Category Archives: Fall 2013

Fall 2013 Newsletter – Table of Contents

President’s Message: Merger With Bigelow House Association In the Works, by Mark Foutch

(Re)Discover Bigelow House! by Ed Echtle, President of Bigelow House Preservation Association

Upcoming Changes on the Board: Thanks (but not Farewell) to Ralph Blankenship, with Statements from Proposed New Board Members

Support the Annual Historic Home Tour, Sunday, Dec 8, 2013 

History of Egbert-Ingham House

Meet the Dohms and Sherwood Press by Deb Ross

Lanny and Deb’s Excellent Adventures by Deb Ross

Origins of the Olympia Historical Society: Chapter 4 by Mark Foutch


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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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President’s Message: Merger With Bigelow House Association In the Works

Mark Foutch

The boards of the Olympia Historical Society and the Bigelow House Preservation Association have been discussing a merger of our two organizations. Our boards, and others in the community, see advantages for both organizations in the proposed merger. We have a shared mission to preserve and promote local history. Many of our members already support both organizations. We anticipate synergies and efficiencies from a merger.

Approval of both memberships is necessary to proceed. Members will vote on the proposed merger December 14. Both boards have agreed on general provisions of a final draft agreement. They will review a final draft of the agreement and supporting documents on October 26.

Formal notice of the December 14 meeting, including all documents, will be sent November 14 to all members “currently in good standing” as of that date. That term includes having paid 2013 dues. This is a legal requirement. No one besides members in good standing as of November 14 will be allowed to vote December 14. Legal counsel for our proposed merger is being provided pro bono by Katherine Robinson of Graham & Dunn PC, Seattle.

This will be our most important meeting since OHS was first formed in 2001! Please mark your calendars now for December 14, and make sure your 2013 membership is up to date. More details, including time and location, will be provided in the formal meeting notice.

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Upcoming Changes on the Board: Thanks (but not Farewell) to Ralph Blankenship, with Statements from Proposed New Board Members

Ralph Blankenship not only personifies Olympia history in his family connections to several pioneer families, he has worked tirelessly to preserve and promote local history by serving on the OHS board and through his support of the Sandman and other maritime heritage resources. President Foutch noted, “Even with all his other community service commitments, Ralph Blankenship served our Olympia Historical Society in exemplary fashion for six years as a Board member, including one year as President and three as Treasurer. We’ll miss his commitment and enthusiasm for local history, his long corporate memory with OHS, and his always-positive contributions to Board issues. Thanks, Ralph!”

And Ralph himself adds, “It has been a great pleasure for me to be on the board for the past two terms serving as trustee, president, and for the last few years as treasurer. Particularly it has been exciting this last couple of years seeing OHS nearly double in size and become involved in so many community activities. And now the pending merger of OHS with the Bigelow House Preservation Association hopefully will bring all that is great from both organizations together. I see a wonderful future for the combined group and more fun historical education and promotion. I wish the best to the collection of some of the best historians in the county into the new organization’s board of directors.”

Ralph promises to stay active as a member, so when you see him at events and meetings, thank him for his long service to Olympia history.

Introducing Debra Jackson as a prospective new Board member: 

Debra (Cain) Jackson is a lifelong resident of the Olympia area and her local roots go back several generations. She was in the very first graduating class of Timberline High School and her parents both attended Olympia High School. Her grandparents on her father’s side homesteaded a large farm along what is today known as Cain Road. Grandparents on her mother’s side moved from Tenino to Olympia in the early 1930’s where grandfather owned a grocery store on 4th Avenue called Metter’s Market Basket and was Commodore of the Olympia Yacht Club in the 1940’s. Debra is the great, great granddaughter of Alexander Yantis – an original pioneer of Thurston County.  Her hobbies are working on her home, hiking, and most importantly, her four grandchildren – the loves of her life.

Debra purchased a home registered on the Lacey Historical Register in 2007. After buying her home, she attended the annual Olympia historic home tour and became even more intrigued with local history in Thurston County and knew she wanted to be more actively involved.

Debra is well known for establishing exceptional working relationships having been a member on several local boards in the last few years and in her role as VP/Lending Manager at Olympia Federal Savings.  She takes the time to develop lasting relationships with community members throughout Thurston County with a variety of backgrounds and interests.

