Category Archives: Locations after M

National Wood Pipe site

Location: Northeast corner of Jefferson and Thurston

national_wood_pipeThe National Wood Pipe factory on fire in 1909
photograph from Digital Archives
hands onAs the former location of the pipe factory appears today (2011), the home of the Hands on Children’s Museum

Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

With the importance of water and water supply to the residents and industry of Olympia, a wooden pipe factory was in existence since early days. The National Wood Pipe Company built this factory in the late 1800s or early 1900s as part of a west coast chain of factories. The Pacific states used wood pipe extensively for drinking water as well as irrigation supplies. The 1909 fire was a major event of that year, and would have occurred around the time of the Carlyon Fill project.

For more information about and historical photographs of the building, follow these links:

Digital Archives photograph of the fire

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Neuffer Building/Site of Dr. Waughop residence

Location: 513 Capitol Way S
Downtown Olympia National District, Diversity: African-Americans

waughop residenceWaughop Residence about 1875, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyNeuffer Building

Neuffer Building today (2012), Photo by Deb Ross

In early years the west side of Main Street (Capitol Way) south of Fifth Avenue directly overlooked the Deschutes Estuary (Capitol Lake). (See the Bird’s Eye View 1879 link below.) Fill added land to the west, creating Columbia Street and Water Street. The residence at left above belonged to Dr. Waughop, an early doctor in Olympia. Note the presence of their African-American servant Augusta Sherwood at ground level, while the doctor and family are at the elevated first floor.

The Neuffer building currently at this location was built in 1906 and had two stores. The storefront at the north was the Neuffer Jewelry store, while the store to the south was originally a tailor shop, and the home of the Baude Barber Shop at the time of the Robert Esterly photograph linked below. It has been a flower shop since 1926.

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1982.18.30.11 (above picture); C1964.26.4.2.2 (building in about 1939); 2010.149.33.1 (Baude Barbershop)

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Historic Downtown District

For more information on the Waughop and Neuffer families, see the  Residents (W) and (N) sections of this website, and the Neuffer house in Where Are We?

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia 1879

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Neuffer House

Location: 1625 Water St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

Neuffer House 1936, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesNeuffer House now (2013), photo by Deb Ross

This large bungalow near Capitol Campus was built in 1909 by Paul Neuffer, a German-born jeweler who owned Neuffer‘s jewelry store downtown (see also the Paul and Catherine Neuffer House, in the same neighborhood, owned by Paul Neuffer’s son). It is on the local register and is in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Thank you to Susan Goff for information on built date.

For more on the Neuffer family, see the Residents section of this website.

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Neuffer, Paul and Catherine House

Location: 510 O’Farrell St SE
Local register

A vintage photograph has not been located; if you have one to share, please contact us OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaul and Catherine Neuffer house today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

This home, built about 1922, was one of the first residences built in the new Wildwood subdivision, which was platted that year by J.T. Otis, a local real estate developer and businessman. It is in the Craftsman/bungalow style popular at the time, distinguished for its cobblestone fireplace and features. It is on the local register.  The house was built for Paul C. Neuffer and his wife, Catherine. Paul was the adopted son of Paul H. Neuffer, who owned Neuffer Jewelers. Paul H’s home, the Neuffer House, in the South Capitol neighborhood, is also on the local register. Paul, Jr. was one of the so-called “doorstep babies” who appeared on citizens’ thresholds in the late 1800s.

Olympia Heritage inventory

PCTV/TCTV video on Bigelow Highlands neighborhood, recounting Doorstep Baby phenomenon

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New Caldonia building

Location: 116 5th Avenue
Downtown National Historic District

Proffitt’s Department Store, 1970, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State ArchivesNew Caldonia building today (2017) photograph by Deb Ross

According to its owner, the building now called the New Caldonia building was the site of the Caledonia Hotel in the 1870s. By 1914 it was the home of a hardware store, and a Sanborn map still shows that a hardware store was at that site in the 1920s. It was remodeled or rebuilt in 1941 to become part of the Proffitt’s store chain. It has been remodeled at least twice since that time and now houses a variety of small stores. The building is located in the National Downtown Olympia historic district, but is listed as non-contributing.

Additional links (note that the Downtown National Historic District incorrectly place the Ray Theatre at the site of this building):

Washington State Historical Society (enter catalog number in Collections Search box), C1986.43.0.269

Downtown National Historic District

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Newcomb House

Location: 1264 State St NE

Newcomb House_1938Newcomb House, 1937, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesNewcomb House

Newcomb House today  (2010), photo by Deborah Ross

The Newcomb House was built about 1890 and was the residence of Dr. Newcomb, who arrived in Olympia about the same time. It sits on an elevated position above State Street. It is described as being in the vernacular style with few adornments.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory (note that the 1916 construction date given in the inventory is at odds with assessor’s information as well as the estimated age provided by more contemporary historian Adah Dye)

Washington State Historical Society (enter catalog number in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.13.8

For more information about Doctor Newcomb, see the Residents section of this website

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Northern Pacific depot

Location: 721 Columbia St SW
Transportation, mid-Century

np depot thenNorthern Pacific Railroad depot around 1914, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Societynp depot nowNorthern Pacific Depot today  (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

The first Northern Pacific depot, pictured at above left, was built in about 1891, the year that the Northern Pacific railroad reached downtown Olympia (see also 7th Avenue Tunnel). It was a long clapboard building with a platform facing the tracks adjacent to the Deschutes Estuary (now Capitol Lake). This building was razed in 1966 and replaced by the current building, with similar architecture, in 1967. Following the demise of passenger service to downtown Olympia, this building was acquired by the state and is currently (2012) vacant.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collection Search box): 2010.149.31.2, 2010.149.42.2, C1964.26.4.4.7, C1958.1328.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Odd Fellows Hall site/Rexall Drug Store building

Location: 501 Capitol Way SE
Downtown National Historical District, Wohleb, mid-Century; Diversity: African-Americans

odd fellowsOdd Fellows Building around 1900
Photo from Digital Archives 
gmillerRexall Drug Building today (2012)
Photo courtesy of Deb Ross 

The Odd Fellows Hall, built at the southwest corner of 5th and Capitol Way in 1888, was an important addition to downtown Olympia and was in fitting with her stature as the most important city on Puget Sound at the time. According to a history of the lodge:

Th[e inauguration of the building] was a gala day for Olympia and was participated in by all surrounding Lodges.  Excursion steamers were run from Seattle and Tacoma, bringing crowds of  Odd Fellows accompanied with bands of music and banners, and it is safe to say Olympia never saw such a gathering of Odd Fellows and the hospitalities extended that day will be long remembered by those whose good fortune it was to be the recipients.

The building was also home to Thornburg’s Furnishings store, a hotel, the Rainier, and the Northern Express building at the west end. Bill Williams, an African-American former gold miner and restauranteur, located a boot-blacking stand here, after poor health forced him to take up a more sedentary life. His many years on the seas and among miners made him fluent in several languages, and his career as a boot-black was an opportunity for him to live in relative comfort and become an important element in the social life of downtown Olympia.

The building burned down on January 7, 1937. The Odd Fellows chose not to rebuild, but moved their meeting place to the Barnes building, where they continue to meet on the second floor.

The current building was built in 1937 with a Wohleb design, and he remodeled the building in 1957 for use as a Rexall Drug Store. The location was then a men’s clothing store. It is in the Downtown National Historic District.

For more information about and historic photographs of the building, follow these links:

Digital Archives photographs of the building and fire: OF1 (above photo), OF2, OF3

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1943.2x.35, C1972.37.12; 2010.149.3.2; 2010.149.22; 2010.149.18.2 (Northern Express)

Private postcard collection

Excerpts from 1913 Narrative of IOOF relating to Olympia Lodge No. 1

National Downtown District (location 28)

Thurston.com article about working at Rexall Drugstore (accessed October 20, 2013)

Information about Bill Williams from City of Olympia’s brochure on African-Americans in Olympia

 

 

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Ogden House

Location: 301 Maple Park SE
South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

ogden_1939Ogden House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Ogden House today (2014), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross 

In the early part of the 20th Century, Maple Park was one of the more socially desirable locations in Olympia. Gracious and large homes flanked the park, which was planted with flowers and lovingly maintained. A bandstand hosted regular summer concerts, and a tall flagpole with a gold globe surmounting it crowned the park. The park was flanked by homes of Olympia’s wealthy citizens, including the A.D. Rogers home and the house featured here, the Ogden House. Unfortunately, most of the homes originally located here were demolished or moved to make way for the expansion of Capitol Campus to the east side of Capitol Way.

The Ogden House was built in 1896 for lumberman Harold Ogden in the Shingle Style. This style, initiated in the east and somewhat rare in the Pacific Northwest, features use of shingles for siding, and often uses turrets, multiple ornamental details, and massive stone (in this case, ornamental concrete) foundations. It would have been one of the more important homes in Olympia when built, and continues to be an important architectural feature of the South Capitol National Historic District.

The home is also connected with the pioneer Mills family, having been owned by Helen Merritt and George Mills, who also owned the George Mills/Kent House on East Bay Drive. George was a land registrar, teacher, and hardware store operator. George’s brother Jesse owned the Parker/Mills House nearby, and was operator of the Mills and Mills funeral parlor.

In later years, the house was lodging for bachelor lawyer, and took the name “Empty Arms.” The house is well maintained, although a few features have been modified.

For more information about and historic photographs of the building, see:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

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

 

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Old City Hall/Fire Station/”Dead Zone” (Tenderloin District)/Tilley stable site

Location: 108 State Ave NW
Local Register, State Register, National Historic Downtown District, Women’s History, Transportation

old city hall thenOld City Hall/Fire Station about 1917, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical Societyold city hallFamily Support Center today (2012), Photo by Matthew Kennelly

The Old City Hall and Fire Station was the seat of government and the fire station for over fifty years. It was built in 1912 to replace the deteriorating Columbia Hall on 4th Avenue. For a time, between the 1880s and 1910s, the area north of State Avenue was known as the Dead Zone, or tenderloin district. Here activities, such as gambling and prostitution, that were banned elsewhere in town, were permitted. The area was also the home of industrial facilities and commercial businesses such as laundries and bars that supported the marine trade in the area. After the Carlyon Fill added many blocks of buildable property north of State Avenue, this area was gradually transformed into an industrial area. 

The location is important to women’s history in Olympia for at least three reasons: the first woman city mayor of a capital city, Amanda Smith, presided from here; and the first woman firefighter in Olympia, Barbara Greene, began her service here. The location was likely also a house of prostitution, based on its designation as a “female boarding house” in early maps (see Sanborn overlays for maps).

According to historian Bernice Sapp, the first occupation of this site was Moses Rice Tilley’s Overland Stage stable. The Tilley family operated not only this first stagecoach line, but Moses Tilley’s father, Abram, operated a popular inn on the Oregon Trail route from Monticello (Longview) to Olympia. (As an aside, Moses Rice Tilley’s daughter Maybelle was an internationally recognized beauty who eventually became Countess Stavra)

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1982.18.29.16 (above picture); C1949.1301.31.10

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Historic Downtown District

Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour

Now Where Were We? short video on the Red Light District.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Old State Capitol Building

Location: 600 Washington Street Southeast
National  Register, State Register, Local Register, National Historical District; Women’s History

Old State Capitol DAAs it appeared in late 1800s
Photo from Digital Archives 
Old State CapitolAs it appears today (2012)
Photo courtesy of Deb Ross 

The Old State Capitol Building, currently the home of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, was initially built to house the Thurston County courthouse and opened in 1892. In 1902 the building was purchased by the state for use as the State Capitol Building. Following its acquisition by the state, the “annex” was built to the east. The building originally had a clock tower, shown in the photograph to the left. The year that the current Legislative Building was completed in 1928, a disastrous fire gutted the building and destroyed the clock tower. The building was again heavily damaged in the 1949 earthquake.

Over the years, many women have been employed in this building, ranging from clerk to legislators and officials, to Superintendents of Public Instruction in more recent years.

For more information about and historic photographs of the building, follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown District National Register

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog  numbers in Collections Search box): C1977.44.3, C1985.12.16, 1998.81.7, C1977.44.8, C1950.1301.2, C1977.44.5, C1958.181x.1; C2013.18.193

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction history of the building

History Link article: 1928 fire 

City of Olympia Downtown Walking Tour

Story map Thurston County courthouses

Looking Back feature, Teddy Roosevelt addressing crowd in front of building

 

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Old Thurston County Courthouse-Capitol Way/Site of Milroy House/Trolley system

Location: 1110 Capitol Way S
Local, state and national registers; Wohleb;  Diversity: Native American rights; Transportation

milroy houseMilroy House, 1872, State Library Collection, Digital Archivesold courthouseOld Thurston County Courthouse-Capitol Way today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

The building known as the Old Thurston County Courthouse, at the corner of 11th and Capitol Way, was the third purpose-built home for Thurston County government, after the Old State Capitol Building and the courthouse on Fourth Avenue, which is now razed (additional locations for Thurston County government included the schoolhouse at Legion and Franklin, and the Central School building). This building was erected in 1930, designed by local architect Joseph Wohleb in an art deco style, which was a departure from the signature Mission style used in many of his downtown buildings. The building is important not only for its architectural  interest but as the home of several important events and trials as it was the jurisdiction of record for cases in which the State was a plaintiff or defendant. The building passed into the hands of the state after the current courthouse in West Olympia was built; it is now in private ownership.

The courthouse was built on the site of the General Milroy home, which was one of the finest homes in the city in the late nineteenth century. Along with its neighboring mansions, such as the McElroy House, the Bettman-Oppenheimer house, the Isaac Harris house, and the Sylvester Mansion, the Milroy home was part of the elegant tone that reigned in the Capital Way area south of Sylvester Park to the site of the Territorial Capitol. General Robert Milroy was an important figure in the Civil War and was later appointed agent for the Bureau of Indian Affairs after the war. He served here for ten years and raised his family, several of whom also became prominent Olympia and territorial citizens.

This location is associated with Native American rights in two respects: first, General Milroy was a supporter of Indian rights, and was active in securing Yakama chief Kamiakin’s claim to his lands against inroads by white settlers. Second, the courthouse was the home of important fishing rights trials of the 1960s.

At the northwest corner of the property, just visible in the above-right photograph, is the only remaining support for the electricity serving Olympia’s trolley system on Capitol Way. It has been designated as an important historical structure in Olympia.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Digital Archives photo (shown above)

Washington State Historical Society, unscanned image (enter catalog number in Collections Search box), C1972.37.18 

Looking back feature, Dick Gregory trial

Story map, Thurston County courthouses

For more information about the Milroy family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old Washington School

Location: 1113 Legion Way SE
Wohleb; Schools; Women’s History

wohleb washington schoolWashington School, probably 1930s, Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAvanti High School building today (2013), photograph by Deborah Ross

The Washington School building was erected in 1924 to replace the first Washington School nearby, now the site of the Armory. It was the largest and most ornate of architect Joseph Wohleb’s Mission style buildings erected in Olympia. This massive structure includes many of Wohleb’s signature features, including the use of stucco, ornamentation, marbled glass windows, and tiled parapet. The building now houses the Avanti High School. Although not on the historic register, its exterior features have been well preserved.

Further information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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O’Leary, Dan House

Location: 2422 Washington  St SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

danolearyDan O’Leary House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dan O’Leary House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This Colonial revival style home was designed by architect Frank Stanton, for a time a partner with Joseph Wohleb. It was built in about 1928 for Stanton’s brother-in-law, Dan O’Leary, and his wife Hope Chambers O’Leary, daughter of mayor A.H. Chambers (see Chambers House and Chambers Block). O’Leary was partner, and later president, of the Mud Bay Logging Company, one of the first area logging companies to employ railroads, which enabled the company to log over the Black Hills. (Dan O’Leary’s brother, Dr. John O’Leary, lived a few blocks away, in the John O’Leary House, also designed by Stanton). The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

For more information on the Chambers and O’Leary families, see the Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

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O’Leary, John House

Location: 118 18th Ave SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

oleary_1938John O’Leary House, 1938, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJohn O’Leary House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This colonial revival style house was designed by local architect Frank Stanton for his brother-in-law, Doctor John O’Leary. It was built in 1926, and, like others, Doctor O’Leary might have chosen this neighborhood for its proximity to St. Peter Hospital, then located near Capitol Campus. The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

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Olympia Automotive Building/Site of Olympia Opera House/Site of Kaler Market

Location: 509 4th Ave E
Popular culture, Transportation

olympia theaterOlympia Opera House, 1895-1910, State Library Collection accessed via Digital Archives 

orca booksOlympia Automotive building today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly

The Olympia Opera House (or Olympia Theater) was built in 1890 by Washington Standard publisher John Miller Murphy and featured the latest developments in theater construction. The theater featured electric lighting, a seating capacity of 1,000, and several lounges and refreshment opportunities. At the time it was built, it was adjacent to the Swantown Slough and the foot of Budd Bay (see photograph of Union Block which was located just to the east of the theater). As shown in the photograph at upper left, the trolley went by the opera house, providing easy access for local citizens as well as visiting legislators and lobbyists. Over its 30 years of existence some of the biggest national names played here, including John Phillips Sousa, Mark Twain, and others, as well as numerous local performers. It was torn down in 1925. 

To the right (west) of the Opera House was the Kaler Market, operated by Charles Kaler who built the Kaler House on Glass Avenue. It was replaced in about 1914 by the current Olympia Automotive Supply Building. The building is now a bookstore.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory (Olympia Automotive building)

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter catalog number in Collections Search box): C1950.3.44 (upper parlor at opera house); C1964.17.1 (interior of theater facing audience); C1964.17.2 (in 1913); Kaler Market 2010.149.19.1

Digital Archives: above photograph; John Miller Murphy on the stage (note the parrot on his hand)

Thurston Talk article

For more information on the Murphy family, see Residents section of this website, and listing for Washington Standard building

 

 

 

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Olympia Avenue Historic District

The Olympia Avenue Historic District was created by resolution of the Heritage Commission, approved by the Olympia City Council. Link below for the Staff report describing the District. Several of the homes are individually listed in Where are We?, best found by consulting the Interactive Map.

Olympia Avenue Historic District Staff Report

PCTV/TCTV video on Olympia Avenue Historic District, available on Youtube

 

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Olympia Canning Company/Seamart-Yardbirds site

Location: Block bounded by Capitol, A, Washington, and B
Women’s history; Popular culture; Transportation

OlympiaCanningCo_1948Olympia Canning Company, processing pears, 1948, Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives
Harbor Heights building, photo courtesy Harbor Heights

As various fill operations extended available land north from State Avenue in the early 20th century, industrial development moved in to take advantage of the new space. The availability of the Budd Inlet watercourse made this a natural location for industries that required access to shipping. The Olympia Canning Company was established here around 1912 and took up an entire block between A and B Avenues. The company processed not only fruit, but also vegetables and even fish and shellfish. The company employed many girls and women, some as young as 11 or 12. The company continued here until 1959.

Soon after, the Seamart store opened in the aging building. One of the earliest mega-grocery stores, it evolved into a funky combination of cut-rate goods, amusement rides and arcade. The store was a favorite for youngsters and, later, Evergreen students looking for bargains, or just a way to get out from the rain (although some fell through the leaky roofs). Seamart and its successor Yardbirds store closed in the late 1980s. In 1999 a three-alarm fire destroyed the vacant building. The property sat vacant for a number of years and is now the Harbor Heights apartment complex. 

Olympia Historyspot

Article, Mary Zindt, Memories of Olympia in the 1920s and 1930s

Olyblog post, Seamart/Yardbirds

Three alarm fire destroys Yardbirds building, Youtube posting

Women’s History Walking Tour

 

 

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Olympia Collegiate Institute site

Location: 802 Olympia Ave.
Schools, Women’s History

ociOlympia Collegiate Institute about 1885, photograph from Digital Archivesformer ocisite today (2012)  Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

The Puget Sound Wesleyan Institute was founded by Daniel Bigelow and other local Methodists in the 1850s, and for a short time was located at 200 Union Avenue, the current site of the Mowell House (the building still exists, having been moved to Adams and Union). The Institute soon dissolved, faced with insuperable financial difficulties at the onset of the Civil War.

In 1869, another Methodist-supported institution, the Olympia Union Academy, was founded. The building shown here housed the Academy and was probably erected in the early 1870s.  In 1883, the Olympia Collegiate Institute was founded and occupied the building. That institution merged with other similarly situated schools in 1894 to form the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. About that time, J.R. Chaplin, a congregational minister/cum real estate speculator, conceived the idea of a People’s University to be located near Butler’s Cove in West Olympia. For a few years, while he pursued that dream, he located his nascent university in this building. As the dream of a new university never came to full fruition, the institution closed its doors in the early 20th century, the last occupant of the building.

A look at the 1879 Bird’s Eye view map linked below shows that, while the schoolhouse wasn’t too far from the Bigelows’ house, it was a muddy and long trek from downtown Olympia, requiring crossing the rickety Eastside bridge to Swantown, and along a muddy path (Plum Street, now Eastside). As the school housed boarders (and eventually had a separate dormitory building), the distance from town was not an impediment and in fact may have been viewed as an asset.

Links to other resources:

Digital Archives photos (including the above): OCI1, OCI2

Washington State Historical Society (sThe WSHS catalogue has nearly 200 photographs of OCI and its students, the following is a sampling. A large volume consisting of photographs of OCI alumni is included in this collection. Many of Olympia’s later prominent citizens are included in the collection and their photographs are linked in the Residents section of this website. enter catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1946.241.3; C1946.241.1; C1950.1117.1.23.1;  C1950.1117.1

City of Olympia Women’s Walking Tour

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia in 1879 (reference #2 on map on east side of slough)

For more on J.R. Chaplin, see Chaplin House and the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Federal Savings and Loan/Funk-Volland Building/Elwood Evans home site

Location: 421 Capitol Way S
Downtown National Historic District; mid-Century modern

funkvolland_OlympiaCentennialParadeMay1950_192Centennial Parade, 1950, with Funk-Volland Building in background, Merle Junk Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOlympia Federal Savings Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Olympia Federal Savings and Loan building was an important modern contribution to Olympia’s downtown core. The business was founded in 1906 and had several downtown locations before this building was erected in 1967. It is described as being one of the most intact post World War II buildings in Olympia. Making a bold modern statement, the building is a floating glass box framed by metal and brick. It was one of the best works of Olympia architect G. Stacey Bennett. The elaborate carved doors were the work of artist Walter Graham. The building is located in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District.

This is also the former site of the Funk-Volland Building, another important downtown structure, seen in the photograph at above left. That building was erected in 1909 by attorney George Funk and his sister Mrs. Addie Volland (see also Funk House). From this office, Funk probably worked on his brief arguing that all state-owned buildings should be located in Olympia, ensuring the state government’s prominent presence here.

According to  historian Georgiana Blankenship, this site was the first Olympia home of Elwood Evans, prominent attorney and historian. Evans later purchased the Tilton House, 0n 10th and Columbia. 

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

Mid-century modern walking tour

Looking back post featuring 1967 photograph of Olympia Federal building

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

 

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Olympia Hardware/Site of Kay’s Chop Suey Restaurant

Location: 109 Capitol Way N
Local register; Olympia Downtown National Historic District; Diversity:Chinese heritage

olympia hardware thenOlympia Hardware Co. 1914, Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyOlympia Hardware nowOlympia Hardware Company building today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly

The Olympia Hardware Building, erected in 1884, is one of the oldest existing commercial buildings in the city. It was built by owner Charles Williams, who went into business soon after with his brother Sam (Charles was later a partner in Mottman Mercantile after George Mottman took over management from Toklas and Kaufman). This masonry building replaced an earlier wood structure, pictured in link below. Over the years the building has housed several businesses, including the Bilger and Going Hardware store. In recent memory it was the home of Kay’s Chop Suey, a popular Chinese restaurant managed by the Kay family. The building features attractive, original cast iron pilasters at the sides of the two openings. It is listed on the local register and is part of the National Downtown Historic District.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Downtown Olympia National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society photograph collection (enter following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 2010.149.36.1 (above photo); C1964.26.4.12.7; C1949.1301.31.10; C2008.5.47 (earlier wooden Williams Hardware store)

Article: Chinese in Olympia: Restaurants (includes a photograph of a corner of Kay’s Chop Suey after the 1949 earthquake)

For more information on the Kay and Williams families, Bilger, and Going, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia High School first site/Capitol Campus sunken garden

Location: Capitol Campus sunken garden
Schools; located in Washington State Capitol Campus National Historic District

first olympia high schoolFirst William Winlock Miller High School, ca. 1917, State Library Photograph CollectionSunken garden

Sunken Garden today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

Olympia School District was providing high school level classes to Olympia’s youth as early as the 1880s, but in the early 1890s sentiment began to grow to create a separate building for high school students. One of the original proposals was to use the Central School building on Union Avenue. However, others wanted a new building and it was decided that a new building could be built so long as there was no net expenditure of funds. At that point, Mary McFadden Miller offered to donate her property on the site of the current Capitol Campus at no charge, provided that the high school would forever be known as the William Winlock Miller High School, in honor of her late husband. In 1906, the District sold the Central School Buiding to Dr. Mowell and used the proceeds to build the stone and wood building shown at above left. The architect was James Stephens, of Seattle. In April 1907, the Women’s Club, ardent supporters of the school, hosted the grand opening.

When the Wilder and White plan for Capitol Campus was approved, the state approached the district and offered to purchase the property and find a new location for a high school, which had in the meantime become overcrowded. A spot was located across the street and plans were made to move the furniture and equipment when it was complete. However, in the summer of 1918, the building burned down, taking all the furnishings with it. So, when the second William Winlock Miller school was built in 1919, it started anew with all new equipment and furnishings. The area in front of the site of the original school is now a sunken garden on Capitol Campus, with floral displays changing with the year and the season. It is on the grounds of the Washington State Capitol Campus National Historic District but is not mentioned by name in the nomination form.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society, building under construction (enter catalog number in Collections Search box) C2017.0.37

Esther Knox history of Olympia School District

Digital Archives photograph above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia High School site – Capitol Way/Highway and Licensing Building

Location: 1125 Washington St SE
Schools, mid-Century modern

high school #2Olympia High School on Capitol Way, 1920s, State Library Collection, Digital Archiveslicensing buildingHighway and Licensing Building now (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

The institution formally known as William Winlock Miller High School has existed at three locations. The second location, featured here, was built in 1919, on Capitol Way between 12th and 13th, on what is now East Capitol Campus. It was originally a three-story brick building with a parapet. An addition was built to the rear in 1926. The building was torn down in 1961 to make way for the Capitol Campus expansion.

The Highway and Licensing Building, just adjacent to the high school site, was one of two developed in the early 1960s to launch the development of the group of mid-Century buildings on the east side of Capitol Way. The other is the Employment Security Building seen in the background of the image at right. Its modern architecture, now termed New Formalism, marked a striking contrast with the more classically inspired buildings on the west side of Capitol Way.

