayers. (Daily Olympian, March 1947).

The lake bill passed by a 70-20 vote in the House and a 29-4 vote in the Senate, but only because state Legislators from Olympia pushed hard for it. The lake bill was not considered a high priority otherwise.

An editorial in the Olympian (and reprinted in the Tacoma News-Tribune) as construction on the lake was about to begin in 1948 gives credit where credit is due (Tacoma News-Tribune, 1948):

Campaigning for the basin was a discouraging task at times but city officials, the chamber of commerce, various civic and fraternal organizations, real estate groups and numerous individuals kept plugging away until their perseverance was rewarded last week by the assurance that a long-fondled hope at least will be translated into reality.

News that the much-needed improvement will be started as soon as is feasible was received with immense satisfaction by the residents of Olympia and suburban areas… (Capitol Lake) will be a source of much pleasure to the people who already are established here, but also will convince visitors that Olympia is a mighty pleasant place in which to live and work.

The advocacy, funding and creation of Capitol Lake goes well beyond the intention of the capitol campus designers. Their intention was for a modest reflecting pool as part of the landscape of campus in balance with the built environment of the campus and the surrounding landscape. It was not unreasonable for the designers of the campus to consider a reflecting pool, but what ended up being built was an obese exaggeration.

When you view the Wilder, White and Olmsted tidal pond in the true historic context, it is only one mention in decades of discussion, certainly not the original vision.

Works Cited

“Capitol Lake Plan Sent to State Senate” Daily Olympian, March 4, 1947.

“Des Chutes Basin Plan to be Aired at Meet Tuesday” Olympia News, June 12, 1941.

“Deschutes Basin Improvement Gets Unfavorable Report to Legislature” Daily Olympian, February 26, 1947.

“Details on Basin Project Wanted” Olympia News, March 7, 1941.

Epstein, Mark B. “A history of the Washington state capitol landscape.” 1992

“Improvement at Olympia” Tacoma News Tribune, July 21, 1948.

Lane, Horrace M. “Letter to the Citizens of Olympia” Olympia News-Graphic, November 21, 1940.

“Last Objection to Improvement Withdrawn” Olympia News, June 19, 1941.

“Leopold Schmidt Announces Plans to Build Brewery” The Daily Olympian, September 18, 1895.

Newell, Gordon. “Rogues, Buffoons and Statesmen.” 1975

“Senate Approves Lake Project” Daily Olympian, March 10, 1947.

“Vigorously Oppose Closing Waterway” Olympian News, Friday, May 26, 1916.

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Blankenship: Meet the Yantises and Blankenships

Ralph Blankenship

In October of 1852 Sarah Y Yantis rode into Olympia with her father B.F. Yantis and 7 brothers and sisters in their covered wagon. They left from Saline County, Missouri where B.F. had been a superior court judge. Sadly B.F.s wife died during the difficult journey to Olympia. B.F. and family homesteaded on Bush Prairie, ran an early stage line to Cowlitz Landing, and was a legislator, among other things.

To add confusion to our early family history A.S. Yantis, B.F.s brother, arrived in Olympia about the same time. He also had a daughter named Sarah who in turn had her own daughter named Sarah. They settled in the Skookumchuck Valley near Bucoda.

sarah_y_blankenship_smallSarah Y married 28 year old Abram Benton Moses on April 11, 1855 at 20 years of age. This was during the Indian War of 1855/1856. AB Moses, a militia volunteer and former Thurston County Sheriff, was shot and killed on October 31, 1855 during surprise attack on his patrol near Bonney Lake. It was for this killing that Leschi was arrested, tried, convicted, and hanged. To this day this trial and conviction are controversial from many points of view.

george_c_blankenshipsmallThe widow Sarah Y Moses subsequently married George C Blankenship on May 22, 1857. George C our great grandfather arrived in Olympia, a single man, in July of 1853. He also served in the militia and followed AB Moses steps to become the Thurston County Sheriff in the late 1850s. It is said that while he held Yelm Jim in custody that he had this gentle man babysit for his first son with Sarah, our great uncle, George E Blankenship.

George E was followed by Frank Y Blankenship (died at 6), and then Robert L Blankenship our grandfather. George E was a newspaper reporter and book author. His wife Georgianna also was a book author (Tillicum Tales later republished as Early History of Thurston County) and suffragist as well.

[Robert Blankenship with bicycle] Robert L married Elizabeth Savage to carry on our family. Robert L had three children, Betty (had son Bobby), Robert (died at 9), and Nathaniel (our dad). Robert L and Ed Winstanly formed “Winstanly & Blankenship” a partnership that continued through two generations and around 90 years. It ran the Smokeshop that was located on Capitol Way between 4th and 5th (now Olympia Federal Savings). Robert L also was an early Commodore of the Olympia Yacht Club.

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The Honorable Lee Creighton

Mark Derricott, Editor


Does Aristotle’s theory of the whole can become greater than the sum of its parts hold true if we apply it to our community? Can something as abstract as a community possibly transcend the totality of its individuals? If so, how does that happen? If the Olympia Municipal Code is any guide, our community has adopted that theory. A municipal ordinance provides that we may name our public buildings after those who have “contributed outstanding civic service to the city”.[i] Though a great honor that may be, it is nonetheless an insufficient gesture of gratitude for any individual on whom it is bestowed. And if that is the so, a newsletter article is altogether unable to comprehend the life of an exceptional individual. Judge Scott K. Ahlf, Olympia Municipal Court Judge summed up the obvious problem when describing the life of his predecessor: “You can’t say enough about Lee Creighton. He gave everything to this court; to this community.” For all of our inability to express it, we can still recognize some of Lee Creighton’s contributions to the success of our own community.

Transition to an Elected Judge

Historical processes that dramatically shape any community often have facially innocuous origins. So it is with Olympia, Washington in 2002. That year, the Court Rules and Procedures Committee, which is a standing committee of the Washington State Bar Association’s Board of Governors,[ii] adopted General Rule 29 which streamlined the procedures for courts of limited jurisdiction, including municipal courts. It mandated that cities elect, rather than appoint, their full time judges.  It also provided for the rules by which municipalities create their own judicial departments mirroring the federal government’s three distinct branches of government.

Up until that time, Olympia’s judges were appointed by the city manager and approved by its city council. The judge was not a full time position and often local attorneys would serve as the judge while devoting the remainder of their time to their practices.  With General Rule 29, Olympia was required to elect its judge for the first time. Thus, the people of Olympia had a direct and final say in the choice of its judge and consequently the administration of its judicial department. This meant a dramatic transition in how the city manages its criminal justice system. Prior to the change, the judicial department had been under the Administrative Services department (i.e. the delegate of the City Manager). The change resulted in a new Court Services department, split off and operated independently under the direction of the judge. This included the budgets, choice of personnel and operations—in fact all decisions but salary and benefits were now under the independent control of the new Court Services department.

To head the transition, Lee Creighton was elected as Olympia’s first municipal court judge. His personality was apparent before he took the bench. During the election season which took the city’s prosecutor, Lee Creighton, to the bench, Steve Hall remembered that Creighton had campaign t-shirts printed. He asked his friend Steve Hall, at the time assistant city manager to wear one during a run that Hall had entered. When Hall refused on the basis that he was a city employee and could not take a position in an election, Creighton rationalized his disappointment with the rejoinder: “Well, you’re so slow no one would see it anyway.”

After Judge Creighton took over, Hall was assigned to assist in the transition to a separate full department in the government. Operating procedures was the primary concern to most of the staff, which approached 20 individuals at the time. Perhaps that is a problem that Olympians can appreciate more than most communities. Hall attributes a relatively smooth transition to Judge Creighton’s leadership. Judge Creighton quickly signed a memorandum of understanding that adopted the existing city policies and procedures concerning employment and operation. While there were certainly other speed bumps along the way, the transition was consummated with relative speed and ease.

As anyone who has been through a transition in the administration of government can attest, it is not an easy process, but time and leadership help. Bonnie Woodrow, Olympia Municipal Court Administrator was present for the transition. “We knew it was coming, so we were able to get ready, but a transition like that doesn’t happen without the cooperation of a lot of people. Information channels needed to be maintained or established so that we were informed of what we we’re all doing. Things that happened naturally before the transition had to be recreated in separate departments.”

For Hall, this was a historic moment in the development of our city. According to Hall, Judge Creighton brought three essential attributes to the position and the city’s government: “1.) His exemplary ethical standards; 2.) His professional management of court staff. Judge Creighton implemented fair and equitable administrative guidelines for dealing with his new staff; and, 3.) His personal attitude toward everyone who came into the courtroom—ensuring they were cared for and respected. Judge Creighton made them feel like city government treated them well regardless of the outcome.”

Judge Creighton’s Courtroom

As one might expect, the courtroom experience began to reflect Judge Creighton’s attitude and personality immediately. It bears mentioning that municipal court is not the easiest place to be a staff person. People are often upset and sometimes even indignant at the idea of taking time off from things they would rather be doing to show up to municipal court and answer for misdemeanors, (crimes punishable by less than a year in jail, e.g. drinking in public or driving with a suspended license). Too often, these frustrations are taken out on the staff given that they are often the most visible individuals. Judge Creighton noticed this and was always attempting to remedy it. At times, when defendants would get belligerent with the staff, they would sometimes notify the judge through their information system between the time they entered the courtroom and were heard. Judge Creighton’s orders often included requiring a defendant to issue an apology to the aggrieved staff person after the hearing.

