Category Archives: Locations of Historic Interest

1008 Prospect Ave. NE

Location: 1008 Prospect Ave NE

1008 prospect_19541008 Prospect Ave, 1954, Thurston County Assessor1008 Prospect

1008 Prospect today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The home at 1008 Prospect Ave is located between  the Olympia Avenue National Historic District and the Bigelow House. Built in 1895, it is a good example of the type of unassuming homes that were being built in Swantown (Olympia eastside) at that time. This part of town was accessible only via an unreliable bridge before the Carlyon Fill in 1910, but was the home of several small industries that attracted workers. Photographs from the Thurston County Assessor in 1954 and by Charles M. Moore in 1949 show that the basic structure of the building is unchanged. The house is not currently inventoried.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog number in collection search box C1949.1301.31.7.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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219 Percival

Location: 219 Percival St NW

219 percival_1966 (1)219 Percival Street in 1966, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives219 Percival

219 Percival NW today (2010), photo by Deb Ross

The house at 219 North Percival on Olympia’s West Side was built in about 1897. It is another example of the tidy Victorian cottages built on lots developed by Sam Woodruff. It has not yet been  inventoried but appears to be in good condition, with original shingling intact.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.4.20.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2418 Otis

Location: 2418  Otis Street SE
Local Register

2418 Otis House, 1940 Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives2418 Otis House today (2011), photo courtesy Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

This Tudor cottage in the Wildwood neighborhood was built in 1940 for Roy  Graham, a builder. It was added to the Local Register in 2018. 

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage Commission Statement of Significance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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421 Quince

Location: 421 Quince Street SE

421 Quince old421 Quince, unknown date, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives421 Quince 2012

421 Quince in 2010, photo by Deborah Ross

This modest home is included here for its early date, 1880, and its original elaborate shingling. It has not been inventoried by the City; however, it was included in historian Adah Dye’s collection of photographs of early Olympia homes. Tragically, the house burned in September 2011 and the shingling was destroyed.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.4.14.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7th Avenue tunnel

Location: Under 7th Avenue between Adams and Columbia
Transportation

subway construction7th Avenue Tunnel 1913, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society7th ave tunnel7th Avenue Tunnel today (2012), Photo by Matthew Kennelly

In early days of the Northern Pacific railroad, Olympia was ignominiously bypassed, and had to build its own narrow gauge to hook up with the NP in Tenino, 15 miles away. Once Washington gained statehood and Olympia became its permanent capital, several railroads vied for the opportunity to serve our city. However, all were contingent on concessions and funds. Olympia raised $50,000 for construction of the line to downtown, but insisted that the tracks not run on surface roads through downtown, particularly along 7th Avenue which was lined with homes of wealthy citizens.

The 7th Avenue tunnel (also known as the Subway) was opened in 1891, the year that the Northern Pacific first brought service into downtown. The depot was built on new fill at its current location on Columbia Street, just past the western end of the tunnel. At first the “lid” of the tunnel was made of wood, and considered an informal extension of Sylvester Park, which ran along its northern edge.

Improvements were made in 1913, when the tunnel was lined in concrete. Railroad historian James Hannum speculates that the set of tracks at the left of the photograph, taken during the construction phase, may have been for a tram to bring materials to a higher level.

The tracks are still used for freight traffic, having been acquired by the Burlington Northern in the 1960s. A homeless man was hit by a train in 2010 and lost his arm.

More information:

Washington State Historical Society photo (above) enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1984.3.1 , C1984.3.2

Olympia inventory (note that this inventory report states the tunnel was built in 1913 or 1914, relying on information from the Burlingon Northern; however,  Sanborn maps, photographs and other DAHP sources indicate that the tunnel was built in 1891 and improved in 1913)

Thurston County Historical Journal, December 2020

Thanks to James Hannum for information and interpretation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Acme Fuel Company

Location: 416 State Ave NE
Transportation

acmefuel_1964Acme Fuel Co building, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
acme fuelAcme Fuel Co building today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The Acme Fuel Company was founded in 1925 by the Springer Mill Company as a way to sell off their waste wood products to homes for heating needs. They soon began selling coal and heating oil as those energy sources became more common. The art moderne style building currently housing the business was erected in 1940. The business has been owned by the Allen family since the early 1940s, and a third generation of Allens are now running the company, which continues to deliver fuel for homes and businesses in the area.

Links:

Olympia inventory

Looking Back article, July 13, 2014 (fuel truck at Legislative Building)

Thurstontalk.com article, accessed May 29, 2015

 

 

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Adams, John and Elise House

Location: 135 Cushing St NW
Local register; Diversity: Scandinavians

Adams House _1939Adams House 1939, image from Thurston County Assessor files, Washington State ArchivesAdams House

Adams House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross

The house at 135 Cushing Street NW was built around 1900, or a little earlier, and was owned by John and Elise Adams beginning in about 1902. John was a Finnish immigrant who, like many other Scandinavians in Olympia, worked at the cooperative Olympia Veneer Company. He was also active in the Swedish church, now Gloria Dei. In 1939 or 1940, when historian Adah Dye took photographs of structures over 50 years old, she called it the Mower House, perhaps a misspelling of one of the early owners, the Marry family. This home is another example of a simple pioneer style Westside home in an area originally platted by developer Samuel Woodruff.  It was added to the local register in 2013.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box): C1964.26.4.3.7

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adams/Martin House

Location: 1639 Bigelow Ave NE
Local register

adamsmartin_1939Adams/Martin House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Adams-Martin HouseAdams/Martin House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

The Adams/Martin House is an attractive small bungalow in the Bigelow Highlands neighborhood. It was built in 1927 by J.B. and Ella Prilman Adams. Adams was listed as a carpenter and may have built the house himself. It has fine, well-preserved Craftsman style features. The Bigelow Highlands neighborhood is known for having a number of homes that were built for workers in the mills and other industry on the waterfront (see Rebecca Christie’s book, Workingman’s Hill). The home is on the local register.

Olympia Inventory report

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Agnew Duplex

Location: 1023 Olympia Ave NE
Local register; Olympia Avenue Historical District

agnew1938Agnew Duplex, 1938, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAgnew Duplex today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Agnew Duplex was built in 1926 for Elsie and Clifford Agnew. The Agnews owned the City Dye Works and Star Laundry (it’s possible the woman pictured in the link at the Star Laundry page is Elsie). Duplexes were unusual at the time, and the Agnews apparently lived on one side and rented out the other side to millworkers and others. It is notable that the very large tree that is in the front yard in 2014 did not exist in the 1939 photo at above left. The well-maintained home is on the local register, as well as located in the Olympia Avenue Historic District.

Links:

Olympia inventory

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

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Air show site/Swantown Marina

Location: 650 Marine Dr NE
Transportation

wiseman landingFred Wiseman’s plane landing, May 18, 1911, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietySwantown Marina

Swantown Marina today (2013), Port of Olympia photo

The Carlyon Fill project in 1910-1911 added 29 blocks to the central peninsula of Olympia, eliminating the Swantown Slough that had divided much of east Olympia from downtown, and adding most of what we now know as the port area. Just after the fill was completed, in 1911, aviator Fred Wiseman piloted his tiny aircraft, billed as the “fastest machine in the world,” to make several landings in the newly filled area. Wiseman went so far as to bring a film cameraman aboard, and the resulting footage was shown in local movie theaters. The little airplane is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, as it was the first airplane to carry mail.

The area where Wiseman landed is now the Swantown Marina, echoing the transportation theme inaugurated by Wiseman’s historic first landing in Olympia.

Thanks to Emmett O’Connell for unearthing the Wiseman story and the location of “Olympia’s first airport.”

Additional resources:

Historylink article

Youtube video on early years of Port of Olympia

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1943.2x.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Allen House

Location: 3217 Fairfield Rd SE
local register

Allen_1957Allen House, 1957, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Allen House today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

Built around 1920, The Allen House was originally located near Union and Columbia. It was moved to make way for a state parking garage in the late 1950s. The adjacent Partlow House had been moved the previous year, and the Allen House was moved to its current location, still next door to the Partlow House. It is a fine example of Dutch Colonial style. James Allen, the original owner, was a civil engineer who came to work for the state of Washington and helped to improve the state’s road system, urged on by the automobile industry and federal funds as part of the “‘Good Roads” movement. The home is on the local register.

Olympia heritage inventory

Article on James Allen and Good Roads

Washington State Historical Society,

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 2012.123.116

 

 

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American Legion Hall

Location: 219 Legion Way SW
Local, State, and National registers; Wohleb; Women’s History; Popular Culture

AR-Parish_LegionHall_1208_1950_smallAmerican Legion Hall 1950, Susan Parish collection, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmerican Legion Hall today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The national American Legion was founded in 1919, after World War I. At that time, local newspapers estimated there were about 1,000 eligible veterans in Thurston County. They met in temporary locations for a time, and began raising funds for a permanent building in late 1920 or early 1921, securing this location at 6th (now Legion) and Water Street. The plan was for an auditorium and meeting place, where events could be held to attract the whole community, not just members of the Legion. Fundraising was slow until other organizations joined in the effort, notably the Rotarians and women’s organizations, who mobilized scores of fundraisers to solicit donations from schoolchildren, veterans, businesses and social organizations. Funds were deemed sufficient in mid-1921 to begin construction. The design for this relatively unadorned building was the work of Joseph Wohleb, who was reaching the peak of his influence in downtown Olympia and nearby residential neighborhoods.

The building was located in a solidly industrial neighborhood, surrounded by a junk store, a coke (coal) supplier, the railroad tunnel and track on Seventh Avenue, and houseboats across the street on the Deschutes Estuary. Some fundraisers, indeed, expressed concern about the “remoteness” of the location: even though it was only two blocks from Main Street (Capitol Way), the neighborhood was decidedly sketchy. Nevertheless, the building became an instant success from the day it opened on Armistice Day 1921, holding dances, boxing matches, Inaugural Balls, and other social activities and entertainment. It also hosted the National Guard, the Post Office, and a skating rink over the years. The American Legion band, formed here in 1924, has been highly ranked nationally since its inception and continues to perform 25-30 times a year.

The building is currently occupied by retail establishments and studios, after the American Legion vacated the building in 1999.

Due to its historical and architectural importance, the building is on the National as well as state and local registers. It is just outside the boundaries of the National Historic Downtown District. It anchors the western end of Legion Way, which was renamed in 1927, in honor of the Legion (see also Legion Way Trees)

Olympia Heritage Inventory

American Legion Band website

YouTube video filmed at this location, about Women in World War I

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Anderson, Edward House

Location: 417 Olympic Way SW
Local register; Diversity: Scandinavians

EdwardAnderson_1939Edward Anderson House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEdward Anderson House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Edward Anderson was the fourth of the Swedish-born Anderson brothers, who established Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM) Company, which designed and sold pre-cut homes. The homes were very popular and were sold throughout the country. Many of these homes still exist in Olympia (see, for example, Harmon House, which has a link to the company’s 1924 catalogue). Interestingly, Edward Anderson chose a Mission-revival style home to live in, rather than TLM’s signature Craftsman and Dutch colonial styles. It was built in 1928 and Edward moved into it in 1932. It has a nice view over Budd Inlet to downtown Olympia. The home is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Anderson, Karl House

Location: 2319 Water St SW
South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Diversity: Scandinavians

Karlanderson_1946Karl Anderson House, 1946, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Karl AndersonKarl Anderson House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

Karl Anderson was the fifth of the seven Anderson brothers to arrive in Olympia from Sweden to help establish the Tumwater Lumber Mills. Unlike his brother Ossian, he did not choose to build a home to showcase the company’s line of ready-cut homes. Instead, in 1940 he built this fine example of the art moderne style, with its use of curved walls and glass block. For more information on the Tumwater Lumber Mills, see the Harmon House listing. 

The home is on the inventory but not the local register, and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

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Anderson, Olof House

Location: 410 Sherman St NW
Local register; Diversity: Scandinavians

olofanderson_1953Olof Anderson House, 1953, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOlof Anderson House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This large colonial revival house was built in 1935 by Olof Anderson, the youngest of the Anderson brothers who emigrated from Sweden and founded Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM). TLM made pre-cut homes that were sold throughout Olympia and the Pacific Northwest. Many of the homes in this northwest neighborhood are TLM homes, including the homes in the Rogers Street Historic Neighborhood  are are typically in the English Revival or Tudor Revival style. This house, however, is not a TRL home. Like his brother Edward, Olof chose a different style for his own home, which would have been much too large and unique to be included in one of the pre-cut catalogue designs. The home is well maintained and on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Anderson, Ossian House

Location: 205 25th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Diversity: Scandinavians

ossiananderson_1960Ossian Anderson House, 1960, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOssian Anderson House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Ossian Anderson was the third brother to arrive in Olympia from Sweden to help found the Tumwater Lumber Mills. His stately home in the South Capitol Neighborhood was built around 1926. It is one of the most distinguished English Builder style homes built in the area, and local lore has it that it was intended as a showplace to sell the company’s ready-cut homes. For more information on the Tumwater Lumber Mills, see the Harmon House listing. 

The 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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Angelus Hotel building

Location: 204 4th Ave W
Downtown National Historic District, Local Register; Diversity: Gays and Lesbians

ME GeorgeM.E. George Grocery in the Angelus Hotel building, around 1914, Robert Esterly photo courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietycascadiaAngelus Hotel building today  (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

The Angelus Hotel building was constructed around 1900 and was in use as a hotel for many years. As was typical of the downtown Olympia buildings of the time, the ground floor was reserved for retail operations. The M.E. George grocery was at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Columbia, currently in use as a restaurant. The building is on the local registry, and is part of the National Downtown Historic District. By comparing the 1914 photograph at above left with the current photograph at right, it’s apparent that a third story was added at some point.

This was the home of the Rainbow Restaurant from 1975-1985, a gay and lesbian-friendly store and restaurant with a gay night on Wednesdays.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown Historic District

Washington State Historical Society

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 2010.149.26.1 ;  C1950.1301.22.14

Olympia Gay and Lesbian History Walking Tour

For more information on the George family, see the George House on Where Are We?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Archives Building

Location: 1129 Washington St SE
mid-Century modern

archivesunderconstructionArchives Building under construction (from Capitol Way), 1963, Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArchives building today (from Washington Street) (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The 1963 Archives Building was one of the last to be built in the first phase of development of East Capitol Campus in the early 1960s. Erected just a year after the Cuban missile crisis, towards the end of the cold-war era Red Scare, the building doubled as an air raid shelter, being constructed almost entirely underground, with just one of its several floors accessible from ground level. The roof of the building is at ground level on Capitol Way, as can be seen in the photograph at above left. A series of ventilation tunnels, still in existence, led from key government offices across Capitol Way, into the Archives Building. The building is included in the mid-Century modern Walking Tour of Olympia, and was designed by Harmon, Pray, and Dietrich.

For more information follow these links:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory

mid-Century modern Walking Tour

2013 Article on design of building and tunnels, accessed November 18, 2014

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Armory/Site of Washington School

Location: 515 Eastside St. SE
Schools, Wohleb, Local Register

Washington School Building (pg 2)Washington School about 1891, Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State LibraryarmoryArmory today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

This location was originally the site of the first Washington  School, shown above, which faced onto Quince Street. It housed elementary, middle and high school students. In 1923 the second Washington School, currently the Esther Knox Administrative Building of the Olympia School District, was built nearby and this building was demolished. In 1938, the current Armory (National Guard) building was built. It is a classic Wohleb design in an Art Deco style.

The Armory is no longer in active service to the National Guard, and will be transferred to the City of Olympia in 2022. Link here to find out more about the Armory Storytelling Project and how to participate

Links to more information:

Digital Archives photo

Washington State Historical Society: enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1957.134x.15, C1980.22.4, C1963.18.1

Washington State Military Department Historic Structures report

Olympia Heritage inventory

Knox, a Diary of the Olympia School District

 

 

 

 

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Artesian Commons/Site of George Barnes Home

Location: 405 4th Ave E
Popular culture

barnes homeGeorge Barnes residence, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyArtesian Commons

Artesian well (2012), photo by Deb Ross

George Barnes was one of the first merchants to arrive in Olympia, coming here with his wife and brother-in-law, John Miller Murphy (see also the Barnes Bank building, the oldest brick building in downtown Olympia). He built this Gothic style home on Fourth Avenue, near downtown, but in an area that at the time was the home to other early residents. The home was still standing till the mid-20th century, when it was photographed in decay by historian Adah Dye.

No doubt part of the attraction of this site for the Barnes family was the presence of good water. The artesian well at this site is now a city park (as of 2019 closed indefinitely), a popular gathering spot and source of fine drinking water for Olympia’s residents, as well as a site for public art. The well is one of several that grace downtown Olympia and have served as public sources of water from pre-European settlement days. Public artesian sites in downtown Olympia over the years have included the Chambers Block, Talcott’s building, and the Spar.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1948.18.1 (above photo); C1964.26.4.9.2 (Adah Dye photo, not scanned); C2015.0.120

City of Olympia site, Artesian Commons

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

 

 

 

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Avalon Office Building

Location: 304 4th Ave W
Register

Avalon Office Building, 1950s, Southwest Regional ArchivesAvalon Office Building today (2017), photo by Deborah Ross

The Avalon Office Building was erected in 1928 adjacent to the Avalon Theater. It originally housed restaurants but in later years was the home of various commercial endeavors, including C.R. Harris Paint and the Christensen Radio shop (see also Avalon Annex Building). The building has recently (2016) been added to the Olympia Heritage register. 