A photograph available for viewing at the Digital Archives link below shows Olympia High School during the early construction phase of the Highway and Licensing building.

Addtional resources:

Washington  State Historical Society (enter following catalog number in Collections Search box): C1982.18.29.14

Digital Archives photograph above; photograph showing construction of Highway and Licensing Building with Olympia High School to rear

mid-Century modern Walking Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia High School/site of Cloverfields Farm

Location: 1302 North St SE
mid-Century modern; schools

cloverfield barnCloverfields Farm, ca. 1930s, Olympia School District No. 111 Records, Southwest Regional Archives (detail)
olympia high school nowOlympia High School today (2013), Olympia School District

In 1914, at age 70, Hazard Stevens, son of first territorial governor Isaac Stevens, returned to Olympia from practicing law in Boston (for more on Hazard Stevens and his activities in Olympia, see Cloverfields). Here he  developed his model dairy, Cloverfields Farm, on land that had been granted to his father in the 1850s. The farm extended over the area now occupied by Olympia High School, on the south side of Carlyon Avenue. Stevens incorporated electricity in the dairy operations, providing a model for local citizens on the various possible uses of electricity (he was president of Olympia Light and Power, among other ventures). He installed a herd of 73 Holstein cows, an unknown breed in the area, as well as angora goats that kept the grounds trimmed.

After Kate Stevens Bates inherited Cloverfields Farm from her brother, it was eventually broken into separate tracts. The Daughters of the Pioneers attempted to have the state purchase the historic farm for a park. The Olympia School District acquired 40 acres of the farm property in 1949, and built a shop here in the 1950s. Cloverfields’s barn was used to provide covered parking for schoolbuses.

The new William Winlock Miller High School (Olympia High School) was completed in 1960. It was designed by the mid-Century architectural firm Naramore, Bain, Brady and Johanson using the then-popular open concept, involving 9 separate buildings with landscaped grounds between them. The building made extensive use of veneer, whose manufacture in Olympia was an important contributor to the city’s economy. In 2001 the building was extensively remodeled and little remains of the original building’s appearance.

Mid-Century Modern Context Statement

For more on the Stevens family, see the Residents section of this website.

See also pages for the first two Olympia High School Buildings: First site of Olympia High School; Olympia High School-Capitol Way 

 

 

 

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Olympia Junk/Capital City Creamery

Location: 525 Columbia St SW
Diversity: Jewish heritage; Women’s History; Wohleb

Olympia JunkOlympia Junk Co. 1914, Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Societycanvas worksOlympia Junk Co building today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly

The building that stands at the northwest corner of Legion and Columbia was built in 1925 to house the Olympia Junk Company. It was designed by famed local architect Joseph Wohleb, with the signature Mission style for which he is known.  The photograph at above left is of a building that stood at this location before the current building was erected. The Olympia Junk Company was founded in about 1906 by local merchant Morris Berkowitz, who is likely pictured in the older photograph. It was purchased by his brother in law Jacob Bean, a member of a prominent Jewish family. The older photograph is part of the historic series of photographs by photographer Robert Esterly taken in late 1914. The successor to Olympia Junk Co. is Olympia Supply, which still operates near this location.

Adjacent to the Olympia Junk Co. (where the parking lot to the north is currently located) was the Capital City Creamery. Founded by F.R. Klumb, the creamery was one of the first in Thurston County. Before the early 20th century, most households kept a cow, even on small city lots, to provide their dairy needs. The establishment of creameries was a result of increased urbanization, and the Creamery introduced sanitary and efficient practices, including pasteurization, as well as delivery trucks. The entire family, including F.R.’s wife Katherine and daughter Minnie, worked at the creamery.  Long-time Olympia historian Winnie Olsen was the daughter of Minnie Klumb.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph collection (enter following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 2010.149.23.1 (above photo); C1993.12.10 (pasteurization process at Capital City Creamery); C1993.12.7; C1993.12.1; 2010.149.23.2 (Esterly photograph of Capital City Creamery)

For more information on the Bean and Klumb families, see our Residents section (B and K)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Knitting Mills

Location: 525 Cherry St. SE
Popular Culture, Diversity: Jewish History, Women’s History, Schools, Wohleb

knittingmills1Olympia Knitting Mills photograph from City of Olympia Women’s Walking Tourfish brewingFish Brewing Company today
Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

The Olympia Knitting Mills began its life in downtown Olympia, founded by Seattle businessman Sol Myer. With the completion of the Carlyon Fill in 1911, and the injection of capital by local financers such as Mitchel Harris and George Mottman, the company was able to build a factory at the corner of Legion and Cherry (formerly under water at the southern end of Swantown Slough). Here the company rapidly expanded, producing knitted sportswear, sweaters and bathing suits. The building was eventually extended to add the current two-story side on Legion, and the adjacent Mission Revival style office building designed by local architect Joseph Wohleb. The company folded in 1929 and the building took on a variety of uses, including serving temporarily as the Olympia High School gym , and as the headquarters for K Records in the 1990s. Over these later years, students and recording artists left their marks in the form of colorful graffitti on the concrete walls of the second floor space. In the 2000s, the building was leased for public performance and rehearsal space to The Loft on Cherry, but in 2009 the current lessee, Fish Tale Ale, removed the second story floor in order to expand its storage capabilities; it is hoped that the extensive graffitti left by decades of occupants will be preserved. A portion of the warehouse is used as an artists’ collective. 

Links to more information:

Ross, the Loft on Cherry (Olympia Historical Society newsletter article – contains additional links and photos of the performing space and graffitti)

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): Olympia Knitting Mills C1951.250.22;  C1951.250.23, C1951.250.24, C1951.250.29.25 (example of knit blouse), C1951.250.25; C1972.37.14

Olympia Heritage inventory

City of Olympia Women’s Walking Tour (search for Olympia Knitting Mills)

Looking back feature on Olympia Knitting Mills suit

For more information on Mitchel Harris, see listing for Harris Dry Goods store

 

 

 

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Olympia Lumber and Mercantile site

Location: 426 Fourth Ave E

olympialumberOlympia Lumber and Mercantile, about 1910, State Library Collection, Digital Archives???????????????????????????????Site today (2014) Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

At one time much of east Fourth Avenue was lined with wooden buildings like the Olympia Lumber and Mercantile building shown at above left. These gradually gave way to masonry structures so that the only wooden building left in this area is the Cunningham building nearby. A 1914 photograph, linked below, shows this building as the Cash Grocery Store. And a photograph of Fourth Avenue looking east after the 1959 train wreck at the Union Pacific depot shows the building much altered (see Historylink article here). A Daily Olympian article from November 23, 1962 covers its demolition; at that time, it was known as the Log Tavern. The site is now a parking lot.

Sanborn Insurance maps show that this building was in the process of being erected in 1891. It had storefronts on the ground floor, typically groceries and furniture stores, with lodgings above (called The Arlington Lodgings in a turn of the century Sanborn map). Note the three cheerful women sitting in the window in the photograph at above left. The building was across the street from the Olympia Opera House, and only a block away from the waterfront of the Swantown Slough.

Links to more information:

Digital Archives link to above photo

Washington State Historical Society, photograph by Esterly (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2010.149.38.1; Daily Olympian photo showing demolition C1986.43.62.11.23.3

 

 

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Olympia Motors

Location: 520 4th  Ave E
Transportation, Wohleb

CapitolChevrolet-jeffers-1941Capital Chevrolet, 1942, Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State ArchivesOlympia Motors building

Olympia Motors Building now (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The Olympia Motors Building is a flamboyant celebration of America’s love affair with the automobile. Built in 1923 and designed by local architect Joseph Wohleb, the ornate Gothic terra cotta reliefs at the roofline create a sort of cathedral to the automotive industry. The building was originally a Ford dealership acquired by Leon Titus (see Titus House); later on it was a Chevrolet dealership, and now houses a popular restaurant at the edge of downtown Olympia. The dealership was located on the 4th Avenue corridor, at the time part of Route 99 that was the main north-south thoroughfare for Washington State and the west coast.

Addtional resources:

 

 

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Olympia National Bank Building/5th and Capitol

Location: 422 Capitol Way S
Downtown National Historic District, State Register, National Register, Wohleb

5th and capitol left halfMain Street (Capitol Way) and 5th, looking north, around 1874 , Stereograph (left half) courtesy of Washington State Historical  SocietyOlympia_National_Bank_Building_01Olympia National Bank building today (2012), Photo from Wikimedia commons

The block bound by Main Street (now Capitol Way), 4th Avenue, Washington Street, and 5th Avenue has always been one of the most important commercial blocks in Olympia. Originally the buildings were wooden, often with false fronts as shown in the image to the left. In 1882 a disastrous fire burned down most of the buildings in this block. Almost immediately the owners rebuilt, most of them opting for more fireproof brick construction.

The building now occupying the northeast corner of 5th and Capitol, the Olympia National Bank building, was built in 1914 with Joseph Wohleb as consulting architect. Historian Shanna Stevenson notes that its ornate design was the epitome of the “Bank as Temple concept of American life.” The building was badly damaged in the 2001 earthquake; to their credit, the owner restored the building to its original design.

For further information and links, see the following:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown Historic District

City of Olympia Downtown Walking Tour

Washington State Historical Society Photos (

(enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1950.3.69, 1997.52.509 (building at far right); C2017.0.56.12

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Olympia News Office building/site of Cafe Intermezzo

Location: 212 4th Ave W
National Downtown Historic District; Diversity: Gay and Lesbian History

chicks_on_bikes_thumbCafe Intermezzo, 1970s, Carole Street LaFond websiteOlympia News Office building

Olympia News Office building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The blocks extending down Fourth Avenue west of Capitol Way have always been the home to small but important commercial enterprises. In 1914, this location was the home of the Knudson Shoe Shop. The building currently here was erected in 1952 and housed the Olympia News Office. According to the Carolyn Street LaFond website, it at one time housed the Thurston County Republican Headquarters, but took a decided turn to the left when LaFond rehabilitated the building and created Cafe Intermezzo, allegedly the first cafe to serve espresso between Seattle and Portland. The building is on the Gay and Lesbian Walking Tour. It is located in the National Downtown Historic District and listed as an historic contributing building.

Additional resources:

National Downtown Historic District

Washington  State Historical Society, Knudson Shoe Shop photograph by Robert Esterly

(enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2010.149.27.2

Olympia’s Gay and Lesbian History Walking Tour, posted by Hypatia in the Woods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Oyster Company Building

Location: 320 4th Ave W
Diversity: Japanese, Native Americans; Wohleb

olympia oyster thenOlympia Oyster Company around 1924, photograph courtesy Washington State Historical SocietyOyster House

Oyster House in 2012, photo by Deb Ross

The oyster industry has been important in Olympia since early days. Originally cultivated and sold primarily by Native Americans, the industry became of larger economic significance after statehood, when both Native Americans and Euro-Americans were permitted to file and protect oyster claims. Several oyster companies came into being around this time. The Olympia Oyster Company was at this location, adjacent to the J.J. Brenner Oyster Company. At first, the companies cultivated the tiny Olympia Oyster, which went into steep decline through pollution and overharvest. In about 1918, oyster hobbyist E.N. Steele and others introduced the Pacific Oyster to the area, which is the oyster variety now most commonly found here, although the Olympia oyster is staging a minor comeback.

This building was designed in 1924 by architect Joseph Wohleb as a packing and storage facility for the Olympia Oyster Company. As can be seen from the photo at above left, other buildings associated with the company extended down a long wharf, which no longer exists. This is the only remaining building from Olympia’s oyster industry left in downtown Olympia. It is now the site of a popular seafood restaurant. The front part of the building burned in 2013 and was restored in 2014.

Oystering in South Puget Sound has long been associated with Japan: many oyster workers were Japanese-Americans, who supplanted the largely Native American oyster workers in the early 20th century. Japanese-Americans were also key to the introduction of the Pacific oyster to our area, after the demise of the native Olympia oyster.

Additional resources:

The Cultural History of the Olympia Oyster, by historian Ed Echtle

Washington  State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1950.8.11, C1950.8.8 (canning facility adjacent to packing facility)

Olympia Heritage inventory

Article, “The Immigrant Oyster,” by E.N. Steele, about the introduction of the Pacific Oyster; pictures from “The Immigrant Oyster”

Article, “The Rise and Decline of the Olympia Oyster,” by E.N. Steele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Press building/Burmeister Saloon site

Location: 120 Capitol Way N
State Register, National Downtown District, Wohleb

 

olympiapressPress room of the Daily Olympian 1910, photo courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society Olympia PressOlympia Press Building today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly

The Olympia Press Building (also known as Old Olympian Building), at the corner of Capitol and State, was one in a long line of downtown structures that housed the newspapers of Olympia, including the Washington Standard building that was two blocks away.

The Daily Olympian, now called the Olympian, has occupied a number of buildings, including the Thurston County Courthouse building on Franklin Street, and the Reed Building. In 1910, when the above photograph was taken, a Sanborn Map shows the newspaper building on this location, at the southeast corner of State Avenue and Capitol Way. The newspaper occupied this site for many years. In 1930, the Olympia Press Building, also known as the Olympian Building, was erected here, in Joseph Wohleb’s iconic Mission Revival style. While the Olympian no longer has a physical presence in Olympia, the Wohleb building remains one of the more important downtown commercial structures. Its exterior has been scrupulously maintained.

The site was once occupied by Charlie Burmeister’s popular saloon. Originally a wooden building, it burned down in the 1870s in a fire that took other commercial structures as well. Burmeister then built a two-story brick structure at the same location.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs

(enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box):  C1947.2.4 (remains of fire, Burmeister saloon); C1949.1242.4 (above photo)

For more information on Burmeister, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

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Olympia Public Library (Carnegie Building)

Location: 620 Franklin St SE
National, State and Local Register; Women’s History ; Wohleb; Religious Communities

Carnegie LibraryOlympia Public Library ca. 1914, National Register nominationCarnegie Building

Olympia Public Library building today (2012), photograph by Deb Ross

According to the inventory listing for this building, the collection that eventually became the Olympia Public Library was begun in 1896 by the Woman’s Club of Olympia. In 1909 the city took over the collection, which then numbered 900 books. Around that time, Andrew Carnegie instituted his program of endowing communities with funds to build local libraries, subject to certain stipulations. Carnegie’s grant of $25,000 assisted in the construction of this building, which was completed in 1914. The architectural firm of Blackwell and Baker used architect Joseph Wohleb as its principal architect, and this was one of Wohleb’s first important commissions in Olympia after he moved here from California. The building was expanded in 1960, but the collection continued to grow, and the current (2012) library building was constructed nearby in 1978.  Since then the Carnegie building has housed restaurants, bookstores, and a church.

The Olympia Public Library (Carnegie) building is listed on the local, state and national registries.

According to historian Bernice Sapp, this was once the site of the home of Jack Baldwin, pioneer logger, and Captain Hatch.

Additional resources:

Washington  State Historical Society

(enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box): C1986.43.60.9.8.8

Olympia Heritage inventory

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Sand and Gravel/Site of Fred Levee Bicycle Shop

Location: 401 Columbia St NW
Wohleb, Transportation

fred leveeFred Levee Bicycle Shop, 1914, Robert Esterly photograph, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society 

Olympia Sand and Gravel building

Olympia Sand and Gravel office building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

 

As the land base of Olympia grew to the north with each succeeding dredge and fill operation, commercial businesses expanded into the new territory along the waterfront at Columbia Street. A row of businesses between First and Second Avenue (now Thurston and Olympia Avenues) was documented by photographer Robert Esterly in 1914, including Fred Levee’s bicycle shop shown above.

These small businesses were overtaken by larger industrial operations such as Olympia Sand and Gravel with the growth of the port area in the 1920s. Olympia Sand and Gravel was one of the larger companies on the waterfront and at one time had several buildings used to transport sand and gravel by barge. Its office in the brick building shown at above right was built in 1928 and designed by famed local architect Joseph Wohleb. It is one of the few remaining buildings from the heyday of the port area’s industrial history. Small but distinctive, the building features decorative elements such as a cartouche over the entryway. A recent inventory update (2009) by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation recommends that the building be considered for inclusion in the National Register. Currently, it is a wine store.

Additional resources:

Olympia heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box), 2010.149.14.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Steam Heating Plant

Location: 113 Thurston St NE
mid-Century modern

No vintage photographs of this building have been scanned. If you have one to share, please contact us.Olympia Steam Plant building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

In the heyday of industrial activity in the Port area, the Olympia Steam Heating Company took steam generated at the Washington Veneer Plant and transported it via underground pipes to downtown businesses for heating purposes. The Steam Plant building here, built in 1946, was the central distribution point. According to some sources, a “district heating system” such as that in place here in the 1950s is an extremely cost effective way to reduce our carbon footprint. This building is one of the few remaining in the port area that recall our industrial past (see also Olympia Sand and Gravel building and Georgia Pacific Building). The plant ceased operation around 1963. 

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1986.43.52.9.3 (Olympian photograph, unscanned, of Steam Company’s underground piping in downtown Olympia)

Olympia Heritage inventory,

City of Olympia, mid-Century context statement

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Supply

Location: 625 Columbia St SW
Diversity: Jewish heritage


Olympia Supply floodOlympia Supply, 1987, Courtesy of Olympia Supply
olympia supply nowOlympia Supply now (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

The Olympia Supply Company is the successor name to Olympia Junk, which was originally located one block to the north of this location. The business is still owned by the Bean family who owned the company until 2016, and are important members of Olympia’s Jewish community (see also Meeker/Bean House). This building contains numerous historical curiosities, including girders that came from the Galloping Gertie bridge. The building was erected in 1946 and is of masonry construction. It is not inventoried.

Until the development of Capitol Lake in 1951, this area abutted Little Hollywood and was largely industrial. When Robert Esterly took his historic photographs of downtown Olympia in 1914, this location was the home of Weller Coal Company, which is pictured in the link provided below.

Addtional resources:

Washington State Historical Society, Weller Coal Company photograph (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box) 2010.149.2.1

For more information on the Bean family, see the Residents section of our webpage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Tug and Barge site

Location: Percival Landing
Transportation

olympiatugbargeOlympia Tug & Barge Co, Robert Esterly photo, ca. 1914, courtesy Washington State Historical SocietyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASite of Olympia Tug & Barge at Percival Landing today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Arthur Weston founded the Olympia Tug & Barge Co in the early 20th century and in 1908 commissioned the Sand Man, which was used primarily to haul sand and gravel to locations throughout the Puget Sound. In about 1914, Weston expanded his business operations to found Olympia Sand and Gravel next door, creating a vertically integrated business structure that ran from extractive mining to hauling. Weston and others, including the Smyth, Anderson, and Willie families, were integral contributors to the industrial development of the port area as successive fills expanded to the north over the first two decades of the twentieth century. The photograph at above left may show Arthur Weston and his wife Carrie Forbes Weston, part of Robert Esterly’s series of early photographs of Olympia business owners. Today all that remains of Weston’s empire are the headquarters building for Olympia Sand and Gravel, just to the north of the Percival Landing sign in the above photograph, as well as the restored Sand Man vessel.

Washington State Historical Society photograph (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box) 2010.149.11.1

Sources include Olympia Washington: A People’s History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olympia Yacht Club

Location: 201 Simmons St NW
Transportation 

yacht club cropOlympia Yacht Club 1972, cropped from image of Ralph’s Thriftway and Yacht Club, Port of Olympia collection, Southwest Regional ArchivesOlympia Yacht Club

Olympia Yacht Club today (2012), photograph by Deb Ross

The Olympia Yacht Club was founded in 1889 and obtained moorings at the present location just east of the Fourth Avenue bridge in 1915. At the time it was flanked by the oyster houses of J.J. Brenner and Olympia Oyster Company. The false lighthouse was built in 1930, which was part of the original clubhouse. The current clubhouse was built in the 1950s.

Additional resources:

Washington  State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1950.1301.22.4

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Otis House

Location: 203 18th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District; Wohleb

otis_1939Otis House, 1939, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Otis House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Otis House, built in 1914, was an early commission for Joseph Wohleb. In these early years of his work in Olympia he was adeptly and dramatically demonstrating the breadth of his skills, from the Dutch Colonial Cloverfields, to the English Renaissance McCleary Mansion, Mission style Lord Mansion, to this Craftsman style with a hint of Tudor elements. Otis was a board member of Capital Savings and Loan. The home is on the local register as well as located in the South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

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Overhulse House

Location: 105 Olympic Way NW
Local register

Overhulse_1939Overhulse House 1939, Thurston County Assessor Photo, Washington State ArchivesOverhulse House

Overhulse House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross

Built on a fine location overlooking Olympia, the Overhulse House just across the Fourth Avenue bridge in West Olympia was in the second wave of construction on the Woodruff Subdivision in the late 1890s or early 1900s (dates vary in the records). It is a Victorian design, which might have been considered old fashioned when the house was built. It includes charming details such as sunburst brackets at the eaves, and decorative shingling. John Overhulse was a plasterer by trade, and his daughter Olive was a schoolteacher in the Olympia schools.

The home is on the local heritage register.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box):C1964.26.4.7.5

For more information about the Overhulse family, see the Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pacific Building/Munson Millinery/Book Store

Location: 406 Capitol Way SE
Downtown National Historical District, Women’s History

munson storeMunson Millinery in 1870s or 1880s, photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Societyarchibald sistersArchibald Sisters (Pacific Building) today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

The block of Capitol Way (originally Main Street) between 4th and 5th Avenues was one of the most important commercial blocks in downtown Olympia. The Munson family operated Al Munson’s “novelty” store and his daughter’s millinery establishment (see also Munson House). Around 1900, a three-story building was erected at this site, named the Pacific Building. This was the second location for the Van Epps stationery store. It was badly damaged in the 1949 earthquake, and the height was reduced to one story. This building is now (2012) the long-time home of a popular store.

Links to more information:

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): Al Munson Novelty Store and Munson Millinery, C1982.18.30.20, C1982.18.30.22,  C1982.18.30.23, C1982.18.30.21;  interior of Van Epps store C1943.1006.12,  Pacific Building after the earthquake C1996.6.7,  C1996.6.18 

Olympia Heritage (The Book Store (Pacific) Building)

Olympia Downtown Historic District National Listing

Private postcard collection

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

 

 

 

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Pacific House site

Location: 202 Capitol Way N, parking lot south of 222 Capitol Way N
Women’s History; Diversity: African-Americans

Olympia_Pacific_House_RogersPacific House late 19th century, Public Domain image from Blackpast.org websiteBread PeddlarSite of Pacific House (parking lot) today, with Rebecca Howard mural (2013), photo by Deb Ross

In very early days of European settlement of Olympia, the center of town activity was near the then-waterfront, at about the current State Avenue and Capitol Way. Here was the home of the new territorial governor, Isaac Stevens, several commercial establishments, and the home of members of the Squaxin community, who constituted the majority of the population of early Olympia.

Here is where Colonel William Cock built the Pacific House, one of the earliest hotel/restaurants in Olympia. In 1859, African-American Rebecca Groundage Howard took over management of the Pacific House and soon became famous all over the northwest for her hospitality and good food. She was an enterprising restauranteur, active in the local community and in her church, and left a substantial inheritance when she died.

The location of the Pacific House is currently a parking lot on the other side of an alley from the Thorp Motors building, home to a number of retail businesses. In 2011, the City of Olympia commissioned a mural honoring Rebecca Howard, which is on the south side of the Thorp Motors building. Descendants of both the Howard and Cock families were present at the mural’s dedication.

Links:

Blackpast.org listing for Rebecca Howard and the Pacific House

For more on the Howard family, see the Residents section of this website. See also Howard Point, named for the Howard family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pacific Tel & Tel site/Thurston First Building

Location: 217-223 5th Ave SE
Women’s History; Transportation

pacific tel and telPacific Tel and Tel Building, ca. 1929, Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThurston First Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The building at above left was erected by the Pacific Telegraph and Telephone Company in around 1908. The company operated here until it moved to the Fleetwood Building in about 1938. Pacific Tel and Tel was incorporated in California and expanded its territory into by the early part of the 20th century. By 1909 it had acquired the Sunset Telephone Company. While the company had operations in Olympia early on, in the Reed Building and the Talcott Jewelers Building, this is the first building erected for this purpose. Historian Bernice Sapp refers to the building in her essay, “Olympia 100 Years Ago,” linked below, although clearly this building did not exist 100 years before Miss Sapp wrote the essay, in 1951. According to historian Shanna Stevenson, women were a major part of the workforce for the telephone company as they are today in the banking industry.

The site of the Pacific Tel and Tel building is currently occupied partly by a parking lot, and partly by an expansion of the building immediately to the east of here, shown at above right. That building was originally a garage and later converted to a bank. Although the Thurston County assessor shows this building as having been erected around 1919, it has clearly undergone major changes.