Judge Creighton’s courtroom accolades are plentiful. Kalo Wilcox, once a city prosecutor, now a judge in Thurston County District Courtextolled Judge Creighton’s strong advocacy for crime victims, his protection of constitutional rights, but also his sense of humor.  “Anyone could see the respect he had for the accused who would appear before him.” Woodrow explained when questioned for examples. “He would listen to them; take the time to talk to them; and to treat them as people. You could see his compassion. People wanted to do well for him, they didn’t want to disappoint him and that came not out of fear, but from the respect that they all knew he was giving them.”

According to witnesses, Judge Creighton found ways to accommodate the necessity of decorum in the courtroom while still appealing to the ironical humor that life always presents. He was a huge X-Files fan; fashioned himself an “X-Filian”; and couldn’t resist giving weekly updates on the series from the bench. Monica Schneider, at the time the Probation Program Manager, recounts an unforgettable example of his courtroom humor: “I was in court on a probation matter and a defendant who I knew from high school was being sentenced.  I was merely a bystander during that hearing and wasn’t paying too much attention when all of a sudden I heard, “I don’t care if you put me on probation, just don’t make me report to Monica.”  I looked up surprised and then looked at Lee, who said, “Why? Did you two go to the prom together with some bad result?”

Options Program

With the judge now responsible for the judicial department of the city, Judge Creighton had a full slate of administrative responsibilities when he wasn’t on the bench. Judicial administration included the probation department in which offenders are often placed after or in lieu of jail time sentences.

One true labor of love Judge Creighton was the Options Program of the Olympia Municipal Jail. Monica Schneider, the probation services manager explains: “The options programs were introduced back in 1996 after the Olympia Jail and Municipal Court contacted a consultant to do a study about jail population management and alternatives to incarceration. Originally, in 1996, when [Judge Creighton] was a prosecutor for the City of Olympia, the initial programs offered were minimal.  I was hired to head the probation department and develop programs to alleviate jail crowding.  The programs focused on enhancing probation services to defendants by providing more intensive supervision (ISP) for some offenders (specifically multiple DUI and DV offenders).  In the first couple of years we offered standard probation services, intensive supervision probation, community service, and had a part time work crew program.

“People want a fair and responsible government, and they want offenders to be held accountable.” Remarked Judge Ahlf, “Jails are often on the third tier to funding from voters, but police officers are first.”  Therefore, there is too little jail space to accommodate offenders. Innovative and creative programs like the Options Program can help bridge that gap by ensuring that people found to have committed crimes remain accountable, but within the voters’ constraints.

As the Options Program was developed, several additional jail time alternatives were introduced including: Electronic Home Monitoring, Day Jail, Work Crew, In-custody work crew, Driving Under the Influence Alternative program, and Community Service.

“Judge Creighton was instrumental in the development and continued success with all of our programs.  He was extremely supportive in lobbying the prosecutors, the police/jail, and the City Council to allow us to be creative and offer new ideas or make changes to the programs to keep them fresh and flexible with the changing times. I very much appreciated working with Judge Creighton for a variety of reasons,” Schneider concluded, “he was supportive, he was innovative, and he promoted creativity in his staff.  He was always open to new ideas and willing to give any reasonable one a chance to develop.  Lee was a champion of the probation department.”

Off the Bench

As Judge Ahlf presciently remarked: The measure of how someone feels about their boss is whether his or her advice is still revered when no longer the boss. His staff still defers to his predecessor. “Even years later, I hear: ‘Lee would do this or that.’”

Charisma isn’t necessary to manage an effective organization, but it can certainly help. While charismatic leaders often crowd the pages of the history books, very few people have been able to describe what it actually means on a daily basis. It’s a much more difficult quality to define on a personal level, but people who knew Judge Creighton well seemed to understand charisma even if it’s not articulable. Hall told the city council on May 10, 2011 “Until tonight I thought I was [Judge Creighton’s] best friend in the whole world. Then I heard that he told [Paul Wohl] and [Judge Ahlf] the same thing.”

“He insisted on being called Lee [in the office].” Woodrow summarized his off the bench demeanor: “With him, it was hard to separate the professional from the personal because he brought you into his family. He cared about you and you knew it.”

Woodrow was quick to remark that “He always treated everyone as an equal. He always used the word ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. Schneider remembers: “Lee had a great personality and was also someone who was easy to get along with.” “There was no one more appreciative than me, when it came to smoothing things over with other departments.”

In what became a common theme that reverberated through any discussion about Judge Creighton, humor was a readily accessible arrow in his trusty quiver. During a particularly contentious dispute over budget allocation between departments responsible for the city’s justice administration, (including flying spreadsheets, angry emails, and the inevitable pep talk, kumbaya speeches, with their subsequent dressing downs) “Judge Creighton stopped us to talk […] and the first thing that came out was ‘Can’t we all just get along….’ There was nothing we could do but laugh.”

When smoothing out wrinkles between departments wasn’t necessary, Judge Creighton was able to keep morale up by being himself. His colleagues recall an uncanny ability to imitate voices as disparate as the characters of a Monty Python sketch, and Elmer Fudd which would certainly have been hilarious until the moment it wasn’t. Woodrow remembers that he would settle into neighboring offices to share a lighthearted moment, even in the face of relentless deadlines. She laughed as she recalled “Sometimes, I could not get him out of my office.” His administrative assistant during his years as a prosecutor knew the secret: “I would yell at him: “Go to your room!” and he would.” Diane Vanderhoof explained proudly.

As all of us living in Olympia well understand, our quaggy winters wax and wane through the long hours that comprise the majority our working lives. The other participants of our office environments typically determine the length of each hour. Those who worked with Judge Creighton universally remember him with fondness and gratitude for the burden he helped to bear. One of the ways particularly fitting for an Olympian was his love of coffee—he was a connoisseur of all the local coffee shops—and he didn’t hesitate to spread those joyful tidings. “On exceptionally bad days,” Woodrow remembers, “[Judge Creighton] would get the one who was having the horrible day a huge mocha coffee.” The remarkable feature here of course is that one must recognize that your office mate is suffering though through a difficult day before attempting to remedy it.

His staff did what they could to repay a professional career that so deeply touched and influenced them. After the diagnosis of an illness, Judge Creighton finally decided to withdraw from the bench though it was personally devastating to leave his work that he found so fulfilling, and the people that he had grown so close to over the years. After he retired, as a testament to his character and commitment, his staff continued to keep in touch with him by, among other ways of expressing their love and gratitude, mowing his lawn.

On May 10, 2011, the Olympia city council voted to call its court buildings and offices, the Lee Creighton Justice Center. Mayor Doug Mah extolled Lee Creighton’s “Service, Dedication, and Respect”as reasons that it is fitting that Olympia’s justice center bears his name. In testimony before the council that day, Paul Wohl who followed Lee Creighton as an Olympia city prosecutor remarked: “I’m not sure our community understands the loss. This seems to me to be the perfect way to honor and show that his principles are still with us.”


We cannot attribute a respectful courtroom, a well-functioning probation program, or an efficient administrative department to one individual. The efforts of many are required to bring about these accomplishments. However, it is difficult to miss that some of those individuals become inspirations to others and that influence cascades through successor generations. Judge Creighton touched many individuals in our Olympia government, and the true to the cause of effective leadership they have carried on his legacy. Judge Creighton’s life is unquestionably an example of this.

Our City Manager summarized the historical significance accurately: “Judge Creighton was an important figure in the history of Olympia.” While perhaps counterintuitive to those who have not considered it, history is relentlessly unfolding before our eyes. It is people like Lee Creighton that give us all an opportunity to remark on that fact which further allows us to comprehend a reconcilliation of past and present.

Thus we return to our initial question. In the lives of certain individuals one can see clearly the typically opaque interaction found between the individual and the community. Communities are the individuals who comprise them. The forces, good or bad, that result from that interaction determine the success or failure of the concept of community. After all, no community appears on any map. There are cities and towns, but they become communities only because its individuals sacrifice their individuality for the spirit of their community thanks to the love they have for their fellow human beings. So it is with Lee Creighton.

The city did not name its justice center after Lee Creighton because he was its first elected judge, because he supervised the transition to a full judiciary under the city’s administration, or because he saw to the effective administration of justice. Our community remembers and reveres him because he committed the better part of his individuality to our city; he committed his time and emotional resources to furthering his vision of a community based on mutual respect and quality of life to all of those with whom he came in contact. Some of us talk about these goals, but Lee was able to personify them and the memories of those who knew him attest to that. In that regard, Lee Creighton was as much as a city pioneer as anyone who lived at the city’s founding and it is appropriate to remember him as such; but perhaps his greatest legacy is the lesson his example taught—each of us has the capability to do the same.

[i] In 2010, the Olympia City Council adopted an ordinance now at 12.62.010 which provides that the city will choose to name its public buildngs after “[a]n individual, living or deceased, who has contributed outstanding civic service to the city and, if deceased, has been so for a period of at least one year.”

[ii] The Washington State Bar Association is the licensing authority for all attorneys in the state of Washington.


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Derricott: Bush Prairie Farm, Then and Now

Bush Prairie Farm, Then and Now

By Mark Derricott, Editor

It is not often that the present so starkly meets the past, but it is actually happening this year. Two relatively recent developments have compellingly confirmed this development.

Most of you are familiar with the first: our own Deborah Ross’s book, Konrad and Albertina, which reconstructs the lives of several individuals who played prominent roles in our community’s history. The Author’s note describes: “With trivial exceptions I have not altered any documented fact or event. However, existing documents give us only a glimpse of “what really happened.” I have written Konrad and Albertina as a work of fiction, allowing me to use my imagination to make the [characters] and the world they lived in come alive.” A prominent geographic setting in Ms. Ross’s work is the homestead of our now famous pioneer George and Isabella Bush.* Though not part of Olympia’s current city limits, and therefore, arguably outside the historical society’s jurisdiction, there may not have been any historical society in any current Thurston County jurisdiction had events described below transpired any differently.