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

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Avalon Theater Building (Griswold’s)

Location: 308 4th Ave E
Popular culture

avalonsmallerAvalon Theater, 1936, Jeffers photograph. Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAvalon Theater (Griswold’s) building today (2014), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

The Avalon Theater was built in 1928, one of several movie theaters in downtown Olympia. The architect was Franklin Cox Stanton, who adopted the Mission style that characterizes much of downtown’s architecture. The photograph at above left, by Vibert Jeffers, was taken in 1936. In later years this was the Griswold Office Supply building, which burned down in 2004. Today, only a portion of the facade remains. The future of the building is uncertain.

Links to more information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Cinema Treasures listing

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Backlund House

Location: 616 Boundary St SE
Diversity: Scandinavians

backlund_1937Backlund House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABacklund House today (2014), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

This imposing brick home was built by Frank and Ida Backlund around 1936, shortly before the photograph at above left was taken. The Backlunds were Finnish immigrants. Like many other Scandinavians in our community, Frank worked at and was a founding member of the Olympia Veneer cooperative, an early and successful exemplar of the cooperative movement in the Pacific Northwest. Aside from replaced windows, the home is remarkably unchanged from its original Tudor/Craftsman design, and is well maintained. It has not been inventoried.

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Bailey House

Location: 311 9th Ave SE
Local register

Bailey House_1964Bailey House, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABailey House today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

The Bailey House, located across the street from the Olympia Timberland Library, is a charming example of a Craftsman style house located near downtown Olympia. W.N. Bailey was listed as an insurance agent in a city directory. The house is one of several modest homes built in this neighborhood around 1907, and is on the local register on account of its good state of preservation and as an example of the Craftsman style home in an area close in to the commercial core of Olympia. For many years the house was occupied by the Wisniewski family, owners of the Liberty Cafe and the Wisniewski House. It is currently (2013) operated as a bed and breakfast.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

House history on Fertile Ground website

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Baretich Building/Site of Olympia Cafe

Location: 116 4th Ave E
National Downtown Historic District, Local register, Wohleb

olympia cafeOlympia Cafe, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyBaretich Building

Baretich building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

Since Olympia’s beginnings, there have been small but popular commercial establishments along Fourth Avenue, including numerous cafes and bars. The Olympia Cafe pictured at above left was owned by John Baretich. In 1936, Baretich commissioned local architect Joseph Wohleb to design a stylish new building for the same location. Wohleb incorporated several of his signature features  into this charming building, including the fixed awning, clerestory windows and fancy carrera glass. For several years these features were hidden, but the building was restored recently and original features can now be seen and add to the characteristic look of Olympia’s downtown. 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

Washington State Historical Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 2010.149.28.1; Best Camera Store in 1950s or 1960s, C1986.43.0.269

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Barnes Bank and Site of Roxie Moore’s Saloon

Location: 114-118 Capitol Way N
Downtown National Historic District

roxie better118 N. Capitol, Roxie Moore’s saloon, as it appeared in 1880-1890, photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society 113 Capitol   Barnes Bank Building, 114 N. Capitol, today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

The brick building seen at upper right is the Barnes Bank building. George Barnes was a very early arrival to Olympia and established the first mercantile business here. In about 1869 he built this building, the oldest brick building in Olympia and, some say, the first. For some time, it was the location of the Sportsman’s Headquarters store, and sustained damage in the 1949 earthquake. The bank is located in the National Downtown Historic District.

Just to the north of the Barnes Bank building was the Roxie Moore saloon, pictured at above left. This building was razed at some unknown date before 1949. (The Daily Olympian building added an extension in the 1950s into the space formerly occupied by the saloon, so that it now abuts the Barnes Bank Building.) According to notes on this image, one of the figures is P.D. Moore, prominent Olympia citizen.

For information about this photograph, and identification of the people in it, click on this link to the Washington State Historical Society

enter the following catalog number in collection search boxC1956.20.9; 2013.23.3 (earthquake damage, Barnes Bank building)

Olympia Heritage inventory (Barnes Bank building)

National Downtown Historic District

For more information on George Barnes, see Site of the George Barnes Home, as well as the Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

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Barnes Building/Site of Tacoma Hall

Location: 201-211 Fourth Ave. W
Washington State Register, Local Register, National Historical District; Women’s History

Farmer's cash marketFarmer’s Cash Market, 203 W Fourth as it appeared in 1930
photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society 
barnes buildingAs the Barnes Building at this location appears todayPhotograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

The corner of Fourth and Columbia was part of the core of downtown Olympia from the late 1800s on. This was the site of the Tacoma Hall, built by Charles Williams in about 1861 and the location of several important historic events, including a speech by Susan B. Anthony in 1871. It is shown as the Good Templars Hall, item 15, on the 1879 Bird’s Eye View linked below.

The building currently at the southwest corner of the intersection, known as the Barnes Building, was erected in about 1911-1914. For many years it was the location of the Bolster and Barnes grocery store. Its original partners were John Barnes and John Bolster, whose children married and carried on the business. Their son, John C. Barnes, was one of the original promoters of the Pacific oyster in Washington state. Many other have been located on the ground floor, including the Farmer’s Cash Market shown above in 1930. The building originally housed the fraternal organization Knights of Pythias, but the Odd Fellows have occupied the second floor since their building burned in 1936. For a time it also was the location of the Benson Hotel, accessible on Fourth Avenue.

Surrounding this building on two sides is a shorter L-shaped building, often considered a part of the Barnes Building. The shorter building is still owned by the Barnes family and is described in the Barnes Floral entry on this website.

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

Olympia Heritage inventory (Tacoma Hall site); (Barnes Building)

Olympia Downtown District National Register

History of the Odd Fellows – selected transcript regarding Olympia Lodge No. 1

Washington State Historical Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1987.12.3; 2010.149.6.2; 

City of Olympia Downtown Walking Tour brochure

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia

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

 

 

 

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Barnes Floral/Site of Bohac Harness

Location: 209 Fourth Ave W
Olympia Downtown National Historic District, Local Register

bohac harnessBohac Harness and John’s Cigar Shop, 1914, by Robert Esterly, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Societybarnes floralBarnes Floral House today (2010), photo by Matthew Kennelly

The Bohac Harness Store and John’s Cigar store at above left were typical of the wooden buildings and businesses, often with Western-style false fronts, that lined Fourth Avenue west towards and onto the bridge. To the left of these buildings was the Tacoma Hall (Barnes Building site), an important public building, and later on, the Bolster and Barnes grocery store.

The building shown above right is actually one wing of an L-shaped building that wraps around the Barnes Building (if you look at that building, you will see the other end of the L to the left of the taller building). Inventories sometimes refer to these buildings as one, and they are considered one building in the local register of historic places. The L-shaped building has continually been owned by the Barnes family since 1901, while the taller building is owned by the Odd Fellows.

For more information follow these links:

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 2010.149.10.2 (above photo); C1964.26.4.2.4

Olympia Heritage Inventory (Barnes Building)

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Barnes-Osterhout House

Location: 1633 Eastside St SE

barnesosterhout_1939Barnes/Osterhout House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Barnes/Osterhout House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

When it was erected in about 1908, this home on Eastside Street would have been considered remote from downtown. It abutted the city’s waterworks in what is now Watershed Park. The home is of a unique design  with a two-story bay window. (When architectural historians cannot use a well-known style to describe a building, they call it “vernacular”.) Frank Barnes, the original owner, managed the Postal Telegraph office downtown. Later on the home was owned by the Osterhout family.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Bayview Market/Site of JJ Brenner and HA Long Boatworks

Location: 516 4th Ave W 98502
Women’s History, Diversity: Japanese, Native American; mid-Century modern; Transportation

JJ BrennerJ.J. Brenner, 1914, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyBayviewBayview Market now (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly 

The western end of Fourth Avenue has been a host to water-based industry since the early days of Olympia. The Bird’s Eye View of 1879 linked below shows two wharves to the west of Percival Wharf; today this stretch of Fourth Avenue hosts the yacht club, the Oyster House, and the waterfront seating of Bayview Market, the location featured on this page.

In 1893, JJ Brenner founded his oyster business; it became one of the most important oyster businesses in Olympia and is still in existence, though headquartered in Shelton. In those days the tiny Olympia oyster was harvested; Pacific oysters were introduced by shellfish growers in the 1920s. Pollution virtually wiped out the Olympia oyster between the 1920s and 1950s; today it is making a small comeback. The Brenner building, shown above left, relied on Squaxin and Japanese harvesters, who loaded the oysters onto barges at low tide and then brought them into Olympia, where they were processed at this facility. Women also constituted a large portion of the workforce.

In 1952, Ralph Storman purchased this building from the Brenner Company and turned it into a grocery store. Over the years, the Stormans introduced several unique features, including a conveyor belt to transport groceries from the second floor storage area down to the ground floor, a “Mark-it” system where customers could mark the prices on cans of goods with a grease pencil; and today, a second floor seating area with a demonstration kitchen and view of Budd Inlet and the Olympics.

To the left of JJ Brenner, where the Bayview Market parking lot extends westwards, was the H.A. Long Boatworks. The boatworks, owned by Henry Long, was known for rowboats and canoes.

For more information follow these links:

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box:C1964.26.4.1.5 (unscanned photo circa 1937); 2010.149.39.1 (above photo), C1964.26.4.12.8 (Long Boatworks); C1950.1301.19.16 (interior of office, with JJ Brenner and Charles M. Moore his secretary)

City of Olympia: Mid-Century Modern Context Statement (page 15 chronicles the evolution of the Bayview Market building)

Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour (JJ Brenner’s Cannery)

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia 1879

Article: Steele, The Rise and Decline of the Olympia Oyster

For more information on the Brenner family, see the Residents section of this website, also Brenner House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beck Fiskal House

Location: 2324 7th Ave SE
Local register

Fiskal_1969)Fiskal House, 1969, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fiskal House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Tucked into a quiet street off Boulevard Road, this modest Craftsman style home was built about 1915. It belonged to Florentine Beck Fiskal, and her first and second husbands Charles Beck and Andrew Fiskal and their children. Mrs. Beck Fiskal was French, and worked at the Olympia Canning Company and other locations downtown. The home and its immediate neighborhood, adjacent to the Forest Memorial Gardens, are a reminder of Olympia’s rural heritage. The home is well maintained and on the local register. 

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Belsito (Worthington) House-2616 Hillside

Location: 2616 Hillside St
Women’s History

belsito2616_1942Belsito House-2616 Hillside, 1942, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABelsito House-2616 Hillside today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

During the late 1930s and 1940s, Trena Belsito built four homes in the neighborhood of 27th Avenue and Hillside Avenue, in the Wildwood Neighborhood of Olympia. Though not a trained architect, she copied a Georgian-Colonial-French Eclectic style home shown in Architectural Digest.  She varied the design elements for each of the houses. This house, at 2616, differs from its neighbors on either side by the addition of a classical style portico. (See also Belsito (Worthington) House -2626 Hillside, Belsito (Worthington) House-2716 Hillside, and Belsito (Worthington) House-27th Ave)

Trena Belsito lived in at least two of these Wildwood homes. Her culminating work, in about 1978, was an enlargement of the same design, located on, and visible from, the Deschutes Parkway.

Trena Selvidge was born in 1908 in Olympia, the last of a very large family. Her father worked for the Bordeaux Lumber Company, and her mother ran a store, Selvidge’s, in downtown Olympia. Trena was first married, at age 17, to Leo Belsito, an Italian immigrant who operated a shoe repair shop. The Belsitos lived on the Hillside Avenue property, where she built the homes. They had a daughter, Julia, and a son, Jules. Julia died in 1939 at age 11. Shortly before this, Trena attended the University of Oregon for one year, but is later found listed in the 1940 census living with Leo, and must have begun building homes around that time. She directed the construction of and contracting for all the homes. The Thurston County assessor’s photo at above left, taken in 1942, shows the home under construction.

Belsito passed the bar in 1950. In 1958, at age 49, she married Norman Worthington. (Although some of the Wildwood Neighborhood homes are given the names “Belsito Worthington”, or “Worthington,” Trena built these homes well before she married Norman Worthington.)

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Register: Women’s History in Olympia

For more information on the Selvidge family, see the Residents section of this website. An interview with Trena can be found in the Register application for the 27th Avenue house, linked above. 

 

 

 

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Belsito (Worthington) House-2626 Hillside

Location: 2626 Hillside St SE
Women’s History; Local register

belsito2626 hillside_1940Belsito House-2626 Hillside, 1940, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABelsito House-2626 Hillside today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

During the late 1930s and 1940s, Trena Belsito built four homes in the neighborhood of 27th Avenue and Hillside Avenue, in the Wildwood Neighborhood of Olympia (see also Belsito (Worthington) House-27 th Ave and Belsito (Worthington) House-2616 Hillside). Though not a trained architect, she copied a Georgian-Colonial-French Eclectic style home shown in Architectural Digest.  She varied the design elements for each of the houses by reorienting the garage, adding a different entryway, etc. Three of the houses, two of them located on Hillside Avenue and one on 27th Avenue, are currently on the local register, including this one at 2626 Hillside (also known as “Belsito Worthington #1” and “Howard McClary House”). The Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from 1940 at above left is instructive since it shows the home under construction, making it easier to notice the similarities among all four Belsito homes. Trena Belsito lived in at least two of these Wildwood homes. Her culminating work, in about 1978, was a large home, an expansion of the same design, located on, and visible from, the Deschutes Parkway.

Trena Selvidge was born in 1908 in Olympia, the last of a very large family. Her father worked for the Bordeaux Lumber Company, and her mother ran a store, Selvidge’s, in downtown Olympia. Trena was first married, at age 17, to Leo Belsito, an Italian immigrant who operated a shoe repair shop. The Belsitos lived on the Hillside Avenue property, where she built the homes. They had a daughter, Julia, and a son, Jules. Julia died in 1939 at age 11. Shortly before this, Trena attended the University of Oregon for one year, but is later found listed in the 1940 census living on Hillside with Leo, and must have begun building homes around that time. She directed the construction of and contracting for all the homes.

Belsito passed the bar in 1950. In 1958, at age 49, she married Norman Worthington. (Although some of the Wildwood Neighborhood homes are given the names “Belsito Worthington”, or “Worthington,” Trena built these homes well before she married Norman Worthington.)

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Register: Women’s History in Olympia

For more information on the Selvidge family, see the Residents section of this website. An interview with Mrs. Worthington can be found in the Register application for the 27th Avenue home, linked above. 

 

 

 

 

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Belsito (Worthington) House-27th Ave

Location: 408 27th Ave SE
Women’s History; Local Register

worthington27th_1950Belsito House-27th Ave House 1950, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
better worthingtonBelsito House-27th Ave House today (2012), Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

During the late 1930s and 1940s, Trena Belsito built four homes in the neighborhood of 27th Avenue and Hillside Avenue, in the Wildwood Neighborhood of Olympia. Though not a trained architect, she copied a Georgian-Colonial-French Eclectic style home shown in Architectural Digest.  She varied the design elements for each of the houses. Two of them, located on Hillside Avenue, are currently on the local register. This third house was added to the register in 2016. Trena Belsito lived in at least two of the homes that she built, including this one, built in about 1948. Her culminating work, in about 1978, was a much larger home, an enlargement of the same design, located on, and visible from, the Deschutes Parkway. (see also Belsito House-2616 Hillside, Belsito House-2716 Hillside, and Belsito House-2626 Hillside)

Trena Selvidge was born in 1908 in Olympia, the last of a very large family. Her father worked for the Bordeaux Lumber Company, and her mother ran a store, Selvidge’s, in downtown Olympia. Trena was first married, at age 17, to Leo Belsito, an Italian immigrant who operated a shoe repair shop. The Belsitos lived on the Hillside Avenue property, where she built the homes. They had a daughter, Julia, and a son, Jules. Julia died in 1939 at age 11. Shortly before this, Trena attended the University of Oregon for one year, but is later found listed in the 1940 census living with Leo, and must have begun building homes around that time. She directed the construction of and contracting for all the homes.

Belsito passed the bar in 1950. In 1958, at age 49, she married Norman Worthington. (Although some of the Wildwood Neighborhood homes are given the names “Belsito Worthington”, or “Worthington,” Trena built these homes well before she married Norman Worthington.)

Application for addition to local register. 

National Register: Women’s History in Olympia

For more information on the Selvidge family, see the Residents section of this website; an interview with Mrs. Worthington can be found in the appendix to the Register application, linked above. 

 

 

 

 

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Belsito (Worthington) House-2716 Hillside

Location: 2616 Hillside St
Women’s History; Local Register

belsito2716_1940Belsito House-2716 Hillside, ca. 1940, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
1_108603_0_1354890635_636x435
Belsito House-2716 Hillside today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

During the late 1930s and 1940s, Trena Belsito built four homes in the neighborhood of 27th Avenue and Hillside Avenue, in the Wildwood Neighborhood of Olympia. Though not a trained architect, she copied a Georgian-Colonial-French Eclectic style home shown in Architectural Digest.  She varied the design elements for each of the houses. This house, at 2716 Hillside, is one of three on the local heritage register (the others are at 2626 Hillside and on 27th Avenue). It is almost identical to 2626, the main difference being a larger garage on the right hand rather than the left side of the house. (See also Belsito (Worthington) House-2626 Hillside, Belsito (Worthington) House-2616 Hillside,  and Belsito (Worthington) House-27th Avenue)

Trena Belsito lived in at least two of these Wildwood homes. Her culminating work, in about 1978, was an enlargement of the same design, located on, and visible from, the Deschutes Parkway.