Links:

Washington State Historical Society, photograph of a reunion of the first subscribers (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box) C2017.0.179

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

Thank you to Ben Helle for finding the October 1908 article that confirmed the date of construction. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paine House

Location: 428 Rogers St NW
local register, Rogers Street Historic District

paine_1937Paine House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaine House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Paine House is one of five homes on Rogers Street Northwest that were built about the same time by Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM). TLM was founded by the Anderson brothers and provided precut homes that could be ordered from a catalogue. The company was widely successful, providing materials for hundreds of homes in Olympia alone. For more information on this company, see the listing for the Harmon House, or the Heritage inventory listing linked below. This house is on the local register in its own right, as well as being located in the Rogers Street Local Historic District, which was created to showcase the unique contributions of TLM to Olympia’s architectural history. The house was built about 1929. The cross-timbered detailing on the exterior qualifies the home as a “Tudor Revival” style rather than the English Revival style of its neighbors.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Rogers Street Local Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parker House

Location: 1623 Sylvester St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District; Wohleb

parker_1939Parker House, 1939, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State Archives???????????????????????????????Parker House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The attractive Craftsman style Parker House, built in 1920, is an example of architect Joseph Wohleb’s versatility. Wohleb also designed the next door Colonial style McCully House, built about the same time. The Parker’s House’s efficient and compact style was copied by Tumwater Lumber Mills for its catalog of precut homes (see Harmon House listing for more on TLM). It was built by Emmett Parker in about 1920. At the time the home was built, Emmett Parker was a justice of the Washington Supreme Court, and served on the court during the completion of the Temple of Justice on Capitol Campus. It is a much more modest home than the nearby Parker/Mills House which Justice Parker had owned earlier. The house is on the local historic register and is located in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

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Parker/Mills House

Location: 1617 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

Parker/Mills House, 1937, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State ArchivesParker/Mills House today (2013), photo by Matt Kennelly

The Parker/Mills House is a handsome and early example of the Craftsman style that became increasingly popular in Olympia in the early decades of the twentieth century. It was built by Emmett Parker in about 1904. Parker became a justice of the Washington Supreme Court a few years later. (See also the Parker House, which was also owned by Emmett Parker.) For many years the house was occupied by Jesse Mills, a prominent member of the pioneer Mills family, and founder of Mills and Mills Funeral home. The house is on the local historic register and is located in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

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

 

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Parr House

Location: 1518 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

Parr HouseParr House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor,  Washington State ArchivesParr House now (2013), photo by Deb Ross

This sturdy Foursquare style house was built around 1893 and originally sat at the location of the Temple of Justice. It was moved several blocks when the Temple became the first building in the Capitol Campus group. Harry and Evelyn George Parr built the home, and founded a four-generation dynasty of attorneys who have practiced in Olympia for over 100 years. Harry L. Parr ( 1877-1962) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and came to Olympia after the turn of the 20th century.  He was in private practice and also worked for the Attorney General’s Office.  The house is on the local register and is in the South Capitol National Historic District.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

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Parrott/McIntosh House

Location: 401 18th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

Parrott/McIntosh House, 1939, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State ArchivesParrott/McIntosh House today (2013), photo by Matt Kennelly

This is a beautifully restored pioneer style home located in the South Capitol Neighborhood. Thurston County inventory records contain two strikingly different accounts of its dates and owners. According to one, it was built in 1893 by R.B. McIntosh for his daughter, unnamed. According to this account, the building was made entirely of recycled materials from McIntosh’s mill, reflecting the hard times of the 1893 Depression. The other account lists the house as being built in 1903 by  Ellen Parrott, with R.B. McIntosh living here later on. Ellen Parrott was the mother of David Parrott, founder of the Parrott and Harter machinist company, which was once located in the Wright Building and is still in existence at a different location. The Parrott/McIntosh house is listed on the local register and is located in the South Capital National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory (1903 built narrative)

Olympia Heritage inventory (1893 built narrative)

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

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Partlow House

Location: 3303 Fairfield Rd SE
local register

partlow_1956Partlow House, 1956, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPartlow House today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

The Partlow House was built in 1928, and originally located at 1026 Columbia St, near Union Ave. Kenneth Partlow I was in the second generation of the Partlow family, who arrived here in the early twentieth century. Members of this family have practiced the medical profession in Olympia for four generations. The home’s original location was near the first St. Peter Hospital; several other medical practitioners lived nearby (see, for example, the Egbert-Ingham House). In the 1950s, the state expanded its campus footprint by building the parking garage that is now at that location. The Partlow House, and next door Allen House, were moved to this location in the Carlyon Neighborhood, where they are still next door to each other (the above left photograph was taken after this house was moved, but before the Allen House was moved next door). The home, an excellent example of Tudor revival style, is on the local heritage register. According to the 1985 inventory report, it is notable for preserving many original interior features, including an elaborate electric wiring system.

Olympia Heritage inventory

For more information on the Partlow family, see the residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

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Patnude House

Location: 1239 8th Ave SE
Local Register, State Register, National Register

patnude_house_Patnude House, 1893, Image from Washington State Archives. State Library Photograph Collection.Patnude House

Patnude House today (2011), Photo by Deb Ross

Charles Patnude was born in Quebec and came to Olympia in the 1880s. He was a builder by trade, responsible in whole or part for many important buildings including the Chambers Block, the Old State Capitol Building, and the old Thurston County Courthouse (4th Avenue). He and his family lived in this home for only two years, when the house was foreclosed on during a period of economic downturn. He then moved to a house on Jefferson Street with his fifteen children, some of whose descendants remain in Olympia.

This house was built in 1893. It is listed on the local, state and national registers for its important contributions to architectural styles of the time, including rich ornamentation, multiple eaves and gables, and a Gothic Revival style with Italianate elements. The house and its grounds have been meticulously restored to their original exterior appearance.

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.15.3

Olympia Heritage inventory

Eastside Neighborhood Walking Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Patterson House

Location: 926 Bethel St NE
Local register

patterson_1958Patterson House, 1958, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatterson House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Patterson home was built in about 1926. It is an attractive, well-maintained Craftsman style home in the “Workingman’s Hill” neighborhood of northeast Olympia. Mr. Patterson was a well driller by profession. The home is on the local register. 

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

PCT/TCTV video about Bigelow Highlands Neighborhood, available for viewing on Youtube

 

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Pattison-Davis House

Location: 1026 State Ave NE
Local register

pattison davis_1937Pattison-Davis House, 1937, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPattison-Davis House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Jane Wyllie Pattison and James Pattison crossed on the Oregon Trail, arriving in Thurston County in the late 1840s. They settled first on Chambers Prairie, where Pattison Lake took their name. Some time later, they decided to move to Olympia, where they arrived the day that President Lincoln was assassinated. They bought property from John Swan, in East Olympia (Swantown).  By 1900, the census shows Jane, a widow, living on Olympia Avenue (then Second Street). This Craftsman-style home was built about 1912, and Jane is listed as living here in the 1913 Polk Directory.

At some point after this, Jane seems to have moved to another home, or back to her first home, on Olympia Avenue. She eventually moved in with her son, James, on Sherman Street. When she died in 1923, she was reckoned one of the oldest surviving pioneers. Her daughter Anna moved into this home with her husband Brad Davis, who was a businessman, printer, assistant postmaster, and clerk for the Washington Supreme Court. The home is on the local register

Olympia heritage inventory

For more information about Brad Davis and the Pattison family, see the Residents section of this website ( DP).

 

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Pekin Cafe site

Location: 110 Capitol Way N
Diversity: Chinese heritage; National Downtown Historic District

 

pekin cafePekin Cafe, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyPekin Cafe site

Site of Pekin Cafe today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

Chinese cooks were present in Olympia from very early days. Often they were staff at private residences (the chef at Peterfield Turpin‘s home was particularly celebrated), or in hotels and restaurants. In the 1890s, for example, Toone James operated the historic Gold Bar Restaurant.

In the early twentieth century, restaurants owned by Chinese began to appear. The Pekin Cafe, owned by Lock Hoy, was located just north of the Chambers Block and would have been frequented by workers in the port area as well as downtown business owners and their staff. According to historian Ed Echtle, the menu featured not only Chinese but also “American” style food. Lock Hoy later ran the Shanghai Cafe on 5th Avenue. The site is located in the National Downtown Historic District, but is now a parking lot.

Additional resources:

Echtle, Chinese in Olympia: Restaurants

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2010.149.40.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Penney’s Annex Building

Location: 510 Columbia SW
Downtown National Historic District; Transportation

Pennysannex_1964Penney’s Annex Building, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPenney’s Annex Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This building on Columbia Street was erected before 1914, and originally served as an automobile garage (see link below). For several years it was an annex store for the Penney’s store that stood on the corner of Legion and Capitol Way. The building is shown as “historic contributing” in the Downtown Olympia National Historic Register and has been little changed since it was built.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph of garage in 1914 (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box) 2010.149.9.2

 

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Percival House

Location: 811 4th Ave W
Women’s History; Religious Institutions

percivalhouse_1939Percival House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
???????????????????????????????
Percival House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Queen Anne style home known variously as the Percival House and the Partlow House was built in 1892 on a lot above the Percival Mansion, overlooking the mouth of the Deschutes River and the Fourth Avenue Bridge. According to the city’s inventory, it was deeded to Drusilla Percival by her mother-in-law, Lurana Ware Percival, in 1896. (The city’s inventory does not state why Drusilla’s husband, Samuel M. Percival, was not included on the deed. The fact that Samuel’s younger brother, John, was given the family business to run at the tender age of 16, and that Samuel lived apart from Drusilla for long periods of time, may provide some clue. Samuel’s life-long job was claims agent for the Northern Pacific Railroad.) The 1900 census shows Drusilla and Samuel M. living here, with Lurana and a younger Percival sibling, Horace, and his wife, living below in the mansion. By 1910, however, Samuel and Drusilla were living at 10th and Columbia (site of the Gowey House). Drusilla, a popular amateur actress and musician, later moved to Seattle, and was a noted composer of popular music. In Seattle directories Drusilla is also shown as the head of the household.

The  house eventually passed to the Christian Science church and was its reading room from the 1920s to early 1940s (photograph at above left from 1939 shows the house with the Christian Science Reading Room sign). It was then purchased by the first Kenneth Partlow, the second generation of Partlow physicians in Olympia. It passed out of the Partlow family and then returned to the family when Dr. Kenneth Partlow III bought it in 1979. It is no longer owned by that family. (The Partlows and Percivals were also neighbors on Columbia Street, and Percival descendant Elizabeth Brett recalls taking piano lessons from Mrs. Partlow when Elizabeth’s grandmother, Mrs. John Percival, lived on Columbia Street.)

The home is in excellent condition, although it has lost its wrap-around porch. Several additions have been made to the south, not visible from the street.

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

For more information on the Percival and Partlow families, see the Residents section of this website.

 

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Percival Landing

Location: 405 Columbia St NW
Transportation, Local register, Popular Culture

percival dockPercival Wharf 1914, by  Robert  Esterly, photo from Digital Archives, State Library Collectionpercival landingPercival Landing now (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly 

When Olympia was first settled by Americans, the primary access to the town was by boat, as roads were mostly impassable. Yet boat access was also challenging: at low tide, lower Budd Inlet was a mud flat. Captain Samuel Percival, an early Olympia settler, was the first to build a commercial-scale wharf. The Bird’s Eye View of 1879, linked below, shows the wharf extending into the inlet (note that this view was created well before the Carlyon Fill added several blocks to the north of the wharf). Even so, given the extreme low tides at this end of Budd Inlet, larger ships had to land at the wharf on Butler’s Cove and unload onto the myriad small steamers that were able to handle the shallow water into town, until the mile-long “long wharf” was built in the late 19th century, which extended to deep enough water to allow larger ships to come into town.

In 1877 Captain Sam turned the operation of the wharf and its express offices to his sixteen-year-old younger son John Percival, shown above at left. The “Mosquito Fleet” of hundreds of steamers that transported most visitors to the city landed here, as did the smaller tenders unloading cargo from the ships moored at Butler’s Cove.

Percival Landing has been rebuilt several times over the years and has been a very popular strolling park since 1977; in 2011 a major remodel created new public spaces for meetings, art installation, and public mooring. It is the location for festivals throughout the year. The location is on the local register of historic places.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia heritage inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box):C1964.26.4.1.3 (circa 1949); 2010.149.39.2; 2010.149.17.2 (same as above left photograph); C1952.226.62

Digital Archives photo above

Looking Back photograph of John Percival in 1940

TCTV/PCTV video on maritime history at the Port of Olympia, accessed via YouTube

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia 1879

For more information on the Percival family, see Percival mansion and Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Percival Mansion site

Location: 190 Olympic Way NW (west end of 5th  Avenue Bridge)

percival from souvenirPercival Mansion around 1891, Edward Lange drawing from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891, Washington State LibraryroundaboutLocation today (2012), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross

The Percival Mansion is one of the more recognizable structures in early Olympia images. It was built by Benjamin Harned in 1874, at the western edge of the bridge to West Olympia (or Marshtown as it was sometimes called). Built in Gothic Revival and Italianate style, it perched on top of a terraced hillside and had a spectacular view of Olympia and Mount Rainier.

The Percival family were a noted Olympia dynasty, Captain Samuel Wing Percival arriving in 1853 and operating a store, sawmill and steamship operation. Percival Landing and Percival Creek are named after this family. The nearby Percival House was built for one of the children of Samuel Percival.

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1968.70.4

Digital Archives photo 

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia 1879, see structure at end of “long bridge.”

For more information on Percival family, see Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

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Peters House

Location: 1516 4th Ave E
Local register; Religious institutions

peters_1939Peters House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Peters House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Peters House is a relatively early example of craftsman style bungalows in Olympia. It was constructed in about 1909 by lumberman Joseph Peters. The home also served for a time as the manse for Westminster Presbyterian Church, which built the brick church structure next door. This well-preserved home is on the local register. 

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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Phillips House

Location: 224 17th Ave SE
Local register, South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

phillips_1939Phillips House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhillips House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This comfortable Craftsman style home is from the Tumwater Lumber Mills catalogue and dates from 1922. Its massive round porch columns give the home a neo-Colonial flavor. Tumwater Lumber Mills was a company founded by the Swedish-born Anderson brothers and was the source for over 50 homes in the South Capitol neighborhood as well as several homes on the West side of Olympia (see, e.g., Harmon House for more information about this company). Frank Phillips, the owner, was a dentist. The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood. 

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

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Piety Hill

Location: between Boulevard Bridge and 15th Street, on Boulevard Road
Transportation, Schools, Popular Culture

piety hill betterPiety Hill School 1903 photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Societyboulevard bridgeBoulevard Bridge today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

Boulevard Road is thought by some local historians to follow a very old Native American trail linking the prairie to the Sound. The area between 15th Street and the crossing of the Olympia Woodland Trail (former railroad tracks) was known as Piety Hill, for reasons lost to history. (There was at least one church in the area and possibly an Indian burial ground). A school was established near the intersection of Boulevard and 15th,  officially called the Eastside school, but known unofficially as the Piety Hill school. This school eventually was replaced by the McKinley School, located where the Olympia Regional Learning Academy is now, on the east side of Boulevard Road.

The Northern Pacific Railroad laid its tracks into downtown Olympia in 1891. Burlington Northern purchased the tracks, and then, when service into the city was abandoned, the right of way was eventually acquired to form the core of the Olympia Woodland Trail.
The intersection of the railroad, now a walking and biking trail and Boulevard Road, which follows an ancient walking and riding trail, could be considered a metaphor for the continuing evolution of  transportation modes in Olympia.  The footing for the bridge is a well-used site for unofficial urban art (a/k/a graffiti).

Links to more information:

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1970.28.6; C1957.134x.12; C1970.28.5, C1970.28.4

Esther Knox, Diary of Olympia School District

 

 

 

 

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Pinehurst Cottage

Location: 1622 Pine Ave NE
Local register

pinehurst 1970Pinehurst Cottage, 1970, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPinehurst Cottage today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Pinehurst Cottage is a charming example of a local craftsman’s take on the Craftsman style of architecture. It was built in 1924 by Tony Ross, a Yugoslavian immigrant who worked at the Springer Mills and Hyak Lumber Company for many years. According to the Thurston County inventory, the interior of the home features many built-in features such as cabinets, bookshelves, and pantry. The home is on a large lot still lined with the pine trees for which the cottage is named. It is on the local register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

 

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Plum Street Substation

Location: 712 Legion Way SE

Advertisement in Olympia High School’s 1932 annual, Olympix
plum st substation
Plum Street substation today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

This unique structure was built in 1927 by Puget Sound Power and Light Company (now Puget Sound Energy). It is in a charming French eclectic design and is designed to hide a substation. A substation steps up or down voltage delivered to the site by transmission or distribution lines. The substation still exists at the site, but has grown in size to spill out into the adjacent area. According to the heritage inventory, “the structure is an especially attractive one for a utilitarian use and Puget Power sources identified it as being unique.”

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Thurstontalk article about substation

Thank you to Dwight Moody for finding the Olympix advertisement. 

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Porak/Lee House

Location: 2508 Washington St SE
Local register, South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

porak-lee_1939Porak/Lee House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPorak/Lee House today (2014), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

Built in 1927, the Porak/Lee House is very similar to many homes built by Tumwater Lumber Mills in this South Capitol Neighborhood, although its exact model has not been located in any of TLM catalogs. It is an attractive bungalow style and is on the local register, as well as located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood. Henry George Porak was an engineer for the state and the city of Olympia.

Links to more information:

Olympia heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

 

 

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Porter House

Location: 1803 Capitol Way S
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

Porter House, 1939, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State ArchivesPorter House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Porter House on Capitol Way, was built around 1903 by Nathan Porter, who was an early pioneer photographer, teacher, territorial auditor, and  clerk. It was also occupied for several years by Christine Glidden Sylvester, the daughter and wife of two pioneer Olympia families. It is a handsome Foursquare style building and has been beautifully maintained. It is on the local heritage register, and is located in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Olympia heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

For more on Nathan Porter and Christina Glidden Sylvester, see the Residents section of this website

 

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Post, J.H. Store

Location: 314 Washington St NE
Wohleb

post storePost Store building, 1964, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State Archivespost storePost Store building today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

This building has been described as one of the best examples of commercial architecture at the north end of downtown Olympia. Erected in 1928, its utilitarian design by Joseph Wohleb is another example of the broad range of Wohleb’s abilities and styles. The original owner, J.H. Post, was proprietor of Post Electric and also was active in the oyster business. Many of the original features of the building have been lost in its transformation into a storage business.

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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Potts House

Location: 418 Rogers St NW
local register, Rogers Street Historic District

Potts_1937Potts House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPotts House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Potts House is one of five homes on Rogers Street Northwest that were built about the same time by Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM). TLM was founded by the Anderson brothers and provided precut homes that could be ordered from a catalogue. The company was widely successful, providing materials for hundreds of homes in Olympia alone. For more information on this company, see the listing for the Harmon House, or the inventory sheet linked below. This house is well maintained and is on the local register in its own right, as well as being located in the Rogers Street Local Historic District, which was created to showcase the unique contributions of TLM to Olympia’s architectural history. The house was built in 1929 and first owned by Harold and Gertrude Potts. Harold Potts was a school principal at the nearby Garfield School.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Rogers Street Local Historic District

 

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Preston, Josephine Corliss House

Location: 1502 Columbia St SW
South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Women’s History

preston_1937Preston House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Preston House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Josephine Corliss Preston House was erected in 1907, a well-preserved Craftsman style house in the South Capitol Neighborhood, very close to Capitol Campus. The house is associated with Josephine Corliss Preston, the first woman elected to the statewide position of Superintendent of Schools. Preston had nationwide prominence as an advocate for remedial classes and kindergarten. The house’s proximity to Capitol Campus makes it a popular venue for lobbyists during Legislative Session.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

Women’s History Walking Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Priest Point Park

Location: 2600 East Bay Dr NE
Local register, Religious institutions, Diversity: Native Americans

Dock Priest PointDock, Priest Point Park, early 20th century, Olympia Historical  Society CollectionPriest Point Park

Priest Point Park today (2012) photograph by Deborah Ross

Originally a Native American settlement, the area just north of Olympia was settled by Euro-Americans in 1848, when an Oblate Mission was established here in the very first years of Olympia’s birth. The mission of French-speaking Catholic priests was headed by Father Pascal Ricard, who established a church for Native American boys here. Members of the local Squaxin Tribe as well as neighboring Nisquallies, Puyallup and Snohomish also had an ongoing trading post here.

After the dissolution of the mission, the property changed hands several times and was subdivided. During the depression of 1893 the property was foreclosed, and city fathers proposed turning the property into a park. Local citizens donated materials and labor to establish a wide range of entertaining activities here, including a chalet, a zoo, and a swimming pool. The park retains some of its original elements in the form of picnic shelters, a swing set, the beaches, and the popular gliders, as well as extensive walking trails.

Additional links:

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

Article: Echtle: The Early History and Development of Priest Point Park

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box) C1988.16.8

City of Olympia webpage, Priest Point Park

Youtube video, part of Now, Where Were We series on PCTV/TCTV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Purdue House

Location: 420 Lybarger St SE
Local register

purdue thenPurdue House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPurdue House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This modest, well-preserved home in Olympia’s East Side was built about 1922. It was owned for several years by Archie and Eva Purdue. Archie worked in the veneer mills downtown, and Eva as a saleswoman in George Crabill’s Olympia Fruit Company. The home is listed as a “vernacular” style, which means that it reflects local tradition and materials. It is on the local register.

The heritage inventory for this house says that one puzzling feature is a granite marker in the yard engraved “Elizabeth Johnson.”

Links:

Olympia Heritage  Inventory

 

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Quist House

Location: 1512 State St NE
Diversity: Scandinavians

Drillen House_1939Quist House, 1939, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archivesdrillen houseQuist House today  (2010), photo by Deborah Ross

The Quist House was built about 1908 and is a well preserved example of the pleasant Craftsman style working person’s home that was common in Olympia around the turn of the 20th century. Owners included Will Steele and later Washington Veneer millworker Andrew Quist. Mr. Quist was born in Finland, one of the many Scandinavian workers at Washington and Olympia Veneer in early 20th century Olympia.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.13.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rabeck Building

Location: 311 4th Ave E
Local register; Popular culture

rabeck thenRabeck Music Store (in next block to the east), Piano Trade Magazine, 1915OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARabeck Music Store building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Ammon T. Rabeck arrived in Olympia in 1888, and after working in the mills for several years, opened up a small organ store at the current site of the Ward Building next door. That location later became the home of a rival, the Taylor Music Store. Rabeck moved at least twice more, always on Fourth Avenue, and expanded his business to include the first dealership for phonographs, as well as sheet music, some of his own composition. The drawing at above left shows the extent of his business in 1916, which was then located between Jefferson and Adams Streets; the Fourth Avenue trolley line can be seen approaching from the west. He then moved a block to the west. The current building, which appears much smaller than the 1916 building, was erected in 1927. It is a modest masonry structure with attractive crenelated parapet. The business was sold to Yenney’s in the 1940s, and this building has had several occupants since then. The building is on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

For more information on A.T. Rabeck (including a brief biography from the 1916 Piano Trade Magazine), see the Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ralph’s Thriftway

Location: 1908 4th Ave E
mid-Century modern

9-13-14ralphsRalph’s Thriftway, 1958, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Ralph’s Thriftway today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Ralph’s Thriftway opened at its present location on State Avenue in 1956. It was a showcase for the very latest in grocery stores. It was also one of the largest stores in the northwest, and included a children’s play area, clothing department, and two leased areas, Bailey Pharmacy and Blue Ribbon Meats. This photograph, taken in 1958, shows the soda fountain and the pharmacy.

Additional resources:

mid-Century Modern Context Statement, City of Olympia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Raymond House

Location: 1130 East Bay Drive NE

raymond_1939Raymond House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Raymond House today (2015) photograph by Deb Ross

Perched on a bluff overlooking Budd Inlet, the Raymond House was built in 1922 by George Raymond, a contractor, to serve as his own residence. The stucco facade of this bungalow is relatively unusual for Olympia, earning it a place in the city’s inventory of important structures.

Additional sources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ray Theatre/Timberland Bank

Location: 423 Washington St SE
Downtown National Historic District, Popular Culture

raytheaterRay Theatre, 1914,  Robert Esterly photo courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyTimberland BankTimberland Bank building today (2012) photograph from Timberland Bank website

In about 1914, the Zabel family, who owned several theaters downtown, built the Ray Theatre here, pictured at above left, at the corner of Fifth and Washington. In this same year, Robert Esterly took the picture as part of his series featuring Olympia businesses and their owners. The theater later boasted a Wurlitzer organ, as did others owned by the same family. This theater was closed when the Capitol Theatre was built nearby.

Adjacent to the theater was the B&M Cigar Store, pictured in the link below. 

This location is now the Timberland Bank, formerly Capitol  Savings and Loan. According to the Thurston County assessor, this is the same building as the Ray Theatre, although it clearly has lost most of its elements. The fixed canopies along Washington and Fifth Avenue are a nod to the original design and the overall architectural themes of downtown Olympia. The building is located in the Downtown National Historic District, but the building itself is not considered to be contributing to the district’s historic flavor. However, long-time employees at the bank confirm that above the dropped ceiling there are still remnants of cinema wall decorations. 

According to historian Bernice Sapp, the property at northern side of this building on Washington Street was the home of pioneer Jacob Ott and family, and on the southern side was the home of the Tilleys (see Tilley Stable site).

Additional links (note that both the Cinema Treasures and Downtown National Historic District incorrectly place the Ray Theatre at the site of the current New Caldonia building):

Cinema Treasures: Ray Theatre

Downtown National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 2010.149.4.1; 2010.149.7.1

Sapp, Olympia 100 years ago

Thank you to bank employee Jacquie for memories of cinema decorations above dropped ceiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Red Top Taxi building/Site of Cohen’s Confectionary

Location: 113 4th Ave W
National Downtown Historic District, Diversity: Jewish heritage, Women’s History, Popular Culture, Transportation

cohen's pool roomCohen’s confectionary, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyRed Top Taxi Building

New Moon  Cafe (Red Top Taxi building) today (2012) photograph by
Deb Ross 

Annie and Barney Cohen operated the confectionary/pool hall at this location in the early 20th century, and lived above the store. It was one of many small, family-owned businesses that stretched westwards from the center of town towards the Fourth Avenue bridge. The photograph at above left was one of the series taken by photographer Robert Esterly in 1914, cataloguing the businesses of Olympia and their owners.

Some time later, the building was demolished, and the current brick building was erected in 1948. It housed the Red Top Taxi and also the Trailways Bus station. The building currently houses a small cafe and is well maintained. Its west side once sported one of the several graffiti murals in downtown Olympia, now obscured by the erection of an apartment building next door.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Downtown Historic District 

Washington State Historical Society photograph (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 2010.149.6.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reder House

Location: 1207 Olympia Ave NE
Olympia Avenue Local Historic District

 

Reder House_1939Reder House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives

 

 

Reder House

Reder House today (2010), photo by Deborah Ross

This house, built in 1894, is at the eastern end of Olympia Avenue, formerly Second Avenue. Its comfortable, relatively unostentatious style, is consistent with the other homes in this neighborhood, which is one of two local historic districts in Olympia. The house was built in 1894 by the Aldrich family, according to early historian Adah Dye; by the early 20th century, and for at least two decades, it was occupied by the Lee Reder family; Lee Reder and his son both listed their occupations as bartenders.

For more information follow these links:

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box):C1964.26.4.5.6 (unscanned photo circa 1937)

Olympia Avenue Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Redpath House

Location: 219 17th Ave. SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

Redpath_1939Redpath House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
Redpath HouseRedpath House today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

Described as one of the finest homes in Olympia, this house was built by Nathaniel and Lucy Maynard Redpath around 1907. Dr. Redpath was a descendant of early pioneers and a prominent physician. In keeping with his position in Olympia society, the house was originally located on the tony south side of Sylvester Park, at the current location of the Fleetwood Building, and was moved to its current location in 1928 or 1929. It is described as a Craftsman style home, which would have been a modern departure, when it was built, from the Queen Anne style homes that lined Capitol Way from the park southwards. It was later passed onto and owned by the Redpaths’ daughter, Catherine Redpath Weller. The house is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reed Building

Location: 520 Washington St SE
National Downtown Historic District, Local Register, Women’s History, Transportation

As it appeared in about 1935
Vibert Jeffers. Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives.
reed_buildingAs the Reed Building appears today (2012), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross 

The Reed Block/Thompson Apartments building was built in 1891 and named after its builder, local attorney, politician, and businessman Thomas Milburne Reed. The building was an important addition to the downtown commercial core, and housed a number of businesses, including at first the post office. In the early to mid 20th century, it was the home of a bus depot, the Anna Blom book store, and a cleaner’s. The building originally had elaborate decorative moldings at the roofline, but it was badly damaged during the 1949 earthquake. It was again damaged in the 2001 quake. Most decorative features have been removed, but the current building still has echoes of the original features of the building. It currently (2012) houses the Drees store at ground level, and the Thompson Apartments above.