The second development is the Mark and Kathleen Clark’s acquisition of part of the original 1845 homestead of George and Isabella Bush and their recasting it as a working farm. What’s more the newly named Bush Prairie Farm return to its original use is also significant because it now a Community Supported Agriculture allowing those interested to literally enjoy the fruits of the historical farm and its famous soil.

A few selections from Ms. Ross’s heartwarming story put the day and age in context:

Mrs. Bush told Albertina that she and Mr. Bush were the first pioneer wagon train to come across the prairie to the Puget Sound. They were the first Americans in the area, although there were many British Citizens here working for the Hudson’s Bay Company. And yes, Mr. Bush was a Negro. They had moved here to Puget Sound to escape the anti-Negro sentiment in southern Oregon Territory. Albertina was surprised to hear that such a fine family would not be welcome anywhere in their country, and was proud that Konrad had been among the people who helped blacks escape from slavery.

She could tell right away that Mr. Bush must be a very good farmer. Konrad later told her that the Bushes had done better than anyone else in the Sound. They had brought their own seeds across the prairie and had a good supply of grain stored for the coming winter. Their trees were already bearing fruit after only a few years. Mr. Bush said that this was due mostly to the fertile land on the prairie and not his skill as a farmer. Konrad and Albertina though that he was probably being too modest. Mr. Bush said that Mrs. Bush was also a wonderful farmer, famous for the quality of her turkeys and chickens.[i]

treeIn fact, the healthy fruit trees were described in the first edition of one of Olympia’s nascent newspapers, the Columbian.[iii] A scion of the 165-year old butternut tree planted by Mr. Bush was recently transplanted on the Capitol Campus near the World War II monument. And, the Thurston County Historical Commission presented a paper on the George Bush family at the national African American Historical Research and Preservation Conference held in Seattle on Feb. 5, 2011. While none of the original buildings are standing, the Clarks continue to work with Dale Croes, archaeologist at SPSCC in identifying and preserving artifacts from the farm.

In one of the more precinct passages of the book, Ms. Ross’s imagines a conversation with Mr. Bush’s that many present day Olympians would find prescient and compelling:

“We need skilled farmers to settle here,” Mr. Bush explained. “Folks are arriving all the time, both by land and sea, and many of them aren’t bothering to farm. They just want to start up a commercial business or work for someone else. If we don’t have farmers, though, who is going to feed them all?”[ii]

It’s a fascinating twist to our local history’s development that we see historical farms returned to their original uses and maybe even optimal uses. The question of highest and best use is of paramount, if not singular concern, in the question of the use of land. Viewed as an income producing asset, one could easily question whether food production is the best use of any parcel of land, although without some land allocated to it somewhere, all such questions are undeniably mooted. Our understanding and appreciation for the toil of those who came before us enriches our lives today and enables us to reconsider some of our preconceptions that we constantly take for granted. Wherever any of us fall on these questions, after reading Konrad and Albertina, I cannot help but conclude that Mr. and Mrs. Bush would have been proud to know that the land they worked continues to feed the descendants of those who Mr. Bush himself generously assisted in settling our community.

* Scroll down in the new window that this link will open to see more sources on and Isabella and George Bush.

[i] Ross, Deborah Jane. Konrad and Albertina. [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, 2009. Print. pp. 68-69

[ii] Ross, p. 69

[iii] Ross, p. 72 while Ross wrote the book as fiction based on actual occurences, the description of the trees in the newspaper is factual.

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Miller: Centennial of the Wilder and White Plan

Centennial of the Wilder and White Plan for Capitol Campus

By: Allen Miller with assistance from Professor Emeritus Norman J. Johnston, Ralph Munro, and Leavitt White

GxOQ903iA century ago, on both coasts of America, the curtain of history was about to go up on a transcontinental drama still being played out today. In the West the setting could be found on a bluff above the muddy tide flats of the Deschutes River in Olympia. In the East the setting was the midtown-Manhattan office of two young architects with a dream and an ambition that propelled them to historic achievement. That dream and achievement involved the design and construction of Washington’s classical and monumental state capitol campus in the style of the City Beautiful movement in 1911.

Of special interest in the Washington drama is the initial, exciting frame of mind of the New York architects Walter Robb Wilder and Harry Keith White. They had started out together on big projects at the New York City firm known as McKim, Mead and White (no relation to Harry). Now in their mid thirties and entering a new partnership, Wilder and White were about to begin their stunning 18 years of service to Washington, one of the youngest states in the Union.

In the spring of 1911 these young partners entered a national competition for the selection of architects to develop a plan for Washington’s proposed capitol campus. In May, Harry White’s overnight note to his bride-to-be, Blossom Randolph in nearby Plainfield, New Jersey, confirmed the spark of this memorable moment:

Have just finished our entry…..We think it’s good

…..very good……classic, eye-catching, a very

sound plan. Worked two nights till 1:30, then

3 A.M. Wednesday to get things just right…….

Had extra time today, before Western mails closed

At six….Got to the counter on time with our best

Effort yet….Now, some rest!

Wilder and White incorporated five design principles into their plan for the State Capitol Campus. These principles include:  (1) the City Beautiful Movement, (2) the Capitol Group of buildings, an unprecedented design of separate legislative, executive, and judicial buildings to look like a singular Capitol building when viewed from Budd Inlet, downtown Olympia, and the Fourth Avenue Bridge, (3) the borrowed landscape of the Olympic Mountains and Budd Inlet to frame the design (4) the northern orientation of the Capitol Group and Campus to Budd Inlet and the Olympics and (5)  a lake to reflect the beautiful buildings on the bluff.

On August 3, 1911 the competition judges and the State Capitol Commission unanimously selected Wilder and White’s proposal as the winning concept for Washington’s new state capitol campus. The New York architects not only captured the crown with their group building plan but also the separate commission to design the first building in the set, the Temple of Justice.

The City Beautiful movement was a Progressive Era land use and architectural design experience of urban renewal, large in scale, rich in detail, and providing a sense of national wealth and power. The 1901-02 McMillan Plan for the National Mall in Washington D.C. exudes the City Beautiful movement with its grand buildings, long viewscapes, and reflecting pools and lakes. Closer to home, the Olmsted Brothers’ plan for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition on the University of Washington Campus with its grand Rainier Vista also encapsulates the City Beautiful movement.

In an August 29, 1911 “Report of Group Plan” to the State Capitol Commission the architects concluded that “a tide lock would form a lake and the whole effect would be visible from most parts of the city as well as from the sound.” This part of the Wilder and White plan was delayed by World War II but became a reality in 1951 with the creation of Capitol Lake. The promenade from the bluff down to Capitol Lake and out to Budd Inlet was constructed in the 1990’s during the first decade of the 21st Century with the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial, the North Capitol Campus Trail, an amphitheater, the Arc of Statehood from the Western Washington Inlet to the Eastern Washington Butte with thirty-nine county commemorative markers, and the City of Olympia’s interactive fountain on the Isthmus.

From the beginning of 1911, it was immediately apparent that the success of the project would depend not just on partners Wilder and White but also on their endless consultations with engineers, a carefully selected sculptor, and numerous vendors. Another crucial element would be the hard work and personal motivation of hundreds of craftsmen. Sparked by the architects’ own inspiration, a responsive feeling grasped the minds of the supporting cast, “the circles of planners and builders” who became focused on the new state project of the Washington State Capitol Campus.

In January 1913 Wilder touched on his own initial thoughts in a short article for Pacific Coast Architect. Said Wilder, in part:

In any state capitol, there is more at issue than

is at once obvious. Far above excellence of detail,

of plan and evaluation is the expression of the dignity

of the state….. it should be characteristic of the

particular state…..Fortunately, Olympia is wonderfully

expressive of the State of Washington. Its location

at the head of Puget Sound, with water and mountains

in every direction, makes it distinctive beyond most

capital cities. What is true of the city is particularly

true of the sites elected for the capitol buildings themselves.

The problem is to preserve [and enhance] this expression……Olympia being the state capital, the people

of the whole state are vitally concerned…..public

opinion should be aroused to protect [the new

monumental structures}.


The architects’ dedication to their Washington project was certainly challenged in the next decade. The initial decision was to build the first unit, the Temple of Justice, “in brick,” leaving its sandstone exterior facing till the end. World War I and economic problems intervened. Half a dozen years passed before the classical judicial building was finished. In this period, the source of quality sandstone was established at the Walker Cut Stone Company in nearby Tacoma. Walker’s key quarry was in Wilkeson, a coal-mining town near Mount Rainier.

In the 1920’s one of Walker’s senior craftsmen was a stone carver named Alexander McKenzie Munro. Having been born in Scotland, at age 13 he grabbed the chance to become an apprentice stonecutter on the Scottish Castle in Beauly. Then, as a new journeyman at 19, he bonded with a group of young Scots coming to America “to build a better life.” The Scots were recruited to work on the new Texas capitol, but they backed off when labor problems developed. After stone jobs in Kansas and Denver, they headed for Seattle. There in 1889 the catastrophic “Big Fire” spelled opportunity.

When in his 50’s Alex Munro joined the Walker Cut Stone Company to work on the Washington State Capitol project, his stone carving kits included a remarkable 600 chisels, mallets, and various specialty tools. His most important assets, however, were his know-how and his leadership gathered from long years in the trade. Alex was at the apex of his career as a stone carver, superbly ready for the grandest, most honorable and most distinctive project he had ever seen. He would be capping his active years by working on the Washington State Capitol.