Trena Selvidge was born in 1908 in Olympia, the last of a very large family. Her father worked for the Bordeaux Lumber Company, and her mother ran a store, Selvidge’s, in downtown Olympia. Trena was first married, at age 17, to Leo Belsito, an Italian immigrant who operated a shoe repair shop. The Belsitos lived on the Hillside Avenue property, where she built the homes. They had a daughter, Julia, and a son, Jules. Julia died in 1939 at age 11. Shortly before this, Trena attended the University of Oregon for one year, but is later found listed in the 1940 census living with Leo, and must have begun building homes around that time. She directed the construction of and contracting for all the homes. This home, also known as the Bench House, or Belsito Worthington #1, is on the local register. The Thurston County assessor’s photo at above left, taken in 1942, shows the home under construction.

Belsito passed the bar in 1950. In 1958, at age 49, she married Norman Worthington. (Although some of the Wildwood Neighborhood homes are given the names “Belsito Worthington”, or “Worthington,” Trena built these homes well before she married Norman Worthington.)

Olympia Heritage Register

National Register: Women’s History in Olympia

For more information on the Selvidge family, see the Residents section of this website. An interview with Mrs. Worthington can be found in the Register application for the 27th Avenue home, linked above. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benner House

Location: 512 Sherman St SW
Wohleb; mid-Century modern

benner_1960Benner House under construction, 1960, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives

Benner House today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

The Norman and Isabelle Benner House is considered one of the more important examples of mid-Century residential architecture in Olympia. Its architect, Gordon Stacey Bennett was working for the Wohleb and Wohleb firm in 1959 when he designed the building. He later went on to a solo practice and then formed the Bennett and Johnson firm, responsible for many of the city’s most important mid-Century commercial and residential structures.

Bennett designed the home to be almost invisible from the street, with large windows on the east side facing a gully and Capitol Lake. As can be seen in the photograph at above left, it is of concrete construction and uses other modern construction materials.

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation property report

 

 

 

 

 

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Bergquist Millwork Building

Location: 402 Washington St NE

Bergquist Millwork Building, 1954, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesBergquist Millwork building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Bergquist Millwork Building, erected in 1936, is another example of the functional commercial buildings erected in the Port area in the early part of the 20th Century. In the 1940s it was the home of Bergquist Mill Works. The building sustained damage during the 1949 earthquake.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs, enter the following catalog number in the collection search box 2013.23.12

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Bethel, Clarence Grocery site

Location: 1501 Capitol Way S

bethel groceryClarence Bethel Grocery, 1914, Robert Esterly photo, Courtesy of Washington State Historical Society1501 Capitollocation today (2012), photo by Deborah Ross

In 1914, Tumwater resident and photographer Robert Esterly took photographs of many of the businesses in Olympia. They provide a snapshot of a city in transition, when most citizens were able to shop for their groceries either at nearby stores or have them delivered. The Clarence Bethel Grocery was located here, adjacent to what is now Capitol Campus, and still existed in the late 1930s after the campus was developed. Eventually, though, it succumbed to the development of one of the many office buildings that house organizations and lobbyists doing business in the capital.

More information:

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 2010.149.3.1 (above photograph); C1964.26.4.1.6 (unscanned photo circa 1939)

For more information on Clarence Bethel, see the Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bettman Block

Location: 312-324 Fourth Ave. SE
Diversity: Jewish heritage

bettman blockThe Bettman Block around 1891
photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
bettman block nowBettman Block today (2012)Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

The Bettman Family was a dynasty of merchants beginning with the early days of Olympia. Louis Bettman had a men’s store on Main Street (now Capitol Way), first located north of State Avenue and later between Fourth and Fifth, and was involved in other commercial ventures in town, as were his children. The Bettman Block, built in 1891, and located at the northwest corner of Adams and Fourth Avenue, was near the center of town, and was built on the site of the Bettmans’ first home. It was the home of the Willard Hotel, Van Arsdale Hardware store, the Van Eaton grocery store, the Capital City Meat Market, and other businesses over the years. The Legislature regularly rented several rooms to conduct business in during Legislative Session, and the hotel was conveniently located near the Old State Capitol Building. The 1949 earthquake so badly damaged the building that it had to be partially demolished and its current configuration bears little resemblance to the original building.

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

Washington State Historical Society

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1943.11.30 (Bettman home around 1874, first on left) C1980.22.10, C1981.30x.7 (post earthquake damage), 2010.149.25.1 (Van Arsdale Hardware Store in about 1914), C1964.26.4.8.3 (building in late 1930s); 1981.94.488 (view of 4th Avenue looking west, Bettman building first building on right); Van Eaton grocer in 1914 (Esterly photograph) 2010.149.19.2; Capital City Market in 1914,  2010.149.31.1; Edward Lange drawing of the interior of the Capital City market is at Selected Transcriptions from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue of 1891 under listing for C.M. Moore

For photograph of the Bettman family, link to our Residents page and use your browser to search for Bettman

Other sites relating to this family include the Bettman-Oppenheimer house, and the Bettman store’s first and second sites.

 

 

 

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Bettman Store first site

Location: 312 Capitol Way N
Diversity: Jewish heritage

bettman“Lower Main Street,” detail, Asahel Curtis studio, 1902, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASite today (portion) (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Bettman name is associated with several sites in Olympia. In the very earliest years of Olympia’s history, settlement was clustered between Fourth Avenue and the waterfront, at Second Avenue, now Olympia Avenue (First Avenue, to the north, was no more than a dock). Louis, Mose, and Sig Bettman arrived here in 1853 from their native Germany. They established a mercantile store at this location, right on the waterfront at the north end of Main Street (now Capitol Way). Later on, Louis Bettman became the sole proprietor. At one time, the Bettmans lived around the corner on Fourth Avenue, the current site of the Bettman Block. As the commercial center of Olympia moved southwards towards Fourth and Capitol, Bettman moved his store to the important block on Capitol between Fourth and Fifth (see Bettman Store‘s second site). The Bettman store at that site was destroyed in the 1882 fire that burned this entire block; it was severely damaged in the 1949 Earthquake, but lived on as a business until the 1970s.

A fourth site named after the family is the Queen Anne style Bettman-Oppenheimer House, built for Louis’s daughter Belle Bettman Oppenheimer. Louis and his wife Amelia at one time also had an elegant home next door to the Bettman-Oppenheimer House, since demolished.

The Bettmans were the first Jewish family to arrived in Olympia, followed shortly thereafter by the Rosenthals, the Kaufmans, the Lotzes, the Harrises, and others. Although the first synagogue, Temple Beth Hatfiloh, was not built until the 1930s, these families stayed close and in 1873 established the Jewish Benevolent Society as well as a Jewish cemetery.

The photograph at above left is a detail from a photograph showing Lower Main Street, i.e., the north end of Capitol Way, then located in the “Dead Zone,” or Tenderloin District. The Bettman store building remains with his name over the door, but the building has long been abandoned. To its right is the New England Hotel. Clicking on the link below will show the entire photograph, including a glimpse at the more respectable parts of Main Street, including the trolley line that turned at the corner of Fourth and Main.

This site is now a parking lot.

Links:

Kilgannon: Temple Beth Hatfiloh Turns 75

Washington State Historical Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 1943.42.1415 (above photograph)

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.

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

 

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Bettman Store second site

Location: 410 Capitol Way S
National Downtown Historic District, Diversity: Jewish Heritage

bettmanstoreBettman Store around 1885, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical  Societyhot toddyBettman Store site today, Photo courtesy of Matthew Kennelly

Louis Bettman came to Olympia in 1853 and, along with his brothers Mose and Sig, opened his general merchandise store soon afterwards, at the northern end of Main Street (now Capitol Way) (see Bettman Store first site). After taking over as sole proprietor, he later moved to this site, then as now the most important commercial block in Olympia. The wooden structure burned, along with the other stores in this block, in 1882, and was replaced by this brick structure. The Bettmans also built the Bettman Block on Fourth Avenue, at one time the site of their residence, as well as the Bettman-Oppenheimer House. The store bore the Bettman name until the 1970s. It was damaged during the 1949 earthquake.

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1982.18.30.12 (above picture); C1996.6.18 (earthquake)

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

For more information on Bettman family, see Where Are We? listing for Bettman Block; also Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bettman-Oppenheimer House

Location: 216 9th  Ave SE
Local Register; Diversity: Jewish heritage

No scanned vintage photograph of this house is known; if you have one you can share, or would like to sponsor the scanning of the photo linked below, please contact us at olyhistory@gmail.comBettman-Oppenheimer House

Bettman House today (2010) photograph by
Deb Ross 

The Bettman-Oppenheimer House was built by local merchant Louis Bettman as a wedding gift to his daughter Belle Bettman. The elaborate Queen Anne style was built in 1890 and located in a neighborhood just to the south of Sylvester Park. At the time this neighborhood was the home of several prominent citizens. This is one of the few remaining, and has been extensively remodeled and its exterior well preserved. It is on the local register. The mercantile  Bettman family is linked to other Where Are We? locations, including the Bettman’s first Store, the Bettman’s second store, and the Bettman Block. At one time, Louis Bettman also had a house next door to this one, which the family lived in after the Bettmans razed their home on Fourth Avenue to build the Bettman Block. This second house no longer exists; an unscanned image of it exists in the Washington  State Historical Society’s Research Center.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.4.11.1

For additional information on the Bettman family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bigelow Apartments

Location: 727 4th Ave E

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 SocietyBigelow Apartments

Bigelow Apartments now (2010), photo by Deb Ross

The Bigelow Apartments were built by Ray Bigelow, son of pioneers Daniel and Ann Elizabeth  Bigelow, in 1922 (see Bigelow House). The handsome, symmetrical design with its Tuscan columns at the entryway is termed Colonial Revival and was popular at the time (the Governor’s Mansion is also built in this style). The house has been well preserved. It is inventoried but not listed on a register.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.4.13.4 (also shows Ray Bigelow’s house next door, which no longer exists)

Olympia Heritage inventory

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bigelow-Bailey House

Location: 936 Glass Ave NE
Local register

Bigelow-Bailey House, 1937, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State ArchivesBigelow-Bailey House now (2013), photo by Deb Ross

This pretty L-shaped house was built by the Bigelow family in 1897 as a rental unit. It is just two doors up from the Bigelow House on Glass Street. Although built in the simple Pioneer style, it has sweet decorative features including turned posts at entryway and spindlework cornice panels, which have been highlighted in this nice restoration. The house is on the local register.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Bigelow House

Location: 918 Glass Ave NE
National  register, State register, local register; Women’s History

bigelowhouseBigelow House, 1866
Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum collection
 

Bigelow HouseBigelow House, 2012, photo courtesy of Deborah Ross

The Daniel and Ann Elizabeth Bigelow House, now the Bigelow House Museum, is the oldest existing documented home in Olympia, built in the late 1850s. Daniel Bigelow was a prominent attorney and civic booster, among the first American arrivals to Olympia. At the time he filed his Donation Claim here, and for all of his life, this was a remote and picturesque spot, requiring time and effort to make the journey from Olympia over muddy roads and two rickety bridges across Swantown Slough. The house is clearly visible on very old photographs of Olympia and on the Bird’s Eye View linked below.

The Bigelow House is associated with Olympia women’s history. Both of the Bigelows were early supporters of female suffrage, and hosted Susan B. Anthony here at a dinner.

The house is on the local, state and National Registers and is lovingly maintained by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Many of the original furnishings are still in the house.

More information:

Bigelow House Museum 

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box:C1964.26.4.5.4 (unscanned photo circa 1939)

Digital Archives photograph from 1960s

Bird’s  Eye  View of Olympia 1879, fenced property to right of “public school” (OCI building) in east Olympia.

Youtube video on the Bigelow House

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Blankenship, George and Georgiana House

Location: 205 15th Ave SW
Women’s History; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 GeorgeGeorgianaBlankenship_1937George and Georgiana Blankenship House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGeorge and Georgiana Blankenship House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Among the most popular citizens in Olympia in early days, George and Georgiana Blankenship forged a partnership that has created lasting contributions to the history of Olympia and Thurston County. George E Blankenship was the son of pioneer George C Blankenship. The Blankenship family were publishers, printers, and authors: George E Blankenship wrote a memoir, Lights and Shades of Pioneer Life, of his childhood in very early Olympia. Georgiana began her professional career as a librarian in Spokane, was divorced and then moved to Olympia when she married George. Seeing a need to record the recollections of early pioneers before they had all passed into oblivion, she collected their stories and published them in a book entitled Tillicum Tales, or Early History of Thurston County. She was also active in the Women’s Club and was president of the Thurston County Historical Society. Both volumes are available on line: see our Residents section for links. The Blankenship family continues to contribute to preserving the history of Olympia and Thurston County.

The Blankenships had two homes. This home,  located very near to Capitol Campus, was built in 1907, before the campus was laid out and developed. It is an early example of the Craftsman style. Their summer home, Five Firs Point, north of Priest Point Park, also became their retirement home after George retired from the printing business.

The home is not on the local register but is  located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Women’s History Walking Tour

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Article, Blankenship, Meet the Blankenships and Yantises

 

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Boardman Building

Location: 120 4th Ave E
Local register; Downtown National Historic District; Diversity: Gay and Lesbian history

boardman_1964Boardman Building, 1964, State Archives, Thurston County AssessorBoardman buildingBoardman Building 2013, photograph by Marisa Merkel

The Boardman Building at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Washington Street stands at one of the more important commercial intersections in Olympia from its earliest days. The Olympia Heritage inventory is confusing in showing a construction date of 1925. An  earlier date seems more likely, since a 1914 photograph of the adjacent cafe clearly shows the incised M’s, clerestory windows, and fixed awning of this building. In any case, the building’s  vernacular style harmonizes  well with the architecture of downtown and is listed as a contributing historical structure to the National Downtown Historic District, as well as being on the local register. Over its years, it has served a number of commercial tenants.

From 1975-1985 this was the home of Hard Rain Printing Collective, a progressive small print operation that was friendly to gays and lesbian productions.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Downtown National Historic District

Gay and Lesbian History Walking Tour

 

 

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Boardman House

Location: 406 18th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

boardmanhouse_1939Boardman House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoardman House now (2014), photograph by Deb Ross

The Boardman House, built in 1920, is a fine example of a large and well maintained arts and crafts style home. It is located in the Maple Park neighborhood, now part of the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood. The home is on the local register. Fred Boardman was a boom man early in his working career and later on worked for Olympia Door and for the city.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

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Boat and Motor Mart Building (demolished)/Site of Pearl City Laundry

Location: 405 Water St SW
Transportation; Diversity: Vietnamese heritage; mid-Century modern

pearl cityPearl City Cleaning and Dye Works around 1914, Robert Esterly photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyBoat and Motor Mart (Little Danang) building

Boat and Motor Mart building in 2012, photo by Deb Ross

 

Water Street, at the western edge of downtown Olympia, was created in the late 19th century, partly to accommodate the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad to this area. It quickly became a hub for industries connected with transportation – by boat, train, and road – as well as transient and immigrant populations. The corner of Fourth Avenue and the new Water Street, which had originally been part of the long Fourth Avenue Bridge, was between Little Hollywood to the south, and Chinatown to the west and north. The Pearl City laundry pictured above seems to have been a rare example of a Euro-American-owned laundry in this part of town, as laundries were almost exclusively owned by Chinese. Behind this building we can also see an oyster packing plant, another of the important industries in this area.

With the increased importance of automobile traffic, and the establishment of Fourth Avenue as part of Route 101, the main east-west highway along the coast, transportation industries took even greater prominence. The building most recently at this location was built in 1956 and, like its predecessor, took advantage of its strategic location to operate a boat and automobile dealership here. Over the years it housed an insurance agency and a Vietnamese restaurant. The building was included in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventories for its mid-Century and transportation-related significance. However, it was demolished in 2015.

Additional resources:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory (document not available on line)

Washington State Historical Society photographs, enter the following catalog number in collection search box 2010.149.10.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bolster House

Location: 148 Rogers St NW

If you have a vintage photograph of this house to share, or would like to sponsor the scanning of the photograph linked below, please contact us at olyhistory@gmail.comBolster House

Bolster House today (2010) photograph by Deb Ross

The Bolster House was built about 1918, according to the 2001 inventory. In 1921, Jay and Myrtle Bolster purchased it. Jay was a member of the Bolster family that co-owned the Bolster and Barnes (Barnes Building) grocery store downtown. The house is a well-preserved Dutch Colonial with a barn-shaped roof and wide gables.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.7.6 (not scanned)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boyles House

Location: 214 18th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

boyles_1939Boyles House, 1936, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoyles House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This well-preserved Craftsman home was built around 1922. Albert Boyles was a telephone rate engineer for the state, and the family lived here from the time it was built until Mr. Boyles’s death. The home is on the local register and located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

 

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Brazel House

Location: 116 18th St SE
South Capitol National Historic District 

Brazel_1939Brazel house in 1939, photo from Thurston County assessor’s records, Washington State ArchivesBrazel House

Brazel House today (2010) photograph by
Deb Ross 

The Brazel House on 18th Street was built by George Brazel in about 1891. It is an unusual design for Olympia with its mansard roof. Brazel was a builder and the family was and is well established in Olympia. The house has not been inventoried but is in the South Capitol National Historic District, and is a fine example of a well preserved home in this neighborhood.