For more information about and historic photographs of the building, follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown District National Register

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 1998.81.3, C1985.12.4, C1996.6.12, C1985.12.20

City of Olympia Downtown Walking Tour

City of Olympia Women’s History Tour (Anna Blom bookstore)

For more information about Thomas Milburne Reed, link to our Residents section

 

 

 

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Reed Building Annex

Location: 212 Legion Way SE
National Downtown Historic District

We have not located a vintage photograph of this building.If you have one to share, please contact us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReed Building Annex today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross 

This small, one-story building is adjacent to the Reed Building, on Legion Way. It was erected in 1946 and was for many years the home of Weller Insurance. It is now owned by the family that owns the Reed Building. The building is not on the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s nor the city’s inventory but is shown as historic contributing in the Downtown Olympia National Historic District.

Olympia Downtown District National Register

 

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Reinhart, C.S. House

Location: 1112 Olympia Ave NE
Local register, Olympia Avenue Historical District

Reinhart 1981 Reinhart House 1981, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional ArchivesReinhart House

Reinhart House today (2012), photo by Deborah Ross

Captain Caleb S. Reinhart (nickname “Cap”) was a son of Olympia pioneers Stephen Reinhart and Sarah Cock. He built this home in 1891, next door to Ralph O. Dunbar (see Dunbar House), who had recently been appointed to the Supreme Court. Reinhart and Dunbar had been colleagues in Klickitat County before Dunbar’s appointment, and Reinhart followed him back to Olympia, where his family had settled the previous generation.

Olympia Avenue (then called Second Avenue) was located in Swantown to the east of Olympia. It was accessible only via an unreliable bridge on Fourth Avenue and muddy roads and was considered a remote location, until the Carlyon Fill eliminated the Swantown Slough and the need for a bridge.

Justice Dunbar may have chosen this neighborhood for its proximity to his wife’s sisters and mother (see Byrd House, Bigelow House, and Ruddell House): although Cap Reinhart’s family lived in what is now the South Capitol neighborhood, he doubtless felt it more expedient to live near his boss.

The house is typical of the comfortable, unostentatious style of this neighborhood. It is classified as a Colonial Revival, and is more sparing of ornamentation than some of its neighbors. This neighborhood is a locally designated historic neighborhood, both for the historic significance of some of the families who settled here, and the harmonious nature of its homes.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Ave Historic District

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.16.5 (unscanned photo circa 1949)

For more information on the Reinhart family, see Residents section of this website (the heritage listing also has an excellent family summary)

Youtube video on Olympia Avenue (produced by Panorama TV)

 

 

 

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Revell House

Location: 116 21st Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District; mid-Century modern

revell house_1940Revell House, 1940, State Archives, Thurston County AssessorRevell HouseRevell House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

Built in 1940, the Revell House has a strikingly mid-Century modern feel to it, consistent with the status of its original owner, who was a treasurer of the cooperative Olympia Veneer Company. Interesting features include the attached garage, an innovation at the time, and leaded porthole windows. The home is on the local register, and is in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

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Rex Building/site of Our House Restaurant

Location: 301-309 4th Avenue E
Local register, Popular Culture; Diversity: African-Americans

rex theatreRex Theater, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyRex Building

Rex building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The Rex Building was erected around 1911, and is so named because the Rex Theater occupied the first floor. Although the theater was equipped with a stage and scenery, it provided almost exclusively cinematic entertainment. Eventually the theater was part of the Zabel Family chain of theaters, which included the Ray, the Acme and the Capitol Theater. As can be seen by comparing the two photographs above, the recessed ticket entry was added at a later date. Other businesses operating out of this building included apartments upstairs, and the Guiles and Schlosser Plumbing business. The building is on the local heritage register. Note also that building dates and location are not uniform in the literature concerning this building. The 1911 built date and location at the corner of Fourth and Franklin appear to be most likely based largely on photographic evidence available, and an article from a 1913 edition of the Moving Picture World linked at the Cinema Treasures website below.

This location was the home of the Our House Restaurant, owned by James and Mary Mars. James Mars, an African-American, left Massachusetts as a young man and settled here in 1870. They opened the popular Our House Restaurant in 1879. Mars is listed as one of the city’s more prominent, and only African-American, businessmen in Olympia in the 1891 Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue.

The building is currently (2015) the home of the Olympia Downtown Welcoming Center.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2010.149.30; 2010.149.21.2 (Guiles and Schlosser)

Cinema Treasures, Rex Theatre

For more information on James Mars, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Robbins House

Location: 606 Central NE

Robbins_1939Robbins House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobbins House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Robbins House is an excellent and well preserved example of the Pioneer style that is common in the Bigelow Highlands of East Olympia. The Robbins family arrived here in about 1880, and several descendants still live in the area. Edward or Ernest O. Robbins built this home about 1890; another Robbins built the nearby Robbins-Mallett House and several others in East Olympia.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Youtube video of PCTV/TCTV production on Bigelow Highlands

For more on the Robbins family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Robbins-Mallett House

Location: 907 Olympia Ave NE
Local register, Olympia Avenue Local Historic Neighborhood

robbinsmallett_1965Robbins-Mallett House, 1965, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Robbins-Mallett House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This fine early Craftsman-style home was built in 1915 by Edwin J. Robbins, member of a pioneer Olympia family. Robbins built several homes in East Olympia, soon after the Carlyon Fill made this area more accessible from Olympia (see also Robbins House).  According to the inventory sheet, he lived in each for a time and then moved on. The home is on the local register and in the Olympia Avenue Local Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Olympia Avenue Local Historic District

For more on the Robbins family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

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Rockway-Leland Building

Location: 119 Washington St NE
Downtown National Historic District; Wohleb; mid-Century modern; popular culture

Rockway_LeLandBuilding_OlympiaRockway-Leland Building, around 1941, courtesy Michael Houser
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARockway-Leland Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Rockway-Leland Building was constructed in phases, and is really two buildings. The “ell” on the north side (to the right in the photographs above) was built around 1921 and was a tavern. In 1941, the Olympia Oil and Wood Company hired architect Joseph Wohleb to design the addition that is seen to the left of these photos. It was built by Lacey contractor A.G. Homann. Departing from the earlier stage of his Mission style buildings seen in the adjacent James Martin Warehouse and Olympian buildings,  Wohleb used an Art Moderne style and retrofitted the older building to mesh with the newer one. The building incorporates many Moderne features such as the grooved bands on the building’s side, the metal door pulls, and rounded corners, and is an iconic feature of the city’s eclectic downtown architecture.  The building is named after the company’s owner O.R. Rockway, and its manager C.H. Leland.

The building was also the second home of Olympia’s first radio station, KGY (see also KGY Building for that station’s current location). Studios on the second floor are acoustically perfect, and still the home of two local radio stations. During World War II it sported a 150 foot tall tower on the roof (remembered through the neon sign in the window of the radio station). The roof also had an air raid siren, which signaled the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is in Olympia’s Downtown National Historic District, where it is listed as Historic Contributing.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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Romanousky House

Location: 1220 4th Ave E
Women’s history

romanouskyRomanousky House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
romanousky
Romanousky House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

This attractive and well-maintained Tudor Revival house on 4th Avenue east was built by Annastazie (Anna) Romanousky, or Romanowsky. She was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia who arrived here in 1922. She operated Crane’s Cafe for several years, then the State Capitol cafeteria with her son Charles. This home was built in 1931 and was in the family until 1975.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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Ross, Hugh House

Location: 1705 Capitol Way S
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

No historic photograph has been located; if you have one we can scan, please contact us
Ross House now (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Ross House was built in 1892 for Hugh Ross, a downtown drugstore owner, who had businesses in the Reed Building and the Stuart Block. The original house was a somewhat more traditional foursquare design. Later owners added the turret and the stucco facing in the 1920s, long enough ago that the current look is worthy of its position on the local register in its own right. The house is on the local register and is located in the South Capitol National Historic District.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

For more information on Hugh Ross, see the Residents section of this website

 

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Roys House

Location: 423 Olympic Way SW
Local register; Wohleb

Roys_1939Roys House in 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARoys House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Hartman Roys was a supervisor at the Port of Olympia and, around 1939, commissioned architect Joseph Wohleb to build this home overlooking the Deschutes Estuary and on out Budd Inlet to the port. It is described as being an Art Moderne interpretation of the Colonial Revival style. The wrap-around plate glass windows would have been particularly stylish and offered views over the city. The home had a commanding view of downtown Olympia and the dome of the Legislative Building (now obscured by trees). It is perched on a hillside on the west side, above the Fifth Avenue bridge, which did not exist at the time the home was built. The home is on the local register.

More information:

Olympia heritage inventory

 

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Ruddell House

Location: 901 Olympia Ave NE
Local register, Olympia Avenue Historic District, Women’s history


Ruddell House 1965, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
Ruddell House today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

The Ruddell House at the corner of Olympia Avenue and Pear Street is the southern anchor of the influence of the matriarchal White family in this part of town. Margaret Stewart White Ruddell arrived in Thurston County as a very early pioneer and was married to James White. After White was killed in the Indian Treaty Wars of 1855-1856, Margaret married another early pioneer, Stephen Ruddell, who was living in what is now Lacey on Chambers Prairie (Ruddell Road is named after this family). In the early to mid- 1860s the Ruddells built this home. Ruddell was involved in local politics and this area near his step-daughters, as well as local politicians and attorneys, would have been convenient. Just a few blocks to the north was the home of Margaret’s daughter, Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow (Bigelow House). Over the next three decades, two other daughters built on Olympia Avenue (then called Second Avenue). Their homes also still exist (Byrd House, built by George and Mary White Byrd, and Dunbar House, built by Ralph Oregon and Clara White Dunbar). All are on the local register and the Bigelow House is on the national register as well.

The Ruddell House is a very early Olympia home and one of the only examples of a saltbox style in Olympia. It can be seen in the 1879 Bird’s Eye view of Olympia, kitty-corner to the Olympia Collegiate Institute at the corner of Second and Pear. It is on the local register and is located in the Olympia Avenue Historic District.

Additional resources:

Olympia heritage inventory

Olympia Avenue Historic District

PCTV/TCTV video on Olympia Avenue, featuring Ruddell House, viewable on Youtube

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Schmidt, Frederick W. and Elsa House (Capitol Way)

Location: 2613 Capitol Way S
Local Register, South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Frederick W. and Elsa Schmidt House, 1946, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives 

Frederick W. and Elsa Schmidt House today (2017), photo by Deborah Ross

Frederick W. and Elsa Schmidt arrived after their honeymoon and immediately began searching for a home site. Schmidt was the youngest member of the family, which was associated with the Olympia Brewing Company for generations. The selected home site, at the southern end of Capitol Way in Olympia, was not far from the brewery and was also near other homes associated with the Schmidt family (see, for example, the Leopold Schmidt Jr. House directly across the street, LoMa Villa at 2621 Capitol Way, the Speckart House next door, and of course the Schmidt Mansion in Tumwater). The house was built in 1912 and the Schmidts’ first child, Eleanor, was born here. The Schmidts later built and helped design the important Frederick W. Schmidt home nearby. This home is in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood and has recently (2016) been accepted into the local register in its own right, as being connected with a important local family. 

More information:

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Application for Local Register

 

 

 

 

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Schmidt, Trueman and Virginia House

Location: 2932 Maringo Rd SE
mid-Century modern; State Historic Register; Wohleb

truemanschmidt_1950Trueman Schmidt House, 1950, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archivestrueman schmidt

Trueman Schmidt House today (2015), photo by Deborah Ross

The Trueman and Virginia Schmidt house in the Governor Stevens neighborhood is one of several in Southeast Olympia designed by the Wohleb firm, and also one of several associated with the Schmidt family (see, for example, the Leopold Schmidt Jr. House, Frank T. Schmidt House, the Frederick W. Schmidt House, the Robert and Jeannette Schmidt House, LoMa Villa, and of course the Schmidt Mansion in Tumwater). All of these homes would be an easy distance from the Olympia Brewery, founded by the family. The This home, built in 1950, is an early and distinguished example of mid-Century modern architecture, with rising star G. Stacey Bennett, then with the Wohleb firm, the primary architect. The home has been accepted onto the State Register, and as of spring of 2015 it has also been nominated to the local and national registers, as outstanding local example of mid-Century architecture.

More information:

National Register Nomination form

mid-Century Modern Context Statement, p. 11

 

 

 

 

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St. John’s Episcopal

Location: 114 20th Ave SE
Religious institutions; mid-Century modern; South Capitol National Historic District

St. John’s Episcopal, 1961, courtesy Washington State Historical SocietySt John'sSt. John’s Episcopal Church today (2015), photo by Deborah Ross

The St. John’s Episcopal Church building on 20th Avenue, in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood, is the third building associated with this congregation (see Governor Hotel/Silsby Store/St. John’s and St. John’s Episcopal – Second site). The move away from Olympia’s central core came around the same time as other mainline congregations — First United Methodist, United Churches, and Gloria Dei — were finding that the Baby Boom and rapid post-war growth of Olympia were creating cramped conditions in their downtown 19th and early 20th century buildings (see the Gloria Dei page for an overview of the phenomenon of “musical pews” in Olympia). It was erected in two stages, with the administrative offices extending down 20th Avenue in a fairly traditional Gothic style in 1949, followed by the important mid-Century architectural design of the church sanctuary in 1957 at the corner of 20th and Capitol Way. The site is located in the South Capitol National Historic District but shown as non-contributing, since at the time of the creation of the district the building was not old enough. It certainly would be included today as an important contribution to the history and architecture of the area.

More information:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

mid-Century Modern Context Statement, p. 60

South Capitol National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box, C1986.43.61.1.26.1.7

 

 

 

 

 

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St. Michael Parish – first sites

Location: west side of Columbia St. between 10th and 9th Avenues
Religious communities


St. Michael Parish, around 1890, from centennial booklet, 1976
 

Site today,  photograph by Deborah Ross (2017)

St. Michael Parish had three structures on the west side of Columbia St. between 10th and 9th Avenues between 1879 and 1965. The parish was created in 1875, a member of the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Early on, the diocese had acquired property just south of the original Territorial Capitol, between Main Street (now Capitol Way) and the banks of the Deschutes Estuary. This area was also the location of Providence Academy and the first St. Peter’s Hospital. The parish was sited in the block bounded by 9th, Columbia, 10th, and Main Street (Capitol Way). It sold the adjacent block to the east to the First Congregational Church

By 1879, a 1 1/2 story wooden church stood at the southeast corner of the block, where it can be seen in the 1879 Bird’s Eye View linked below. According to the centennial booklet published by the parish in 1976, the church building was not dedicated until 1880. Ten years later, in 1890, a new, larger structure was built, at the northeast corner of the block. This is the structure pictured in the image at above left. The original building was converted into a residence for the priest. 

Then, in 1919, a brick veneer building was erected at the site of the original church, on the southeast corner of the block. In 1963 the building was damaged by arson. 

In 1965, the parish was moved to a new building at 1021 Boundary. The original site is now mostly a parking lot, another example of a “paved paradise” in Olympia. 

Additional resources:

Washington  State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2016.0.8 (steeple of second St. Michael structure can be seen behind First Congregational Church building); C1986.43.61.1.26.1.12  ; C1986.43.63.4.24.3.1 C1986.4.63.4.24.3.2 (brick structure; latter two photographs of arson fire)

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, 1879 (location number 4)

Thank you to John Grausam for historical information and for sharing centennial booklet. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stoecker/Gunstone House and Heritage Tree

Location: 1701 4th Ave E
National and Local registers; Heritage Tree program

Gunstone archives004Gunstone House, 1940s. Gunstone family collection, courtesy Tina Roose.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGunstone House and Tree today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This Craftsman style home was built in 1925 for Richard and Lydia Stoecker. Recent researches by the owner confirm that it is a Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM) home. TLM provided homes in “kit” form, with over 50 TLM homes located in Olympia alone. For more information about TLM see the Harmon House listing. This home is a rare example of a TLM home on the eastside of Olympia. In 1939 it was purchased by George and Edith Gunstone, and the home was owned by the family until 2015.  The Gunstones are a long-time pioneer family of Thurston County. The home is on the local register.

To the west of the home is a City of Olympia designated Heritage Tree. Nearly 100 years old, it has been lovingly maintained by the Gunstone family, and when chestnuts ripen they are harvested by local residents.

Thank you to Tina Roose for additional information about the house and tree.

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

 

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Thorp Motors building (south end)/Parker and Colter/first Territorial Legislature site/Gold Bar restaurant site

Location: 222 Capitol Way N
Diversity: Chinese; Transportation

gold bar restaurantGold Bar Restaurant about 1900, photograph by W.A. Van Epps, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThorp Motors building today (south end) (2014), photo by Deb Ross

As can be seen from the long name for this site, it plays a rich and important role in Olympia’s history. Before the arrival of Europeans, this area was home and host to a variety of Coast Salish people. This site would have been about two blocks south of the then-waterfront, thus located at a convenient and accessible spit of land for gatherings and residences. Europeans arrived here in the early 19th century, but Americans did not attempt to settle in what later became Olympia until Edmund Sylvester and Levi Lathrop Smith arrived here and built cabins in this neighborhood, each staking out a donation claim for himself that they agreed to bequeath to each other.

Shortly after this, the United States reached agreement with Great Britain to claim this area as part of Oregon Territory, thus legitimizing Sylvester and Smith’s claim, at least with respect to Great Britain. After Smith’s sudden death, Sylvester inherited this property, along with most of what is now downtown Olympia. Indian claims were not extinguished until after the so-called Indian Wars of 1855 and 1856, with the Medicine Creek Treaty.

Meanwhile, in 1853, merchants John Parker and Henry Colter established a general merchandise store at this spot, which was then the center of the small American community, still vastly outnumbered by Native Americans. At first this was a one-story building, but Edmund Sylvester, its original builder, soon added a second story. The second story was accessible through an outdoor staircase. This was the same year that Washington Territory split off from Oregon Territory, and  Isaac I Stevens arrived to become the first territorial governor. It was decided to hold the first territorial legislature in the upstairs rooms of the Parker and Colter building. A plaque now commemorates this site.

In time, the Parker and Colter firm dissolved, and the building became the famed Gold Bar Restaurant. It was presided over by a number of owners and chefs, among them Toone James, one of several Chinese cooks in Olympia.

As the center of commercial life moved southwards towards Sylvester Park and beyond, this area of town became shabbier and less respectable. In the late 1880s, the City passed an ordinance decreeing that all businesses north of Third Avenue (State Avenue) would have laxer regulations of such activities as prostitution, gambling, opium smoking, and drinking (see Tenderloin District). The Gold Bar restaurant, as well as the Pacific House next door, fell into decline. The building was demolished in 1909.

The large building currently occupying the location of the Gold Bar was the home of Thorp Motors, erected in 1945. Many automotive-associated buildings occupied, and continue to occupy, this industrialized area of Olympia, carrying on the area’s long transportation-related history. The building is now home to several businesses. On its south side there is a mural commemorating Rebecca Howard, the manager of the Pacific House, which was located next door at the corner of State and Capitol.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory (Thorp Motors building)

Olympia Heritage inventory sheet, Territorial legislature plaque

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 1943.42.1402 (1902 photograph by Asahel Curtis); 1924.32.1 (ca. 1900 photograph); laying of commemorative plaque in 1913: 2013.0.216. A model of the building, constructed out of the timbers from the Parker and Colter store building, catalogue C2008.169.1, is now located at Washington State Historical Society

Article, Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, showing the proximity of this site to the waterfront on three sides. The New England Hotel is the two story structure with balconies at the corner of Second and Main (Olympia Avenue and Capitol Way)

For more information on the James , Parker, Colter, and Sylvester families, see the Residents section of this website.

 

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Thorp Motors Building (north end)/first Masonic meeting place/Washington Hotel

Location: 222 Capitol Way N
Transportation; Local Register

New England Hotel in background, 1913, , courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
Thorp Motors building today (portion) (2014), photo by Deb Ross

In the early days of American settlement of Olympia, all commercial establishments were located north of 3rd Avenue (now State Street), to take advantage of its proximity to Budd Inlet. Silas Galliher established the Washington Hotel at the southeast corner of what is now Capitol Way and Olympia Avenue. Here in 1853, the story has it, a disheveled Isaac Stevens arrived and was initially turned away as the proprietor awaited the arrival of the new territorial governor (Stevens himself). The hotel changed hands several times. By 1913, when the above photograph was taken, it was called the New England Hotel. The group standing in front of the hotel are laying a plaque to commemorate the site of the first territorial legislature, held in the adjacent Parker and Colter store. 

On the north side of this building, a plaque commemorates the location of the first assembly of Masons, in 1851.

The large building currently occupying this space as well as the location of Parker and Colter was the home of Thorp Motors, erected in 1945. Many automotive-associated building occupied, and continue to occupy, this industrialized area of Olympia, carrying on the area’s long transportation-related history. The building is now home to several businesses and is on the local heritage register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory (Thorp Motors building)

Olympia Heritage inventory sheet, Masonic plaque

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 1943.42.1402 (1902 photograph by Asahel Curtis); laying of commemorative plaque in 1913: 2013.0.216

Olympia Heritage Commission 222 Capitol Register Application and Statement of Significance

Article, Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago; Article, Georgiana Blankenship, Old Olympia Landmarks

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, showing the proximity of this site to the waterfront on three sides. The hotel is the two story structure with balconies at the corner of Second and Main (Olympia Avenue and Capitol Way)

For more information on the James , Parker, Colter, and Sylvester families, see the Residents section of this website.

 

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Thurston County Courthouse complex

Location: 2000 Lakeridge Dr SW
midCentury modern

 No vintage photograph for the complex has been located. 
Location today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Officially opened in June 1978, this courthouse stands on what was historically “Mottman Hill.” The multi-building design features contributions from three local architectural firms—Building 1, Elected Officials and Administration designed by  Falter-Masini Architects; Building 2, Superior Court, designed by Flotree-Sogge Architects ; and Building 3, District Court, originally Corrections and Sheriff’s Office designed by Bob Selenes of BJSS Architects who also provided the master plan for the site.

See Thurston County Courthouses through the Decades for other historic locations for the Thurston County  Courthouse

Text by Shanna Stevenson

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Rudkin House

Location: 1005 Olympia Ave NE
Local, State and National Registers, Olympia Avenue Local Historic District

No vintage photo available: Contact us at olyhistory@gmail.com if you have one you can share, or if you would like to sponsor the scanning of an unscanned photograph at the Washington State Historical SocietyRudkin House

Rudkin House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross

One of the largest and most imposing of the beautiful homes on Olympia Avenue, the Rudkin House was built in 1905 for Chief Justice Frank Rudkin. Several members of the bench and bar chose to build on this street, although it was distant from the courthouse across the Swantown bridge from downtown. This house was built in the Queen Anne style.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society (links in bold face have scanned photos, others detailed descriptions): C1964.26.4.16.2

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Avenue historic District

PCTV/TCTV video on Olympia Avenue Historic District

For more information on the Rudkin family, refer to the Residents section of  this website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Safeway Building

Location: 507 Capitol Way S
Downtown National Historic District

Safeway_1964Safeway Building, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASafeway Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This building was erected in 1929, with Phillips and Newell as contractors. Its tiled roof and fixed awnings blend well into the overall look of downtown Olympia. The building has served as a grocery, stationery store, and drug store over the years and currently (2014) houses a small grocery store and a restaurant. The building is not on the local register, but is categorized as “historic contributing” in the Downtown Olympia National Historic District. In 1962 a new, modern Safeway store was erected on Fourth Avenue, at the current location of City Hall, and replaced this building.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Heritage Inventory

 

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Sanderson House

Location: 419 Central St SE
Local register

Sanderson_1939 (1)Sanderson House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASanderson House today (2013), photograph by Deborah Ross

John Sanderson, a native of Nova Scotia, arrived in Olympia in the 1880s. He built this home around 1914 and he and his wife Annie lived here for many years. It is a good, and fairly early, Eastside Olympia example of a Craftsman style home. It would have been built about the time that the Carlyon Fill eliminated the Swantown Slough, making travel from downtown to Eastside Olympia much more convenient. It is on the local register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

 

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Sand Man Tug

Location: Percival Landing
National, State and Local Registers, Transportation

 

sandmanSand Man, 1930s, from Tug Sand Man websiteSand Man

Sand Man today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

 

The tug Sand Man is a beloved emblem of the once-robust maritime industry in Olympia. It was built in 1908 and originally hauled sand and gravel for the Olympia Sand and Gravel Company (link is to Where Are We? listing for its headquarters). In 1925 it was sold to Delta Smyth, who owned a fleet of tugs on the Olympia waterfront. The photograph at above left shows Sand Man hauling a raft of logs on Budd Inlet. The superstructure in the left background is the Standard Oil yard, and the smokestacks are from the veneer plants in the port area. The tug was purchased and donated to the Sand Man Foundation, which has lovingly restored it and make it available for free public tours. It is the last remaining historic tugboat in lower Puget Sound, and is the annual host of Harbor Days. It is on the national, state and local registers.

Additional resources:

National Register form

Sand Man website (including many historic photographs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Schmidt, Frank T. House

Location: 1315 Eskridge Blvd SE
Wohleb

frankschmidt_1942Frank T. Schmidt House 1941, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archivesfrank schmidtFrank Schmidt  House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

 

The Frank Schmidt House was built in 1939, across the street from Frank’s brother Frederick Schmidt’s home on Orange Street, in a section of Olympia that was being developed by Frederick and his partners. Both Schmidts were members of the family that founded the Olympia Brewing Company, and although both houses are located in Olympia, they are not far from the brewery in Tumwater where most of the Schmidts, including Frank, worked. Frederick Schmidt researched and specified the use of concrete bricks. This building material was used for several of the homes in the area that were developed by Frederick, partly due to the shortage of wood during World War II.

Like the Frederick Schmidt House, the design was by local architect Joseph Wohleb, who departed dramatically from his signature Mission Revival style, once again demonstrating the breadth of his design palette. The home is inventoried but not on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Schmidt, Leopold Jr. House

Location: 2614 Capitol Way S
Local register

No vintage photograph has been located; if you have one to share, please contact us OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALeopold Schmidt, Jr. House today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

One of several homes owned by the Schmidt family, this Foursquare style home was built around 1909 by Olympia Brewing Company owner Leopold Schmidt Sr. for his son Leopold, Jr. Several other homes in this area were built by and for the extended Schmidt family (see also F.W. Schmidt House, Robert and Jeannette Schmidt House, the Frederick W. and Elsa Schmidt house directly across the street, and Lo Ma Villa), in the proximity of the brewery and downtown Tumwater, which was obliterated by the construction of I-5.