In the 1920’s a dramatic variety of carvings was specified for the structure. Every day, as Munro worked on the ornate stone petals and figures-90 feet or more above ground he knew what a unique “margin of excellence” was going into this classical structure. So it was this craftsman and his colleagues who produced the fine decorative carvings and helped stamp the Legislative Building with a unique mark. For generations of Washingtonians that “margin of excellence” has reinforced the capitol’s character and quality while also helping to define the state’s ever-evolving democracy.

There’s more to the Alexander McKenzie Munro story. On Bainbridge Island he and his Scottish wife raised ten children. In due course came grandchildren, including a grandson named Ralph. He had arrived in 1943, seven years after Alexander Munro died; but Ralph grew up hearing a good deal about his special grandfather. Ralph, of course, grew up to serve in the great capitol building his grandfather helped build as Washington’s Secretary of State.

Through the years, the state capitol campus has built its own constituency. Countless generations of legislators, their staffs, plus a flood of temporary student pages have been gripped by the thrill of working in and around this classical structure. “This is one cool building and landscape!” exclaims almost every new young page walking the corridors and the park-like setting between the buildings. Statewide officials and their staffs have come under the same spell. They revere the marble halls, the towering dome, the feeling of grandeur, and the magnificent view across Capitol Lake to Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains beyond. It’s a feeling shared by the Olympia community, even the news media, and certainly by the guides who host tourists. Also in the limelight in recent decades: the dramatic increase in student visitors who have found new opportunities to learn about government from the hometown legislators, often with an informal bag lunch on the indoor capitol steps and finding their home-county marker along the Arc of Statehood adjacent to Capitol Lake in the North Campus. It’s an educational experience etched in the minds of young people all across Washington.

In the 1950’s, 30 years after Wilder and White finished their project, architect Harry White took up his own vacation tours of the capitol. He joined his close friend and former associate, Jay Johnston, who had represented the New York architects in Olympia during construction days. Revisiting the legislative chambers and chatting with current government leaders, they saw the fulfillment of the early State Capitol Commission’s dreams. In the 1920’s Wilder and White and Jay Johnston had reached with hope and daring to build a dynamic monument to state democracy. Now Harry White and Jay Johnston delighted in the pride they observed everywhere. The “magic” was still in the air!

Another 30 years later Jay Johnston’s son, Professor Norman J. Johnston, was a leading educator in architecture and urban planning at the University of Washington when he decided to research and tell the capitol’s story. In his 1988 authoritative history, Washington’s Audacious State Capitol and Its Builders, Professor Johnston captured the flavor and reality of how the state came to build its remarkable capitol campus.

Johnston’s penetrating study developed fascinating facts. On one point he was very direct: “In contrast to similar efforts in other states, the history of the Legislative Building project was free of scandal…..” In prior years, as Johnston knew, this taint of corruption had been part and parcel of state capitol construction in other states.

In 1911, when the bold project had first been approved, the population of the entire state barely exceeded 800,000. The Legislative Building and other core campus structures in Olympia were funded by timber revenues from the original 1889 federal land grants to the state. No state taxpayer dollars were used.

During the last one hundred years, the Campus has survived three earthquakes and has expanded as envisioned by Wilder and White to include Capitol Lake and the North Capitol Campus Heritage Park. We have much to celebrate as we approach August 3, 2011, the centennial of the adoption of the greatest land use plan for our State Capital City. We need to be ever-vigilant to preserve, protect, and perfect the great Wilder and White plan on its 100th birthday and thereafter.

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Ross: The Loft on Cherry

Burgers, Beats and Brew: The Loft on Cherry

by  Deborah Ross

Driving down Legion Way towards downtown Olympia on most evenings, you may notice the strings of colorful lights inside the second story of the building at the corner of Legion and Cherry Street. In the daytime, you will spot the freshly painted sign Olympia Knitting Mills on its side. Welcome to the historic Olympia Knitting Mills building, now home to Fish Brewing Company and The Loft on Cherry events and performance space. The building, listed on the National Register, has seen an amazing diversity of uses over its 90 year history, and many have literally left their mark on its walls.

Olympia Knitting Mills began its life as the Washington Knitting Mills in Seattle, changing its name to the Olympia Knitting Mills in 1909 and moving to downtown Olympia.  The company was organized by Sol Myers, a former Seattle resident; upon incorporation in Olympia, Myers drew in several prominent local businessmen, including downtown merchants Mitchel Harris and George Mottman, as investors.

After incorporation in Olympia, the mill rapidly expanded and by 1911 boasted 21 knitting machines and 38 employees and outgrowing its original space. Local historian Shanna Stevenson notes that many employees were women, some of them officers in the union organized at the Mills.knitting_mills_working_crew

In 1911, the Carlyon Fill created several new  blocks in and around downtown Olympia,  and eliminated the Swantown Slough, which had divided downtown from the east side of Olympia. Completion of the Fill allowed the mill to move to its present location in 1913. Workers would have been able to take the Olympia Light and Power trolley from as far away as West Olympia and Tumwater, down Fourth Avenue to Cherry Street, and walk the short two blocks to the mill. After work, they could take in a show at the Olympia Opera House just a couple of blocks away, or stroll through the paths and gardens of Sylvester Park during their lunch breaks.

girl w/ sweater

The Mills produced annual catalogues, featuring photographs by local photographer Vibert Jeffers who used local citizens as models, including children and teenagers sporting letter sweaters, sportswear, mittens and coats. One regular child model, shown at left, was the son of local physician Nathaniel Redpath. Another was Olympia High School student athlete Alvin Crowne, shown here wearing an Olympia High School football sweater. (The State Capitol Museum collection at the Washington  State Historical Society in Tacoma has several of these catalogues; descriptions and, in some cases, scanned images of the photos in the catalogues, as well as the Kay Darling pictures described below are available for viewing on line.)ym_knitted

Olympia Knitting Mills shipped its products all over the world, as far away as China.

During World War I, with materials in short supply, the factory languished, but then resumed full production in the 1920s. The company produced the Wil-White brand of swimsuit, rivaling Portland’s Jantzen label. Olympia High School student Kay Darling produced a series of dazzling watercolors displaying the rich colors and variety of styles available. This was an era where swimming as a recreational activity was very popular, with huge indoor “natatoria” (swimming pools) in many towns and cities; and the suits were in national demand.

watercolorIn 1929 the current two-story side of the U-shaped complex was added extending between Jefferson and Cherry Street along Legion Way. The building has tall bay windows along the long (Legion) side of the building at both levels, which provided ample daylighting for workers at their machinery. The one-story office annex, designed by famed architect Joseph Wohleb, was built around the same time.

In 1939, Olympia Knitting Mills closed its doors, for reasons undocumented in local accounts, but possibly related to the Depression and the advent of cheap competition.

The building did not remain vacant for long. During World War II, the space was used to manufacture aircraft parts and later used to manufacture jigs for plywood patches.

In the late 1940s, “serious” manufacturing gave way to fun, as the upstairs space started being used as an entertainment venue. According to local chronicler Matthew Green,

“By the 1940s, the second floor of the building, with its vast 6,500 square-foot open space and hardwood floor, had become a teenage dance hall. Known as the Bear’s Den, it hosted proms and other events for Olympia High School (the only high school in Olympia at the time).

hobo_cartoon“The dancers had to, of course, paint their names for posterity. ‘Dobbsie,’ ‘Spud,’ ‘Johnny L.,’ and ‘Macky’ are just a few of the many who made their mark, literally, on the walls, crossbeams, pipes, and anywhere else there was space to write. Other students preferred to paint pictures – of bears, cartoon ducks, dancing teens, and one cool dude standing next to a jukebox.

“[Loft on Cherry Manager Tim] Smith has found names with associated dates from 1941 through 1949. The freshman of the Class of 1950 are also represented, though apparently they never got to dance there as seniors. By 1950, the Bear’s Den was gone.”

In the 1980s, music again rang out from the second story, as legendary “K” records founder Calvin Johnson made the space into a recording studio, complete with outdoor sounds filtering in and adding a special local character to the recordings. Kurt Cobain, Beck and others were regular visitors, even sleeping in the space overnight from time to time. Matthew Green continues:

“Like the Bear’s Den, K Records is memorialized on the walls, in the form of a large K within a shield (the record company logo) and the names of people who played or worked there. Or celebrated their wedding there: “Jay T + Nikki Jan 1 2002” commemorates the occasion for local artist Nikki McClure and still-husband Jay T. Scott.”

In the early 1990s, Fish Tale Brewing Company started up a small brewery operation across the street from the Olympia Knitting Mills building and became almost an overnight success. Soon, the company purchased the Knitting Mills building and used the downstairs space for storage and brewing. But the upstairs space was unused, until Tim Smith, having recently left a job at the Department of Fish and Wildlife, came along in 2006 and found the space vacant. He persuaded Fish Brewing to allow him to lease out the space, at reduced rates, for local groups.  Today the space is rented out almost nightly, providing regular practice space for such organizations as Samba Olywa, event opportunities for nonprofit organizations, and parties. The original floor, graffiti, and water powered elevator (now no longer functional) are still in place.samba_dance

Recently, Fish has notified the community that it plans to remove the original second floor, in order to expand its storage capabilities in the building. Along with several other local organizations, the Olympia Historical Society’s membership voted at its annual meeting to let the company know that it has appreciated Fish Tale’s generosity in making the space available for arts events, as well as providing precious local access to an important slice of local history; and that it hopes the space may continue to be made available.