Additional information:

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Washington State Historical Society photograph, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.4.24.4

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brenner House – Fourth Ave West

Location: 1107 4th Ave W

Brenner House_1939Brenner House in 1939, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archivesbrenner nowBrenner House today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

If the Thurston County Assessor’s 1878 build date is to be believed, this is one of the oldest homes in West Olympia. It has not been inventoried, so available documentary evidence is scant. The building appears to be an early Queen Anne style. Some of the decorative features in the photograph from 1939 have been removed, but otherwise the home appears to be in good, well preserved condition. This home would have had a magnificent view over Olympia and Mount Rainier when built, but the front door faces Fourth Avenue to the north instead of towards Olympia to the east. It would also have been a heavy slog up Fourth Avenue when originally built, before regrading and paving of Fourth Avenue. Historian Adah Dye called this the Brenner home, in her series of photographs from the 1940s; oysterman JJ Brenner lived here before the turn of the century (see JJ Brenner) ; he later built the  JJ Brenner home nearby.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.4.20.3

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brenner, Earl House

Location: 122 Sherman St. NW
Wohleb

earlbrenner_1966Earl Brenner House 1966, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEarl Brenner House today (2013), photograph by Deb Ross

Earl Brenner was the son of JJ Brenner, founder of the JJ Brenner Oyster Company. Several homes associated this family are located on the West Side, including this house, the JJ Brenner House next door, and the original Brenner House on Fourth Avenue. This house has a magnificent view over Budd Inlet, including the site of the JJ Brenner plant, now the location of Bayview Thriftway. The home was built in 1925, designed by Olympia’s famed architect, Joseph Wohleb, in his signature Mission style.

Olympia heritage inventory

Go to next location

 

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Brenner, J.J. House

Location: 130 Sherman St. NW

jjbrenner_1966J.J. Brenner House 1966, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
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J.J. Brenner House today (2014), photograph by Deb Ross

JJ Brenner entered the oyster business in Thurston County in the early 1890s. Like many other Euro-Americans in the area, he purchased rights to oyster beds in the Mud Bay area and used Indian labor to harvest. In the 1920s, when the Olympia oyster was in decline and the Pacific oyster was introduced, Brenner quickly took advantage of the new species and built up the largest oyster business in the area, JJ Brenner, with its building and dock at the present location of Bayview Market. The company still exists, having moved to Mason County in the mid-20th century.

Brenner first lived in the Brenner House in West Olympia on 4th Avenue. He built this elaborate Craftsman/Mission style home in 1910, using the Tacoma firm of Heath & Twitchell. It is one of the finest homes in the area, overlooking both Budd Inlet and the former site of the JJ Brenner oyster operation. In 1925, Brenner’s son Earl built a similar Mission-style home next door, the Earl Brenner house, designed by Joseph Wohleb.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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

Go to next location

 

 

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Bridges/Goldberg House

Location: 301 21st Ave SW
Women’s history; Diversity: Jewish Heritage; South Capitol National Historic District

bridgesgoldberg_1953Bridges/Goldberg House 1955, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Bridges/Goldberg House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

One of the finest homes in Olympia, the Bridges/Goldberg House is connected with women’s history in two ways. It was built in 1923 for Jesse Bridges, a Supreme Court justice. The design was by Elizabeth Ayers, the first female graduate of the University of Washington Architecture School. Ayers built many distinctive homes throughout Puget Sound, including the similar  Westhillsyde on the other side of Capitol Lake.

Since the 1950s this was been the home of the Goldberg family. The Goldbergs were proprietors of the Goldberg’s Furniture Store downtown. They were instrumental in the formation of Temple Beth Hatfiloh. In 2004, Eva Goldberg, a strong supporter of women’s issues and historic preservation, helped lead the congregation to its new home at the former site of the Christian Science Church. Mrs. Goldberg died in 2013.

The home is not on a heritage register, but is located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood and is maintained in excellent condition.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

For more information on the Ayers and Goldberg families, see the Residents section of this website.

 

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Bryan House

Location: 1510 Water St SW
local register; South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

Bryan_1939 (1)Bryan House, 1939, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABryan House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Mary Arnold Bryan, a widowed employee of the State Office of Public Instruction, purchased this lot in 1908 and built the home in 1910. It is a fine and early example of a Craftsman-style home, located a few steps from Capitol Campus. Kenneth and Katherine Partlow II purchased the property in 1953, where it would have been close to Kenneth’s father’s home, the Partlow House, before that house was moved to its current location in the Carlyon neighborhood four years later. The home is on the local register and is located in the South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District. Mrs. Bryan was an active member of women’s groups and a founding member of the Sacajawea chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Olympia Heritage inventory (note that street name is incorrect)

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

Thank you to Diane Whetstone for finding newspaper articles confirming the date of the home and information about Mrs. Bryan. 

 

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Buell House

Location: 301 21st Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

buell house_1939Buell House, 1939, State Archives, Thurston County AssessorBuell HouseBuell House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

The Buell House was built in 1931 by Arthur and Naomi Buell, who lived here until the early 1980s. Mr. Buell was a bridge builder for the State of Washington, and incorporated an “arch” theme throughout the home including openings between the rooms, coves, and even an arch over the toilet. Due to its proximity to Lincoln School, Mrs. Buell often hosted children from the school, and during World War II the home was listed as an evacuation site. The home is on the local register, and is in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

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Burford House

Location: 1517-1519 Columbia St SW
South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Women’s History

 Burford_1937
Burford House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABurford House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Burford House is the fourth location in the Where Are We? series to be associated with the pioneer Yeager family. Ida Yeager Burford’s grandfather, William T. Yeager, built a home at the current location of the Bettman Block on Fourth Avenue. Her father, William H. Yeager Sr. and his wife Ida Mossman Yeager built the Yeager House on 10th Avenue. Her brother, William H Jr and his wife Ada built the William H and Ada Yeager home on Capitol Way. Thus, Ida Yeager Burford was well suited to be the first curator of the Lord Mansion after it was donated to become the State Capital Museum in 1942. Burford was also active in many civic organizations and was a proud alumna of the University of Washington.

Ida Yeager Burford’s husband, Richard, was a Commander of the Civilian Defense Corps during World War II.

The English Revival home they lived in near Capitol Campus was built in about 1927, around the time the Legislative Building was completed. It is a duplex, each side identical. The home is not on the local register but is located in the State Capitol National Historic District.

More information

Olympia Heritage Inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

For more information on the Burford and Yeager families, see the Residents section of the website.

 

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Butler Cove/The Firs

Location: 3316 Windolph Lp NW
Transportation, Women’s History

butler's coveButler’s Cove, Presbyterian Picnic, 1884, Image courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietywindolphButler Cove today (2012), Photo by Deb Ross

The French and Brown families were early pioneers in Olympia, who staked out Donation Act claims here, at the far northwestern edge of Budd Inlet, soon after their arrival. Mary Olney Brown was a prominent suffrage advocate, healer, and poet. Her sister, Charlotte, who married George French, was likewise a suffrage advocate. Charlotte was one of the first women to attempt to vote in Washington Territory.

In the 1870s, the City of Olympia was informed that steamships would no longer be able to land at the downtown wharf, due to their larger size and the shallow depth of Budd Inlet. After research, and some political maneuvering, the property of the French and Brown families was selected to build a wharf out to deep water. Here steamships could pull up, load their cargo onto smaller boats called tenders, which would then be able to navigate into Percival Landing, at least at high tide.

Before long, the citizens of Olympia found that the area  near the landing, at Butler’s Cove (now called Butler Cove following current convention), made a wonderful spot for a picnic or campout. Small steamers conveyed church outings, visiting dignitaries, and summer campers to the wharf, often accompanied by the Capital City Band. Eventually Theodore Brown, son of Benjamin and Mary, built a summer cottage on the property, at the end of 27th Avenue, “The Firs,” to which visitors were always welcome. At one point, it was proposed to bring the railroad all the way here, but these plans did not materialize.

With the advent of the automobile and gradual decline of the small steamer as the main form of transport in Olympia, Butler Cove no longer was the mecca for outdoor recreation. It now is a secluded neighborhood of beach homes.

Further information:

Washington State Historical Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search boxC1952.197.13 (above picture)

Olympia Heritage inventory (the Firs)

For more information on the Brown and French families, see the  Residents (B) and (F) sections of this website

 

 

 

 

 

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Byrd House

Location: 1106 Olympia Ave NE
Local Register, State Register, National Register, Olympia Avenue Local Historic District, Women’s History

Byrd House_1970Byrd House, 1970, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesByrd House

Byrd House now (2010), photo by Deborah Ross

Listed on the local, state and national register, the Byrd House is the quintessential Queen Anne style home, with its many decorative features such as ornate shingling, balustrades, and cornices. Its exterior has been maintained in excellent condition. It was the home of George and Mary White Byrd. It is one of the homes occupied by the three White sisters and their mother, who all lived in the Bigelow Neighborhood (see Bigelow House, Dunbar House, and Ruddell House).  George Byrd was a long-time Tacoma resident and other sources suggest that he lived in Olympia only a short time. Thurston County Assessor data states that this house was built around 1890; it is possible it was earlier as other sources show the Byrds living in Olympia  in the 1870s, and the other White family homes were built around that time.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.4.16.1

Olympia Avenue Historic District

Youtube video on Olympia Avenue and the White family, including the Byrd House

For more information on the White and Byrd families, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Campbell House

Location: 404 17th Ave SE
Local Register, South Capitol National Historic District 

We have not located a vintage photograph of this home. If you have one to share, please contact us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACampbell House now (2014), photo by Deborah Ross

The Campbell home was built around 1922 in what has been termed a Colonial style. Roy Campbell moved to Olympia around 1922 and lived first on Adams Street. He was a surveyor for the State of Washington. He erected this home in the South Capitol neighborhood. His daughter lived here from her birth until her death in 2007. The home is on the local register as well as in the South Capitol National Historic District. Its owner has meticulously maintained its period interior and restored the exterior to its original siding and other features.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Capital National Bank building/Site of Turner Block

Location: 402 Capitol Way S
State Register, National Downtown District, Wohleb, Diversity: Germans

CharliesCharlie’s Saloon, probably around 1902, photo courtesy of Washington  State Historical Societyus bankUS Bank (Capital National Bank building) today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly

The intersection of 4th Avenue and Capitol Way (formerly Main Street) has always been the literal and figurative center of commercial life in Olympia. One of the first commercial buildings at the southeast corner was the two-story brick Turner Block, built by Dr. George Turner, a pharmacist. The upstairs offices housed several legislators, as the location was handy to the Old State Capitol Building as well as downtown. On ground floor were retail establishments, including G. Rosenthal (who also occupied the McKenny Block building across the street), Armstrong Brothers, and Charlie’s Saloon, shown above, owned by Charley Vietzen (see site of Vietzen home).

In 1922 Olympia financier C.J. Lord retained Joseph Wohleb to design the stately building now at this location for the Capital National Bank. The building now is the home of U.S. Bank. It is listed on the State Heritage Register. The building was not significantly affected by either the 1949 or 2001 earthquakes.

C.J. Lord was an influential member of Olympia’s business and industrial life. In addition to founding this bank, he participated in the founding of Washington Veneer, the Olympia Knitting Mills, and Olympia Light and Power, among other businesses. His home, the Lord Mansion, was for many decades the home of the State Capital Museum until its closure in 2016.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photographs, enter the following catalog numbers in collection search box: C1996.6.4 (post earthquake, showing damage to adjacent Pacific Building); 2013.158.1 (Turner Block formerly at this corner can be seen in this photo at the far side of the intersection across from the sandstone McKenny Block on the right); 2015.30.31C1949.3.70 (photo at above left)

Private postcard collection (Turner Block)

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

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

 

 

 

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Capital Savings and Loan Building

Location:  222 5th Ave SE
mid-Century modern; National Register, State Heritage Register; Downtown National Historic District

capital savingsCapital Savings and Loan Building 1964, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation files OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACapital Savings and Loan Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Inspired by the 1963 World’s Fair in Seattle, the local firm of Sibold and Nesland built this space-age building in downtown Olympia for the Capital Savings and Loan. It originally had a water feature just inside the entryway. It has been repurposed to a nightclub for several years.

The building is on the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory as part of DAHP’s modernism project. It was placed on the National and State Registers in 2018. 

Additional resources:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory

mid-Century Modern Tour Guide

Downtown Olympia National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Capitol Center Building (Views on Fifth)

Location:  410 5th Ave NW
mid-Century modern

capitol place 1960sCapitol Center Building late 1960s, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation collectionOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Capitol Center Building in 2014 before remodeling (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Widely criticized for a time, for its obstructing views and deteriorating condition, the Capitol Center Building was at one time the feather in local architect G. Stacey Bennett’s cap. Built in the late 1960s for $2 million, it featured cutting edge modernism with its glass curtain effect, termed the Miesian style, after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The foundation of the building is over seven feet thick, making it earthquake-proof despite its footing on fill. It is the tallest building in the city, surpassing the former “skyscraper” Security Building.  The building was the home to several state agencies: each floor contains over 8,000 square feet of space. The building has undergone extensive remodeling as an apartment complex, eliminating many of its original features, though retaining an echo of Bennett’s curtain wall. 

The building is on the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory as part of DAHP’s “Nifty from the Last Fifty” project.

Additional resources:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory

mid-Century Modern Tour Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Capitol Lake Restrooms and Bath House

Location:  Water Street and Legion Way
mid-Century modern; Diversity: gay and lesbian history

restroomsCapitol Lake Restrooms, undated, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation collection OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACapitol Lake restrooms today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

In late 1960, a civic group was formed named the Committee for the 60s, to study and recommend possible capital improvement projects for Olympia. Among the projects approved and funded was this bath house and restroom facility on the shores of Capitol Lake. The lake was at that time less than ten years old and was a popular swimming spot. The architect, George Ekval, reportedly created this mid-Century modern design, with its striking sawtooth roof, free of charge. The bath house portion of the facility is no longer used.

The building was a focus of a police campaign against gays in the 1970s and early 1980s, culminating in the arrest, in 1980, of a state legislator, director of a social service organization, and the president of Olympia Brewing Company.

The building is on the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory as part of DAHP’s “Nifty from the Last Fifty” project.

Additional resources:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory

mid-Century Modern Tour Guide

Olympia’s Gay and Lesbian History Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Capitol Park (or Capital Park) (“1063”) building site (demolished)

Location: 1063 Capitol Way S
Women’s history, Popular culture

1063 BuildingCapitol Park (1063) Building, 1951, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACapitol Park (1063) building in 2014, photo by Deb Ross

This large structure was originally called the Capitol Park (also spelled Capital Park) building but was generally referred to as the “1063” building for its address at 1063 Capitol Way. It was completed in 1930 by the Dawley Brothers, who were responsible for many of downtown’s commercial buildings (see the nearby Dawley Building and the Golden Gavel Motel. See also the Dawleys’ homes, both on the local register: Hart-Dawley House and L.E. Dawley House). The building was designed in the art moderne style. On the ground floor it housed stores, a bakery, a photographer’s studio, and food stalls. The central entryway on Capitol opened into a ballroom and bowling alley (see the Bowling sign at the top of the entryway in the photograph on the left). On the second floor were lobbyists, studios, and several law offices, including that of early female attorney Julia Waldrip Ker.

The building was demolished in 2015.

Thank you to Shanna Stevenson for additional information about the building. 

More information:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

Women’s History in Olympia National Register

Women’s History Walking Tour

WSHS, photo of Hill Haus at this site (not scanned), WSHS enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1986.43.63.4.19.1

 

 

 

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Capitol Terrace (Capitol Center) Apartments

Location: 1517 Capitol Way S
mid-Century modern

capitolterrace_1951Capitol Terrace Apartments, 1951, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archivescapitol terraceCapitol Terrace Apartments today (2015), photo by Deborah Ross

Architectural historian Michael Houser notes that the Capitol Terrace Apartments on Capitol Way south of the campus are a relatively rare example of the International style, developed in the 1920s by architects such as le Corbusier and Gropius. The apartments were built in 1949, just before the expansion of Capitol Campus to the east side of Capitol Way and helped to meet the growing demand for housing in post-World War II Olympia.

More information:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory 

mid-Century Modern Tour Guide

 

 

 

 

 

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Capitol Theater and office annex

Location: 204 5th Ave SE
Downtown National Historic District; Wohleb

AR-S411-5thave-1942-jeffers5th Avenue looking west, with Capitol Theater, 1942, Vibert Jeffers, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Capitol Theater today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Capitol Theater is one of Olympia’s most treasured and iconic buildings. It was erected in 1924 with a design by Joseph Wohleb. Beginning in the early 20th century, the Zabel family built a succession of theaters downtown, including the Ray, the Rex, the Lyric, and the Strand. These theaters had live entertainment, moving pictures, and slide shows. The Capitol Theater was the crowning achievement of the Zabels. Its facade includes ornate terra cotta decorations, stained glass windows depicting each of the five muses, and marble flooring.  Anticipating some of today’s theater design features, Zabel installed special seating for parents of small children, assisted-hearing devices, and even an extra-wide seat to accommodate a larger patron.

Over the years, the building has suffered damage, alterations, and deterioration. A 1937 fire caused extensive interior damage. In the 1940s the rectangular marquee seen in the 1942 Jeffers image at above left was added. The 2001 earthquake damaged the ceiling plaster. In 2008, the 1940 marquee was removed and a new vertical sign similar to the original was installed, opening up the entire facade to public view. The theater is still in the process of being lovingly restored by the Olympia Film Society, which now owns the building. The building is in the Downtown National Historic District and listed as Historic Contributing. 