The home is listed on the local register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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

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Schmidt, Robert and Jeannette House

Location: 703 Governor Stevens SE
Local register

robertschmidt_1940Robert and Jeannette Schmidt House, 1940, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobert and Jeannette Schmidt House today (2014) photo by Deb Ross

The Robert and Jeannette Schmidt house is one of several in this area associated with the Schmidt family, founders and owners of the Tumwater Brewery (see Frederick Schmidt House, Leopold Schmidt, Jr. House, Lo Ma Villa, and the Schmidt Mansion in Tumwater). Robert began as a brewer and worked his way up to the presidency of the company. This home, built around 1940 by Victor Wickstrom, was one of the later models of the Tumwater Lumber Mills ready-built homes, and reflects a more modern sensibility than the earlier Tudor styles for which they were known in the 1920s (see the Harmon House, for example). (Note that the inventory listing for this house shows a built date of 1941, but the above photograph was taken in 1940) Robert A. Schmidt was the last member of the family to head the company. The Schmidts also lived in the listed Watkins House for a time before they moved here.

The home is listed on the local register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Schnably/Buckner House

Location: 1307 Brawne Street NW
Local register

SchnablySchnably-Buckner House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesSchnably BucknerSchnably-Buckner House today (2010) photograph courtesy of Luke Howard

The Schnably-Buckner House was built around 1885. Although some records date it as late as 1903, early historian Adah Dye believed it was built before the turn of the 20th century, which is consistent with its Queen Anne Style. It is one of the earlier homes in West Olympia, built during a period of great expansion in a subdivision laid out by Oscar Boutwell. Although it has many of the decorative features of a Queen Anne home, it is laid out in a fairly simple style with pleasing symmetry and scale. Nothing is known of the early residents of the home; the Buckner family seems to have consisted for some time of three brothers who were listed as “laborers” in city directories. The home has been well maintained and is on the local register.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph collection (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.20.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sears Building/Site of First Presbyterian Church and Manse- Franklin St.

Location: 600 Franklin St SE
Religious communities; Downtown National Historic District;  mid-Century modern

First Presbyterian Church and Parsonage (pg 16)First Presbyterian Church and manse, Franklin Street around 1891, Olympia Tribune Souvenir Edition, Washington State Libraryfirst pres nowSears Building in 2003,  photograph by Ed Echtle (2003)

The First Presbyterian Church was the first church in Olympia, and the first Presbyterian church north of the Rockies. It was organized in 1853 in a cooper shop (now location of Heritage Bank) and met there until the construction of the building at the corner of Legion Way and Franklin Street in about 1860. This building was used by the congregation until 1908 when it built an larger brick building on the same spot. After First Presbyterian merged with First Congregational to form the United Churches of Olympia, the two churches continued to meet here until the 1949 earthquake. At that time the building was considered unsafe and demolished. the congregation met at the Liberty Theater until the current building at 11th and Capitol was erected in the early 1950s.

The wooden building that was replaced by the brick building was moved to the nearby corner of 5th and Adams and became the first permanent home of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, and then the Salvation Army (without its steeple), yet another example of the “musical pews” phenomenon described in the listing for Gloria Dei.

The manse (pastor’s home) to the right of the church building in the above left photograph was built around 1884. It was moved to the southwest corner of 8th and Adams when a newer Foursquare style manse was erected on the same location in 1910. After the Presbyterian church was demolished in 1950, that newer manse was moved to Jefferson Street between 9th and 10th, and no longer exists. A newspaper photograph shows the older and newer manses in one picture as the newer manse was being moved. After the move, the congregation purchased a home on Carlyon Street to serve as its manse.

In 1951 or 1952, former Wohleb employee George Ekvall designed the Sears Building now at this location. According to the heritage inventory, the location and design were an attempt by Sears to compete with the Miller’s store at the corner of Capital and Legion. The building is located in the Downtown National Historic District and is listed as an historic contributing building. It has recently been renovated into apartments and retail facilities.

Additional resources:

Washington  State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1959.8.7, C1959.2.9(brick building), C2013.18.6 (brick building), C1952.18.3 (moving of Foursquare manse, with older manse in background, not scanned)

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, 1879

Olympia Heritage inventory (Sears Building)

Downtown National Historic District

DAHP mid-Century modern Walking Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seattle First National Building/site of first brewery

Location:  210 5th Ave SW
mid-Century modern

Seattle first National 1960sSeattle First National Building 1960s, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeattle First National (Bank of America) Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Seattle First National Bank Building in downtown Olympia is similar to a building erected in the Denny neighborhood in Seattle for the same institution. Architectural historian Michael Houser speculates that Seattle architects Frank McClellan and Hugo Osterman were asked to alter that building’s design to suit Olympia conditions. It was erected in 1959. The building employs “Roman bricks,” skinnier than standard bricks, a glass curtain wall, and a curved entryway. Note the mosaic of the Legislative Building inside the entryway, just  visible in the photograph to the right.

The building is on the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory as part of DAHP’s modernism project.

According to historian Georgiana Blankenship, this was also the site of the first brewery in Olympia. 

Additional resources:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory

Olympia Heritage inventory

mid-Century Modern Tour Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Second Church of Christ, Scientist

Location: 1403 Garfield St. NW
Local Register; mid-Century Modern; Religious Institutions; Schools

second christianSecond Church of Christ, Scientist building 1950, Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Second Church of Christ, Scientist building (Mariah Arts) today (2014), photograph by Deb Ross

The Second Church of Christ, Scientist congregation was formed in the 1930s and met in various locations in West Olympia before settling here in 1950. The building, designed by Clarence George and Robert Price, was featured in Progressive Architecture magazine in 1956. Construction is of concrete block, and featured modern innovations such as radiant heat. The building is meant to reflect Christian Science’s emphasis on simplicity. Sadly, many original features were lost when the building was transformed into a secular arts school. It remains on the local heritage register and is an example of mid-Century religious architecture.

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

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Schmidt, Frederick W. House (Orange St)

Location: 2831 Orange St SE
Local, State and National registers; Wohleb

 

FWSchmidt_1939Frederick W Schmidt House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives

 

FW Schmidt House

Frederick W Schmidt  House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

 

The elegant and distinctive English Revival style of the Frederick W. Schmidt House, built in 1937-1938, was conceived by Elsa Heiser Schmidt, wife of Frederick W. Schmidt. The family founded the Olympia Brewing Company, and although the house is located in Olympia, it was not far from the brewery in Tumwater where Schmidt worked. While Elsa Heiser Schmidt provided many of the design criteria for the house, Frederick Schmidt researched and specified the use of concrete bricks and radiant heat. Its many unique features are described in the national registry nomination linked below.

The design was by local architect Joseph Wohleb, who departed dramatically from his usual Mission Revival style when he took the commission for this important home. It is listed on the local, state and national registers.

Additional resources:

National Register nomination

Olympia Heritage inventory

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Security Building/site of Chambers and Swanton meat market/Mann’s Drug Store

Location: 203 E Fourth Ave.
Downtown Olympia National Historical District

chambers swantonChambers and Swanton Meat Market photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietySecurity_BuildingSecurity Building today
Photograph courtesy of “Murderbike” via Wikimedia commons

Fourth Avenue has always been a hub of commercial activity. Several businesses have located at the southeast corner of Washington and Fourth, including the Chambers and Swanton Meat Market on the southeast corner, and the Daily Bread bakery and Otis Insurance company, facing Washington Street; and Mann’s Drug Store. The Chambers and Swanton Meat Market evolved into an important commercial enterprise, the Chambers Packing Company, that survived well into the 20th century. It was co-owned by Andsworth Chambers, a mayor of Olympia and builder of the Chambers Block.

The smaller buildings at this location were replaced by the Security Building in 1926. The Security Building was Olympia’s first “skyscraper,” at five stories! The building features elaborate rosettes and pineapple motifs, a variety of rare stones, and mahogany woodwork throughout. Built on pilings that extended 60 feet deep, the building survived both the 1949 and the 2001 earthquakes well. A small crack, caused by the 1949 earthquake, is still visible at the corner of the building.

Links to more information:

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): Chambers and Swanton Meat Market C1949.3.71, C1949.3.68, C1949.3.69; 2010.149.4.2 (Daily Bread bakery), 2010.149.21.1 (Otis & Brown Insurance)

Olympia Heritage inventory (Security Building)

Olympia Downtown Historic District National Register

City of Olympia Downtown Walking Tour

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

For more information on the Chambers family see the Residents section of this website, and the Chambers/Flo Brodie House.

 

 

 

 

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Sekstrom-Paton House

Location: 1606 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Diversity: Scandinavians

sekstrompaton_1937Sekstrom-Paton House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Sekstrom-Paton HouseSekstrom-Paton House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

The Sekstrom-Paton House is one of several homes that were ordered by catalogue from the Tumwater Lumber Mills Ready Cut Homes. The company was founded by the Anderson family, who were Swedish. Over fifty homes in the South Capitol Neighborhood were from the TLM catalogue. Five homes in a row in this block were dubbed “Swede row,” in recognition of the Anderson family’s origin (see the Harmon House). The house was built around 1922. In 1927 it was acquired by Manne (Morris) and Freeda Sekstrom. Morris was president of Olympia Veneer, a revolutionary cooperative that employed many Scandinavians and introduced a number of innovations in the plywood industry.  Like several other TLM homes, the Sekstrom-Paton house is Dutch Colonial in style. It is on the local register and located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

downloadable Tumwater Lumber Mills catalogue 

 

 

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Selden’s/Site of First School/Thurston County Courthouse-Franklin Street/Daily Olympian

Location: 220 Legion Way S
Schools; Religious institutions

 

olympian franklinDaily Olympian (formerly schoolhouse and courthouse) about 1900, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietySelden's

Selden’s Building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The northwest corner of Legion and Franklin has one of the more complicated histories in Olympia. On this site stood the first schoolhouse in Olympia. The first classes were held here in 1852 in an existing building. Heavy snows in 1855 collapsed the roof, and a new two story building was erected here, the building shown in the photograph at above left. School historian Esther Knox notes that the building originally faced south (towards Legion Avenue) but was rotated ninety degrees in 1866 to face east (towards Franklin Street). For a time, the First Presbyterian Church congregation met upstairs in the building, until their own church building across the street was erected in 1862.

At the same time, the Puget Sound Wesleyan Institute, founded by Daniel Bigelow and others, was operating at Union and Washington Streets in the building now known as the Central School. When that institute moved to its new location (the Olympia Collegiate Institute building), Thurston County decided to lease that building for its courthouse. This lasted only a few years: judges, lawyers and litigants found ascending Main Street (now Capitol Way) extremely arduous since the street was unpaved and muddy for much of the year. In the early 1870s Thurston County reached an arrangement with the city to swap sites so that it took over the school building downtown and the school moved to Union and Washington and became known as the Central School.

The new location was much handier to the center of town, and the county soon built a brick jailhouse nearby. Thurston County outgrew these modest quarters and in 1892 it built the first purpose-built building, the Old State Capitol Building, which was sold to the state after statehood. The courthouse location has moved three times since then – to Fourth Avenue, back to Capitol Way, and finally to its current location on Evergreen Park Drive.

After the courthouse was moved to the Old State Capitol Building, this building was home to the Daily Olympian for a time. The photograph at above left was taken during this period. (In an interesting twist, the Olympian was for a time located across from the street in this location, at the Sunset Life building)The building was razed some time in the early 20th century. Then in the 1920s a new concrete building was erected here and was a furniture store, according to Sanborn maps of the time. The current occupant of this building has made many alterations, but the building still is operating as a furniture store.

Additional resources:

Mowell House/Central School page recounts history of the courthouse/school swap

Esther Knox, A Diary of the Olympia School District (cover shows the first school at this location, text describes the history of the above building)

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1951.4.33, C1982.18.30.9

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia (building numbered 10 shows the courthouse)

Thurston County Courthouses through history storymap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seventh Day Adventist Church building/Assembly of God site

Location: 618 Puget St NE
Religious institutions; Local register; Women’s History; Wohleb; Diversity: African-Americans

seventh day undatedSeventh Day Adventist Building, ca. 1950s, used by permission of Olympia Christian School
Olympia,_WA_-_Olympia_Metro_Church_01 (1)Seventh Day Adventist Building today, photo by Joe Mabel, used by permission 

Much of the information in this Where Are We? posting is taken from Rebecca Christie’s book, Workingman’s Hill, published by the Bigelow House Preservation Association.

Other pages in the Where Are We? project have described the “Musical Pews” of Olympia’s religious communities as they grow, move and take over existing church sites, and then move on (see, for example, the page for the Gloria Dei church). This site is another example and a particularly complex one.

The Bigelow Highlands neighborhood has long been associated with Evangelical and Pentecostal churches of various denominations. The property on the southeast corner of Puget and Bigelow was donated by Harriet Humphrey Henderson Noble for use as a church (see listing for Henderson House, across the street, for more about this interesting family). Mrs. Noble had been married to a “Quaker evangelist” and described herself as a Methodist Episcopal. In the early twentieth century, however, she was apparently increasingly drawn to Pentecostalism, which was a growing movement at that time. The first building at this location was an Assembly of God church, staffed by Pastor Jacob Secrist, who listed his occupation as “evangelist” in the census. The Secrist family is now in the fifth generation of evangelical service in the Olympia area.

In 1926 the site was sold to the Seventh Day Adventist church, which had been meeting at the old Congregational Church building at 10th and Capitol, and elsewhere. As that congregation grew, it required additional space and, after several years, it retained Olympia’s preeminent architect Joseph Wohleb to design the current church building, which was completed about 1937. The building is in a traditional ecclesiastical style with a three-story bell tower at one corner.

In 1979, when the Seventh Day Adventist church moved on to its current location on Henderson Boulevard, the building was acquired by the New Life Baptist Church, the first largely African-American congregation in Olympia. That congregation moved on to a location in Lacey in the 1990s, and, once again, an Assembly of God congregation known as the Metro Church occupied the site. At that time, the church became known as the host for the Christmas Island creche display that had once graced Capitol Lake, and then the South Sound Mall, during the holidays.

When that congregation moved to Maytown (along with its creche), the building was acquired by the Evergreen Christian Center, also associated with the Assemblies of God. The building is currently (2014) used as a neighborhood gathering place. It is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Article on Christmas Island by Heather Lockman, blogger, accessed January 21, 2014

PCTV/TCTV video on Bigelow Highlands neighborhood and church, available on Youtube

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1986.43.61.1.26.1.2

 

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Sherwood Press

Location: 811 5th Ave SW
Local register; Women’s History; Diversity: Gay and Lesbian History; Popular Culture

jocelyn_jami1Jocelyn Dohm and Jami Heinricher in Sherwood Press building, 1990s, courtesy Sherwood Press
sherwood from siteSherwood Press today, courtesy Sherwood Press

The Sherwood Press was founded in 1940 by Jocelyn Dohm, daughter of Edward Dohm. It began in the basement of the family home, the Dohm House next door. Jocelyn acquired press materials, including an antique platen press and type, in Seattle. The following summer, she and her father built this small house, based on a design by her architect sister Phyllis Dohm (Virgie) Mueller. The building is entirely made of cedar and is heated with a large brick fireplace.

The items produced by  Sherwood Press over the 70+ years of its existence represent what the website characterizes as a “surprising historical account of the history of Olympia, as seen through a sampling of its printed ephemera.” Jocelyn also hosted a long list of high school students who came to work for her as “printer’s devils” (apprentices). One of her apprentices, Jami Heinricher, inherited the business from Jocelyn, who died in 2003.

In addition to her business, Jocelyn and her long-term partner Margery Sayre were very active in local organizations and causes. The home is on the local register and is included in the Women’s History Walking Tour as well as the Olympia Gay and Lesbian History Walking Tour (links below).

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Gay and Lesbian Walking Tour

Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour

 

 

 

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Silsby House

Location: 606 13th Ave SE
Local register

silsby_1939Silsby House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Silsby House today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

The John and Josephine Silsby House on 13th Avenue just south of downtown Olympia, was built some time between 1887 and 1891, in what is termed a vernacular style. John A. Silsby was a grocer whose market was at the location of the Governor Hotel (he purchased the property from the Episcopal Church that was once on that site). He unsuccessfully sued the Northern Pacific Railroad for noise and disruption associated with the construction of the 7th Avenue Railroad Tunnel. nearby. Josephine Silsby, John’s first wife, was a member of the Munson family, long-time merchants in Olympia (see Munson Millinery site, Munson House). John then married Jane Barnett, from Tacoma.

By the time this home was built, the Swantown Slough was partly filled in, creating new blocks for construction. Judging from the 1891 Sanborn map, the home was one of the first in this new neighborhood. It is  not clear from property records whether the Silsbys ever lived in this home, or when it was transferred to their daughter, Dora May Weston, after it was built. It exchanged hands many times over the years, but has now been nicely restored and is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

For a biography of John Silsby, and more information on the Munson family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

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Simenson Jeweler Building

Location: 217 4th Ave E
Downtown National Historic District; Wohleb

simenson_1964)Simenson Jeweler Building, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASimenson Jeweler Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Simenson (or Simonsen) Jeweler Building was erected in 1923 and remodeled by Joseph Wohleb in 1930. It was later the Bergstrom Sporting Goods store. The building is in the Downtown National Historic District and listed as Historic Contributing. 

In 1914, Robert Esterly took a photograph of the building formerly at this location, the Capital Kandy Kitchen (see link below). The Gottfeld’s building can be seen to its right.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2010.149.29.1

Looking Back feature on Bergstrom and Lassen

For more on Oley Simenson, see the Residents section of this website

 

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Smith, Amanda/Bowman House

Location: 2317 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Women’s History

amandasmith_1939Amanda Smith/Bowman House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Amanda Smith HouseAmanda Smith/Bowman House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

This English revival style home is a fairly rare example of a brick house, located in the South Capitol Neighborhood. It was built by oysterman Jesse Bowman in 1928. It has been nicely preserved and has fine wooden appointments in addition to the brick cladding. The house was later owned by Amanda Benek Smith and her husband Charles. Amanda Smith was Olympia’s first woman mayor (and the first woman mayor of any capital city). She presided over the city as well as serving as police and fire commissioner for many years (see Old City Hall). The home is on the local register, and is in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour

For more information on Jess Bowman, see the Residents section of this website

 

 

 

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Smith/Brown House

Location: 1710 Eastside Street SE

Several unscanned photographs of this house are stored at the Research Center of the Washington State Historical Society. To sponsor a scan, or submit your own vintage photograph, please contact us at olyhistory@gmail.com1710 Eastside now1710 Eastside today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The house at 1710 Eastside Street was built around 1895-1901 by Truman Brown. For several years, A.H. Smith lived here with his family. He later was one of the founders of the short-lived boomtown of Gate, Washington. The house has not yet been  inventoried and has undergone several changes, but the original gabling and wrap-around porch is intact. At the time it was built, this location would have been considered very remote from Olympia.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1961.137.12; C1961.137.13; C1961.137.21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spar Restaurant/Site of Oxford Saloon

Location: 114 4th Ave E
National Downtown Historic District, Local register, Wohleb

 

 

Oxford SaloonOxford Saloon, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society

 

The Spar

The Spar today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

 

There has been a restaurant or saloon at this location in downtown Olympia since 1860. The current occupant, the Spar, was opened in 1935, taking the place of its predecessor the Oxford Saloon between the Chambers Block and the establishments to the east which included baths, a barber shop, a cafe and other commercial establishments. Like its neighbor the Baretich Building, the Spar is an iconic Joseph Wohleb building with its fixed awnings and clerestory windows. The interior of the Spar retains many of its early features, including its long counter with swiveling chairs that have hooks to hang one’s hat on, as well as a fountain dispensing water from the artesian well beneath the building. The building is cited as a historic contributing building in the National Downtown Historic District and is on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2010.149.40.1 (Oxford)

McMenamin’s article about the Spar

Looking Back feature on demise of sports postings at the Spar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sparks House

Location: 1018 Olympia Ave NE
Local register; Olympia Ave Historic District

Sparks HouseSparks House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesSparks House now (2013), photo by Deb Ross

This charming Victorian-style cottage was built around 1912 by Charles Sparks and his wife Avis. Charles Sparks was listed as a city clerk. The house is on the local register and located in the Olympia Avenue Historic District.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory,

Olympia Avenue Historic District

PCTV/TCTV video on Olympia Avenue Historic District, available for viewing on Youtube

 

 

 

 

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Spoon Auto Parts building

Location: 114 Cherry NE
Wohleb, Transportation

spoon_auto partsSpoon Auto Parts Building (State Ave frontage) 1965, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
spoon auto parts
Spoon Auto parts building today (Cherry St frontage) (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The Spoon Auto Parts building at the corner of State and Cherry has been associated with the automobile repair industry since it was built in 1923 with a utilitarian design by Joseph Wohleb. As can be seen in the 1908 Sanborn Overlay map, this area was entirely under water until the Carlyon Fill of 1911-1912.

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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Speckart House

Location: 2601 Capitol Way S
Local register; South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

speckart_1939Speckart House, 1939, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpeckart House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The large Craftsman-style Speckart House was built about 1910 by Joseph Speckart, who worked at the Olympia Brewery and was married to a member of the Schmidt family who owned the brewery. Like other homes in the area owned by Schmidt family members (see, for example, Lo Ma Villa), the home would have had a view over the Deschutes River and the brewery at the bottom of the gully below the house. The home features a large, landscaped front yard, its own schoolroom, and many built-in features. The home is on the local register as well as located in the South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

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Springer House

Location: 303 17th Ave SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Wohleb 

Springer_1939 Springer House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpringer House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Demonstrating his breadth of vision and architectural virtuosity, Joseph Wohleb designed the Colonial Revival style Springer House about 1917, around the same time he was designing homes and buildings in a wide variety of other styles (Craftsman, Mission, and Dutch Colonial, among others). This large and important home was built for Charles H and Eva Springer. Springer was the co-founder of Springer and White Lumber Mills. The company was vertically integrated, owning timber, sawmills, and their finished lumber plant in Olympia. Lumber was shipped here along a specially built spur of the Northern Pacific railroad, which still runs down Jefferson Street. Here it was turned into doors, windows, and other finished products.

According to the inventory for the home, Springer himself hand selected much of the lumber for this beautifully maintained  home. It is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage Inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

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Springer and White mill site

Location: end of Jefferson St., north of Hands on Museum
Transportation

 springerandwhiteSpringer and White mill, Edward Lange, 1891 Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State LibraryOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASite of Springer and White Mill today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Just north of the home of the Hands on Children’s Museum in the port area of Olympia is the site of what was once one of the more important industrial facilities in the area, the Springer and White Mill. Co-founded by Charles H. Springer and Allen White, the factory was one component of a vertically integrated business that included ownership of logging rights, logging, manufacture of doors and other building components, and shipping. The mill was a major employer in the early days of the development of Olympia as an important lumber city. Charles Springer also built the listed Springer House in the South Capitol neighborhood, and Allen White built the White Building in downtown Olympia.

The detailed drawing at above left, created around 1891 by Edward Lange,  is interesting in a number of ways. It shows that this site was once waterfront, where now land extends several blocks to the north of here. In the background we can see the Olympia Opera House (about where Orca Books is now) as well as the Washington School (where the Armory is now). But the railroad running down to the mill was not actually built by Union Pacific until a few years later, and the Hale Block on Fourth Avenue, two blocks south of here, was still being constructed when Lange created this drawing. This optimistic vision is characteristic of many of Lange’s drawings. The drawing, as well as a history of the site, was included in the publication Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue of 1891, a promotional pamphlet published by the State of Washington (and transcribed on this website). 

 

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St. John’s Episcopal Church (Second site)/First Baptist Church

Location: 904 Washington St SE
Local Register, Women’s History, Religious Institutions; Diversity: African-Americans

St johns thenSt. John’s Episcopal Church in 1891, photograph from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, at State Libraryfirst baptistFirst Baptist Church today (2012) Photo by Deb Ross

St. John’s Episcopal Church is one of the oldest congregations in Washington, first organized in 1854. For a number of years it met in various locations, then built its first permanent building on 7th and Main, where the Governor Hotel currently stands. The building shown above, at 9th Avenue and Washington Street was completed in 1891, about the time of the photograph to the left. The bell, rose window and some furnishings were moved to this new location. The congregation moved to its third permanent location at Capitol and 20th in 1960. The building pictured here is  now the home of the First Baptist Church of Olympia, which has added a large wing to the north. It is on the local register.

St. John’s was the congregation for several important Olympia families, including the Percivals and Woodruffs; and Mrs. Rebecca Howard, African-American proprietor of the Pacific House. Shortly after its completion, it was the host for the most spectacular wedding in Olympia, that between Eliza Ferry (daughter of Governor Ferry), and millionaire John Leary from Seattle. The church also was the home of the Busy Bees, a group of young female parishioners who were responsible for raising much of the funds for this church building.

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.2.6; C1986.43.61.1.26.1.21

Olympia Heritage inventory

Excerpts from history of St. John’s Episcopal, Olympia Genealogy Society Quarterly

Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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St. Peter Hospital – Sherman Street site

Location: 420 Sherman SW
Women’s History, Schools

st peter'sSt. Peter Hospital, about 1924, Providence Archivescapital city apartmentsCapital House Apartments today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly

St. Peter Hospital was founded in the late 1880s by the order of the Sisters of Providence as part of their mission to the Pacific Northwest. The first location of the hospital was on what is now part of capitol campus. The hospital rapidly expanded, and eventually, in 1923, relocated to this location in West Olympia, called the Sherman Street hospital to distinguish it from the earlier and later facilities. It was a first-class facility, housing 100 beds and all the modern equipment, as well as a nursing school. This building served as St. Peter Hospital until the late 1960s, when the current building complex was completed on Lilly Road. An excellent unpublished history by local historian Shanna Stevenson covers the entire history of St. Peter and contains interesting anecdotes about this building and its staff. It is currently (2012) an apartment building.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box):C1997.52.514 (unscanned photo circa 1950)

Olympia Women’s Walking Tour, Second Site of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

 

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Stanton House

Location: 2139 East Bay Drive NE
Wohleb

stanton houseStanton House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archivesstanton houseStanton House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The Stanton House, on East Bay Drive, was built in 1928 using a design by Joseph Wohleb. The home was owned by Frank Stanton, Wohleb’s partner (see John O’Leary and Dan O’Leary Houses for examples of Stanton’s work). The home is built in the Foursquare style, which might have been considered a bit old fashioned at the time, but once again demonstrated Wohleb’s versatility and ability to conform to the individual needs of owners.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Standard Oil Tank Farm/Olympia Gas Company/Mallory Coal/Rosenthal store

Location: 415 Capitol Way N
Transportation; Diversity: Jewish history

gas plantOlympia Gas Company, Standard Oil Tank Farm, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyPhoenix Inn

Location today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

In the earliest years of Olympia’s history, this part of Capitol Way was waterfront. Stores and maritime businesses lined both sides of the street. Jewish immigrant Gustav Rosenthal’s first store was located at the northwestern corner of Capitol and Thurston (then Main and Second).