Historical photographs by special arrangement with Washington State Historical  Society (click on a photo for a hyperlink to larger view at WSHS website); Samba Olywa practice photo and “hobo” graffiti courtesy of the author. Quotes from Matthew Green article by permission.


Matthew Green article at Olympia Power & Light
Fish Brewing
The Loft on Cherry
Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Historic Property Inventory Report
K Records

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Bret: Living with the Pioneers

Living with the Pioneers

by Elizabeth Bret with photographs from her personal collection,

When I was asked to write about what it  was like living with the Percivals I wasn’t sure how to begin.  I was six years old when we left Santa Monica, my mother driving me and  my 15 year old brother Ross  in our car stuffed with our possessions up to my grandparents house on Water Street. It was 1931. My grandmother had visited us several times in California.  She had told me stories of Olympia and my grandfather and I was excited to see  “Grandmama” again and to meet  “Granddaddy” for the first time .

My great grandfather, Captain Sam W. Percival, had forsaken the sea in 1853 to become an entrepreneur of several businesses in the new little town.  When my grandfarther  John Percival was  16 he was put in  charge of running one of them, the  Percival’s dock, which he did for the rest of his life. But that is another story. Another sea captain from England, Charles Grainger, had settled in Olympia around the same time. His daughter, Elizabeth, was my grandmother. John and Elizabeth had two daughters, my aunt Marjorie and my mother Lorraine.


As we drove up to the curb in front of the house on Water Street, between 16th and 17th, both grandparents came out to greet us along with a bald man who my mother seemed to know. He was introduced as Mr. Rankin.  It was many years later my brother told me the Rankins had been  friends of my grandparents.  Mrs. Rankin had died and my grandparents had  invited him to stay with them until he resettled. As it turned out he stayed for thirty years until he died a few years after we arrived on the scene.

My grandfather looked exactly like the pictures I see of him today.  Always dressed in a suit  with a rather high starched shirt collar and often a bow tie.  His thick steel grey hair parted in the middle, topped a kindly face.  I started babbling to him and following him around the house when my grandmother told me that he was deaf and could not hear me.   I soon learned  If I shouted he could hear me and he could hear if adults spoke loudly.  In those days hearing aids were monstrous  ineffective contrivances.

My grandmother had the erect posture of the Victorian woman. How one walked  was a judging point in her eyes. An accolade for someone would be “She has beautiful carriage.”  Because I was tall she was constantly admonishing me for any sign of slumping   She resembled the Queen Mother Mary of England, grandmother of the current Queen.  I’m sure she was aware of it.  She wore the small pillbox style hats Queen Mary wore.   Her long white hair swept up in a French twist at  the back of her head. intensified her sparkling blue eyes.   I have a picture of her in her early nineties still standing tall and straight in her black suit and the pill box hat, looking very formidable although she was only about five foot five.


Mrs John Percival  in her late eighties

Mrs John Percival  in her late eighties


We quickly adjusted to the household routine.  Every morning Granddaddy would  put on his hat and swinging his cane would go for a jaunty walk down Capitol Way to the dock.  At lunchtime he would go to the Olympia Oyster House for his favorite oyster stew.  In the late afternoon he would take the bus back (uphill) and first thing  would open a can of salmon to feed his cat, Smokey. Can you imagine! Occasionally on Fridays he would come home with a bucket of Olympia oysters for our dinner. After dinner he would play solitaire at the dining room table. Later he would teach me to play checkers on the chess table.  I wasn’t very good and he would chuckle as he won the game.



Capt. Sam W. Percival House Taken 8-8-1888 at 8 o’clock

My brother, who loved boats, went with him often to his office, the  walls of which were completely covered with photos of various ships.   My brother had worked months building a scale model of Old Ironsides. the USS Constitution.  My grandfather took it to his office and  Noyes Talcott, a friend of my mother’s, displayed it in his jewelry shop window when the famous ship came to Olympia on its world tour.


Grandmama  began working on my manners which weren’t up to her standards yet and soon had me visit her friend Mrs. Lord up the street a few blocks to “the Lord Mansion” (the current state capitol museum) to test out the manners lesson.         “Remember when she comes in the room, you stand up and don’t sit down until she does. When I introduce you you say how do you do, Mrs. Lord” .and look at her face.  After passing that, table manners came next. First the cutlery and when to use it and other esoteric skills, such as  slicing off the top of a soft boiled egg in an egg cup.  To this day I  can put a Samurai to shame with my egg topping.

Mrs. Lord’s daughter lived in California so I apparently substituted for her grand daughter.  She would occasionally invite me to stay the night especially on Hallowe’en when she opened her house to all children to come in and perform…. dance, recite something, play the piano, whatever.  Any effort was rewarded with a small present –mostly candy.  In the summer time she would move to her summer house near Butler’s Cove just south of the Country Club. Once my grandmother and I were invited for dinner and I was to spend the night.  After dessert  her maid carried  in  a silver tray with one stick of gum on it for Mrs. Lord.  I was not allowed to chew gum so this was impressive but Grandmama explained the doctor had prescribed it for her digestion.


The ‘Darning Club” met on a regular basis. The women had been friends since young brides.  Besides Mrs. Lord was Mrs. Ingham, Mrs. Mills (Mills Funeral Home) Mrs. Bridges, and several others whose names I cannot remember.  They would meet at each others houses and have lunch and then darn or sew and chat away the afternoon.  On the days  Grandmama was hostess Granddaddy left earlier than usual and I played outside with the kids from the neighborhood..  However I was expected to come in  and speak to each of the ladies.  I remember once they were discussing a book , “Oil for the Lamps of China.”

When the  club met in a house on the bay I was always invited to come too and go swimming and bring a friend.  If the house wasn’t within walking distance  Mrs. Lord, who had a chauffeur named Ben, would pick us up.  Grandmama also played bridge with some other ladies  on a regular basis.  Through the prism of childhood it seems life in those days was more leisurely.  The depression was the reason  given for my not having some things I dearly wanted…..a Shirley Temple doll, a bike, otherwise I wasn’t aware of the turmoil in the country . The occasional “tramp” (today we call them homeless)  would appear asking for food and my grandmother would fix a sack lunch for him. We never saw “tramps” otherwise. They kept to the woods and the railroad tracks.  Once a very old lady came to the door selling packages of needles for ten cents.  My grandmother was very distressed about that.

Grandmama wasn’t  a great cook.  When my mother was growing up their home had been somewhere where the capitol grounds are today. They had a Chinese man named Toy who did the cooking and a lot of other things. But he had gone back to China “to die.”  So we had English fare…..roast beef or lamb and lots of peas with mint sauce and creamed potatoes.

After my mother moved to Seattle  I spent every school vacation with my grandparents until in high school when I had a summer job.  My brother meanwhile at age 17 had shipped out on a Luckenbach merchant ship helped by my grandfather and was gone for a year. As the war built up he became a merchant seaman,

There were a number of items in the house, a chest, some chairs and the piano  with red satin behind the delicate wooden carving on the front which had “come around the horn,”which meant they had come by ship around South America from   Massachusetts, from Captain Sam’s and Lurana’s  home.   It had great significance to them.  I started piano lessons from Mrs. Partlow and I practiced and practiced on that piano. It was sadly out of tune.  Granddaddy  had been in the Olympia Band as a young man and had been  quite a musician so was lucky to be deaf  and not suffer the twanging.  But not deaf enough apparently.  One vacation I came back and he had tuned the piano and was so pleased I  had noticed, when I shouted “thank you for fixing the piano!” As a footnote I ended up with the piano in California and kept it in storage until the owner of Denny’s Restaurants bought  it since he was a collector of antique musical instruments.

On Thursday  Grandaddy  would leave after dinner and go to the movie theater downtown. They had hearing impaired devices of some sort and they had a game, maybe Bingo, which  he played. I don’t recall his ever winning anything.

On Sunday my grandmother would take me with her as she walked to the  Episcopal Church which was where the current Baptist Church is now I believe.  She always sat in  “the Percival pew” which was next to the window with a brass plaque  honoring Sam’s wife Lurana.

There were two things I can think of that totally upset my Grandmother. One was the tearing down of the original Sam W. Percival home at the east end of 4th Street Bridge in 1937. It had even once served as the temporary Governor’s manse.  And the other was newspaper stories about Wallis Simpson who was marrying the Prince of Wales. She never spoke her name, only referring to her as “that woman” for ever more.

As W.W. II was developing overseas, my grandparents would sit by the radio (my grandfather cupping his ear) after dinner, in order to hear Edward R. Murrow reporting from London  with the sounds of the bombs dropping  in the distance and  in his sonorous voice …”and that’s it from London, good night and good luck”.


I wish I knew so much more about my grandparents.  If only I could ask those questions today. Therefore  my memories are from conversations overheard. One was how Sam Percival had been logging on Squaxin Island for his mill at Tumwater and had fallen from a tree breaking  his leg.  The Indians had bundled him up in a blanket and paddled him home by canoe , bringing him up to the house and unrolling the blanket on the floor.

Once I heard them speak about Lurana Percival’s  walk across the isthmus of Panama when returning to Olympia from  Massachusetts. Her sister had died in childbirth.  Lurana, carrying the newborn baby, chose to cut out the arduous five month trip around the horn and  instead rode a mule and walked  through the jungles and heat to catch a boat on the other coast.  But that  too, is another story.