The annex to the west is considered part of the same complex; while not as elaborate as the theater building, it has many elegant and historic features. The building extends down Washington Street with several storefronts. For many years, John Clemons had a tailoring business under the name John the Tailor (see also Clemons House)

According to historian Bernice Sapp, this was also the location of an early Odd Fellows Lodge, where teacher Mary O’Neill also held classes. However, the official history of the Olympia lodges makes no mention of this. A photograph from Robert Esterly’s 1914 series of Olympia’s businesses shows this as the location of the Otis & Brown Insurance Company and Emma McNair’s Millinery shop.

Thank you to Gail Hemmann for additional information about the theater’s history.

Links:

Washington State Historical Society photograph of John the Tailor, enter the following catalog number in collection search box  C1981.29X.2; 2010.149.21.1 (Otis & Brown, McNair Millinery)

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

Cinema Treasures

ThurstonTalk article about Capitol Theater, accessed April 11, 2014

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago

 

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Carlson House

Location: 1015 Olympia Ave NE
Local register, Olympia Avenue Local Historic District

No vintage photograph of this house has been located. If you have one to share, please contact us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Carlson House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Carlson House was built around 1937 by Henry and Edna Carlson. Carlson worked at Olympia Veneer, as did many others in this neighborhood. The house is next door to the Agnew Duplex and the Agnews later owned this home. The home is in the Tudor style, which was popular at the time, and made use of plywood, reflecting the increasing importance and availability of this as building material in Olympia, particularly for those who worked in the plywood industry. The home is well preserved and on the local register, as well as the Olympia Avenue Historic District. 

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Avenue Historic District

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Carlton/Columbia Hotel site

Location: 114 Columbia St NW
Downtown National Historic District

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

Olyblog article, search for Carlton Hotel

1879 Bird’s Eye View

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

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

 

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Carlyon, Philip H. and Edna House (UPI building)

Location: 201 14th Ave SW
Wohleb

carlyon_1939Carlyon House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Carlyon House
Carlyon House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The Carlyon House, or the UPI building, as it is commonly known among legislators, the press, and lobbyists, was erected by Philip H. Carlyon and Edna Rogers Carlyon in about 1921. It was designed by architect Joseph Wohleb, demonstrating once more his versatility and adaptability to contemporary styles. It is a classic Craftsman style home with wide porch, expose roof beams, and gabling. 

The name Carlyon is familiar to most local history lovers. Philip Carlyon was a dentist and tireless promoter of Olympia’s growth and development. He was on the City Council, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and served in the legislature (where the proximity of his home would have come in handy once the Legislative building was completed in 1926). Perhaps most importantly, Carlyon spearheaded the so-called Carlyon Fill, which dredged Budd Inlet and added 20 blocks to the city’s core. Edna Carlyon was the daughter of prominent photographer A.D. Rogers, who lived nearby on Maple Park.

The building is currently occupied by various news organizations who cover legislative matters from here. 

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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

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Centennial Park/Evans Centennial Tree/Rossell O’Brien House site

Location: 201 Union Ave SE
Heritage Tree

obrien

O’Brien home in the background, 1949, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACentennial Park today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Rossell O’Brien, an Irish immigrant, fought in the Civil War, and arrived in Olympia in 1870, appointed as revenue collector under Governor Salomon. He married Fanny Steele, daughter of Alden Hatch Steele, and the couple built a home at this site kitty corner to the Steele House. In 1890, O’Brien initiated the custom of standing for the Star Spangled Banner. The custom caught on and is now practiced everywhere. The 1940 photograph of the house at this site shows it to be a large and elegant 2 1/2 story structure. According to historian Bernice Sapp, it was still still standing in 1950, along with a smaller house on the property. Helen Aetzel, O’Brien’s daughter, and then Helen’s daughter, Virginia Aetzel Schmidt, inherited the house, so that it was owned by the same family for three generations. A fourth generation child, Nick Schmidt, was born in the home, according to a memoir by “Bink” Schmidt.

Some time around statehood in 1889, a coast redwood tree was planted here. By the state’s centennial, in 1989, it was fully mature, and was dedicated the Daniel J. Evans Centennial Tree in honor of former governor Daniel J. Evans, to recognize his efforts on behalf of environmental protection. In the photograph at above right, the tree can be seen in the background. The small park here is also named Centennial park. Remnants of the O’Brien home, the other house on the property, and the wall surrounding the lot can be seen at the site.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society, photograph of O’Brien/Aetzel House, enter the following catalog number in collection search box  C1964.26.4.11.4

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

Article on Daniel Evans Tree

For more information on Rossell O’Brien, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Century 21 “welcoming pole”

Location: 211 21st St SW
mid-Century modern; South Capitol National Historic District; Popular Culture

 Welcoming pole installed at State Capital Museum 1963, Daily Olympian photo courtesy Washington State Historical Societycentury 21 poleCentury 21 pole today (2015), photo by Deborah Ross

The 1962 Century 21 World’s Fair in Seattle was a major event Puget Sound, garnering attention, press, outreach, and competition for tourist dollars in the Olympia area as well. One year after the exposition closed, the Cascade Pole Company created a replica of one of the space age “welcoming poles” that greeted visitors to the south entrance of the fair. The pole was designed by noted architect Fred Bassetti. This pole stood outside the State Capital Museum until 1990, when it was taken down. It now sits in gradual decay and in three parts behind a storage shed on the museum grounds. The pole is inventoried but not on the local register. It is within the boundaries of the South Capitol National Historic District. The DAHP inventory sheet linked below has photographs both of the original poles in Seattle and of this pole when it was in place in Olympia.

More information:

Heritage Inventory

mid-Century Modern Context Statement, p. 55

 

 

 

 

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Chambers, Andsworth/Flo and Doane Brodie House

Location: 1821 Water St SW
South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood, Women’s History

 Chambersbrodie_1939Andsworth Chambers/Flo Brodie House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAndsworth Chambers/Flo Brodie House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Although modest in size, this home in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood is associated with two prominent Olympia citizens.

Andsworth (or Answorth) Chambers was the son of very early pioneer David and Elizabeth Harrison Chambers. Working on the family farm in Lacey (now the location of Panorama retirement community), he decided on butchering as a career. He built up the business to the point where he was shipping processed meat all over Washington Territory, specializing in logging camps. The Chambers and Swanton meat market was located at the current site of the Security Building downtown. Chambers later became involved in politics, serving as mayor for three terms and as state legislator. He was involved in many local businesses, and in 1887 built the Chambers Block, one of the oldest surviving structures in downtown Olympia.

The house at 1821 Water Street, built around 1910, is connected with the Andsworth Chambers family, and is consistently listed as a dwelling in city directories and Sanborn maps; although tenants may have included family members while Andsworth and his wife Mary lived nearby. Although the Thurston County inventory sheet states that the building was used as the office of Chambers Packing, this can’t be confirmed through existing documents or contemporary Sanborn maps.

In mid-twentieth century, Flo Brodie and her husband Doane, an attorney, moved to Olympia. They lived in this home, where Flo befriended neighbor Margaret McKenny. With others, Brodie and McKenny were responsible for helping to preserve the Nisqually Delta from development. Brodie was active in historic, artistic, and environmental causes, and was named Environmentalist of the Year in 1975.

The home is not on the local register, but is located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Women’s History Walking Tour, Flo Brodie House

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

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

 

 

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Chambers Block/Town well site

Location: 110 N Capitol Way
Local Register, Downtown National Historical  District, Wohleb; Diversity: Native Americans, Gay and Lesbian History

chambers block thenChambers Block around 1891, Drawing by Edward Lange from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891, Washington  State Librarychambers blockChambers Block today (2012), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross

The Chambers Block was and still is one of the most important downtown structures, built in 1887 by Mayor A.H. Chambers, a member of the pioneer Chambers family (see Andsworth Chambers House). As evident in the lefthand image, it originally had elaborate projecting bays and a parapet. Joseph Wohleb was responsible for a remodel that added several of the features characteristics of Wohleb buildings. The building was badly damaged in the 1949 earthquake. The original bays were removed, and new bays added several years later.

According to historians Bernice Sapp and George Blankenship, this was the location of the original town well, used by Native Americans before European arrival, and by Native Americans and Europeans alike thereafter.

Beginning in 1978, this was the home of The Book Store, focusing on women, women’s issues, and lesbian literature.

For further information and links, see the following:

Digital Archives photograph

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown Historic District

Olympia Downtown Walking Tour

Washington State Historical Society Photos enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1996.6.9 (earthquake damage); C1964.26.4.12.5; 2010.149.37.2 (around 1914); C2017.0.33

Private postcard collection

Olympia Gay and Lesbian History Tour

Chambers family, see Residents section of this website

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago

 

 

 

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Chambers, Joseph and Marion House

Location: 2519 Fire Ct SE
Local register

No vintage photograph has been located; if you have one to share, please contact usOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoseph and Marion Chambers house today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Until well into the 20th century, the Boulevard Road section of east Olympia was rural, consisting of modest homes, many with fruit and nut orchards (see also Piety Hill listing). The home shown here was built by Joseph Bert and Marion Chambers in about 1915. (Chambers, listed as a farmer in census data, does not appear to be related to the Chambers family from Lacey or A.H. Chambers, mayor of Olympia.) Although described in the inventory as a Craftsman style, it has many elements of the Foursquare style that would have predominated at that time. It was constructed out of the hazelnut and holly trees in the area; many of these trees’ descendants are still in existence. The home is on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Chandler House

Location: 2053 East Bay Drive NE
Local register

chandler_1939Chandler House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChandler House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Chandler House is situated on the east shore of Budd Inlet, just south of Priest Point Park. It was built around 1920 by Elbert Chandler, an engineer who was responsible for many of the  irrigation projects that transformed Eastern Washington into an important agricultural center in the 1920s and 1930s. The home is in the  Dutch Colonial style popular in that era, and is well  maintained. The home is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Chandler/Brown House

Location: 2415 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

739_1936Chandler-Brown House, 1936, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Chandler-Brown HouseChandler-Brown House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

This attractive Spanish revival style home was built in 1930 by the Chandler family. For several years it was owned by teacher Leland Brown, for whom the L.P. Brown school is named. The home is on the local register, and is in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

 

 

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Chaplin House

Location: 425 Rogers St. NW
Local Register

chaplin house 1939Chaplin House in 1939, photo from  Thurston County Assessor, Washington  State ArchivesChaplin House

Chaplin House today (2010) photograph by Deb Ross 

The Chaplin House at 425 Rogers Street was occupied for many years by Emery Chaplin, son of JR Chaplin, who was a Congregational minister turned real estate developer. JR Chaplin first intended to found Congregational University on the West Side and acquired several lots from Samuel  Woodruff with the idea of bringing families to Olympia to settle, teach at and attend the University. The enterprise never materialized, although Chaplin operated a school in Olympia for a time in the Olympia Collegiate Institute building. See also the listing for the McClelland house nearby, which was part of Chaplin’s original plan. This home is one of the several fine Queen Anne style homes and was built in the early 1890s. It is on the local register.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1964.26.4.22.4

For additional information on the Chaplin family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Charlie’s Tavern

Location: 620 4th Ave E
Popular culture

charlies_1965Charlie’s Restaurant, 1954,  Thurston County Assessor, S0uthwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Charlie’s Tavern today (2015) photograph by
Deb Ross 

Depending on how you calculate it, several downtown taverns can claim to be the oldest in the city. One of them is Charlie’s Tavern, at 640 Fourth Avenue East (the Spar and the Brotherhood Tavern, in the Woodruff Building, can also lay claim to this honor). Fourth Avenue has been lined with restaurants and taverns since very earliest days. William J. Yeager, a man of many trades, including photographer and drayman, operated a tavern somewhere along Fourth Avenue from the 1850s. According to the Olympia Heritage inventory for the building, a member of the Yeager family erected this building at the corner of 4th and Chestnut in 1912. At the time, it was on the east side of the Fourth Avenue bridge to Swantown, overlooking the Swantown Slough (see Sanborn overlay for 1908). Soon afterwards, in 1916, Prohibition put an end to legitimate tavern businesses. In 1924, the Sanborn map series shows the building as a grocery store. Charles Goldberg, a restaurant operator from Seattle, moved here with his wife and family and opened the Charles Goldberg Restaurant in this building in 1931, just before the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Since then the building has been in continuous operation as a restaurant or tavern. It has also always been named after Goldberg, although it has had different owners. The building itself has gone through extensive modifications over the years.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

O’Connell, History of Thurston County Bars and Taverns, at Thurstontalk.com, accessed February 2015

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China Clipper (Clipper Club Cafe)/Haskins and Peele/Williston Notions Shops site

Location: 406 4th Ave E
Transportation; Diversity: Chinese; Popular culture

haskins and peeleHaskins and Peele Shoe Shop about 1914, Esterly photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Societychina clipperChina Clipper Club Cafe today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

Fourth Avenue as it worked its way east towards the Swantown Bridge was an important commercial section of town, with stores and buildings coming and going over the years. The photograph at above left shows the Haskins and Peele Shoe shop located here in 1914. It was also the location of the C.A. Williston Notions store, linked below. Both of these photographs were taken by Robert Esterly as part of his series of photographs showing commercial and industrial operations and their owners.

Thurston County assessor’s data show that the current building at this location, the China Clipper Club Cafe, was erected in 1951. In 1959, a runaway Union Pacific train failed to be stopped at the Union Pacific depot across the street, and ran into the cafe and adjacent buildings, killing one and seriously injuring 20 others and causing thousands of dollars of damage.

The cafe has a history of serving Asian cuisine and its owners and employees of Chinese descent, although in more recent years its offerings have been more eclectic. A 1963 article in the Daily Olympian featured owner CY Wong after the cafe had been burglarized. The exterior of the building features vintage neon signs as well as murals by local sign painter Ira Coyne. 

Links to more information:

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 2010.149.42.1 (C.A. Williston Store); C1961.498.7; C1986.43.63.1.2.4.1 (Burglary in 1963)

Historylink article on train wreck

Now Where Were We? episode short video about the train wreck, and customers at the Clipper at the time. 

 

 

 

 

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Chinatown

Location: 123 5th Ave SW
Diversity: Chinese Heritage ; Downtown National Historic District

Hong YekChinatown around 1902, photograph from National  Archives, Pacific Alaska RegionHong Yek NowLocation today (2003), Photo by Ed Echtle

Although the Chinese population of Olympia was spread throughout the city, the group of buildings known as “Chinatown” was a focal point for the commercial, recreational, and financial activities of this population. Always marginalized, these businesses moved twice as the commercial development of Olympia spread west.  This block, on Columbia between 5th Avenue and Legion, was its second location. Historian Ed Echtle notes:

Five two-story wood frame buildings, housing the Hong Yek Kee Company, the Quong Yuen Sang Company and the Hong Hai Company were built on piles over tide flats [as Columbia was then waterfront.] … The Chinese store was key to early Chinese community.  It served as a multi-purpose facility, providing many services to resident Chinese.  Inside, Chinese laborers found lodging, cooked their meals, sent and received mail, purchased supplies and socialized.

The Hong Yek Kee Company also served as a bank for the Chinese community, with owner Sam Fun Locke financing the development of Chinese-run businesses as far away as Hoquiam.

In 1913 these businesses moved again, to Water Street (the new waterfront after fill operations), and then finally razed in 1943.

The building currently at this location was built by Sam Locke, known as the “Mayor of Chinatown.” It was originally known as the Shanghai Cafe, and while ownership and names have changed over the years, two of the three businesses in this building are Asian restaurants. The building is located in the Downtown National Historic District.

Further information:

Olympia’s Historic Chinese Community – Chinatown, by Ed Echtle for the Olympia Historical Society

Downtown National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christensen House

Location: 2020 Water St SW
Local register, South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

christensen_1939Christensen House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor,  Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Christensen House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This house was built for attorney Frank Christensen in about 1920. A distinguished Craftsman-style home, it features a “rolled roofline,” which is unusual for Olympia, although it is more common elsewhere for homes built in this area. The roofline is intended to mimic the thatched roofs of England, and therefore the home earns the distinction of being called, in part, “English Revival.” According to the inventory report, the home was featured in a promotional brochure for Olympia as “one of the better residences in the city.” It may have had a good view to the Deschutes Estuary, although by the 21st century the slope leading to the estuary/Capitol Lake is forested.

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

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

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Christensen Radio/Avalon Annex

Location: 108 Franklin St. NW
Register; Popular Culture

Avalon Annex building, 1964, Southwest Regional ArchivesChristensen Radio/Avalon Annex Building today (2017), photo by Deborah Ross

The Avalon Annex was added in 1949 to the Avalon Theater and Avalon Office complex, extending along Franklin Street. It housed a number of commercial establishments, including Christensen Radio and Fox’s clothing store. It was the first home of the Hands on Children’s museum in the 1990s, and currently (2017) houses a pizza parlor. On the north side of the building is a large mural. The building has recently (2016) been added to the Olympia Heritage register. 

More information:

 

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

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Christian Science Church/Temple Beth Hatfiloh/site of Rosenthal Home

Location: 201 8th Ave SE
Religious institutions; Diversity: Jewish heritage

Christian Science church, 1961, courtesy Washington State Historical SocietyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATemple Beth Hatfiloh (Christian Science building) today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

A group of Christian Science students began to meet in Olympia early in the 20th century. According to historian Bernice Sapp, they met in the Sparks home on Adams Street between Ninth and Tenth for a time; the inventory report also notes the Olympia Hotel as a temporary meeting place. In 1917, the group  was recognized as a branch of the Mother Church, and bought the Gustav Rosenthal home that was on this site. Rosenthal was an early merchant and oysterman. See McKenny Block, Turner Block, and Star Laundry Building for other sites associated with Mr. Rosenthal.