In the early 20th century, after a succession of fill operations extended and widened the port area, Standard Oil initiated an effort to dredge Budd Inlet to allow oil tankers to pull alongside the northern part of the port and unload oil. When this was accomplished, creating the Standard Oil dock, huge oil tanks were installed at this site. A railroad line also led to the northern end of Capitol Way, which, among other supplies, carried coal for heating fuel and other energy uses. Thus, this location was an important transportation hub for the port area and supplied fuel of one kind or another to most of Olympia’s resident and businesses.

This was also the location of the Mallory Coal Company, which may have supplied coal to the gasification plant described in the next paragraph; and supplied coal for fuel to residents, businesses, and the City of Olympia. Other commercial endeavors in the area included James Brewer’s feed store and Fred Levee’s motorcycle repair shop (links below)

Olympia, as one of the most important cities north of the Columbia River, had a gasification plant as early as the 1880s, located near the site of the current City Hall. Here coal or oil was converted to gas for lighting Olympia’s streets and homes. Until well into the early 20th century, gasification was the primary source of gas for heating and lighting. After the establishment of the tank farm, a gasification plant was built here. Early photographs of the port area show a dome erected on the site of the oil tanks which was the storage facility for the Olympia Gas Company, one of the many utilities that merged over the years to form the current Puget Sound Energy Company (see link below). Almost all gas in the United States is now natural gas, piped underground.

The Standard Oil dock, now the site of Fiddlehead Marina, is the last visible remnant of the large facility that once filled this location. A wooden plaque at the marina marks the spot.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 1981.94.487; C1986.36.124; 2010.149.38.2 (Mallory Coal); 2010.149.15.1 (Brewer feed store); 2010.149.14.1 (Levee motorcycle shop)

Digital Archives, photograph of port area, showing dome of gasification plant at left

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Star Laundry Building/Stevens Survey Party Heaquarters

Location: 301 Capitol Way N

starlaundry_1964Star Laundry Building 1960, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
 Star Laundry Building today(2014), photo by Deb Ross

When Isaac I. Stevens was appointed by President Franklin Pierce to be the first Territorial Governor of Washington Territory, he chose to kill two birds with one stone by successfully bidding to survey a potential railroad route to the Pacific Northwest. He spent most of 1853 slowly working his way across the country, along with his survey party. When he arrived in Olympia to take up office, he found the new capital of the territory to be little more than a muddy crossroads at the southern tip of Puget Sound. He installed himself in the Galliher Hotel, and, according to historian Bernice Sapp, lodged his surveying party at this location across the street, which would have been waterfront at the time. According to the Thurston County inventory, the property was owned by Gustav Rosenthal, a merchant and early oysterman.

The building at this location today was the home of the Star Laundry, owned by the Agnew family (see Agnew Duplex in Where Are We?). From its earlier modest clapboard structure, shown in the link below from 1914, Sanborn Insurance maps show that it was a large and modern structure, and must have served the booming commercial, maritime, and industrial business here in the 1920s and beyond. As can be seen from the 1960 photograph at above left, it continued in business until at least the 1960s.

The building is now the home of Lassen Electric, founded by Irving Lassen, whose previous sporting goods store is found on this page. See also Lassen House

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph from 1914 (enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box, 2010.129.27.1

Article, Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, showing the proximity of this site to the waterfront at Second and Main.

 

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State Parking Garage/Mark and Ann Conner Hartsuck homesite

Location: 119 10th Ave SW
mid-Century modern; Women’s history; Transportation

No vintage photograph has been scanned either of the Hartsuck home or the State Parking garage. If you have one to share or would like to sponsor scanning of the photograph below, please contact us
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
State Parking garage today(2014), photo by Deb Ross

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, this part of town was home to many important residences and residents. Mark Hartsuck had his home here on 10th Avenue, just west of Main Steet (Capitol Way). Mark’s wife was Ann Conner, a member of the second Mercer expedition, which brought unmarried women to Washington State in the hope of partly remedying the shortage of marriageable women in the Territory. Georgiana Stevens, another “Mercer Girl,” married John Gowey and lived less than a block away in the Gowey House. Ann Conner Hartsuck was a president of the Women’s Club and an early suffragist.

Today, this is the location of a State Parking Garage. In the 1950s, the state began expanding Capitol Campus on the west side of Capitol Way to the north and south, erecting the General Administration building in 1956, the State Library (Joel Pritchard) Building in 1959, and the parking garage in 1958. With the expansion, the need for adequate parking for state employees became apparent, and the state leased parking spaces in this, and the adjacent 1972-built garage (now razed) to state employees for reasonable rates.

The garage is one of the earliest examples in the state of the Brutalist style of architecture, featuring rough concrete sides and chunky shapes. The garage is featured in the mid-Century modern Walking Tour developed by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the City of Olympia.

Links:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory 

Mid-Century Walking Tour

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1952.226.73 (not scanned)

For more information on the Hartsuck family, see the residents section of this website.

 

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Steele House

Location: 1010 Franklin St SE
National, State, and Local registers

steele house thenSteele House 1968, State Library, Digital Archives collectionsteele house nowSteele House today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly

The only remaining example of a pre-statehood residence in the core of Olympia, the Alden Hatch Steele House has been saved from demolition on at least one occasion and has been meticulously restored. It is important both as an example of early Italianate design  and for its historic significance as one of the earliest existing homes in Olympia. Dr. Steele was an early physician in Olympia, having arrived in 1869 as an army surgeon but soon after moving to Olympia, where he almost immediately built this house in about 1870. As noted for the listing for the Sylvester Mansion and the site of the McElroy House, this neighborhood was considered one of the better areas in Olympia proper, and continued to do so until commercial development began to impinge on the residential nature of the neighborhood. The Bird’s Eye View of Olympia of 1879 shows that this house was at grade when built – grading operations in the late 1880s or 1890s lowered Franklin Street resulting in the Steele House now being elevated above street level. Several biographies of Doctor Steele are on line and searchable by following the link below.

The home is on the national, state and local registries.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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State Theater/Site of Thurston County Courthouse, 4th Avenue/Burmeister saloon and residence

Location: 202 4th Ave E
National Downtown Historic District; Wohleb; Popular culture;  mid-Century modern

courthouse-columbiahallThurston County Courthouse-4th Avenue, 1905, postcard private collectionState TheaterState Theatre today (2003), photo by Ed Echtle

The northeast corner of Fourth and Washington was once occupied by a wooden structure built in about 1853, at a time when the center of Olympia was north of State Avenue. At one time that building was the home and business location of saloonkeeper Charles Burmeister, see Looking Back photo linked below. Burmeister later moved his saloon to the corner of State and Capitol (see Burmeister Saloon). (Confusingly, a C. Burmeister later owned a cigar store across the street at the southwest corner of Fourth and Washington; the relationship between this C. Burmeister and the saloonkeeper is unclear, as the saloonkeeper died in 1885.)

The wooden structure was moved at the turn of the 20th century to make way for the building shown at above left,  the second purpose-built Thurston County Courthouse and jail. It was erected around the turn of the 20th century after the county sold the  Old State Capitol Building to the state in 1902. The building also replaced the existing deteriorating county jail and featured state of the art security systems. As can be seen in the photograph, it was also conveniently located next to the Columbia Hall, and was close to the heart of downtown Olympia. In 1930 a new courthouse was built on Capitol Way (the Old Thurston County Courthouse-Capitol Way building) and this building was abandoned.

The Art Moderne-style State Theater currently at this location was built in 1949 and designed by local architect Joseph Wohleb. It was converted from a movie theater into a performing arts center in the 1990s. The building is included as a contributing building in the Downtown National Historic district.

The wooden structure that originally stood on this spot was moved to the area now occupied by the Martin Building, and was torn down when that building was erected.

Additional resources:

Looking Back image of the original Burmeister saloon at this location

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympian Downtown National Historic District

Cinema Treasures listing

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1950.1330.1,  C2019.0.145 (Burmeister saloon)

Olympia Lore article, accessed April 25, 2014

Sapp, Olympia 100 years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stentz House

Location: 223 18th Ave SE
Local register, Wohleb

 No vintage photo has been located for this home. If you have one to share, please contact us.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStentz House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Demonstrating the astounding breadth of architect Joseph Wohleb’s vision and abilities, this gem of a Craftsman bungalow was built in 1917, around the same time Wohleb was building the important Walker and Elks Club buildings, as well as much more imposing residences in the South Capitol neighborhood. This home epitomizes the comfortable simplicity, naturalness, and harmony of the Craftsman style. John B. Stentz was a manufacturer of flavoring extracts and medicinal supplies, under the name Buckeye Extract Co. The ubiquity of bottles and other merchandise bearing this name for sale on such sites as eBay attests to its success. Stentz’s plant was located north of State Avenue on Capitol Way.

The home is on the local register and located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage Inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

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Stevens Mansion site/World War II memorial

Location: Capitol Campus, near 11th and Capitol
located in Washington State Capitol National Historic District, but not identified individually

stevens mansionStevens Mansion in late 1800s or early 1900s, State Library Photograph collectionsite of Stevens Mansion

Site of Stevens Mansion, photograph by Deb Ross (2012)

When Isaac I. Stevens was appointed the first territorial governor of Washington Territory in 1853, he likely lived for a time in the then-center of Olympia, near where the Olympia Center is today. In 1856 or so he began construction of a house that would be situated nearer to the Territorial Capitol, which was a distance from town and not easily accessible. The house was set back from Capitol Way (then Main Street), between 11th and 12th Avenues. Although photographs and Sanborn Maps of this building depict an apparently modest, one and a half story house with a rear ell, the governor invited the entire population of Olympia to a celebratory housewarming party.

The mansion was not owned by the Territory or, later, the State, but was privately owned and later occupied both by governors and prominent citizens over the years, including the first governor of Washington State, Elisha P. Ferry. The house then fell into disrepair, looking quite decrepit in photographs from the late 19th century. However, in the 1920s, Governor Stevens’s son Hazard Stevens rehabilitated the house with a view to preserving its historic importance for posterity. Around that time, in 1924, Governor Stevens’s daughter Kate Stevens Bates wrote a short history of the house, also supporting the notion of preserving the house as the grounds of Capitol Campus were being developed.  This was not to be. The planners of the Capitol Campus grounds had different ideas, and the house was torn down in 1928 when the Legislative Building was completed. The northern diagonal way leading to the Legislative building cuts right through the original location of the house. The site of the mansion is not mentioned in the nomination form for the National Capitol Campus Historic District, nor identified in on-line resources describing other monuments on Campus. It is marked only by a marker that was erected in 1924, before the building was demolished. [marker stolen in early 2020]

It is perhaps fitting that the current World War II monument stands on the grounds of the Stevens Mansion, as Governor Stevens was killed in battle during the Civil War. Dedicated in 1999, the monument was one of the first state monuments devoted to veterans of World War II.

Additional links:

Article: Kate Stevens Bates: The Old Stevens Mansion, transcribed on Olympia Historical Society website.

Digital Archives, photograph at above left

World War II Memorial

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box) , C2018.0.116;  C1963.27.3

Bird’s Eye view of Olympia, 1879 (house is across from Territorial Capital building at 11th and Main)

For more information on the Stevens family, see the Residents section of our website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stevens Field

Location: 300 24th Ave SE
Educational institutions

footballgame-19291Olympia and Tacoma High Schools playing football at Stevens Field in 1929, Jeffers PhotographSusan Parish Collection Washington State Archivesstevens fieldStevens Field today (2015)  photograph by Deb Ross

Olympia’s first ballfields were located at the current location of the Sunset Life Building near the border with Tumwater, extending eastwards towards the current location of Olympia High School. The property was platted and owned by Hazard Stevens, Governor Isaac Stevens’s son, who owned much of the land adjacent to South Capitol Way (see also Cloverfields Farm) Beginning in the 1890s, the ballpark property was  leased to Olympia Light and Power, who subleased it to the city for $100 a year. But in 1920, the Stevens family decided to sell the original ballpark property to developers. A new location had to be found for Olympia’s playing fields.

In 1921, George Mills, a member of the pioneer Mills family, purchased the land for the new park from Hazard Stevens, then sold it to the Olympia School District for $6,000 (see also George Mills/Kent House). Mills was a hardware store owner, mayor of Olympia, school board member, and city booster. The field, named after Hazard and Isaac Stevens, became the new home of the Olympia High School ball team as well as hosting minor league professional baseball teams and even an agricultural fair. The field was much larger than it is now, with covered bleachers running the length of field along Washington Street. The current Lincoln School building adjacent to Stevens Park was erected four years later, in 1925. The school district began leasing the field and park to the city in 1963.

The photograph at above left is of a game in November 1929 between the Olympia High School Bears and the Tacoma Trappers.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Looking Back feature on Stevens Field football game

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strom House

Location: 312 17th Ave SE
Local register, South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Diversity: Scandinavians

strom_1939Strom House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStrom House today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

This attractive Tudor style cottage was built in 1937 for Emil and Elna Strom. Emil was a Swede-Finn, and a member of the Olympia Veneer cooperative, where he worked until his death in 1957. It is believed that this home was custom designed by a brother-in-law of the Stroms, but its style fits in well with this South Capitol neighborhood. The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stuart Block/Miller Department Store

Location: 550 Capitol Way S
National Downtown Historic District, Women’s History, Mid-century modern

Stuart's Corner (pg 16)Stuart Block, 1891
Edward Lange drawing from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891, Washington State Library
 

Starbucks-Stuart PlaceStuart Place today (2012), Photo courtesy of Matthew Kennelly

Robert and Abbie Howard Hunt Stuart built the commercial building shown at above left around 1891, on the former location of their home, across from Sylvester Park. It housed retail stores on the ground floor, including a grocery store and later Crombie’s Drug Store. Studios and offices on the second floor included the Woman’s Club (before the Abbie Stuart Building was erected) and photographer Ida B. Smith.

The Stuart Block building was demolished some time between 1947 and 1949. In the late 1940s, a new building was erected at this location, which housed the Miller Department Store. This building suffered minor damage in the 1949 earthquake and currently (2012) houses several restaurants on the ground floor. A four-story apartment unit, named Stuart Place in recognition of the site’s previous owners, was erected above this building in 1994.

Historian Bernice Sapp claims that on this site was the home of Governor Isaac I. Stevens.

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1945.20.15 (Robert and Abbie Stuart House at this location); C1952.1068.1 (Stuart Block is in foreground at right in this 1898 photo of Main Street looking north) 1998.81.12 (earthquake damage); C1996.6.22; C1964.26.4.4.8; C1964.26.4.8.5

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Mid-Twentieth Century Olympia Context Statement

Photograph of Miller’s Store, 1949, Susan Parish collection, on Olympia Historical Society website

Women’s History in Olympia National Register

For more information on Abbie Howard Hunt Stuart, see Where Are We? listing for Woman’s Club; also Residents section of this website. For more information on Ida B. Smith, also see Residents section of this website.

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunset Life Insurance Building (first location)

Location: 522 Franklin St SE
Religious institutions

sunset_1964Sunset Life Insurance Building 1964, image from Thurston County Assessor files, Washington State ArchivesSunset Life Legion Way

Original Sunset Life Insurance Building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

What we now call the Sunset Life Insurance Building was constructed in about 1922 and originally used as a garage. It was built of concrete ashlar and had fixed metal awnings, recently removed. In 1923 First Congregational Church acquired the structure to use as a Sunday School building. First Congregational had recently abandoned its building on Main Street and merged with First Presbyterian; it held its services across the street at the First Presbyterian church building. About ten years later, First Congregational sold the building to the newly incorporated Sunset Life Insurance Company for their headquarters. Sunset Life occupied the location until 1958 until it moved to the new mid-century modern building, the Sunset Life Building on Capitol Boulevard. At some time during its tenure on this location, letters spelling out SUNSET were placed on the sidewalk along Legion Way. These have been preserved and are still visible. Several offices have occupied this site including, as seen above, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. The building was damaged during the 1949 earthquake. The building was also for a time the home of the Olympian newspaper, across the street from its earlier location at the site of Selden’s furniture store. 

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1996.6.5 (damage from earthquake)

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunset Life building (Capitol Boulevard)/Site of Carlyon Racetrack and Velodrome

Location: 3138 Capitol Blvd SE
Wohleb, Mid-Century Modern

velodromeVelodrome at Carlyon Park, 1890-1900
Photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical  Society
SunsetLifeInsurance_Olympia
Sunset Life building today (2012)
Photo from Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

The boundary between Olympia and Tumwater on Capitol Boulevard was not fully determined until well into the 20th century. Just before the turn of the century, the Carlyon family established a racetrack on their property near the corner of Carlyon Avenue and Capitol Boulevard, near or on the border between the two cities. When the bicycle craze hit Olympia around 1890, Olympia Bicycle Club president W.A. Van Epps secured the right to operate a bicycle racetrack here. His next task was to persuade the City of Olympia to improve Main Street so that bicycles could actually reach the location. The velodrome was a popular outing location for residents of both cities.

The park also boasted a baseball park, which hosted a series of baseball clubs, including a professional league as well as the Olympia High School club. A newspaper article from 1893 notes that Olympia Light & Power performed the necessary renovations to establish the ballfield and the track.

In 1920, a group of investors decided to develop this area for residential use, so all of the structures and the ballfield were demolished, and Stevens Field was created to take the ballfield’s place.

The Sunset Life Insurance company moved here from its first location in downtown Olympia. This building on Capitol Boulevard, adjacent to the location of the park (although built after the park was demolished), was erected in 1959 by the firm of Wohleb & Wohleb and is an example of mid-Century Modern design, with its series of connected boxes and exterior curtain walls.

For further information and links, see the following:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation mid-Century Walking Tour

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory listing

O’Connell, Athletic Park: Olympia’s Minor-League Ballpark, posted on Olympia Time Blog

Washington State Historical Society Photos (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1950.3.41, C1950.3.42

For more information on the Van Epps and Carlyon families, see Residents (V)  and (C) sections of this website

Thanks to Emmett O’Connell for his research on the location and activities at the park

 

 

 

 

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Sylvester Mansion site

Location: 118 8th St SE

sylvester mansionSylvester Mansion 1860-1870
Photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical  Society
key bankSite of Sylvester Mansion today (2012)Photo courtesy of Deb Ross

Edmund Sylvester co-founded the City of Olympia and platted its downtown in 1848. At first living in a log cabin, he began building his mansion in 1857, hiring local craftsman Konrad Schneider to clear the land and build the home. It was an Italianate structure with a tower overlooking the Public Square (Sylvester Park), which Sylvester had laid out and donated to the city following the town commons concept from his native Maine.

The mansion set the standard for this part of Olympia, between Downtown and the Capitol, which eventually boasted several large residences, adapting to the prevailing architectural styles of their day. Only a few remain. The Sylvester Mansion was moved to make way for commercial development, served briefly as a children’s home, and then was burned by arsonists in 1961.

The Sylvester’s Window project, spearheaded by historian Lynn Erickson, features a series of paintings reflecting the changing landscape of Olympia as though seen from the mansion’s tower. The paintings and associated materials are on permanent display at the Olympia Timberland Regional Library and available on-line here

Washington State Historical Society Photos (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C2009.0.1044, C2018.0.114; C1964.26.4.1.4

For more information on the Sylvester and Schneider families, see Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

 

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Sylvester Park

Location: 615 Washington St SE
National Downtown Historic District, State Register, National Register, Local Register; Women’s History

sylvester parkSylvester Park 1895-1904
Photo from Digital Archives
sylvester park 2009Sylvester Park today (2009)
Photo Courtesy of Laura Killian

When Olympia founder Edmund Sylvester founded and platted the city, he was careful to include plans that would re-create the New England style townscape he’d grown up with in Maine. This included a commons in the center of town, with provisions for public buildings nearby. Sylvester donated the grounds for the Town Square, now called Sylvester Park in honor of our founder. During the so-called Indian Wars of 1855-56, the square was occupied by residents fleeing the hostilities, and a blockade was built in its northwest corner.

Sylvester Park was originally an unadorned commons, as shown in the Bird’s Eye view linked below. In 1902, when the state acquired the Old State Capitol Building from Thurston County, it also purchased the park from the city. The title specifies that the property is to be kept as a common, or park.

At the time the Thurston County  Courthouse (Old State Capitol Building) was constructed, the commons were enhanced to create a more parklike environment. These included eventually a gazebo, reflecting pond, clamshell-surfaced walking paths, and trees. The park became, and still is, a gathering place for visiting politicians, parades, and protests. Its landscape continues to evolve to reflect its uses and current tastes.

Two monuments in the park bear witness to the importance of women in Olympia’s history. The Daughters of the American Revolution, Sacajawea Chapter, placed a marker commemorating the end of the Oregon Trail. Nearby, a drinking fountain at the corner of the park was placed in honor of Emma Page, a champion of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and friend of animals.

For further information and links, see the following:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown Historic District

Olympia Downtown Walking Tour

Digital Archives photographs: SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4 (showing pond)

Photograph around 1950 from Susan Parish Collection (search for Sylvester Park)

Washington State Historical Society Photos (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box):  C1951.284.11, C1975.22.1, C1950.1.5 (Roosevelt’s visit),  C1945.1.2 (Spanish-American soldiers’ burial day), C1952.284.13; C2014.0.14 (Ezra Meeker at laying of Sacajawea monument)

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia 1979 (see location #1 on map)

Olympia in 1884 map overlay

Looking Back feature, Teddy Roosevelt addressing crowd at park

 

 

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Talcott Apartments and Commercial Buildings

Location: 601 Capitol Way S and 115 Legion Way SW
Downtown National Historic District

talcottapt_1964Talcott Apartments, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATalcott Apartments and Commercial Buildings today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Talcott Apartments and Commercial Buildings are a complex consisting of a two story brick building that faces Capitol Way at the corner of Legion Way, and three adjacent one-story buildings that extend downwards towards the water along Legion Way. The buildings were developed by the Talcott family in 1928, on a site originally occupied by the Charles Talcott family. The first story of the brick building has been extensively changed, with clerestory windows covered over with pebble-like facing. However, the upper story remains much the same as when the building was constructed. Several other structures in town are associated with this pioneer family, including Talcott Jewelers further north on Capitol Way, the George and Addie Talcott home, and the Luepke-Talcott House. Talcott Avenue is just south of here.

The building complex is on the City of Olympia Heritage Inventory and in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago

For more on the Talcott family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

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Talcott Commercial Building-Columbia Street

Location: 606 Columbia St SW
Downtown National Historic District

Talcottcommercial_1964Talcott Commercial Building-Columbia Street, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATalcott Commercial Building-Columbia Street today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This is part of a complex of buildings erected over a period of several decades by the Talcott family near the intersection of Legion Way and Capitol Way, where the Talcott family once lived. This building was erected about 1951 in a utilitarian design typical of the commercial and industrial structures along Columbia Street. Several other structures in town are associated with this pioneer family, including nearby Talcott Apartments and Commercial Buildings,  Talcott Jewelers further north on Capitol Way, the George and Addie Talcott home, and the Luepke-Talcott House. Talcott Avenue is just south of here.

The building is listed as Historic Contributing in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

For more on the Talcott family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

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Talcott, George and Addie House

Location: 2003 Capitol Way S
Local Register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Talcott_1939George and Addie Talcott House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGeorge and Addie Talcott House today (2013), photograph by Deb Ross

The Talcott family were early arrivals in Olympia and established Talcott jewelers downtown, an establishment that lasted over 100 years. The middle of the three Talcott brothers was George Noyes Talcott, who married Addie Chambers, also a member of an early settler family. George and Addie lived on Eastside Street until they moved into this small Craftsman home in 1923. Like many in the South Capitol neighborhood, the home was one of the Tumwater Lumber Mills pre-cut design (see the Harmon House for more information on this company, and a link to one of the company’s catalogues).

George and Addie’s son G. Noyes (or George, Junior) lived in a much larger home around the corner (Talcott House). Both are on the local register as well as being in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

For more information on the Talcott and Chambers families, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

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Talcott Jewelers building

Location: 420 Capitol Way S
Local Register, National Downtown Historical District,  Wohleb

420 Capitol P155_1964Talcott’s Jewelers, 1964, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional ArchivesTalcott's Building

Talcott’s building today (2011), photo by Deborah Ross

Charles Talcott came west with his father in 1872 and immediately opened a small jewelry store, housed in a wooden building. His brothers Grant and George Noyes joined him when they finished school (they were both students at Olympia Collegiate Institute). The building was one of the victims of the disastrous 1882 fire which destroyed most of the block bounded by Capitol Way, 4th Avenue, Washington Street, and 5th Avenue. At that time, Bertha Eugley’s millinery was also located in this building, one of the many locations of her store. The Talcotts immediately rebuilt one of the first brick buildings in the city. Their wares changed over time, starting with just jewelry and then branching out into umbrellas, bicycles, and housewares, according to whatever the latest craze was. They also installed a public drinking fountain using the water from an artesian well in their basement (which, according to current owners, still exists but has been capped and covered). The upstairs offices were used by legislators and lobbyists, as were the second stories of many of the buildings on this block, while the legislature met in the Old State Capitol Building.

The building was remodeled by Joseph Wohleb after the 1949 earthquake, and the family continued to operate the store for five generations. In 2003 Richard Noyes Talcott made the difficult decision to close the business. The building is now (2012) the home of a bicycle shop, an echo of the bicycles that the Talcotts once sold here.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory 

Downtown National Historic District

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.4.6 (unscanned photo circa 1949); C2008.8.56 (interior view of store); C2008.5.45

For more information about the Talcott Brothers, see Residents section of this website. See also Luepke/Talcott House, George and Addie Talcott House, Talcott Apartments, and Talcott Commercial Buildings, all associated with the Talcott family.

For another location for the Bertha Eugley Millinery, see Hotel Olympian

 

 

 

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Temple Beth Hatfiloh/K records

Location: 802 Jefferson St. SE
Religious communities, Diversity: Jewish heritage, Popular culture

beth hatfilohTemple Beth Hatfiloh, 1985, Department of Archaeology and Historic PreservationOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAK Records today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

Jewish families began arriving in Olympia in 1853 or earlier, and have continued to play important roles in all aspects of Thurston County and Olympia life. Temple Beth Hatfiloh was established in 1937, and a building was erected the following year. It is located in an area that included many other religious communities, to the east and south of downtown. A number of the families who founded the temple are still active in the temple and in Olympia.

In another example of the “musical pews” game played by Olympia’s religious communities (see listing for Gloria Dei), the temple outgrew its small building and moved to the Christian Science Building nearby in 2004. The building is a rare example of a religious building being converted to a secular use. It was for a time the home of K Records, an iconic company that was one of the incubators of the Grunge sound (see also Olympia Knitting Mills ).