Another  was about the time Grandmama and her two daughters were  on the steamship,The Queen, when it caught fire off  the entrance to the Columbia River. It was February 1904.They were returning home from a trip to California.  Everyone was ordered off the ship but my grandmother refused and stayed in their cabin until the captain came to her and said “Mrs Percival, I will charge you with mutiny unless you leave the ship.”  The daughter of a ship’s captain understood that and they went to the lifeboats.  As luck would have it the boat tipped over as it was being lowered throwing them all in the water.  As they clung to an oar for quite some time in the icy water my grandmother admonished the two girls to stop crying and to act with  bravery. Obviously they were rescued but fourteen others were not so lucky


My grandfather died at age 82 in 1942. It was only then after reading the editorial in the Daily Olympian dedicated to my grandfather that I realized who the Percivals were and the part they played in the development of Olympia. It mentioned the honor and integrity of those days when contracts were sealed with a handshake and the part John Percival and the Percival dock had played in the history of Olympia along with the other early pioneers. There were more stories about him in the Marine Magazines calling him “the Dean of the Sound.”  While reading old books and papers I have come to admire the toughness and fortitude, the character and ethics of those early citizens who created “our town.”

After several years my grandmother sold the house and went to live in Los Angeles with my aunt Marjorie and came home to Olympia in the summers  to  the Olympian Hotel traveling back and forth on a Greyhound bus.   There were still some of the Darning Club left .  We exchanged letters weekly and she would write of an active social life going to a “sherry tea” or  luncheons .

I lived in California then and luckily my children had a chance to know their beloved “GiGi,”  now in her early nineties.   She came to visit us often  and always arrived bringing  gingerbread men from  Van de Camp’s bakery. She continued to read and keep up with the news. Our friends enjoyed her company. We would ask her to stay and linger longer  but she would go back to L.A. saying she wouldn’t outstay her welcome.   She died in L.A. in 1962 at age 98.

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Goforth: Home Again in Olympia

By J. Pennelope Goforth

Everyone looks so much younger, the trees grown much taller, and there’s acres more development. These are a few of the things I noticed when I returned to Olympia after years of travel and living in Mexico, Canada, and Alaska. I wondered if I would feel at home again here. Altered yet still recognizable, Olympia 2009 retains the quaint rain forest town atmosphere of Olympia 1972 when I first called it home.

A young single mother of two toddlers I arrived in the spring of 1972 dressed in my Seattle city garb: a polyester dress, platform sandals and post 60s bouffy hair. A student at Seattle Community College on Broadway I had come at a girlfriend’s suggestion to check out transferring to a new innovative college located in Olympia. Each weekday I boarded the half-empty bus from West Seattle to downtown, worked through the morning work rush hour from First Avenue to Third and Union where I transferred to a standing room only trolley for the brief ride to Capitol Hill.

The college occupied several buildings along Broadway, the largest being the venerable old stone Broadway High School on the corner of Broadway and East Pine Street. My head was spinning from the typical college regimen of an hour of algebra on Tuesdays and Thursday followed by an hour of Medieval Literature then Macro Economics. Monday and Wednesdays began with work study in the library and ended with English. I felt like I was in a knowledge processing factory flitting from one discontinuous task to another in the ancient bowels of the 1902 stone colossus. My friends talk of independent study contracts with a single advisor within a coherent topical field in a modern new campus in the woods outside of West Olympia sounded like the Promised Land.

But first I had to find it. On a sunny spring-break day, leaving the children with my mother and lunch packed by my grandmother, I started out on a fact-finding mission that was to change my life forever. Driving the nearly new I-5 was the easy part; past the spacious Nisqually Valley nothing but Douglas firs, cedar, cottonwoods and maples ruled the landscape on either side of the smooth four lane highway. One nod to civilization on the top of the hill was the aromatic landfill with flocks of wheeling seagulls.

Taking the Capitol Way exit into downtown Olympia I entered pioneer Washington: old-world two and three storey buildings from the Victorian Era lined the main business street; a lawn of green grass sporting great trunked trees was dwarfed by a massive stone building that proclaimed ‘government’; and the ever present threat of left-turning fully loaded logging truck trailed black diesel plumes through the town. In my 20-something mind, gone the hustle of city life, eased was the anxiety of freeway driving. I had entered the 25 mile an hour zone. Which was a good thing as most of the downtown and dock was lined with delightfully decorated storefronts. Most of the short town site blocks were unified across the various shops by a curiously long awning extending over the sidewalk.

Meandering about the town looking for the signs to the college I saw The Spar, the Brown Derby, the food coop, Radiance, Yardbirds, local mercantile stores, the charming run down port with half rotted buildings seeping back into the waters at high tide. Turned around on the one-way streets for about 20 minutes I came upon 4th Avenue and headed over the bridge to West Olympia. I slowed to a crawl to take in a spectacular view of the capitol building on the south reflected in a peaceful lake and the snowy ridge tops of the Olympic Mountains just visible in the north above the blue, blue waters of Budd Inlet.

As I attempted to follow the few signs to The Evergreen State College, West Olympia appeared on a plateau at the top of the hill above the inlet: mostly a residential suburb neatly populated with Washington’s signature wooden clapboard two story houses. Spacious porches, carved wood lattice-work at the corners, lots of yard with a profusion of flowering rhododendrons and lilacs perfuming the air. A few churches, a cluster of stores behind a two-pump gas station and, oddly enough, a music store, Yenney’s lined Harrison Street. A series of wrong turns beginning on Kaiser Road led me deep into the forest again, second growth forest with few houses but lots of farms and time silvered cedar barns.

Another wrong but charming turn down rural Black Lake Road through more endless forest interrupted by farmland, sometimes cows and horses grazing in open fields. Surely it can’t be this far out I thought, turning south, then west again in a circle back to Harrison where a small pub house stood on the left; wooden somewhat dilapidated but obviously popular by the line of logging trucks and pick ups parked out front. Finally a sign to Evergreen Parkway on the right turned into a single lane winding through the forest for some miles ending in a smallish parking lot with construction-fresh clear cut around it. From there it was a short walk on a roughed out path that dramatically ended in Red Square. Somewhat at variance with the wildness of the forest a group of poured concrete buildings, mottled with the knot holes of the plywood forms guarded the red-bricked square. A blocky unadorned very tall clock tower presided over all. Only the absence of a flag pole flying the red, white and blue indicated this was not a military fortification. Among the raw excavated piles of earth yet to be landscaped several grassy areas peppered with spring fevered students lying about in the afternoon sun softened the scene.

I won’t say it was love at first sight, but the place, like the moss on the trees thriving in the rain, it became my home for the next seven years while I lived in various places between the college and the train stop of Tenino. Following graduation and a stint as a groundskeeper for the Thurston County School District, I left for the king crabbing grounds of the Bering Sea in 1978. I was not to return to Olympia for just over 30 years.

A half a lifetime later. It doesn’t seem like much in historical perspective where the trees grow for a few hundred years, the mountains a few thousand, and the tides run eternally. I returned in the spring of 2009 to visit with my daughter, Jessica, who had just graduated that winter from Evergreen. But like my very first trip, first I had to find her.

I left Seattle on my own this time, both my mother and grandmother passed on, only the strong memories of their motherly spirits now accompanying me. The Pacific Northwest had changed superficially over the years: millions more people now lived here altering countryside and the once individual towns all along the I-5 corridor. A corridor no longer through the grand forests but through strip malls, housing developments, shopping centers, 4-story high neon casino signs, and big box store complexes… all the way down from Seattle. In Tacoma the odious stack of the mill was gone. Now the Puyallup tidelands spiked with orange and white gantry cranes. I recognized the state green and white signs for Fort Lewis and its doppelganger, No Fort Lewis. Then the familiar mossy stone train trestle that marked the gateway to Olympia, crossing the wide, mostly unchanged, Nisqually Valley.

Once over the hill I noticed the landfill must have filled up after all this time and been filled in itself. Across Martin Road, it seemed as if as if I were on my way home but someone had relandscaped while I was gone—and it was not pretty. I got stuck in an off ramp only lane by a FedEx truck and ended up on College Road, then somehow turned around on the unfamiliar welter of shops on Lacey Boulevard then circled around to Ruddle Road. We had once lived on Ruddle Road on several acres of land there with a field, huge garden and outbuildings just north of a pond called Southwick. While I didn’t think the old farmhouse we lived in would still be there, I didn’t expect that the entire area—both sides of the road— would be blanketed in cheap-looking development housing; with so many for rent and for sale signs I wondered why they had been built to begin with. The only charm left on that stretch down memory lane for me was the towering rows of evergreens creating a sheltered passage, dappled green in the afternoon sun.

The once rural two-lane road that was the Yelm Highway and Ruddle [Ruddell] Road had been lined with family farm houses, barns and cattle, gardens and fields of strawberries and Christmas tree farms. Now it morphed into one and two-story housing developments and big box stores.

Of course one of our first outings together was to the Evergreen campus, now the alma mater of both mother and daughter. We stopped downtown for a late lunch. I suggested the Spar Cafe, for old time’s sake, when I spotted it. The Spar I recalled was a popular greasy spoon ‘truck stop’ for loggers and truck drivers as well as the locals. But she said that it had new ownership, a gentrified remodel and the food wasn’t that great. It seemed most of the eateries, spaced between the equally numerous coffee shops, were an ethnic blend of Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Italian. The familiar buildings seemed rundown a bit with a brightly painted mural here and there among the many empty storefronts with for lease signs. A young grunge-looking populace walked the tree-lined streets, sitting outside at coffee houses, or browsing 2nd hand book and clothing stores. They resembled the hippies of the 1960s sporting tattoos and neon hair. An antique dealer cluttered up the sidewalk with rickety old wooden chairs and racks of tattered finery on just about every block. Even one of my other favorite restaurants, The Brown Derby—where legislators, aides and lobbyists sat at the long breakfast bar with the hippies from TESC—had been transformed into a ‘junque’ shop. Still, old Mr. Schoenfeld’s furniture store and the aromatic Radiance herbal and massage place—a shocker for the more staid Olympians when it first opened in the early 1970s—along with the timeless YMCA and the theater on 5th Avenue held fast; remnants of a time of family-owned and operated businesses when you knew the people who ran the store and sharing news was as much a part of running errands as was the shopping. That spirit seemed alive and thriving as my daughter did exactly that with the clerks at Radiance and the waiter at the hole in the wall restaurant. We had Pacific Northwest comfort food: a fresh grilled salmon sandwich that told me home is where you can get your favorite food.