The congregation began by remodeling the Rosenthal home into a church, Sunday school, and reading room. Then, the current imposing Greek Revival Building was erected between 1925 and 1947 by the First Church of Christ Science. It served as the home of that congregation until 2004. Then, as another round-and-round-we-go example of “musical pews” in Olympia, it was sold to Temple Beth Hatfiloh, which moved here from its former location on Adams Street, a stone’s throw from the Christian Science congregation’s first meeting place, and perhaps an even more fitting new site, given Gustav Rosenthal’s Jewish heritage. (For more background on the “musical pews” phenomenon, see the listing for the nearby Gloria Dei congregation). The Christian Science congregation is now located on Evergreen Park Drive in West Olympia.

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

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photograph from 1961, enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: C1986.43.61.1.26.1.3

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago

Article: Temple Beth-Hatfiloh is 75!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Church of the Brethren

Location: 2129 4th Ave E
Religious institutions

brethren1911Church of the Brethren congregation, in front of their original building at this location, in about 1911, used by permission
???????????????????????????????Church of the Brethren building today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The Christian denomination Church of the Brethren, sometimes referred to as the Dunker Church, was founded in Germany in 1708. The Olympia congregation of Brethren was formed in about 1897, under the lay leadership of the Boone family, who arrived here from Virginia. Regular services and sermons began in 1906 under the leadership of J.S. Secrist, whose descendants still serve churches in Olympia five generations later. The congregation acquired this property a year later, first erecting a small wooden building, shown at above left. The current building at this location dates from 1913 and served the congregation until 1956, when they moved to Lacey, where the congregation is now called the Lacey Community Church. The Brethren denomination is known for community service, a simple lifestyle, and pacifism.

Thank you to Dennis Roth for additional information. For more information and photographs, you may contact Dennis at orwahist [at sign] aol.com

Additional resources:

Congregation history

Olympia Heritage inventory

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City Hall Building-Plum Street

Location: 900 Plum St SE
mid-Century modern; Wohleb; Diversity: African-Americans; Women’s History

city hall plumPlan for City Hall ca. 1966, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACity Hall-Plum Street Building (Creighton Justice Center) today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The City Hall Building on Plum Street was the third purpose-built city hall for Olympia, after the Columbia Hall, and the City Hall on State and Capitol Way. It was designed by noted local architect Robert Wohleb and completed in 1966 shortly before his tragic death in a boating accident. The building received nationwide attention for its architectural innovation and good design.

The building is associated with both women’s and African-American history in Olympia. In 1988, Cora Pinson was elected to City Council, the first African-American woman to be elected to such a position in Washington State. Pinson was active in many community groups and government agencies and helped to bring the history of African Americans in our community to proper prominence.

In 2011, the new City Hall on Fourth Avenue was completed. This building is now used as a courthouse and associated services and programs, and was renamed the Lee Creighton Justice Center, named after a former city prosecutor and municipal judge.

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory

City of Olympia mid-Century modern tour guide

 

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Clark House

Location: 147 Rogers St NW

clarkhouse_1970Clark House, 1970, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Clark House today (2015), photo by Deborah Ross

The Clark House is a large Craftsman style home at the corner of Rogers Street and Harrison Avenue. It was built in about 1920 for Robert Stillman Clark. Although the home has experienced many changes, its original gracious symmetrical appearance, wide porch, and bracketed eaves remain.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Clark, John House

Location: 2932 Orange St. SE
Wohleb

clark 1941John Clark House 1941, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesClark HouseJohn Clark House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The John Clark House is one of several concrete brick homes built around 1940 in the neighborhood of Eskridge and  Orange Streets, in the Stratford Place plat that was developed by Frederick Schmidt and his partners (see the Frederick Schmidt House, the Frank Schmidt House, the Fox House, and the Robert Wohleb Cottage). The design for this and other homes in the plat were by Joseph Wohleb; however, 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.

The home is inventoried but not on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Clark, Thomas House

Location: 1126 Olympia Ave NE
Local register, Olympia Avenue Local Historic District

clark_1970Thomas Clark House 1970, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Thomas Clark House today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

The Thomas Clark House was built at the corner of Olympia Avenue and Puget Street in 1900. It is an excellent example of the fairly spare Pioneer style that also took advantage of new techniques in wood turning that allowed the addition of decorative shingling, turned wood columns with cornice panels. Thomas Clark was already elderly when he built this home, and his daughter and son-in-law shared the home with him. In 1940 a substantial addition was built to the rear of the home. It is on the local register, as well as located in the Olympia Avenue Local Historic District.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Avenue Historic District

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Clemons House

Location: 418 18th Ave SE
Local register, South Capitol National Historic District

clemons_1939Clemons House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Clemons House today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

This small bungalow with a somewhat unusual hipped roof was built for John and Della Clemons in 1919. Originally from Germany, John Clemons had a business in the Capitol Theater Annex called “John the Tailor.” The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

For more information, and a photograph of John Clemons at his shop, see the Residents section of this website.

 

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Cloverfields

Location: 1100 Carlyon Ave SE
National, State, and local registers; Wohleb

cloverfield detailCloverfields, ca. 1930s, Olympia School District No. 111 Records, Southwest Regional Archives (detail)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACloverfields today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

Hazard Stevens, son of first territorial governor Isaac I. Stevens, is an important personage in Olympia’s history. Arriving here with his father at age 13, he was a witness to the Medicine Creek Treaty, and a lifelong staunch supporter of his father’s controversial service as governor. He accompanied his father back east to Civil War duty, and was wounded in the same battle that killed his father. After the war, Hazard, his mother, and his sisters returned to Olympia, where he began his involvement in the early industrial and transportation ventures that contributed to Olympia’s prominence in territorial and, later, state affairs. He also was in the party that made one of the first ascents of Mount Rainier. In 1875 he returned to Boston where he practiced law and was involved politically for many years. However, he remained interested in Olympia affairs, including the presidency of Olympia Light and Power, which brought electricity to Olympia by way of a power plant on the Deschutes River, as well as to the trolley system that was powered by and owned by the electric company. (Stevens also built a pen around Tumwater Falls and installed a herd of elk, which became a popular tourist attraction.)

In 1914, at age 70, Stevens returned to Olympia. 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. Around that same year, Stevens gave architect Joseph Wohleb one of his first architectural commissions to design his home at the farm, now known as Cloverfields. Although Wohleb had already begun developing his signature Mission style with the design of the Jeffers Building, Cloverfields’s Dutch Colonial style was designed to be in harmony with the bucolic nature of the farm, as well as being reminiscent of the Stevens family’s New England roots. Stevens incorporated electricity in the dairy operations as well as throughout his home, providing a model for local citizens on the various possible uses of electricity. The home had a spacious back porch that overlooked Hazard Lake, which is still visible from Carlyon Street behind Cloverfields. Hazard died only 4 years later.

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. Although they were unsuccessful in this attempt, Cloverfields’s historic importance is recognized by being on the National, State, and local registers. The overall estate has suffered from building garages on the south side of the house, and the cutting of Carlyon Avenue through the middle of the original farm, the house itself still looks very similar to its original appearance. The large bend in Carlyon Avenue at Cloverfields is a nod to the importance of this home.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Cloverfields Property Report DAHP

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

 

 

 

 

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Cobain, Kurt Apartment

Location: 114 Pear St NE
Popular culture

cobainKurt Cobain at 114 Pear Street about 1989???????????????????????????????114 Pear St NE today (2015) photograph by Deborah Ross

The unassuming house at 114 Pear St NE was erected around 1914 and is a triplex, with two apartments on the street and a small third apartment in the rear. Musician Kurt Cobain lived in this house between 1989 and 1991 and, according to sources, wrote about 75% of his total lifetime output here. The house has become a Mecca for Nirvana, Cobain, and grunge fans, although it is not inventoried or marked in any way. Nirvana’s first hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” was inspired by graffiti written on the wall of this apartment by Bikini Kill artist Kathleen Hanna.

Additional links:

Youtube video, tour of Kurt Cobain’s apartment

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Columbia Building/Site of Columbia Hall

Location: 210 4th Ave E
National Downtown Historic District, Popular Culture; Diversity: African-Americans

Columbia Hall 1902, Washington State Historical SocietyColumbia Building

Columbia Building today (2012) photograph by Deborah Ross

The Columbia Hall was built on 4th Avenue near the center of downtown Olympia in 1869. It served a myriad of functions: fire station on the ground floor, city offices above, entertainment hall (it hosted the state’s first inaugural ball in 1889), police headquarters, courthouse, and theater. The building was a near-replica of the Territorial Capitol, and its prominent cupola serves as a location finding aid for historians in many early downtown photographs.

In 1883 the Columbia Engine Company No. 1, one of Olympia’s volunteer firefighting organizations, elected thirteen year old Jesse Mars as a member of the department. Jesse, the son of restauranteur James Mars (see Our House Restaurant)  is the earliest known African-American to serve as a firefighter in Olympia. He died of an illness at age 21.

After the City Hall building at the corner of State and Capitol was built in 1912, the building was acquired by businessman P.M. Troy (see Troy House) and leased out for stores and offices to several organizations and businesses, including the Eagles on the second floor, a candy store, and the J.L. Reed Shoe Shop.

In June 1914 the hall burned down, and soon after, the Columbia Building was erected by P.M. Troy and Fred Stocking. Its name bears tribute to the hall that formerly stood on the site. The building features an ornate terra cotta face and recessed central doors. For many years, the first floor has housed a popular local eatery and bar. The building is in the National Downtown Historical District and is recognized as bearing an important part in the district, although it is not individually on the local register.

Additional links:

Digital Archives Columbia building; (above left); Digital archives  showing the Columbia Fire Brigade outside the building

Olympia Heritage inventory (Columbia Building)

Washington State Historical Society,enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: C1943.1003.10 (showing building with Police Headquarters sign); 1943.42.1400;  2010.149.1.1 (J.L. Reed Shoe Shop in 1914)

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia (marked #12, Town Hall)

National Downtown Olympia Historic District

Listing for Washington State Library archival collection of programs from the Columbia Hall

Thurston County Courthouses Story Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Columbia Manor Apartments/site of John Gowey house/Site of Tilton House

Location: 1009 Columbia St SW
Women’s history; Diversity: African-Americans

gowey houseGowey house around 1891, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyColumbia Manor

Columbia Manor Apartments today (2012) photograph by
Deb Ross 

The history of the home known as the Tilton House is not completely clear. According to historian Georgiana Blankenship’s account, James Tilton, the first Surveyor General of Washington Territory, built this house on 10th and Columbia in the 1850s. It may have been here that a young boy, Charles Mitchell, was brought either as a servant or a slave. Mitchell’s escape from the Tilton home aboard the Eliza Anderson and to the freedom of British Columbia sparked an international incident. The house was located across from the Catholic Church and can be seen in the 1879 Bird’s Eye view linked below, as well as the photograph linked below.

Lynn Erickson, producer of the Sylvester’s Window series, believes that Tilton first lived downtown and only later moved to the 10th and Columbia site. This account would be consistent with an architectural survey that claims the 10th and Columbia house was built about 1865  and later bought by Elwood Evans. It was inventoried by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1954, where it was called the Elwood Evans house. (See also Olympia Federal Savings building, site of Elwood Evans’s first Olympia home). 

Just to the south of the Tilton House is the former site of the John Gowey home. Until the present Governor’s Mansion was built in 1909, territorial and state governors were often obliged to lease their homes from prominent Olympia citizens. This accounts for the large number of homes termed “Governor’s Mansion” in the historical records. One such home was John Gowey’s. This elegant Foursquare style home was built for John Gowey and his second wife, who was one of the original “Mercer girls.” Gowey was an important Olympia citizen, serving in a number of local and territorial or state capacities. Eventually he was named consul general to Yokohama, Japan, where he died. The Gowey home was at various times occupied by Governors Elisha Ferry and  John R. Rogers, the third governor of Washington State, and was thereafter termed the Gowey-Rogers mansion, or the Gowey-Ferry mansion.

It is not currently known when these homes were demolished. The apartment complex, Columbia Manor Apartments, that currently occupies a spot near the site was built in 1939. It has not been inventoried.

Additional links:

Washington State Historical Society photograph (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): Gowey Home: C1950.3.47; C1964.26.4.10.5; Tilton Home 2010.0.342

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia

Georgiana Blankenship, Old Olympia Landmarks

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

Article on Charles Mitchell episode

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Congregational Manse (Anderson House)

Location: 110 10th Ave SW
Religious organizations; Local register

Congregational Manse, 1954, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State ArchivesCongregational Manse now (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Although unpretentious in style, the Congregational Manse (sometimes referred to as the Anderson House) on 10th Avenue is significant for its connection with an early church of Olympia, First Congregational, which was next door on Main Street (Capitol Way). It is one of the oldest residential structures in this part of Olympia. The heritage inventory and assessor’s data shows the building dating to 1891, but a photograph of the church dated around 1886 shows the manse next door. The 1888 Sanborn map also shows a dwelling very similar in size and shape to the current building. It is on the local register.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: C2016.0.8 (View of manse next door to church)

 

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Cook, Dr. Lucie site/Olympia Electric

Location: 314 Franklin St NE
Women’s History

lucie cookDr. Lucie Cook’s residence and practice around 1914, Robert Esterly photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyOlympia Electric building

Olympia Electric building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

 

The series of photographs of Olympia’s business establishments, taken by photographer Robert Esterly in 1914, offers a wonderful snapshot of Olympia life of that time. The photograph at above left shows the home and medical office of Dr. Lucie Cook. Dr. Cook, nee Hemenway, became licensed to practice medicine in the midwest just before the turn of the century. She married Willis Cook in 1900 and they began a peripatetic life, moving every 5 or 10 years. Dr. Cook arrived here from Sequim in 1910, and practiced in Olympia until about 1920, when she moved to the McLane area, and then on to California. Her husband Willis listed his profession variously as fruit purchaser and salmon fisherman.

The neighborhood where Dr. Cook established her practice and residence was not a good one. The area north of State Avenue was, at the time, the part of town where prostitution and gambling were legal, and it was also in transition to the mixed commercial and industrial use area brought in as a result of the 1911 Carlyon Fill. We do know that Dr.  Cook delivered babies, but the fact that she is apparently renting out part of her  home to supplement her income, and was not mentioned in a contemporary account of Olympia’s doctors, indicates that she operated in the margins of the profession, despite being a licensed physician.

By  mid-century, this part of Olympia was solidly commercial/industrial, anchored by the plywood mills at the north end of the peninsula. The Olympia Electric building has been here, operating under the same name, since 1948.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: 2010.149.5.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Counsil House

Location: 231 Central St NE
Wohleb

counsilCounsil House, 1970, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivescounsilCounsil House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

This unassuming home was built between 1927 and 1929 with a design by Olympia’s preeminent architect, Joseph Wohleb. Once again Wohleb demonstrates his breadth of abilities by taking a standard bungalow design and adding unusual features such as the stucco facade and oversized eaves and porch columns. Albert Counsil was a buttermaker at the Olympia Creamery, at a time when creameries were a relatively new phenomenon (for much of our city’s history, each residence kept its own cow to supply its dairy needs). The creamery was located at the corner of State Avenue and Water Street.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage Inventory (note: 1929 date in inventory may be in error as Counsils are listed here in 1927)

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Cowling Building

Location: 117 Washington St NE
Downtown National Historic District; popular culture

cowling 1964Cowling Building, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cowling Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This utilitarian building was erected in 1926 and, until the mid-60s was operated as a hotel on the second floor and a tavern or restaurant on the ground level. It originally was an addition to the Cowling Hotel which stood at the corner of State and Washington. The hotel is rumored to have been operated as a brothel at one time. Its appearance has also been enhanced by the restoration of Art Moderne features that harmonize with the adjacent Rockway-Leland Building.

In recent years the building has contributed to popular culture and art. In the mid-90s, the upstairs was an alternative music venue known as Arrowspace. The band The White Stripes played in addition to many other legendary bands. It was also home to the group that originated “Ladyfest” a music festival.

The original mural in the alley was a dedication to a popular local musician who died 
in the mid nineties. The more recent trompe l’oeil mural was created by Yelizaveta Bakhtin
an Evergreen Student from Russia and Lawrence Genette also a TESC student
at the time.

 

The building is in Olympia’s Downtown National Historic District, where it is listed as Historic Contributing.

Thank you to owner Tom Anderson for information about the history of the building.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

Link to image of beer token for Roy’s Place, which was at this location (accessed March 19, 2014)

 

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Crocker House

Location: 3116 Lorne St SE
Local register

Crocker_1939Crocker House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrocker House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This modest bungalow was built about 1920, in the early years of the development of the Carlyon Neighborhood. Fred Carlyon owned the property around the Carlyon Racetrack and the local ballfield and velodrome (now the site of the Sunset Insurance Building). With his partners, he began developing this area into residential units. The Crockers were the owners of the Crocker Rubber Company, which was located on Columbia St in downtown Olympia.

The home is on the local heritage register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Crocker Rubber building

Location: 113 Columbia St NW
Downtown National Historic District; popular culture

crockerrubber_1965Crocker Rubber Building 1965, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrocker Rubber Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This Mission revival style building at the western end of downtown Olympia was erected in 1918. It was originally the home of the Crocker Rubber Company (see Crocker House). It has been well maintained and currently the home of three businesses, including a performing arts space. The building is not on the local register, but is listed as “Historic Contributing” in the National Olympia Downtown Historic District listing.