According to historian Bernice Sapp, this site was once the home of Selucius Garfielde, once territorial delegate to Congress.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Temple Beth Hatfiloh history

K Records 

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1986.43.61.1.26.1.28

For more information on Selucius Garfielde, see the Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Temple of Justice/site of Milo Root and Quincy-Campbell Homes

Location: 415 12th Ave SW
Washington State Capitol National Historic District; Diversity: African-Americans

temple of justice 1929Temple of Justice, 1929, Susan Parish Photograph Collection, Digital Archivestemple of justice nowTemple of Justice today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly

The Temple of Justice was the first building to be constructed on Capitol Campus following the original Wilder and White plan. It was begun in 1913, and finally completed in 1920. A tramway was constructed leading up to the Capitol bluff from a spot near the Northern Pacific depot; stones were from the Wilkeson quarry, as were all the stones in the primary buildings on Campus. The building is in a dignified, monumental classic style, as befits its status as the home of one of the three branches of Washington State government. The building was damaged during both the 1949 and 2001 earthquakes, but restored to its original condition.

The development of Capitol Campus necessitated the moving or destruction of many homes. Among those located at the Temple of Justice site were the large Italianate Milo Root home, a photograph of which is catalogued in the link below; and the Quincy-Campbell home. African-American Festus Campbell and his long-term companion Mary Quincy owned a home with an extensive garden here. Campbell was active in the horticultural society and won a medal for his produce at the Seattle Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition.

For more information follow these links:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory

State Capitol National Historic District

Black Pioneers Walking Tour

Above photograph at Digital Archives; a search for “Temple of Justice” at Digital Archives will bring up many more photographs.

Washington State Historical Society, Milo Root home, (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1943.1006.6

For more information on the Root and Van Epps families, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Territorial Capitol/Legislative Building

Location: 416 Sid Snyder Ave NW
Washington State Capitol National Historic District

territorial capitolTerritorial Capitol at statehood, 1889, Photo from Digital ArchivesWashington_State_Capitol_Legislative_BuildingLegislative Building today (2012), Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The first purpose-built legislative building was located at the far northern end of then-Main Street (now Capitol Way), at a location that now houses Capitol Campus. At the time, it was far from the commercial core of Olympia, and legislators, lobbyists and others found it difficult to find suitable lodging or transportation. Yet the building continued to serve as the Capitol building until about 1901, when it was decided to purchase Thurston County’s grand building in the center of town (see Old State Capitol Building). In the 1910s, the state approved the Wilder and White plan for the seat of government; it took until 1928, however, until the primary buildings of this plan were completed with the final touches on the current Legislative Building.
There are abundant on-line resources about the Legislative building and its history, including many pictures of the damage done to the building in the 1949, 1965, and 2001 earthquakes, the Wilder and White plan, and many photographs. The following resources are a sampling:

For more information about and historic photographs of these buildings and Capitol Campus, follow these links:

Digital Archives: Territorial Capitol Building TC1TC2TC3; Legislative Building construction LB1; earthquake damage LB2

Department of Enterprise Services, Capitol Facts

Wikipedia article, Washington State Capitol

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1982.30.18.29 (Territorial Capitol); 1943.42.1403;  C1985.12.19,C1985.12.25 (1949 earthquake), C1977.44.14 (Leg. building soon after completion (a search of the WSHS on-line catalogue will bring up approximately 200 photographs of the building)

Washington State Capitol National Historic District

DAHP report on Legislative Building

Wilder and White article by  Allen Miller for Olympia Historical  Society newsletter

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia 1979 (see location #1 on map)

 

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Titus (Smith Troy) House

Location: 1601 Sylvester St SW
South Capitol National Historic District

titusTitus (Smith Troy) House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archivestitus houseTitus (Smith Troy) House today (2015), Photo by Deb Ross

The Titus House lies at the far northwest corner of the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood, and adjacent to Capitol Campus. It has been characterized as the premier home in the South Capitol neighborhood. It was designed by the architectural firm of Hill, Mock, and Griffin in a “French eclectic” style, and built in 1923. The owner was Allen Titus, who bought a small automobile dealership and built it up to one of the area’s largest. In the same year this home was built, Titus erected the flamboyant Olympia Motors building on Fourth Avenue. He later owned dealerships throughout the northwest and his name survives as the Titus-Will Auto Dealership.

Later this home was owned by Attorney General Smith Troy, a descendant of the pioneer Troy family (see Troy House). At one time Governor Mon Wallgren proposed that the state acquire the home as a guest residence, but Troy disssuaded him. It has always been in private hands. The home is in a national historic neighborhood but is not individually on any register.

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: C1986.61.10.3

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

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Todd House

Location: 403 17th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

todd_1939Todd House, 1939, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
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Todd House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Todd House was built by Charles and Jessie Smith Todd about 1912. Todd was a pastor of the Methodist Church. The house is an excellent example of the Craftsman style, and includes many of that style’s features, including rustic shingling, multi-paned windows, wide, bracketed eaves, and gables.  The home is on the local register and located in the South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

 

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Tracey House

Location: 702 Boundary St SE

 

tracey_1939Tracey House, 1939, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
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Tracey House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross

The Tracey House is described in the City of Olympia’s inventory  as “one of the most outstanding resources on the East Side.” It was built in about 1890, in an elaborate Queen Anne style. The excellent restoration efforts highlight the many interesting decorative features of the home, which made use of new techniques for wood turning and decorative shingling. The home was occupied, and possibly built, by Edward Tracey, a boom man, who at one time was also a police officer in the city. Tracey and his family arrived in Olympia from Nova Scotia in 1888. The home is inventoried but not on a heritage register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

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Transit-Columbia Bakery building

Location: 105 Columbia St NW
Downtown National Historic District;  Wohleb?

We are looking for a good vintage photograph of this building; if you have one to share, please contact us
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Transit-Columbia Bakery Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Documentation on this building is confusing. There are two inventories for the building: one, viewable on the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) database, states it was erected in about 1911; the other, in the Olympia Heritage inventory, that it was built in 1929. There is also a reference in the former inventory to the involvement of architect Joseph Wohleb, although this attribution is given neither in the former inventory nor the National Historic District listing. Sanborn Insurance maps are equally confusing: there are two maps stamped November 1924, one of which shows this location as a used car lot, and the other the three-bay storefront currently in existence.

Another confusion is the name and nature of the businesses carried on here. The official name of the building in the DAHP inventory is the Eads Transfer or the Transit-Columbia building, although Eads Transfer does not seem ever to have done business here. The Olympia Heritage inventory calls the building the Overland Lunch building, which operated here in the 1930s. The 1965 assessor’s photograph of the Crocker Rubber Company Building also shows this building as occupied by Lassen Electric and the Salvation Army.

The building is a well preserved and maintained example of early commercial architecture in downtown Olympia. It is not on the local register, but is listed as “Historic Contributing” in the National Olympia Downtown Historic District listing, and gives a built date of 1929, but no name for the building.

National Olympia Downtown Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory (under name Overland Lunch)

DAHP inventory sheet,  name Eads Transfer (Transit-Columbia)

 

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Treat House

Location: 316 17th Ave SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

treat_1938Treat House, 1938, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
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Treat House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Albert M. Treat, a well known early doctor, built this home in 1937. Many physicians built homes in the South Capitol neighborhood in the early 20th century, as it was near to St. Peter Hospital, then located at the current site of Capitol Campus, but when Dr. Treat moved to Olympia in 1934, the new Sherman Street hospital was already in place. Nevertheless, this was still a tony neighborhood befitting the new ENT specialist in town.  The style of the home is called composite Tudor, having elements of Tudor and Colonial style. It is on the local register, as well as located in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

For more information on Doctor Treat, including a link to an entry for him in the article “Early Doctors of Olympia,” see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

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Troy House

Location: 113 17th St SE
Local register, South Capitol National Historic District

Troy House, 1939, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives Troy House

Troy House today (2010) photograph by
Deb Ross 

This understated yet comfortable and elegant Queen Anne cottage was the home of Preston M.Troy, who graduated from the Olympia Collegiate Institute and went on to play a large role in Olympia politics and business, serving for a time as city and prosecuting attorney. The home retains many of its attractive features and is located in the South  Capitol National Historic District. It is on the local register in its own right. Sources place its built date between 1893 and 1896.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District 

Washington State Historical Society photograph (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.24.5

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tresner Auto and Anderson Auto buildings

Location: 610 and 612 4th Ave E
Transportation; Popular culture

OFT buildingTresner Auto and Anderson Auto buildings, 1965, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
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Tresner Auto and Anderson Auto buildings today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

At the advent of the automobile age, state planners began to see the need for “good roads” (a term of art) to facilitate traffic through the state and beyond. They relied on old stagecoach routes, themselves often based on ancient Indian trails, designating Pacific Highway 1 as the main north-south thoroughfare through the state. Federal funds became available in 1916 to pave the highway. A part of Route 1 (later, in 1926, re-numbered Route 99) ran through downtown Olympia on Capitol Way, then turned onto 4th Avenue and on to Lacey and north. Automobile-related businesses such as repair shops, restaurants and hotels took advantage of the increased traffic through town. The two buildings shown above were both erected in 1920 and have strictly utilitarian structures designed to accommodate automobile repair and parts fabrication. The buildings now host commercial and retail operations as well as a school and theater.

Olympia Heritage inventory, Tresner Building; Anderson Building

 

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Turpin home site/Remodeled Penney’s Building

Location: 521 Capitol Way S
Olympia Downtown Historical District, Diversity: Chinese heritage; mid-Century modern

Turpin HousePeterfield Turpin house, 1891, Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State Librarydop buildingSite today (2012), Photo by Deborah Ross

In 1879, the Bird’s Eye View of Olympia (link below) shows that Town Square, now Sylvester Park, was almost entirely surrounded by residences. The only non-residential building was the Episcopal Church, now the site of the Governor Hotel. Pioneer Peterfield Turpin built his home facing the Square, on the northwest corner of Main and 6th (Capitol Way and Legion).

By 1891, this area was solidly commercial, the original buildings having given way to hotels and the new Thurston County Courthouse (Old State Capitol Building). Turpin chose to stay on, despite owning extensive property elsewhere in the county. Considered eccentric, he is reported to have had a Chinese chef, as did other local residents in early Olympia. 

After Turpin’s death, the property passed to a number of commercial developers, including P.H. Carlyon. In the 1920s it was developed as the first site of the M.M. Morris store, and later became a Penney’s store. In 1990 its present “blank” facade was created. The Olympia National Downtown Historic District report notes: “This remodel was the spur for the city to institute downtown design review procedures.”

More information:

Washington State Historical Society photo (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C2016.0.116

City of Olympia – Mid-century modern context statement – photo of Penney’s store on page 14

Olympia Downtown Historic District – site 33

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia – Turpin House is portrayed on northwest corner of 6th and Main

Looking Back posting with photograph of J.C. Penney Store from 1950s

For more information on Peterfield Turpin see the Residents (T) section of our website.

 

 

 

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Union Block site/New City Hall/Safeway Store site

Location: 601 4th Ave E
mid-Century modern (Safeway Building)

union blockUnion Block 1894, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical Societynew city hallCity Hall today (2012), Photo by Matthew Kennelly

The two photographs above dramatically illustrate the transformation wrought by the succession of fills that have shaped Olympia over the years. This location is between Chestnut and Cherry Streets on Fourth Avenue. The Union Block building was erected here about 1892, partly funded by W.A. Van Epps, who moved his store, “The Fair,”  here, its fourth and final move (see links below for other locations associated with the Van Epps family). The building housed several retail establishments on the ground floor, and offices on the second floor. Six of them were rented by the legislature in 1895, while the state had outgrown its space in the original territorial capitol building and had yet to acquire the Old State Capitol building. Its location near the Olympia Theatre was noted in the resolution to rent these rooms at $5 a day. The building was erected at what was then the southern end of the Swantown Slough, with the slough extending around it to the west (towards downtown). This site was already located on fill, as shown in the 1879 Bird’s Eye map (link below) where Cherry and Chestnut Streets are not yet in existence. In 1911, the Carlyon Fill finished the filling in of the slough, permitting an undivided strip of Fourth Avenue to be developed for commercial and light industrial purposes.

A photograph of the Van Epps store, catalogued at the Washington State Historical Society, notes that W.A. Van Epps’s investment in the Union Block proved unsuccessful and led to financial difficulties for the family. He sold The Fair in mid-1895 and retired from the business.

A Safeway store was built on this site in 1963, then razed to make way for the new Olympia City Hall, which was completed in 2011.

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1957.134x.17 (above picture); C1943.1006.5 (interior of Van Epps store at Union Block)

Olympia Heritage Inventory, Safeway Building (demolished)

For more information on the Van Epps family and otherVan Epps store sites, see Van Epps store, Van Epps Building, and Pacific Building and Residents section of this website

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia 1879 (this location would be center of bridge to east Olympia in this map)

 

 

 

 

 

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Union Pacific Depot

Location: 407 4th Ave E
Transportation

Union Pacific Depot, 1925, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyUnion Pacific Depot building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Union Pacific Depot building was built in 1916 when a 7 mile UP spur was brought to downtown Olympia. Although it carried some passengers, its primary cargo was bound for the factories and ports of the newly created port area of Olympia. In 1959 a train was left without its brakes on in Tumwater, and slowly gathered speed, reaching speeds over 60 miles per hour when it crashed into and through the depot and finally came to rest 300 feet to the north. One man was killed and the entire area around the depot was destroyed. The portion of the current building to the north is new, but remnants of the old brick depot remain in the long brick structure to the south.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2009.34.57

Historylink article on train wreck

Olympia Heritage inventory

Video on train wreck, available on Youtube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unitarian Church site

Location: Southwest corner 9th and Franklin
Religious institutions, Popular culture

Unitarian Church, 1891, drawing by Edward Lange, from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State LibraryParking lot of First Baptist (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Yet another “paved Paradise” in downtown Olympia, this was once the site of the Unitarian Church. The church originally met in a building on Main Street (Capitol Way) between 7th and 8th, as seen in the 1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia (current site of Evergreen Plaza).  It boasted a number of prominent members, including John Miller Murphy and Pamela Case Hale, both noted for their progressive ideas on such issues as suffrage, education, and temperance. In the late 1880s the church hired what appears to have been their only professional full-time pastor, Napoleon Hoaglund, whose sermons were printed weekly by Murphy’s newspaper, the Washington Standard. At that time, plans developed to build a fine new church at the corner of Franklin and Ninth, the favored area for mainline churches in Olympia. The church borrowed funds from the American Unitarian Society to build the church. According to historian Bernice Sapp, the Unitarian church also built a row of flats on 10th Avenue, known as the Unitarian flats.  Unfortunately, soon after the church building was complete, Reverend Hoaglund departed back to New England, there was a nationwide recession, and the church went into a decline.

For a time, the building was operated as a dance hall and auditorium and was known as the Unity Auditorium. The Unitarians continued to meet here occasionally, as well as in the Hale Block owned by Pamela Case Hale. In the late 1890s, the Unity Church began holding regular services there, under the leadership of their pastor, Genevra Lake. But the American Unitarian Society brought an action to foreclose on the building and it passed into the hands of the Society in about 1900. Soon after this, the building was acquired by the Central Baptist Church, as a Sanborn Map shows it was owned by Central  Baptist in 1908. In December 1950, the St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was located just behind the Central Baptist Church, moved to its current location on 20th Avenue, and the Central Baptist Church (now First Baptist), moved into the former St. John’s  building, another example of “musical pews” in Olympia (see entry for Gloria Dei for more on this). A newspaper article of the time noted that the church planned to raze the old building to create parking for the church.

The current Olympia Unitarian Universalist Community is not organizationally related to this earlier society, which seems to have folded completely around the time of the foreclosure.

The location is now a parking lot.

More information:

Bernice Sapp, “Olympia 100 Years ago”

For more information on Napoleon Hoaglund, Pamela Case Hale, or John Miller Murphy, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

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United Churches of Olympia

Location: 110 Eleventh Ave SE
Religious institutions

united churches 1950United Churches of Olympia, around 1960, United Churches of Olympia collectionOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnited Churches of Olympia today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The United Churches of Olympia is a federated congregation  of the First Congregational Church of Olympia and the First Presbyterian Church of Olympia. Both of these institutions are among the earliest in the city. First Congregational’s original building was near this location, at 10th and Capitol Way. First Presbyterian was located on the corner of Legion and Franklin, where the Sears Building is. The federation occurred in 1915, and the congregations began meeting in the First Presbyterian church’s newer brick building at its original location. The Congregationalists used proceeds from the sale of their original structure to purchase the First Sunset Insurance building across the street from the Franklin Street church.

The church acquired the current location through a donation by the Lemon family and the purchase of adjacent property in 1939. The 1949 earthquake made the previous location unusable, and the congregation met at the Olympia Theater until the basement of the current building was completed, stowing away the Tiffany stained glass windows for later installation. The congregation then met in the basement pending construction of the rest of the building. The main part of the current building was dedicated in 1955. The side chapel and other extensions were completed in the 1970s, and the original Tiffany windows that had been in the First Presbyterian building were installed there.

Although built in the 1950s, the church building is traditional in form, with a steeple and tall stained glass windows running along its length, and a rose window on the west side.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box: C1986.43.61.1.26.1.19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Van Epps building

Location: 107 Capitol Way N
Downtown National Historic District

van epps capitolVan Epps Building, ca. 1895, Courtesy Washington State Historical Society

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVan Epps building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Theodore C. Van Epps arrived in Olympia in 1870 and soon went into partnership with Samuel Woodruff and his stepfather A.J. Burr to run a stationery and land development store. The original location was on Fourth Avenue (Van Epps Store/Weidner Building) at the current site of Ben Moore’s restaurant. T.C. bought out his partners in 1881 and brought his son W. Altney into the business. In the 1890s, T.C. left the stationery store to his son and opened up a new business focusing solely on real estate. He erected an important building on Fourth Avenue above the Swantown Slough, called the Union Block (current location of City Hall), but the business failed after the crash of 1893. He began the business anew at the building at the above location, which was built about 1895, nestled between the Mottman Building and the Olympia Hardware Building on Main Street (now Capitol Way), one of the more important commercial addresses in Olympia. 

This building has been the home of a saloon, plumbing business, sporting goods store, and is currently home to a book store. The building is not on the local register but is listed as historical contributing in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1950.3.50

Miles Sporting Goods store in 1937, in Looking Back

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

 

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Van Etten (Justice Clyde Jeffers) House

Location: 124 Foote St. NW
Local register

Van Etten_1953Van Etten House 1957, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVan Etten House today (2013), photograph by Deb Ross

The Van Etten, or Justice Clyde Jeffers, house, was built in 1938 in an unusual combination of French electic and English Revival styles. It was constructed by local builder and lumberman John Van Etten, who was involved in the building of several other homes in West Olympia. The house uses a variety of building materials, including stucco at ground level and wood with decorative shingling above. Its first resident was State Supreme Court Justice Clyde Jeffers and his wife, who lived here only one or two years.  This home is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

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Vance House

Location: 321 17th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Vance House 1939Vance House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVance House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This English Revival style home was built around 1925 for Thomas and Gertrude Vance. Thomas Vance was an attorney, practicing in the same firm as Frank Christensen, who lived in the Christensen House on the other side of Capitol Way. The well-maintained home is on the local register, and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory 

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

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Walker Building

Location: 500 Capitol Way S
Local Register, National Historic Downtown District, Wohleb

Musgrove shoeMusgrove Shoe Store about 1917, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical Societywalker buildingWalker Building today (2012), Photo by Matthew Kennelly

Built in 1917 on one of the most important corners in downtown Olympia, the Walker Building is typical of commercial structures that were being built during the early part of the 20th century. Then, as now, the ground floor housed retail businesses while the upper floor was offices. It was designed by Joseph Wohleb.

The Musgrove Shoe Store that was located here was owned by Stuart Musgrove. His wife, Katherine Eugley Musgrove, ran a millinery store around the corner on Legion Way.

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1961.1185.5 (above picture)

Olympia Heritage Inventory

National Historic Downtown District

For further information about the Musgrove and Eugley families, see Site of Musgrove Millinery and Residents (M) and (E) pages of our website

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ward Building

Location: 317 4th Ave E
Local Register; Popular culture

Olympia Vocational Technical Institute, from South Puget Sound Community College websiteWard BuildingWard Building today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly

The buildings leading eastward on Fourth Avenue from the core of downtown Olympia remained solidly retail-oriented up to the bridge to Swantown in the early 1900s. 

In 1928 the current building, the Ward Building, was erected using a commercial vernacular design, with the over-the doorway transom windows that are so characteristic of downtown Olympia. It was originally built to house the Montgomery Ward store, one of the first chain stores in Olympia. Over the years it has also housed a forerunner of South Puget Sound Community College — the Olympia Vocational Technical Institute –several restaurants, and other businesses. The building is listed in the local register.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

History of South Puget Sound Community College

Looking Back photo of typing class at Vocational Technical Institute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ward, Samuel House

Location: 137 Sherman St NW
Local register, Women’s history

Ward House_1970Samuel Ward House, 1970, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASamuel Ward House today (2009), photo by Deb Ross

The Samuel Ward House was built by a member of the pioneer Ward family, which owned a lumber mill on the Deschutes River in Tumwater. The home was built in 1889, with a design by architect Mary Page. Miss Page was the first female architect in Olympia, and the only woman to rate a listing in the 1891 Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue. The home is one of the finest examples of Queen Anne style in Olympia and sits on a bluff overlooking Budd Inlet. It is located in the area of West Olympia platted by Samuel Woodruff, also from a pioneer Tumwater family. Interestingly, Samuel Ward’s son, Samuel, Jr., himself became a noted local architect, responsible for the Robert Yantis home, among others.

The home was owned for several years by Vic Meyers, musician and Secretary of State.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph, unscanned, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box: C1964.26.4.8.8

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ward-Levenhagen House

Location: 432 Rogers St NW
local register, Rogers Street Historic District

Ward Levenhagen_1937)Ward Levenhagen House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWard Levenhagen House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Ward Levenhagen House is one of five homes on Rogers Street Northwest that were built about the same time by Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM). TLM was founded by the Andersen brothers and provided precut homes that could be ordered from a catalogue. The company was widely successful, providing materials for over fifty homes in Olympia alone. For more information on this company, see the listing for the Harmon House. This house is well maintained and is on the local register in its own right, as well as being located in the Rogers Street Local Historic District, which was created to showcase the unique contributions of TLM to Olympia’s architectural history. The house was built in 1929 and first owned by Charles and Jennie Ward, later by the Levenhagen family.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Rogers Street Local Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warmoth House

Location: 1801 4th Ave E

warmoth_1966Warmoth House, 1966, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Warmoth House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The Warmoth House was erected by George Warmoth, a railroad freight operator, in 1910. It is built in an interesting and unique combination of Prairie and Craftsman styles, earning it a place in Olympia’s inventory. It is well preserved and now used as an office, along with most of the former residences along the busy Fourth Avenue East.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warnica and Warnica

Location: 202 9th Ave SW

warnica and warnicaWarnica and Warnica Building, 1966, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archiveswarnica and warnicaWarnica and Warnica Building today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

This building was erected as a mortuary by A.O. Warnica and his son Earl, in 1923. The Warnicas arrived here in 1905. Except for the enclosing in of the diagonal porch entryway, the building has been well preserved in its original condition. It is currently operated as a bank.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Washington Center/Liberty Theater site

Location: 512 Washington St SE
Downtown National Historic District; Popular culture

Liberty Theater, ca. 1935, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives, photo by V. Jeffers
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWashington Center today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Liberty Theater was erected about 1924 by the Reed-Ingham Company, which was owned by Thomas M. Reed and his brother-in-law Paul Ingham. The Reeds’ pioneer home was located here, and the Reed Block (now Drees) was just next door. The Liberty was one of many theaters located in downtown Olympia at the time, including the Rex, the Ray, the Capitol Theater, the Avalon, and others. The building was refurbished in the 1940s, when it was renamed the Olympic. 

With the advent of the multiplex and associated dropoff in attendance at the downtown theaters, the Olympic deteriorated. In the 1980s the City of Olympia acquired the theater and, over the objection of the city’s Heritage Commission, razed it to build the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. In 2014, the Washington Center received a much-needed facelift, in the course of which it introduced elements reflective of the original building, including the vertical marquee, fixed awning, and  cornices.

The building is in the Downtown National Historic District where it is listed as non-historic and non-contributing. 

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Thurston Talk article by Emmett O’Connell, accessed April 8, 2014

WSHS, Andy Crow at Wurlitzer, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box, C1986.4.63.8.26.3.1

 

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Washington Mutual Building/Providence Academy site

Location: 825 Capitol Way SE
Schools, Religious Institutions, Women’s History; mid-Century modern

Providence Academy-jeffers-1943Providence Academy, 1943. Jeffers, Susan Parish Photograph Collections, Washington State ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWashington Mutual Building today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

The following text is excerpted from a history of Providence from their archives website, linked below.

The Sisters of Providence established Providence St. Amable Academy, Olympia, Washington, in 1881, at the request of the Reverend Peter Hylebos, Pastor of the local St. Michael Parish. Within a few years the sisters were able to purchase land on which to build a permanent school, financed through begging tours, bazaars, and the support of a few generous townspeople. Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart planned and supervised construction of an 80- by 54-feet, two-story, wood frame building, located between Columbia and Main at Ninth.When Providence St. Amable Academy celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1906, enrollment had grown to 103 day pupils and 25 boarders, with 7 sisters on the faculty.

Despite a good reputation and a growing number of students, the Academy continued to struggle financially. In 1926, St. Michael’s new pastor, the Reverend Michael P. O’Dwyer, sought to resolve the problem by assuming administration of the school. Somewhat reluctantly, the sisters sold the property, building and equipment to St. Michael Parish for the sum of $11,000, with which the debt was paid. Although relieved of the financial burden, the sisters also relinquished control over curriculum and the larger school program. Father O’Dwyer suspended the high school and boarding department, and at the end of the term, Providence Academy officially became St. Michael School.

The school building deteriorated during the Depression and was severely damaged by a fire in 1939. Father O’Dwyer launched a fund-raising drive for a new school, but it languished through the war years. The effort took on greater urgency in 1949, when the city condemned the second and third floors of the 1884 building. Seven months later, ground was broken for a new school and convent, about one mile from the original site. [The current St. Michael’s School is on 11th Avenue, adjacent to St. Michael’s Church.]

The building currently on this site, the Washington Mutual Savings Bank Building, was erected in 1968 with a modernist design by local architectural firm Bennett and Johnson and is included in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s “Nifty from the Last 50” inventory project.

More information:

Washington State Historical Society photos (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1958.2.28,  C1964.26.4.4.2

History of Providence St. Amable Academy/St. Michael School, Providence Archives

Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour

Olympia Heritage inventory, Washington Mutual building

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation mid-Century Walking Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Washington Standard site

Location: 221 Washington Street NE (corner of Olympia and Washington)

standard buildingThe Washington Standard Building as it appeared around 1870
photograph from Digital Archives
Site today (2011), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

John Miller Murphy, prolific, opinionated, long-lived editor of the Washington Standard, came to Olympia with his sister in 1851 and, having learned the printing trade in Portland, eventually returned to found the Standard, which he published until 1912. Along the way he was a city councilman, firefighter, member of various fraternal organizations, opera house owner, women’s suffragist, and tireless Olympia booster. He lived near the Standard building, just north of State Ave., even after that area of town became industrialized and a hangout for prostitutes and transients (see Dead Zone).