Two of Debra’s most important goals & objectives for the Olympia Historical Society are to support the existing programs & events already established and working well, and to introduce new events that encompass and foster more community involvement and increase awareness of our beautiful historical community. She is excited to be a part of the team of the Olympia Historical Society and will work to guarantee that our precious heritage will be shared with all generations.

Introducing Sam Reed as a prospective new Board member:

“Having served as first the territorial capitol and then the state’s capitol, Olympia has a long, rich history. When serving as Secretary of State, I chaired the territorial sesquicentennial commemoration and had the responsibility for the State Archives, State Library, and the state’s oral history program/Legacy Project.   I became more passionate about our Washington’s history.   It struck me, though, that the public doesn’t know enough about our capitol’s history.  So, one of the first things I did upon retirement was volunteer to help OHS.  From the Bigelow House to the future Heritage Center, our future is rich with opportunities for getting out Olympia’s remarkable story.  I believe it would be an honor and privilege to serve on OHS’s board.”

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Support the Annual Historic Home Tour, December 8, 2013

Watch for more information in bulletins concerning docent volunteer opportunities, ticket sales, and other details.

The annual tour of historic homes is by now a cherished tradition, kicking off the holiday season. It’s a fun way to support the preservation of one of Olympia’s oldest existing homes, the Bigelow House, as well as an opportunity to see inside some of our city’s most intriguing and storied homes. This year has on offer five private homes and two former homes that have become community gathering places: the Schmidt Mansion in Tumwater, built in 1904 and home of the original Olympia Brewery family, and the Bigelow House itself, built by 1860. The pioneering families of Olympia are also represented by homes owned by two of the Talcott brothers and one by Robert Yantis of that extended pioneer family, all built in the early twentieth century. Another home, designed a few decades later by local attorney Trena Belsito Worthington, who built a series of stately brick homes inspired by a plan in Architectural Digest, is an example of Colonial Revival style. Each of these homes present a different example of what was popular in Olympia over the years and what has survived through continued care and attention to preserving historic structures and features.

To further encourage tour participants’ curiosity, we feature here the history of the fifth house to be open for this year’s tour. All houses have history, but the story of the Egbert-Ingham house has drama as well. Present owner David Goularte relates its happy times and near-tragic loss, not once but three times. It’s a reminder of how close we can come to losing historic houses and how important it is to save and appreciate our local storied homes.

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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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Deb’s and Lanny’s Excellent Adventures in Tacoma

Deb Ross

On a weekly basis, Members Lanny Weaver and Deb Ross catalogue the State Capital Museum collection now housed at the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) in Tacoma. This project is made possible through a collaboration between the Olympia Historical Society and WSHS, and Deb and Lanny are grateful for the time and cooperation of the WSHS and Research Center staff in making this possible. This regular column will inform you about their work.

Staff of the Washington Standard, image courtesy of Washington State Historical Society

The Research Center of the Washington State Historical Society includes accession information in all of its catalogued items. The accession information includes the name of the donor and the year that the item was donated or sold to the Society. But occasionally the Research Center finds objects in its collection for which incomplete accession information is available. In these cases the item is given a miscellaneous number that indicates the date the item was catalogued. Such was the case with catalogue item C2013.18.15, reproduced here. It’s an early photograph of the staff of the Washington Standard, the longtime publication of John Miller Murphy. The WSHS knows that the item was acquired for the State Capitol Museum by curator Bernice Sapp, but not the date or the name of the original donor. The first thing one notices about this photo is that half of the staff were women. Murphy was an ardent supporter of women’s suffrage, and women’s rights in general. His daughter Winnie is included in the staff photograph at right. To her right (our left) is Verona Baldwin. According to George Blankenship’s account Lights and Shades of Pioneer Life on Puget Sound, Verona married a distant cousin, the wealthy Lucky Baldwin, and later shot him (he survived). Next to Verona is Mary Shelton. Mary was the daughter of David Shelton, founder of the city of Shelton. She was a co-founder of the Women’s Club of Olympia, the first women’s club in the west. Melvina Hartsock, next to Mary, was a member of the pioneer Hartsock family, arriving from Iowa at the same time as the Shelton family. I was not able to find out more information about Fanny Eberhart, the woman at the far left of the image.

Among the men are John Miller Murphy in the center, here appearing much younger than most other existing photographs of the famous publisher; his young son Henry; future Secretary of State and prominent historian Allen Weir; and printer Thomas Tallentire, another very early arrival in Washington Territory.

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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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