National Olympia Downtown Historic District

 

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Crombie House

Location: 1512 Columbia St. SW
Local register; South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

Crombie-Allen_1532_1937Crombie House 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesCrombie House nowCrombie House today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

The Crombie House was built some time between 1907 and 1915 by Johanna and Jacob Lenherr, and later sold to the Crombie family. If the 1907 date is correct, the inventory sheet suggests that the house was probably moved from the current Capitol Campus to this nearby location in the South Capitol neighborhood. It is a large, Foursquare style house. It is on the local register. The Crombies owned the Crombie Drugstore in the Stuart Block at Legion and Capitol Way.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crow House

Location: 1610 Water St SW
South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

crow_1939Crow House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives???????????????????????????????Crow House today (2015) photo by Deb Ross

The Crow House was built around 1910 and is one of the finer examples of a Foursquare style home in the South Capitol National Historic District. It is inventoried but not on the local register. Herman Crow was a Supreme Court Justice and served as Chief Justice in 1913-1915, thus serving during the time of construction and completion of the nearby Temple of Justice.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cunningham House

Location: 311 19th St SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

cunningham house_1941Cunningham House, 1941, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACunninghan House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Cunningham House is an unusual and beautifully preserved example of an Art Moderne style home in the South Capitol neighborhood. G.B. Reishus was the architect for the home, which was built in 1940 for the Cunningham family. The Cunninghams owned the historic Cunningham’s store downtown. The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory (note the incorrect 1945 construction date: above photograph was taken in 1941 shortly after construction)

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cunningham’s Building/Site of First Methodist-4th Avenue

Location: 325 4th Ave E
Local register, Religious Institutions

cunninghamScott’s Grocery (Cunningham’s Building), 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyCunningham Building

Cunningham’s building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The building currently known as the Cunningham’s Building was erected in 1896 and is the oldest surviving “pioneer-style” commercial building in downtown Olympia. Old photographs of Olympia show many such wooden buildings with false fronts lining the central thoroughfares of Fourth and Fifth Avenues and Main Street (Capitol Way) (see, for example, Olympia Lumber and Mercantile site). This and the adjacent building on Adams Street are among the few remaining. In 1914 when the photograph at above left was taken by Robert Esterly as part of his series celebrating local businesses and their owners, the first floor was a grocery store, and the Commercial Hotel at the second floor. This was still the case when local historian Adah Dye took a photograph of the same building in the 1940s (link to description below). At some point, the Cunningham family bought the building, and it was operated as a furniture store until at least the mid-1980s (see also Cunningham House, home of Cunningham family). The building has recently been beautifully restored and is on the local register.

This was also the site of the first purpose-built First Methodist Church. A well-known story has it that newly arrived pastor John DeVore made an arrangement with Clanrick Crosby that he could have all the lumber that he could haul in one day. He carried out 30,000 feet of lumber, enough to build the church. The link to First Methodist below is a photograph of that original church. It is also marked as number 13 on the Bird’s Eye View map linked below.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photographs enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box:, 2010.149.24.1 ; C1964.26.4.12.1 (Cunningham Building); 2010.0.171 (First Methodist); C2013.18.89

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Curtiss House

Location: 903 Glass Ave NE
Local register; Women’s History

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

The Curtiss House on Glass Avenue, across the street from the Bigelow House, is described as a Victorian cottage, built around 1903. The owners have taken pains to preserve the charm of this small but pleasingly proportioned home. It was once the home of Carolyn Curtiss, who was a widowed dressmaker operating her business out of the home. By 1910,  however, she had moved on, boarding with a family on Chestnut Street, and the home was owned by the Hilyar family, for whom the house is sometimes named. The house is on the local historic register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Dairy Queen building/site of Washington Equal Suffrage Association

Location: 1050 Capitol Way S
Wohleb; mid-Century modern; Transportation; Women’s history

dairy queen_1965Dairy Queen building 1965, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADairy Queen Building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

It is difficult to imagine Capitol Way and Fourth Avenue more congested than they are today, but such was the case after 1926, when these city streets were designated part of US Route 99, the main north-south thoroughfare in the Western United States before the construction of Interstate 5. While this designation created transportation nightmares for cities, it also fostered the establishment and growth of commercial and industrial businesses that catered to a population on the move.

The Dairy Queen building at the corner of Capitol and Union was designed by preeminent architect Joseph Wohleb for owner Dean Mohler in 1949. Dairy Queen, the inventor of soft serve ice cream, also pioneered the franchise  model of business ownership and the fast food industry. The business here served both passers-through and local residents until well into the 1990s, when it was extensively remodeled into a business office. (For other businesses that capitalized on Route 99 in downtown Olympia, see the Interactive Map and search by “transportation” theme.)

This site was also the location of the Washington Equal Suffrage Association in 1909. From here members lobbied for female suffrage, including the production of the Washington Women’s Cookbook, which was widely distributed, including at the Alaska-Pacific-Yukon Exposition. The cookbook’s title page bore the inscription:

Give us the vote and we will cook
The better for a wide outlook. 

Women’s suffrage in Washington State passed on a referendum in 1910.

City of Olympia, mid-Century modern context statement, page 16

History Link article, Washington Equal Suffrage Association

City of Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour

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Davis’ Brown Derby

Location: 1003 Capitol Way S
Wohleb; Transportation

davis-brown-derbyMenu cover from Davis’ Brown Derby, private collection
davis brown derby
Davis’ Brown Derby Building today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The Davis’ Brown Derby restaurant opened on Capitol Way in 1935, by George and Martha Davis. The Davises moved here from Centralia, where they had operated another small restaurant. Architect Joseph Wohleb built out this structure in front of a bungalow in which the Davises resided. It is still in existence, visible through a small entryway between two sides of the building. The Davises and Wohleb no doubt took inspiration from the famous Brown Derby restaurant chain in Los Angeles, which launched the careers of several starlets and was featured in several movies and television shows. Like its more famous namesake, it is decorated with derbies above its mid-Century marquis.

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. Joseph Wohleb was responsible for the design of several of these buildings along Capitol Way, including the Brown Derby, the Dairy Queen Building, and the Weidner Auto court motel. But the Brown Derby was also very popular with locals, including Supreme Court justices, legislators, lobbyists, and governors over its 40 year existence. In 1980 the restaurant closed, but the current owner, who operates an antique store here, has maintained its period marquis and art moderne aesthetic.

 

City of Olympia, mid-Century modern context statement, page 16

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Dalquest-Gallagher House

Location: 2420  Capitol Way S
Local Register, South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

Dalquest House, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesDalquest House today (2021), photo by Deb Ross

This Craftsman style bungalow was built for John Dalquest, who worked for the Capital City Creamery. It was added to the local register in 2018 and is in the South Capital National Historic Neighborhood. 

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage Commission Statement of Significance

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dawley, L.E. House

Location: 119 22nd Ave SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

ledawley_1956)L.E. Dawley House, 1956, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAL.E. Dawley House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This beautifully maintained Spanish Colonial home was built in about 1929 by Leo E. Dawley, one of the two Dawley Brothers contractors who were responsible for many of the buildings downtown and elsewhere (see, e.g., the Dawley Building Hart-Dawley House). Mrs. Dawley, nee Elgia Witiwer, was a noted musician. The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dawley (120 Union) building and 1007 Washington Building

Location: 120 Union Ave SE and 1007 Washington St SE
mid-Century modern

dawley 1960sDawley (120 Union) Building, 1960s, Department of Archaeology and Historic PreservationOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADawley Building today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

Two side-by-side buildings are representative of the work of the Dawley Brothers, who were responsible for many of the early and mid-century commercial buildings downtown, as well as some residential construction including the L.E. Dawley House and Hart-Dawley House. The Dawley firm was unusual in having in-house architects. The building at 120 Union Avenue, built in 1956 and sometimes called the Dawley Building, is very similar to the Golden Gavel Motel by the same firm. It is included in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s “Nifty from the Last 50” project.

The building next door, the 1007 Washington Building , not pictured here, was erected in 1959. It still has its period aqua colored siding. It was built on spec by the Dawley Brothers and has housed a variety of offices, many Federal, over the years.

Both buildings were inventoried by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation under its “Nifty from the Last 50” project.

More information:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory sheets

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation mid-Century Walking Tour

Washington State Historical Society, Dawley Building under construction, unscanned negative,enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: C1986.43.56.9.4.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Deane Apartments

Location: 515 Adams St SE

deane_1964Deane Apartments, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Deane Apartments today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This handsome Mission-style apartment building was erected in 1935, and has changed very little since then. It is known for the palm trees that complement the tropical appearance of the building.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Looking back feature, construction worker at new building

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Department of Enterprises Services (GA)/First Site of St. Peter Hospital

Location: 210 11th Ave SW
Religious institutions; Women’s History; National Register (GA Building); mid-Century modern

 

st pete postcardSt. Peter Hospital, ca. 1890, private collectionGA BuildingDepartment of Enterprise Services (GA) building today (2013), Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

The original St. Peter Hospital, shown at left above, was located on a site opposite the current Department of Enterprise Services building shown at right above. A monument marks the location. 

With the expansion of the logging industry around Olympia in the late 1800s, it became increasingly important to have a hospital capable of serving not only Olympia’s citizens but the large number of loggers and others with serious injuries. In the 1880s, the Sisters of Providence agreed to build and operate a hospital, provided that the city would provide a site for it. A site was acquired on the bluff adjacent to the existing Providence Academy and near the Territorial Capitol , overlooking the city of Olympia. Ground was broken in 1887 under the supervision of the local pastor, Father Claessens, and renowned architect of other Sisters of Providence missions, Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart. In 1887, Sister Benedict Joseph took over the supervision of the hospital. Once successfully completed, the building expanded rapidly and doubled in size only two years later in 1889. Although open to all, it had a special mission to treat the many logging injuries that were occurring, and had a remarkable success rate in saving their lives.

With the growth of the city and increasing sophistication of the medical profession in the early 20th century, it became necessary to find a new home for the hospital. Ground was broken in 1923 for the new location on Sherman Street. This was about the same time as the Capitol Campus Group was in the process of being built, resulting in several buildings and homes being razed. 

In 1956, the General  Administration (now Department of Enterprise Services) building was erected directly across the street from the St. Peter site, one of the first to be built outside of the original Wilder and White group plan. It is considered one of the finest examples of the International Style in the state, and once contained a magnificent mural by glass artist Jean Cory Beall, now moved to an adjacent site. The building is on the National Register as an outstanding example of mid-Century modern architecture. However, it is considered endangered due to the efforts by some to raze it.

Additional resources:

Article, Shanna Stevenson: St. Peter Hospital: A Century of Caring

DAHP report, General Administration Building

Article, Allyson Brooks, Learning to Love the General Administration Building

City of Olympia mid-Century modern Context Statement

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, mid-Century modern walking tour

Docomomo “Endangered Properties” listing

Olympia Women’s Walking Tour

WSHS enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box:C2017.0.183

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dick Lewis Pontiac Cadillac Dealership (demolished)

Location: 1100 Plum St SE
Transportation; mid-Century modern

dick lewis 1964Dick Lewis Pontiac Cadillac, 1964, Tacoma Public Library Photograph collection???????????????????????????????Hulbert Auto Park in 2015, photo by Deb Ross

The Dick Lewis Pontiac Cadillac building was a bold departure from the largely utilitarian automobile dealerships that dotted the transportation corridors of Olympia and its surrounding landscape. Built in 1964, immediately after the opening of the I-5 Interchange at Plum Street, the A-frame spoke of modernity and aesthetic appeal, including a landscaped water feature that took advantage of the crossing of Moxlie Creek in the dealership’s front lot. In adapting the latest in architectural design to the practical limitations of an automobile business, the business took a page from another automobile dealership from a previous generation, the ornate 1923 Olympia Motors Building that was located along the original Route 99, now 4th Avenue. The architects were the city’s preeminent mid-Century firm of Bennett and Johnson, with landscape design  by Dave DeMoulin. The building was demolished in 2016. 

Additional resources:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory sheets

City of Olympia mid-Century modern Context Statement

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, mid-Century modern walking tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dohm House

Location: 805 5th Ave SW
Local register; Wohleb

Dohm_1939Dohm House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADohm House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

One of the most outstanding homes in West Olympia, the Dohm House was built in 1922 in a Dutch Colonial style. Edward Dohm was a prominent Olympia citizen with an outstanding civil and military career, serving in World War I and attaining the rank of brigadier general in the Washington Natural Guard. The architect was Virgil Westbrook, who was associated with Joseph Wohleb. (Westbrook also designed and lived in the Westbrook House across the street.) The Dohm family included two distinguished daughters as well: Phyllis Dohm Mueller, an architect (see nearby Kornmesser House); and Jocelyn Dohm, founder of Sherwood Press. The home is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Dolliver building (former Post office)/Site of Olympia Hotel/George Foster home

Location: 801 Capitol Way S
National Register, State Register, Local register;  Women’s History; Religious Institutions

olympia hotelOlympia Hotel, ca. 1890, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietydolliverDolliver Building (old Post Office) today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

In the 1880s, it became apparent that Olympia was in urgent need of a hotel that could accommodate the numbers of legislators, lobbyists and hangers-on that appeared on a regular basis during legislative sessions. A number of prominent citizens raised the funds to build the grand Victorian-style Olympia Hotel (or sometimes termed Hotel Olympia) that was built on this spot, next to the home of pioneer George H.  Foster, whose small house can be seen just to the left of the hotel in the photograph on the left. As can be seen from the photograph at above left, the building was at the time waterfront property (or mud-front property at low tide). Among the financers of the hotel was Pamelia Case Hale, who at the time was listed as the richest person in Thurston County. Hale also financed a number of other important buildings, including the Jefferson Apartments and Hale Block downtown, and was a board member and prime investor in the trolley system that ran past the hotel. According to the Olympia Heritage inventory, the hotel also served as a meeting place for the Christian Science congregation before it acquired the Gustav Rosenthal home and built the Greek Revival building on 8th Avenue.

Sadly, the hotel burned in a spectacular fire in 1904.

At the time of the fire, it was also apparent that the city required a post office. The leveled ground where the hotel had been seemed a perfect spot, and the current building was completed in 1915. In those days before telephones were in every house, the post office was the lifeblood of communications in Olympia. Mail was delivered twice a day to homes, brought by boat or the train that conveniently stopped just below this location at the Northern Pacific Depot. The building was renamed the Federal Building when it became the home of several federal offices. In 1998, the federal government gave the building to the state for no charge, provided the state would always maintain its historic character. It is now home to the Secretary of State’s Corporations Division and has again been renamed the Dolliver Building in honor of Supreme Court Justice James Dolliver. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the state and local registers.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

DAHP Report

State Library Photograph Collection, showing the facade of the hotel

Washington State Historical Society photographs enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: C1945.191.1, 2012.0.345, C1958.173x.8  , C1979.28.2 (post office); George H. Foster home C2013.18.112

Susan Parish Collection, photograph of Post Office Building under construction

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Donald Building

Location: 205 5th Ave SE
Downtown National Historic District; Wohleb; Popular culture

donald_1964Donald Building, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADonald Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The inventory listing for this building notes: “One of Joseph Wohleb’s finest commercial designs in the Mission Revival mode, and one of the best preserved small commercial structures in the city, the Donald Building … together with the adjacent Jeffers Building,  is the most fully developed and best preserved of the architect’s Mission Revival structures downtown.” It was erected in 1924 by James Martin, a prolific developer in the 1920s, who already had two buildings named after himself, the Martin Building just across Washington Street, and the James Martin warehouse, on State Avenue. A newspaper article of the time states that Martin intended to raze over 11 structures downtown and replace them with more up to date commercial buildings, many of which still exist, giving Olympia’s downtown its Mission flavor. Although neither the Olympia Heritage inventory, nor the current owner, report on the reason for the name Donald Building, it may be named after one of Martin’s sons, Donald Martin. (see also the Martin/Tiffany House, which was owned by Martin’s other son, Dewey, and possibly by James Martin before that)

The building and the small businesses occupying it are icons of Olympia’s diverse and quirky downtown. Now (2014) sporting a series of trompe l’oeuil paintings on its northern facade facing 5th Avenue, it still has preserved all the essential features of the original Wohleb design, including carved plaques below the roofline with the date of construction, 1924.

The building is in the Downtown National Historic District where it is listed as history contributing.

Thank you to owner Anne Buck for background on the building.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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Donoghue/McCaughan House

Location: 1212 Olympia Ave NE
Local register; Olympia Avenue Historic District

donoghy_1938Donoghue/McCaughan House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADonoghue/McCaughan House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Donoghue/McCaughan House is a large, well-preserved Dutch Colonial located on a large lot at the east end of the Olympia Avenue Local Historic District. The home was built in 1926 by Alvena and Roy Donoghue. Roy was listed as a millworker in the Polk Directory for that year. Later the home was owned by Alvina and Archibald McCaughan (despite the similarity in their names, Mrs. Donoghue and Mrs. McCaughan do not appear to be the same person). The home is on the local register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Avenue Historic District

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Dufault Building

Location: 113 5th Ave SW
Downtown National Historic District

No vintage photograph of this building has been located: if you have one to share, please contact us
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADufault Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Dufault Building was erected about 1912, one of the earliest remaining downtown structures. It was owned by Charles Dufault, an Olympia businessman and city councillor  (see also Dufault House). The building has an intact storefront and is listed as historic contributing in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District, although it is not on the local register. 