We stopped at the artesian well to fill her water container; it’s now surrounded by garish yellow concrete blocks and a black painted wall mural in a Diamond Parking lot in the middle of town. Then onto a quick drive through of the port area north of downtown. It seems the heart of serious shopping in Olympia has moved to a gentrified farmers market and the surrounding new shopping buildings. The old food co-op is gone but another tightly packed natural foods marketplace now perches on a hill above Pacific Street. Some of the industrial lumber ways and sawmills that once flourished on the gradually filled in tide flats north of downtown have given way to a marine park called Swantown with the nearly identical looking boat repair yard that I recalled. It also sported a new maritime version of a gated community with locked fences across catwalks down to the fingers of an upscale marina packed with $100,000+ sailboats and yachts fronted by a spacious parking lot. On the other side of the lot several desultory stacks of logs waited for shipment to China. Lumber was big business when I lived here; tramp steamers dating from WWII commonly docked at Olympia taking on cargos of lumber for the voracious market in Japan. Yardbirds with its huge silly yellow and black fowl perched on the building’s roof is gone now. Home Depot and Lowe’s rule here as elsewhere but they don’t evoke the same smile as the Bird. Several seriously nice looking apartment buildings, one for seniors, are now part of a new kind of pleasant urban neighborhood with nearby restaurants, coffee shops and a bakery or two. Sylvester’s Landing and the long new promenade area spanning almost the whole eastern side of the West Bay make for a pleasant walk and festival venue for the many reasons to party that Olympians are known for. (What else do rain forest dwellers do other than delve into history, read, or go to school?)

On our way across the bridge to West Olympia I was glad my daughter was at the wheel. She expertly navigated the roundabouts that looked dangerous to me. I recalled the S-curves at the bottom of that hill. I barely recognized Harrison but for Yenney’s Music and the kernel of the shopping empire that started as The Westside Shopping Mall. As we drove along Cooper Point Road we talked about our respective programs at Evergreen; her’s was psychology and mine had been a blend of media studies, physics and what then called New Age stuff like Kirlian Photography. She attended the day care center on campus that also served as an excellent Early Childhood Learning contract program. Memories of those years flooded our conversation as we pulled into the parking area. Large fluffy cedars had taken over the gravelly mounds of earth that were left in the construction wake when I first arrived.

When we got to Red Square, large native evergreens had grown up around the then bare concrete buildings softening their presence. As in other springs, students filled the many more grassy spaces enjoying the warmth of the afternoon. Even the stark clock tower seemed somewhat domesticated by the verdant greenery. The only jarring note in the natural symphony was the discordant, tortured looking trees in front of the library building. Stunted poufs of greenery capped the cut off bare stylized branches grown out of trunks with scabrous patchy looking skin. It hurt to look at them. Like the freeze-deformed spruces of Southcentral Alaska, I had the urge to put them out of their misery. They made the post-construction site ambience of my first view seem sweet, especially as it was accompanied by the gradual reclamation of the native shrubs and trees over the happy years I spent here. My daughter rolled her eyes and muttered about the ongoing controversy over the forcibly malformed trees.

We wandered around the buildings on the footpaths through the woods that are now paved, stopped at The Store, temporarily housed in a portable on the back side of a building—some things never change. Strolling through the CAB, I felt again the comfort of being in a familiar and loved place, a place that had become homey through usage and memories of camaraderie and the excitement of semester registrations. I could see in the animated faces in the ebb and flow of students and faculty around us in the foyer that the spirit of innovation and enterprise that magnetized liberal students in the post-1960s still resided here.

Jessica and I, ambled contentedly along a curving path between campus buildings. Happy in the company of my daughter, sated on local salmon, comfortable on the changing but familiar streets of Olympia, sheltered beneath the growing canopy of the rain forest, and awash in pleasant recollections I realized that I had, indeed, found my way home again, in so many ways. Just when I thought it doesn’t get much better than this, with a significant smile Jessica took me to a magical place I’d never seen before and didn’t even know existed: the Longhouse. I stood in awe at the door in front of the larger than life carving of a Native tribeswoman: her open, upturned hands extended in welcome. I felt well and truly welcomed home.

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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.



Various federal, state and territorial census.

Internet, City of Olympia’s Historic Places.

Internet, Monticello Convenstion Commemoration, Calvin Henry Hale.

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Olsen and Fenske: The History and Memories of Priest Point Park


By Winnifred Olsen and Lois Fenske


Priest Point Park, located about a mile north of downtown Olympia, has a colorful history. The forested area and beach were once the site of an Indian village. Then came the European and American explorers, fur trappers and American settlers in 1845 and 1846. In 1848 an Oblate Catholic mission, which lasted until 1860, was established on the site . Developers took over for many years with big dreams that finally fizzled by the turn of the century. In 1905, the City of Olympia resolved the real estate controversy and purchased 240 acres and a mile of waterfront for a public park. Local residents rallied to donate labor to clear pathways and build a park – a family park for all ages to enjoy.


Then, and now, no admission was charged to use the park – a rarity, indeed.

The Family

My family, the L. E. Castle family, have been life-time users of Priest Point Park. I cherish early childhood memories of going to the park, special memories of grade school days, as a teenager, a young parent, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.

In my youth we lived on the Eastside near the Washington School. On some summer evenings, but mostly on Sundays, we would drive to the park to play on the swings and slides, visit the zoo, the beach and, perhaps, roast a hot dog in one of the open cement stoves.

Dad would push my sister and me on the tall “big kids” swings. We could go much higher than on the swing hanging from the apple tree in our back yard. We also enjoyed the green painted wooden gliders that swung more sedately back and forth. We often had to stand in line to use the covered gliders – everyone wanted a ride – mothers even sought them to soothe their babies.

Are any left today? Yes – carefully hidden – painted brown.

The Zoo

We loved to visit the zoo, which was located on the south side of the park, at the foot of a slight decline. A row of wooden pens housed a variety of animals – changing from year to year. There were wolves, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, deer and several bigger animals. I believe one summer there was a live bear on exhibit.

The most memorable animals, of course, were the peacocks! No one can talk about Priest Point Park without first commenting on the many peacocks that roamed throughout the park. There were always Oh’s and Ah’s when one of them opened up its tail feathers to form a beautiful fan. There would be contests and “show-offs” who couldn’t resist trying to imitate the shrill “cry” of the peacocks. A most unique sound to mimic.

The Beach

As youngsters we begged to go down to the beach to wade, to look for shells and unusual rocks – especially, flat, smooth, round rocks for dad to “skip” across the gentle waves. He also taught us about the tides.

Early Users

Before we were the “Castle family,” my parents and their generation obviously enjoyed the park. Somewhere in my photo collection there is a snapshot of my dad on a horse in the park (1915). Standing nearby were his brothers and their spouses dressed in their Sunday-best suits and hats!

Dad loved the park. On his last outing, before his death, he rested on an army cot beside Kitchen 3 and using his former logging experiences identified the various species of old growth trees towering above him for all of us to enjoy.

The Swimming “Hole”

In my grade school days (1928-30) we had several class hikes to the park from Washington School –duly chaperoned. Not chaperoned, about 8th grade, were a couple of visits to the Priest Point Park “swimming hole.” A narrow dirt road wound off East Bay Drive to a pond created by a little creek. The water draining into the bay was dirty, dirty! There was no place to change clothes. Not brave enough to dress in the bushes or tall grass, we must have worn our swimsuits to the park. Anyway, the “hole” didn’t last long. By high school, we chose to go to the local lakes.

The Kiwanis Feed and other Big Group Picnics

My uncle, F. Ray Klumb, founder of the Capitol City Creamery, lived in the last brick house before the park entrance. Each summer he put on a big “clam feed” for his fellow Kiwanis members. One year, my sister, Dottie, and I got to help his son, Harold, haul huge tubs of steaming clams from their house to the park in an old Dodge touring car. We felt special to be a part of the event. The food was served on the big long tables set in permanent rows under the tall trees in the main part of the park. For years, many fraternal organizations, businesses, and families counted on these tables for their annual celebrations.

Hanging near these tables were the “notorious” rings. Men of all ages would challenge each other like “toreadors at a bullfight,” betting to see who could last the longest or go the farthest, hand over hand on the equipment.

Long gone, the rings and tables. The area is serene. Individual tables are scattered under the same trees making a more romantic setting.


After covered kitchens were built, smaller picnic groups have vied for the convenience of sinks, running water, and a roof for shelter from rain. Groups sent out a scout to hold down tables for their picnic. Happily, today, part of the anxiety about securing a favorite spot is relieved. Reservations at four of the kitchens can be made in advance.

The Trails

Every summer my sister, Betty, would bring her two boys and two daughters to Olympia. With her two boys and my two, no corner of the park was unexplored. When the trail to Ellis Cove was completed and a small bridge built across the deep, gooey mud, we enjoyed this more primitive north park. The boys dared to scramble across the warning logs to climb the steep banks by hanging on the Madrona tree roots. Adults shuddered and turned their attention to the many wild native plants – and the many large slugs along the pathway. From a visiting naturalist, we learned that Northwest slugs are even bigger than those in North Carolina!