For more information about and historical photographs of the building and information about John Miller Murphy, follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): photos of interior of Standard Office): C1964.17.3; C1964.17.4; Standard Building in early days: C1982.18.30.18; C2016.0.2; C1947.9.3

Digital Archives pictures: above picture; Standard Building in disrepair, around 1940

 Information on this website about John Miller Murphy and the Standard: “Mere Mention”: John Miller Murphy’s Column August 1889; Residents section

 

 

 

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Washington State Employees Credit Union first home

Location: 520 Union Ave SE
mid-Century modern

WSECU ParishFirst home of Washington State Employees Credit Union, 1968, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archivesold wsecu nowFirst home of Washington State Employees Credit Union today (now Secretary of State) (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly

The following description of this building is taken from Michael Houser’s submission to the  “What Was There” website:

Reminiscent of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses of the 1950s, the Washington State Employees Credit Union Building presented a different approach to bank architecture in Olympia in 1968. Like many Wright structures, the building looked inward. Patrons originally approached the bank via a series of covered floating breezeways (now partially enclosed). Once inside, they were welcomed by a light filled atrium.

The building now houses the Secretary of State’s Elections Division.

Additional links:

Digital Archives image above left

What  Was There entry for the building

City of Olympia mid-Century modern Context Statement (page 19)

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Washington State Library (Joel Pritchard) Building

Location: 415 15th Ave SW
mid-Century modern; State and National registers

statelibraryWashington State Library (Joel Pritchard) Building, around 1959, Hugh Stratford Photograph, State Library Collection,  Digital ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAState Library building today (2014), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

The Joel Pritchard building was the first and only structure erected specifically to house the Washington State Library collection. It was constructed in 1959 with a design by noted architect Paul Thiry, who also designed the buildings at the Century 21 Seattle World’s Fair held in 1962. The building is constructed out of Wilkeson sandstone and, while modern, complements the classical design of the rest of west Capitol Campus. It closes off the south end of the campus with a broad vista leading from the Legislative Building. The building houses artwork by some of our state’s most important artists, including Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and James Fitzgerald. Thiry received a national award of excellent from the American Institute of Architects for the building in 1963. The building was renamed in the late 1970s to honor legislator and civil rights leader Joel Pritchard.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. 

Additional information:

DAHP Report

Washington State Library website history

Docomomo page on Pritchard building

mid-Century modern tour guide

 

 

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Washington Veneer/Olympia Veneer/Farmer’s Market

Location: 700 Capitol Way N
Popular Culture, Diversity: Scandinavians

washington veneerWashington Veneer 1924-1930
photograph from Digital Archives
farmersmarketFarmer’s Market today (2012), Photo courtesy of Matthew Kennelly

With the completion of the Carlyon Fill in 1911, the port area of Olympia was able to accommodate dramatic industrial growth. The Olympia Veneer Company was founded in 1921 as a revolutionary example of a cooperative company, owned by its workers. Located at the far northern tip of the port area, it also developed some techniques that were soon copied by other manufacturers. The mill employed many Scandinavian immigrants, recently arrived to this area in the early 20th century.

Drawing on the success of Olympia Veneer, the Washington Veneer Company was founded in 1924 just to the south of Olympia Veneer. On June 29, 1929, William Jackstead and Grayce Carr were wed atop the Washington Veneer smokestack, as a publicity stunt.

Plywood was in heavy demand during this period for residential construction as well as wartime needs, and Olympia had a steady supply of old growth lumber to draw from. Photographs of this era show a haze of black smoke filling the skies over the port. The Olympia Veneer plant was sold to St. Paul and Tacoma Lumber Company in 1949. The smokestacks of both companies were damaged in the 1949 earthquake, but both companies continued to operate successfully until the 1950s.

By 1960 both of these companies were gone from Olympia, and other businesses took their place. The Farmer’s Market began at a location just south of here, and expanded to its current location in the 1990s.

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 1998.81.15 (earthquake damage, Washington Veneer); C1962.1716.1 (sawmill department, Washington Veneer)

Digital Archives photograph above

History of Olympia Veneer; History of Washington Veneer (you may need to download PDF file in order to read it)

Olympia Heritage inventory of the former Washington Veneer Terminal building, which later became part of the Yardbirds complex (see Olympia Canning).

Looking Back photograph of workers at St. Paul and Tacoma

Film clip of Jackstead-Carr wedding

Looking Back photograph of Olympia Veneer

Youtube video about Port of Olympia wood products industries

Thank you to Roger Gustafson, whose father helped found Olympia Veneer.

 

 

 

 

 

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Watershed Park/Site of Pumping Station

Location: near 1605 Eastside Street

 

 

pump stationPump Station, Olympia Waterworks, early 20th century watercolor by Edward Lange, City of OlympiaWatershed park

Watershed Park with remnant of pumping facility today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

According to the City of Olympia’s website, the vast majority of water in Olympia historically came from the Moxlie Creek Springs Basin, the current location of Watershed Park. Private wells were established here in the 19th century, and the city acquired the wells and pumping operation in 1917. When the wells were replaced in the 1950s, the city proposed to sell off the land and have it logged. Citizen opposition was so strong that an ordinance was eventually passed in 1955 that established Watershed Park here. It’s a hidden gem in the heart of east Olympia with walking trails, ancient trees, stumps, and vestiges of the old pumping facilities and wells, one of which can be seen in the photograph at above right.

Additional resources:

City of Olympia, Watershed Park

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1949.18.51

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Watkins House

Location: 718 Governor Stevens Ave SE

Local register

Watkins_1939Watkins House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWatkins House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

In the early 1920s, Olof Anderson, one of the brothers who owned Tumwater Lumber Mills, platted this part of Olympia out of the original plat created by Kate Stevens Bates from the Cloverfields Farm property. Several homes in this area, including this one, are Tumwater Lumber Mills pre-cut homes. It is in their popular English Revival style, built around 1926. For more information on the Tumwater Lumber Mills, see the Harmon House listing. 

The home was built by OA and Bertha Watkins. OA was an agent for the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1938 Robert and Jeanette Schmidt purchased the house. Robert, a member of the Schmidt family that established the Olympia Brewing Company, worked his way up the ladder at the brewery, eventually becoming president of the company. (See also Robert Schmidt House, where the Schmidts lived later on)

The home is on the local register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

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

 

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Weatherbie House

Location: 1102 State Ave NE
Local register

Weatherbie 1937Weatherbie House, 1937, Thurston County  Assessor’s files, Washington State Archives Southwest Regionweatherbie nowWeatherbie House now (2012), photo by Deborah Ross

The George and Jessie Weatherbie house on State Avenue was built in 1925. It is an example of the bungalow style that was common in Olympia at the time, with a spacious porch resting on brick piers, exposed beams and horizontal bands. The house is on the local heritage register. George Weatherbie was the son of pioneer Malcolm Weatherbie, and worked for Puget Sound Freight.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

 

 

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Weidner Auto Court/Ouellette House site

Location:  915 Capitol Way S
local register; Wohleb; transportation

weidner auto court_1965Rear view of Weidner Auto Court, on 10th Avenue, 1965, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWeidner Auto Court buildings today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Pacific Highway in Washington State was designated in 1910, at the advent of the automobile age, to connect the cities of Washington State. In 1926, it later became part of U.S. Route 99, the major north-south route on the West Coast. In Olympia, the Pacific Highway proceeded along Capitol Way and then turned onto Fourth Avenue. Along with the highway’s establishment came the need for automobile-oriented businesses. Olympia obliged by creating and promoting several eating establishments, hotels, and automotive services along the route. It also was one of the first cities in the west coast to create one-way street pairs through the city, State and Fourth Avenues.

Ernie Weidner (brother of O. Weidner who owned the Weidner Rummy Club) commissioned architect Joseph Wohleb to create one of the area’s first motels, the Weidner Auto Court, in 1929. Its two Capitol Way facades are decorated in mock-Tudor style, and its rooms stretch along an inner courtyard. Built on an L-shaped lot that faced both Capitol Way and 10th Avenue, the motel wrapped around the Congregational Manse. The view at above left shows the 10th Avenue side of the motel in 1965. The building has been well preserved and is on the local heritage register.

The portion of the court facing 10th Avenue was the site of the Louis P. Ouellette House. Ouellette was an important figure in early Thurston County history. He founded the Puget Sound and Chehalis Railway, one of the early logging railroads, and was surveyor general for Thurston County.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

The Historic Pacific Highway in Washington

Highways of Washington State – US 99

Washington State Historical Society photograph (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1952.226.67 (Ouellette House, not scanned)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weidner Building/site of Van Epps Store/Nankin Cafe

Location: 116 4th Ave W
Downtown National Historic District, Diversity: Chinese Heritage; Wohleb

Van Epps storeVan Epps store in 1880s, photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Societyben mooreGreat Cuisine of India and Ben Moore’s restaurant today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

The first block west on Fourth Avenue has always been an important part of the downtown commercial core. In the 1870s, Theodore C. Van Epps entered into partnership with Samuel Woodruff and Samuel’s stepfather A.J. Burr to open a book and stationery store at this site. He bought them out in 1881, and brought his son W. Arley into the business. In 1889 he sold it to Arley and opened a new real estate business.  Later on, W. A.  moved the stationery store to the  Pacific Building (current site of Archibald Sisters), and T.C. moved his to the  Union Block and then the Van Epps Building. T.C.’s daughter Iva Van Epps Satterlee was prominent in society and a supporter of local history.

In 1927, O.C. Weidner built the current building, based on a Joseph Wohleb design. He operated a saloon here, and Charles Kay operated a Chinese restaurant, the Nankin Cafe, in this building as well. It is currently (2014) a restaurant.

The building is located in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District.

Links to more information:

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1950.3.52 (above photo); C1943.1006.23

Article: Chinese in Olympia, Restaurants (includes a photo of the Nankin Cafe)

Links to members of Van Epps and Kay families, Residents section of this website

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown Historic District

 

 

 

 

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Welty House

Location: 115 18th Ave. SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

No vintage photograph is available of this home; if you have one to share please contact us (Thurston County assessor photograph appears to be different home) 
Welty houseWelty House today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

The Welty House was built around 1907 and is described as a Foursquare style home. It is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic District. John Welty was state fire warden.

Links:

Olympia heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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West Side Chapel

Location: 703 Rogers NW
Religious communities, Schools

West Side Chapel, 1961, courtesy Washington State Historical SocietyWest Side Chapel building

West Side chapel today (2012) , photograph by Deb Ross

The West Side Chapel was founded in 1891, when West Olympia was growing rapidly. It was associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a movement devoted to building churches in blighted urban areas.  Although West Olympia was never “blighted,” it was the home of many working class families around this time. The trolley tracks extended down Rogers Street past the church.   This building was erected in 1918. It is an unassuming Crafstman style building. The steeple, which was still in existence at the time of the city inventory of historic structures in the 1980s, has since been removed. It is currently used as a daycare center, and is on the inventory but not the local register.

Additional resources:

Washington  State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1959.2.10; C1986.43.61.1.26.1.14

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Westhillsyde (Allen/Beals House)

Location: 726 Percival St SW
Local, state and national registers; Women’s History

westhillsyde_1939Westhillsyde 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWesthillsyde today, photograph by Deb Ross

The West Olympia home known as Westhillsyde is one of the most distinguished in Olympia. It was designed by architects Elizabeth Ayer and Edwin Ivey. Ayer, from a pioneer Olympia family, was the first woman to graduate from the University of Washington Architecture school. She is responsible for the design of several homes in Olympia. This home was built in 1923 in what’s described as a French electic style, with many decorative features.

The home was first owned by the Allen family and later on by the Beals family. Walter Beals was a lawyer and Supreme Court judge. He was a member of the tribunals at the Nuremberg trials after World War I. His wife, Othilia Carroll Beals, was a member of the pioneer Carroll family (see Carroll House site). She was also an attorney and the first woman justice of the peace in Seattle. The home is on the local, state and national registers, as well as being featured in the National Women’s History in Olympia MPS.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour

For more on Othilia Carroll Beals and Walter Beals, see the Residents (C and B) section of this database.

 

 

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Westbrook House – demolished

Location: 820 5th Ave SW
Wohleb; Popular culture

westbrook_1966Westbrook House 1966, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
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Westbrook House today (2015), photograph by Deb Ross

This distinguished English revival style home was built by Virgil Westbrook in 1923 to serve as his own residence. Westbrook was associated with the Wohleb firm and designed other distinguished homes here and elsewhere, including the listed Dohm House across the street. The home featured several whimsical details, such as portholes designed to look like captain’s quarters on a ship. The home was owned for many years by the Barner family. George Barner is a distinguished citizen in his own right, having served in the capacity of Thurston County’s County and Port Commissioner; he is also a well-known musician, a member of various local rock bands in the 1960s. The home burned in 2016. 

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

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Westminster Presbyterian – 4th Avenue

Location: 1522 4th Ave E
Religious institutions

Westminster Presbyterian 1961, courtesy Washington State Historical Society
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former Westminster Presbyterian church building today (2014), photograph by Deb Ross

The congregation now called Westminster Presbyterian had its roots in the perceived need for a United Presbyterian church in Olympia. The United Presbyterian denomination was distinct from the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, to which First Presbyterian belonged. Continuing in the theme of “musical pews” referred to in other pages (see Gloria Dei church, for example), the congregation first met in 1893 in a commercial office in the Hale Block (ironically, as this congregation was getting its start, the Unitarian Church was meeting in the same building after a precipitous decline). It soon built a purpose-built structure across the street.

In accordance with outward-moving trends followed by other mainline denominations in Olympia, the congregation moved to this location on Fourth Avenue in 1930. Some time after that the congregation changed its name to Westminster Presbyterian. In the late 1980s, Westminster sold this building to the Salvation Army and moved outward once more, to Boulevard Street, its current location (2014). (In a particularly complex example of the “musical pews” game, the Salvation Army moved here from the Gloria Dei building, which was once the First Presbyterian church building.) The building on 4th is now a private ballroom.

More resources:

Westminster history

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box, C1986.43.61.1.26.1.29

 

 

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Westside Grocery

Location: 903 Rogers St NW
Local register

No vintage photographs of this building have been scanned. If you have one to share, please contact us.Westside Grocery building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Westside Grocery building is a long-time fixture in Olympia, built about 1902. It operated as a grocery store until very recently, with the store on the ground floor and living space above. Almost unchanged both interior and exterior since its construction, it is on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia heritage inventory,

 

 

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White Building

Location: 209 4th Ave E
Downtown National Historic District

4th Ave 1940sFourth Avenue looking east, 1940s, private collection
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhite Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The White Building on Fourth Avenue, built about 1908, is one of the oldest existing important downtown commercial structures. It was built by Allen White, a co-owner of the Springer and White Mill that was located nearby at the north end of the Jefferson Street. The American Renaissance style building retains its decorative swags and ornate cornice, but  the clerestory windows that were once over the entryway have been stuccoed over (see the 1940s photo at above left: the White Building is the nearest building on the right side of Fourth Avenue). For many years this was the home of the Reder Grocery. The upstairs was operated as a rooming house, called the White House, owned by A.J. (Tony) Frisch. The building is in the Downtown National Historic District and listed as Historic Contributing.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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White, William G. House

Location: 1431 11th Ave SE
Local Register

white house_1939William White house in 1939, photo from Thurston County assessor’s records, Washington State ArchivesWilliam White House (Swantown Inn)

William White house today (2010) photograph by
Deb Ross 

The White House at the corner of 11th Avenue and Central Street is another example of the fine Queen Anne/Eastlake style homes built in Swantown (east Olympia) towards the end of the 19th century, probably in 1891-1892. At the time it was built, it would have had a view down to the Swantown Slough, which extended southwards from Budd Inlet to about this spot below the house. It was built by carpenter and lumberman William White and must have displayed some of his carpentry skills. It is notable for its three-story tower and myriad of ornamental details. It has been lovingly restored and is operated as a bed and breakfast.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box: C1964.26.4.22.7

For more information on the William G. White family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wickstrom House

Location: 702 Governor Stevens Ave SE

Local register

We have not been able to locate a vintage photograph of this house. If you have one to share, please contact us.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWickstrom House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

In the early 1920s, Olof Anderson, one of the brothers who owned Tumwater Lumber Mills, platted this part of Olympia out of the original plat created by Kate Stevens Bates from the Cloverfields Farm property. Several homes in this area, including this one, as well as the Watkins House next door, are Tumwater Lumber Mills pre-cut homes. It is in their popular English Revival style, built around 1926. For more information on the Tumwater Lumber Mills, see the Harmon House listing. 

Victor Wickstrom was a superintendent at Tumwater Lumber Mills.

The home is on the local register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

 

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Wight House

Location: 2501 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Wight_1936Wight House, 1936, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Wight House
Wight House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

This English revival style home is a well preserved example of the style which is typical of the South Capitol Neighborhood. It was built about 1926. Mark Wight was a state law librarian. The home is on the local register, and is in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

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Wildwood building

Location: 2822 Capitol Way SE
mid-Century modern, Wohleb, Transportation

wildwood 1950Wildwood Building, 1950, advertisement in Olympia Centennial Souvenir program,  Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWildwood Building today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

The Wildwood Building (also known as the G.C. Valley Shopping Center) was the first shopping center built in Olympia, in 1938. The building was designed for owner G.C. Valley by Olympia architect Joseph Wohleb, as he transitioned from his signature Mission style into his later Art Moderne style. In this he was reflecting the changing tastes in American architecture at the cusp of the mid-Century modern style.

The Wildwood Building was located at the edge of the Wildwood Park subdivision that had been platted just a few year before. In locating a shopping center here — with a grocery store, pharmacy, and flower shop — G.C. Valley astutely anticipated the desire of families to shop in their own “suburban” neighborhoods, rather than relying on downtown markets. This may have been particularly true during the Depression years, when automobile use declined from the 1920s, only to rebound after World War II.

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box, C1986.43.0.269

Olympia Heritage inventory

mid-Century modern context statement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wiman/Jackson House

Location: 313 Quince St SE
Local register

We have not located a vintage photograph of this home.If you have one to share, please contact us.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWiman/Jackson House today (2014) photo by Deb Ross

The Wiman/Jackson House was built before 1887 in what is now known as the Bigelow neighborhood on Olympia’s east side. (Thurston County assessor records provide an 1890 construction date, but a city directory shows Samuel P. Wiman living here in 1887.) Samuel P. Wiman was an early pioneer logger in Olympia. This home is in a simple pioneer style but contains decorative elements, as do many homes of a similar date in this neighborhood. The home is just outside the boundaries of the Olympia Avenue Local Historic District. It is on the local register. Verner E. Jackson lived in this home for many years.

Olympia Heritage Inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winged Victory

Location: Capitol Campus
Washington State Capital National Historic District; Arts and Culture

winged victory-1960sWinged Victory statue in 1960s, Susan Parish Collection Washington State Archiveswinged victoryWinged Victory today (2012) photograph by
Benjamin Helle

The winged victory monument on Capitol Campus, honoring those who served in World War I, was first conceived in 1919. Plans were approved in 1927, soon after completion of the main buildings of  Capitol Campus. It was designed by noted sculptor Alonzo Victor Lewis. The monument was dedicated in 1938. The central figure represents the Greek goddess Nike, or Victory, flanked by members of the then-three armed forces: sailor, soldier, and marine, along with a Red Cross nurse.

The photograph at above left is from the Susan Parish collection, and shows members of the Alfred William Leach Band of the American Legion in Olympia.

Additional links:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory

Washington State Capitol Historic District

Link to larger left hand image 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winstanley House

Location: 127 17th Ave SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

Winstanley House_1938Winstanley House 1938, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinstanley House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

This house was built about 1910 by Guy Winstanley, who was a partner with Robert Blankenship in a downtown tobacco shop (see article Meet the Yantises and Blankenships). The shop was a popular gathering place for locals and politicians, and Winstanley served for a time on the Olympia City Council and an active member of the Elks. The house is built in the emerging Craftsman style and has a rather whimsical English Revival detailing at the second floor. As can be seen from comparing the two photographs above, it has been meticulously preserved. It is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winters House

Location: 436 Rogers St NW
local register, Rogers Street Historic District

Winters_1937Winters House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinters House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Winters House is one of five homes on Rogers Street Northwest that were built about the same time by Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM). TLM was founded by the Anderson brothers and provided precut homes that could be ordered from a catalogue. The company was widely successful, providing materials for hundreds of homes in Olympia alone. For more information on this company, see the listing for the Harmon House, or the DAHP listing linked below. This house is on the local register in its own right, as well as being located in the Rogers Street Local Historic District, which was created to showcase the unique contributions of TLM to Olympia’s architectural history. The house was built about 1931. It is distinguished from its four neighbors to the south by having a T-shape with a small turret entrance, suitable for its corner location.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Rogers Street Local Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wisniewski House

Location: 2013 Boundary St SE
Local Register; Wohleb

wisniewskiolderWisniewski House, late 1940s, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Wisniewski House today (2014), photograph by Deb Ross

The charming but modest Wisniewski House was designed in around 1948 by Joseph Wohleb toward the end of his long illustrious career. It is a simple one story clapboard home with attached garage. Boundary Street was so named when it was the northern boundary of the city of Olympia. However, by the time this home was built, many smaller homes were filling in the buildable edges of what became Watershed Park. This may have been a rental, as the Wisniewski family are said to have lived in the Bailey House downtown until the 1980s.

The Wisniewski family is associated with several other buildings in the city, including the Liberty Cafe, which the family operated until the late 1940s; Bill’s Kitchen at 406 Fourth Ave E, which was destroyed in the Union Pacific train crash; and the Bailey House (Fertile Ground Guesthouse) which was occupied by the family for several years.

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

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Wohleb, Robert Cottage

Location: 2902 Orange St.
mid-Century modern; Wohleb (Robert); local register

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobert Wohleb Cottage today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

Robert Wohleb was the son of Olympia’s premier architect, Joseph Wohleb, and designed many of the mid-Century modern buildings in Olympia following in his father’s footsteps. He designed this pretty English cottage for himself and his new wife Elizabeth Davis Wohleb: its design was included in his wedding invitation. For this reason, the home was called the Honey Moon Cottage by the family. It is located in the Stratford Place subdivision platted by Frederick Schmidt and his brother Franck during World War II. Wohleb father and son both designed several of the Stratford Place homes (see also Fox House and Frederick W. Schmidt House). This home is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

mid-Century modern context statement

 

 

 

 

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Wohleb, Joseph House

Location: 122 21st St SW
Wohleb; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

joseph_wohlebJoseph Wohleb House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
joseph_wohleb
Joseph Wohleb House today (2015), Photo by Deb Ross

This surprisingly modest English revival-style home was designed by and built for Olympia’s pre-eminent architect, Joseph Wohleb in 1923. It is located in the South Capitol Neighborhood near many of the homes, both grand and modest, that Wohleb designed over his five decades of work in the city. It is directly across from his two most important commissions, the C.J. Lord Mansion (State Capital Museum) and the McLeary Mansion.

The vast scope of Wohleb’s influence on our city can easily be seen by turning on the Wohleb theme on Where Are We’s Interactive Map. Although Wohleb is best known for creating the Mission-style “look” of downtown Olympia, he was capable of designing buildings and homes in a wide range of styles and to suit a wide range of needs. He has been aptly dubbed “the man who designed the city.” His well-preserved home is not individually on the local register, but is located in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

 

 

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Woman’s Club

Location: 1002 Washington St SE
National Register, State Register, Local Register, Women’s History

women'sclubnowWoman’s Club soon after completion, around 1908, Photo courtesy of Washington State Historical  Societywomens clubWoman’s Club today (2012), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross

Abbie (or Abby) Howard Hunt Stuart was a member of an influential group of women who set the tone of late 19th century Olympia society. Together with their supportive spouses, they advanced the causes of suffrage, temperance, and other social programs, to such an extent that Olympia became known for its progressive views throughout the West and the nation. Abbie was one of the co-founders of the Woman’s Club, the first of its kind of the West. With the encouragement of her close friend  Abigail Scott Duniway, Abbie chose not to use the club as a bully pulpit for her pro-suffrage beliefs. Instead, the club was explicitly founded as a haven for women to come together and discuss literary and other non-controversial topics. Abbie confided her secret goal to her friend Abigail: the club would be designed to attract “women who oppose the Suffrage Movement (or think they do) . . . to divest themselves of their prejudices.”

At first meeting in members’ homes, Abbie and her husband Robert hosted the Woman’s Club in their new Stuart Block building (Capitol and Legion) for a time until the club purchased a building on 10th Street. That building was later moved to a location near the current Timberland Library, and the club raised funds to build the current building, with its elegant and understated architecture melding in with the other fine residences in the neighborhood. It was completely in 1908. 

Unfortunately, Abbie died before the current building was built, and before women’s suffrage was enacted nationwide. The building is named in her honor. It is on the National Register.

Thank you to Pat Harper for information on history of the building and the club.

For further information and links, see the following:

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Register, Women’s History in Olympia

Women’s History Walking Tour

Washington State Historical Society Photos (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1953.18.7; C2017.0.112; C1986.43.61.1.26.1.20

Bernice Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago

Stuart family, see Residents section of this website

Abigail Scott Duniway talk in praise of Abigail HH Stuart’s philosophy regarding women’s clubs

 

 

 

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Woodard House

Location: 1429 West Bay Dr NW
Local register 

AB woodard langeWoodard House, about 1893, Edward Lange artistWoodard House

Woodard House today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The Woodard family, consisting of Harvey and Salome Eaton Woodard and their three boys Alonzo Bixby (AB), Theodore, and Adelbert Eugene (AE), arrived in Thurston County in the early 1850s. They first settled in the area now called Woodard Bay. The family stayed there only a few years, until the onset of the so-called Indian Wars in the mid 1850s. The family moved to Tumwater, where Harvey engaged in milling. After the hostilities ceased, Harvey moved back to Woodard Bay and established a mill there. Salome and the boys stayed behind, and the boys attended school in Tumwater. AB moved to the Portland area to study photography and dentistry while AE stayed in Olympia.

Some time in the late 1850s, Harvey purchased land on the Hurd Donation Claim in West Olympia and built a house around 1858 (thought to be the home now termed the Harvey Woodard House which is just above the Woodard House). Later on, in the 1870s, AB Woodard returned to Olympia and built this house on the family property.

AB Woodard built a home on Union Avenue in Olympia some time around 1900 and AE’s son Lester seems to have moved into the West Bay home.

The Woodard House is an attractive two story wooden house built in the Pioneer style. It is listed on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

For more information about the Woodard family, see the Residents section of this website.

Thanks to Mary Schaff of the Washington State Library for providing transcript of WPA interview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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