The boys to this day (in their fifties and sixties) share memories of sitting on the two Civil War canons facing toward the bay and wading in the saltwater for jelly fish and baby crab. They lamented they could not go swimming on the east side of the bay. Swimming, even then, was “not recommended,” or more to the point, “not allowed.”

The Chalet

Priest Point Park was historically noted for its two-story, green and white chalet facing west toward the water. The Swiss-styled building was the gift of Leopold Schmidt in 1905. The building had been part of the Olympia Brewing Company display at the 1903-04 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland.

The pavilion had a caretaker but was open only on special occasions and a few Sundays. I remember the “zoo” inside. There were large stuffed owls and other birds as well as large animal heads mounted on the walls. Most memorable, again, was a large black bear mounted on “all fours” – the same size and shape as “Pepper” our Olympia High School mascot. The building was demolished in the early 1950’s.

The Wading Pool

In 1990 I had the opportunity to share a babysitting job with my granddaughter visiting from Hawaii. We entertained the younger nephews in the park’s popular wading pool where the zoo cages used to be and where once there was a small ice cream store. Another granddaughter reminded me that I had frequently taken her to the pool thirty-five years ago.


A more recent glorious memory was made in 2005 when my two sons brought their families to the park to celebrate my birthday. With two sons, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren we had a joyous picnic near the colorful playground equipment. We all were impressed with the brightly painted riding and sliding equipment and grateful for the implanted mats to help toddlers land (or fall) safely on the ground.

The Rose Garden

One doesn’t dare overlook the Rose Garden on the east side of East Bay Drive. An attractive cement bridge now connects the two sections. For many years there was only a wooden footbridge.

Noted for its well-manicured flowerbeds and its handy-equipped kitchen, this section has long been in steady demand for small group parties. It is also highly praised and appreciated by visitors limited to wheelchairs and walkers.

Newer yet, are underused picnic spots hidden in the woods to the east. Private spots appear suddenly around every bend in the winding road and a surprise – another covered kitchen – and a gliding swing!


Who could ask for more? How fortunate we are to have such a beautiful, usable park within our city limits! A park that keeps serving generation after generation – with no admission charge. I truly believe Priest Point Park is a “hidden Jewel” of the Pacific Northwest. Taxes? Well spent! May this park – including the unforgettable memory of its peacocks – long survive!

About the Author

Winnie Olsen was born in Olympia in 1916, where she has lived her entire life. Her contribution to education and history and her service to the community are countless.

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Echtle: Olympia’s Backyard: The History of Priest Point Park

By Edward Echtle

2005 marks the 100th anniversary of the designation of Priest Point as an official Olympia city park, although residents and visitors used the area as a site for outdoor recreation since the 1800s. Prior to that, Priest Point was across roads of regional history, hosting generations of native peoples, early missionaries, itinerant settlers,and weary travelers. While Priest Point lies at the outskirts of town, its role in Olympia’s past makes its history a key story in an overall understanding of the community’s past.

When the first Americans arrived on Puget Sound in the 1840s, the shores of Budd Inlet were Squaxin land.Tribes, including Nisqually, Puyallup, Chehalis, Suquamish, Duwamish and others shared access to the inlet’s abundant shellfish beds. Seasonal encampments and year-round dwellings dotted the shores of Budd Inlet. At Priest Point, a natural spring and a productive fish trap located on Ellis Creek supported permanent residents. Early setttlers noted a native cemetery consisting of tree-burials near the site as well.

The abundance of resources made Priest Point an attractive site for a claim. In 1848, responding to a request by French Canadian Hudson Bay Company employees for spiritual leadership, Catholic clergy came to the northwest. Father Pascal Ricard chose Budd Inlet as the site of a mission due to its location along the main route of travel through the region, its proximity to the American settlement at Tumwater, and the large numbers of prospective Indian converts in the vicinity. Ricard filed a Donation Land Claim that encompassed the mission site and the current park lands. There they organized a school for the purpose of converting the native population and to teach carpentry and other industrial skills mainly to young converts.

By the 1850s St. Joseph’s mission complex included orchards, gardens, and three structures; the school, a dwelling and a dining hall. The buildings were of hand hewn timbers with shake roofs. Despite the rough conditions, travelers often commented on the well-kept grounds and the hospitality of the priests. Many early Olympians visited the mission regularly, including Margaret Stevens, wife of Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens, to practice her conversational French.

In 1855–56 tensions between settlers and Indians over recently negotiated treaties turned violent. American settlers built stockades and lived in fear of raids while the territorial government forced local natives to internment camps on Squaxin and Fox Islands. The missionaries’ amicable relations with the Native Americans made them suspect in the eyes of American settlers who cast them as sympathizers. While the priests attempted to appear neutral, some early settlers later recalled that they kept the American settlers apprised of the mood of the local Indians. During the war, some South Sound natives who chose to lay down arms did so after consulting with the mission priests.

In 1860 the priests abandoned the mission. Ricard,who returned to France in 1857, died in 1867 and his executors disposed of the land. Over the next decades, a series of settlers used the mission structures as temporary housing. The John Sternberg Family occupied the school and partitioned it into smaller rooms, but shortly thereafter moved to town because they disliked the isolated setting.

By the late 1800s Olympia residents used the former mission lands as a picnic site.  Lying within an easy row of the town, the area served as a popular destination for day outings. In summer, some local entrepreneurs offered steam powered small-launch service to Priest Point. Olympians camped, hiked, hunted, and swam in the relatively undeveloped land.

By the 1890s, the expansion of Olympia made Priest Point lands desirable to developers. Delinquent taxes on the property forced foreclosure and the city set an auction date. Meanwhile, local community activists who wished to see the land become a park sprang into action. While accounts vary, all agree that prominent businessmen Theodore Brown, Elias Payn (also known as the promoter of a proposed ship canal between Olympia and Grays Harbor,) and TJ Kegley were the main promoters behind the town’s acquiring of the land for a park. Their attorney, PM Troy, became Olympia City Attorney in the 1890s, and sealed the deal with popular support. By 1905 Olympia completed the necessary actions, including purchasing the land and extending town limits to encompass the park. In 1907 the state deeded the tidelands to the city, on the condition they were used for park purposes.

Immediately, the city and local residents began remaking the park as a community space. The city celebrated with a series of community clam bakes and volunteer work parties.

Leopold Schmidt, founder of the Olympia Brewing Company, donated a chalet used to display his products at the Portland Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905.  For years the Chalet served as the social center of the park, hosting dances,weddings, and other community events. It remained in place until time rendered it unusable and dismantled in 1964.

In 1917 Olympia hosted a Fourth of July Picnic Celebration at Priest Point Park in honor of Fort Lewis Soldiers. The event was caught on film and its brief scenes of happy picnickers may be the earliest existing footage of Olympia.

Over the years the city added many features to the site,including a dock and landing for boats. As the age of the automobile emerged, the park also added a motor camp for overnight visitors. Records are unclear, but it appears park managers may have allowed the use of dredging spoils from Olympia’s Harbor to enlarge the popular swimming beach. Concessionaires placed bids with the city for the opportunity to be the sole purveyors of candy, cigarettes, and other sundries to summer crowds. In the 1920s the city granted the Boy and Girl Scouts permission to use the land north of Ellis Cove as they saw fit, their only stipulation: do not remove the trees.  There were also animal attractions, a standard feature in municipal parks in the early 1900s. Historian Gordon Newell alludes to the existence of a small zoo at the site.  Anecdotal accounts also suggest a caged bear was a park attraction for a time. Olympia Light and Power donated a number of elk to wander the grounds and peafowl roamed freely. The peacocks and peahens remained a popular feature until the mid 1960s and they are still one of the most frequently recounted memories of the place.

Along with the memories of good times associated with the park, there were activities and events that reflected difficult issues faced by citizens in any era. During lean economic times from the 1910s through the 1930s the town hired unemployed heads of families at $1.25 a day to cut firewood at the park for sale to the public. In one letter to the parks department written in the 1920s a park concessionaire explained his inability to fulfill his contract after he was the victim of an armed robbery at the park. Motor campers who stayed at the park wrote letters complaining of trash and maintenance issues at the park. In all, the incidents reflect the impact of extensive use by people from a wide and diverse spectrum of social and economic backgrounds.

In January 1933 unemployed men and women from Seattle and Tacoma marched on the Capitol at Olympia to demand government relief. Olympia business men feared violence from the “hunger march” but none materialized. When organizers announced a second larger march later that winter, the Olympia business community made it known the protesters were unwelcome and many residents joined the “American Vigilantes of Thurston County” to guard the city. When the marchers arrived, the guards diverted them to the camp at Priest Point Park and kept them there under armed guard. The large group strained park facilities to their limits; local police cleared the park within a few days.

Relief from the effects of the Great Depression eventually came from the federal government. As in many municipal parks nationwide, programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration supported the improvement of park structures such as the kitchens and better trails, the results of which are still in evidence in the park today.

By the 1970s, popular interest in historical sites led to a proposal for the construction of a replica of the mission and an interpretive trail telling the early mission history. While these improvements never materialized, the importance of the site in local and regional history, while little known to today’s population, has not diminished. Its central role as Olympia’s community backyard for over a century made it a stage for community outings and family events, including celebrations and ceremonies as well as the site of occasional iniquity and injustice. Along with its early history, the enduring legacy of Priest Point Park in local history is its role as a place where Olympia and Olympia residents in all eras are most themselves, relaxing and having a good time.


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