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

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Dufault House

Location: 1628 Water St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

Dufault House, 1965, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State ArchivesDufault House today (2013), photo by Matt Kennelly

The Dufault House, on Water Street, was built around 1903 by Charles Dufault, an Olympia commissioner and businessman (see also Dufault Building). It was also occupied for several years by the Newell family, including Gordon Newell, the author of local histories Rogues, Buffoons, and Scoundrels and So Fair a Dwelling Place. It is in the signature South Capitol  District Foursquare style and has been beautifully restored. It 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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Dunbar House

Location: 1118 Olympia Ave NE
Local register; Olympia Avenue Historic District; Women’s History

Dunbar House, 1954, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State ArchivesDunbar House now (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Dunbar House is one of the four homes in this neighborhood occupied by the White family women: the mother, Margaret White Ruddell (Ruddell House) and her three daughters Mary White Byrd (Byrd House) , Ann Elizabeth Bigelow (Bigelow House), and this house occupied by  Clara White Dunbar. Ralph Oregon Dunbar was a distinguished member of the bar, as was his brother in law Daniel Bigelow. While the Bigelow House was built in the very early days of Olympia’s settlement, the stretch of Olympia Avenue occupied by the other members of the White family, as well as several other professional families, was built a few years later, in the early 1890s. This house is said to date from around 1891.

Ralph Oregon Dunbar had a varied and interesting life, including for a time being a member of the ill-fated Donner party, until his father Rice Dunbar wisely turned north when the Donners took the “cut-off” to California. He was the first Supreme Court Justice of the new Washington State in 1889 and served with great distinction.  Clara White Dunbar was also a distinguished member of the Olympia community. Besides being a member of a prominent family, Mrs. Dunbar served as president of the Women’s Club and also founded a literary offshoot of the women’s club that met here at the Dunbar House.

Unlike the almost whimsical Queen Anne style of Clara’s sister’s Byrd House, the Dunbar House is a fairly restrained Pioneer style home, although it has decorative features such as shingling and turned posts. It is on the local register as well as being located in the Olympia Avenue Historic District.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Avenue Historic District

Youtube video on Olympia Avenue Historic District, including Dunbar House

For more information on the Dunbars and Whites, see the Residents section of this website.

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Dunbar, John House

Location: 426 17th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic District

johndunbarthenJohn Dunbar House, undated, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJohn Dunbar House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

As the son of Supreme Court Justice Ralph O. Dunbar, and nephew of attorney Daniel Bigelow, and Justice of the Peace George Byrd, John Dunbar had legal blood coursing through his veins. He rose through the ranks of public legal service to become Attorney General for ten years beginning in 1923. As such, he presided over legal issues surrounding the completion of the Capitol Campus plan.

He and his wife Marie chose to live in the fashionable Maple Park subdivision, in this bungalow dating from 1920.

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

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

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

 

 

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Dunkin and Barnes Stable site

Location: 414 Water St SW
Transportation, mid-Century modern

 

dunkin barnesDunkin & Barnes Stable and Veterinary, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society414 Water

Location today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

The photograph at above left is another example of Robert Esterly’s valuable project of photographing Olympia’s commercial and industrial enterprises with their owners. The stable and veterinary surgery pictured here was on Water Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The businesses in the area were largely geared towards the important water-based interests of the city but there were at least two stables in this part of town. In this photograph from 1914 we see the beginning of the transition from horse-drawn surface transportation to the automobile.

According to Thurston County Assessor’s records, the building currently at this location was built in 1962 and is a one-story masonry building, with some interesting period features. It is not inventoried

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: 2010.149.35.1

For more information on John Barnes and his family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eagles Club

Location: 805 4th Ave E
Wohleb, Popular Culture, Diversity: Gay and Lesbian History

Eagles_1965Eagles Building 1965, Thurston County Assessor Photo, Washington State ArchivesEaglesOly1Eagles Building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

 

 

Aerie #21 of the Fraternal Order of Eagles was founded in 1899, in the heyday of fraternal organizations in Olympia. This building was designed and built in 1927 by Olympia architect Joseph Wohleb and has been the home of the Eagles ever since. For the most part, the building is of a fairly utilitarian design, but has decorative features over the doorway.

Currently (2012) the club rents out the elegant second floor ballroom for dances and other events. Up until at least the mid-1940s, there was a residence adjacent to the club, where the parking lot is currently located.

In 1991, Stonewall Youth, a support group for young gays and lesbians, was founded in the basement of the building, operating at that time as Darby’s Cafe.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs. Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box :C1964.26.4.6.8

Olympia Gay and Lesbian history

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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East Capitol Campus/Site of Capital Apartments

Location: 1306-1318 Capitol Way S
mid-Century modern

capital apartmentsCapital Apartments, 1914, Robert Esterly photograph, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society East Capitol Campus

Part of East Capitol Campus today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

 

Long time Olympians remember that until the 1960s, the east side of Capitol Way across from Capitol Campus was lined with tall brick buildings including Olympia High School and Capital Apartments (also sometimes termed Capitol Park Apartments), pictured above in 1914 (the above photo was taken before the high school was built in 1919). According to blogger stevenl, there were sixty-one apartments in the building, all with oak floors.

In the mid-1950s, the case of Lemon ex rel. Langlie established that all state government-owned building had to be located in Olympia. This, along with the growth in state government, spurred the expansion of Capitol Campus to the east side of Capitol Way. The apartment building was taken down in the early 1960s as part of this expansion. The street that is in the foreground of the photograph to the left is now the site of the 14th street tunnel underneath the campus (see entrance to the tunnel in the photograph to the right). The campus consists largely of monumental mid-Century modern buildings, connected by walkways and a plaza with water fountain that won an American Landscape Architects award in 1978. (It should perhaps be noted that the Capitol Campus National Historic District is bounded on the east by Capitol Way and therefore, East Campus is excluded from official historic designation)

Additional resources:

City of Olympia, mid-Century modern context statement

Olyblog.net stevenl blog: Capitol Park Apartments (includes apartment layouts and photographs, including a photograph of the demolition of the building)

Deparment of Archaeology and Historic Preservation mid-Century modern Walking Tour (see, for example, Water Garden fountain)

Washington State Historical Society photographs

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: 2010.149.12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eastside Barbership site

Location: 414 4th Ave E

waxlerEastside Barbership, 1914, Robert Esterly photograph, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society ???????????????????????????????Obsidian restaurant today (2015), photo by Deb Ross 

Since the late 19th century, the buildings lining 4th Avenue have been solidly commercial. In 1914 Robert Esterly chronicled many of the commercial and industrial businesses in downtown Olympia, including the Eastside Barbership shown at above left, owned by F.E. Waxler. This part of 4th Avenue is at present a popular hangout, with the Artesian Commons across the street and many restaurants and bars. The building occupied by the restaurant at above right was erected in 1947.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs. Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: 2010.149.8.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eastside Big Tom/Site of Glidden Homestead

Location: 2023 4th Ave E
Transportation, Popular Culture

eastside big tomOriginal “In and Out” stand at this location, around 1948, courtesy of Eastside Big Tombig tom todayEastside Big Tom today (2010) photograph by Matt Kennelly

The “X” where State Avenue and Fourth Avenue meet and become Martin Way and Pacific Avenue is another example of the importance of transportation to Olympia over the ages: from ox teams to drive-throughs.

The land was first cleared by Frank Glidden in the early 20th century. The Glidden family originally settled in South Bay and moved to this location in the early 20th century. Mr. Glidden was an ox teamster by trade. Teamsters played a huge role in the important logging industry of early Thurston county, before railroads made it possible to move logs to market by rail. A skilled ox teamster was therefore much in demand. Frank Glidden’s widow lived on this property for decades after Frank Glidden’s death.

The Eagan family moved to Olympia in the 1940s and lived at the site of the Glidden homestead, at the Capital Auto Court, which they owned. Millie Eagan invented “Goop” in 1947 and, soon after, the family opened the Eastside In and Out Hamburger stand. Later it was renamed Big Tom, in recognition of its signature hamburger (itself named after the eponymous Tom Eagan). At one time, the Eagan family owned several drive-throughs in Thurston County. The Eastside business was sold to the Fritsch family in 1968, which continues to own it.

Drive-in restaurants played an important role in Olympia in the 1940s, as they did everywhere in the West. Route 99 passed through downtown and then turned right on Fourth Avenue, and passed by the Eastside hamburger stand. Today Big Tom is a mecca for locals and visitors alike who seek an alternative to chain fast-food restaurants.

Information on the history of Eastside Big Tom is taken from its Facebook and Myspace postings as well as other local blogs. The location and building do not appear to be inventoried by DAHP (although the Westside Eagan’s is inventoried).

Washington State Historical Society photograph collection

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1986.8.1 (Glidden home; unclear whether it is the South Bay or Fourth Avenue home)

For more information on the Glidden family, see the Residents section of this website (G).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Egbert-Ingham House

Location: 2708 Adams St SE
Local register

egbert ingham originalEgbert-Ingham, 1975, in original location, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
Egbert Ingham 2011Egbert-Ingham today (2011), photograph provided by Olympia Heritage Commission

The imposing Egbert-Ingham House, sometimes called a mansion, was built in 1914 for Dana Seltzer Egbert and her husband, the dentist Curtis Egbert. It was located near the site of the future Capitol Campus, where the current Visitors’ Center is located. At the time the home was built, construction was in progress for the Temple of Justice and none of the other buildings on the campus had begun. Over the next several years, the campus rose up around the Egberts’ home and many homes in the area had to be moved or torn down to accommodate it. The home was so prominent and imposing that many assumed it was the governor’s mansion – and indeed, Governor Dan Evans and his family lived in the house for a time while the current Governor’s Mansion was being renovated.

After Dr. Egbert died, Dr. T. Reed Ingham bought the home and lived in it until the 1960s, when Capitol Campus was again expanded and the Inghams abandoned the house. The home was acquired by the state and was threatened several times with demolition, until it was finally moved to its current location in the Wildwood Neighborhood. The article by current owner David Goularte, linked below, contains a photograph of the home as it crossed the bridge over I-5 in 1979. The house is described as a Colonial Revival style. It has been beautifully restored by its current owners and is on the local register.

Links:

Article: Egbert-Ingham House, Built 1914

Olympia Heritage inventory

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

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Elks Building/site of Isaac Ellis home

Location: 607-613 Capitol Way S
Local, State, and National registers; Olympia Downtown National Historic District; Wohleb

AR_ParishCollections_Jeffers_ElksClubJune1933Gathering of Elks at Elks Building, 1933, Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAElks Building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Elks Lodge number 186 was founded in Olympia in 1891, on the heels of Washington statehood. Members included prominent businessmen and state officials. Originally meeting in the McKenny Building, the current building was erected in 1919 with a design by Olympia’s preeminent architect Joseph Wohleb. Wohleb was at the height of his career and influence at this time. This imposing four-story building attests to the influence and importance of social clubs in the early decades of the 20th Century. A large panel at the roofline reminds us of the building’s original use, reading “BPO Elks 186.” The lodge moved to a new building on Fourth Avenue in the 1970s, and then to its current location near Ralph’s Thriftway.

Because of its significance to the history of Olympia as well as its connection with Joseph Wohleb, the building was accepted for listing on the National Register. It is also on the local and state registers and located in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District. It appears to have sustained little damage in the 1949 earthquake.

According to historian Bernice Sapp (see Olympia 100 years ago, appendix to Newell, So Fair a Dwelling Place), the Elks Building is located on the site of Isaac Ellis’s home. See the Residents section of this website for more information about Isaac Ellis.

Olympia heritage inventory

DAHP Inventory Sheet

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Isaac Ellis home featured in 1874 Sylvester’s Window

Washington State Historical Society photographs: Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1982.18.26 (view looking north on Capitol Way; 1998.81.2 (aftermath of 1949 earthquake)

 

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Elliott House

Location: 1603 4th Ave W
Local Register; mid-Century Modern

elliott_1949Elliott House, 1949, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Elliott House today (2014), photograph by Deb Ross

The Donald & Irene Elliott House is on the local register as an example of post World War II residential construction in Olympia. Built at the beginning of the Baby Boom, the layout of the home reflects the era’s orientation towards family living and ease of maintenance, eliminating unnecessary interior walls and simplifying living spaces. The exterior and interior reflect a combination of art deco, tudor revival, and colonial styles in an overall architectural sensibility termed Minimal Traditional. This home, like many in Olympia, was part of a tract laid out after World War II to accommodate the city’s growth. The owner of the home is an expert in mid-Century modern architecture at the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the inventory notes are a particularly helpful description of the importance of preserving and appreciating the city’s mid-Century buildings.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Ellsworth Duplex

Location: 211 19th Ave SW
Local register, South Capitol National Historic District, Wohleb

ellsworth duplexEllsworth Duplex 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Ellsworth Duplex today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Ellsworth Duplex is a 1927 adaptation of the popular Craftsman style home by architect Joseph Wohleb, once more demonstrating his range and virtuosity. Ellsworth was a local contractor, and also owned the home next door, probably all built as rentals. The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

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Ellsworth House

Location: 203 19th Ave SW
Local register, South Capitol National Historic District

ellsworth_1939Ellsworth House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Ellsworth House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Ellsworth House is an excellent example of the Craftsman style typical of this neighborhood. It was built by Harley Ellsworth, a local contractor, who also owned the duplex next door, the Ellsworth Duplex, probably all built as rentals. The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Links:

South Capitol National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

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Employment Security Building/Site of A.D. Rogers home

Location: 212 Maple Park SE
mid-Century modern

rogers houseA.D. Rogers House, about 1890
Photograph from Digital Archives
employment securityEmployment Security building today (2012)
Photo courtesy of Deb Ross

A.D. Rogers was a popular and prolific photographer in the late territorial and early statehood days. Besides being the preferred society and school photographer, he was employed to create official photographs of legislators, including a complete set of the first state legislature in 1890.

This large Queen Anne-style house, near the northeast end of toney Maple Lane south of Capitol Campus, was a testament to Rogers’s commercial success.

In 1961 all of the homes on the north side of Maple Lane were demolished in order to make way for the expansion of Capitol Campus to the east side of Capitol Way. Modern office buildings were erected in their place, one of the first being the Employment Security building shown at right, designed in the “Classic Contemporary” style by Harmon, Pray and Detrich.

Digital Archives photo above

Olympia Heritage inventory

Mid-Century Walking Tour

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

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Eugley House

Location: 1825 Water St SW
Local Register; Women’s History; South Capitol National Historic District

No scanned vintage photo of this house is available. If you have one we can scan, or would like to sponsor the scanning of the photo linked below, please contact us at olyhistory@gmail.comEugley House

Eugley House today (2010) photograph by
Deb Ross 

The Eugley House on Water Street was built by Bertha and MC Eugley in about 1908. According to one owner, it was based on a design from the Rhine area of Germany. It is an unusual style described as Queen Anne and Italianate, with a tower reminiscent of Italianate and decorative features. It has been well preserved and is on the local register. The Eugleys only lived here for a short time. Bertha Eugley was a well-known milliner. See Site of Bertha Eugley Millinery on Where Are We? The house is on the local register and is located in the South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society photograph. Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1964.26.4.22.3

Women’s History Walking Tour, M.C. and Bertha Eugley House

For additional information on the Eugley family, see the Residents section of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Evergreen Plaza/Unitarian Church site

Location: 711 Capitol Way S
mid-Century modern; Religious institutions; Transportation

Unitarian Church, detail from 1879 Bird’s Eye view, linked below (marked #7)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Evergreen Plaza today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

With the establishment of the Town Square (Sylvester Park) by Edmund Sylvester, the social and religious center of town moved towards the streets adjacent to the square. The Unitarian Church was kitty-corner to the square along Main Street (Capitol Way), next door to the home of Thomas I. McKenny, a Civil War general who later became Indian agent for Washington Territory (see also McKenny Block and Margaret McKenny House). At the time, this part of Main Street ran along a rising bluff adjacent to the Deschutes Estuary, so that the back of the church and house were on the water.

As Main Street became more solidly commercial, the Unitarians built a new structure on Franklin Street in 1891. Then, with the establishment of Capitol Way as part of Pacific Highway 1, the major north-south thoroughfare in the Pacific Northwest, this site, like many others along the route, was associated with the transportation industry, serving as  the location of an automobile dealership. In 1972, that building gave way to the construction of the current building, a 12 story commercial complex designed by notable Seattle architect Chester Lindsay. The building was part of a movement in the 1970s to add more commercial space downtown.

Links:

Olympia Heritage Inventory (Evergreen Plaza building)

1879 Bird’s Eye View, showing Unitarian Church site (number 7)

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago

For more information on Thomas I. McKenny and his family, see the Residents section of this website.

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Faris House

Location: 2920 Capitol Boulevard S
Local register

Faris_1939)Faris House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFaris House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Faris house was erected about 1925, probably by Tumwater Lumber Mills (TLM). TLM was founded by the Anderson Brothers, who designed ready-built homes. There are over 100 TLM homes in Olympia alone, many in the South Capitol neighborhood. This bungalow is located at the northern edge of the  Governor Stevens neighborhood, which was named after first Territorial Governor Isaac I. Stevens, the father of Kate Stevens Bates and Hazard Stevens, who carved and platted this property out of the nearby Cloverfield’s Farm. The home is on the local heritage register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Farquhar Store-Legislative Building, Lobby, Armory

Location: 7th Avenue and Adams St

farquhar store Farquhar Store, Jeffers Photograph of earlier drawing of unknown date, Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990, Washington State Archives OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFarquhar site today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

Alexander Farquhar immigrated from Scotland and settled in Olympia in 1858. He worked for several years for Charles Williams at the Olympia Hardware Store, then went into business for himself at a location near here. Historian Bernice Sapp states that an earlier building just east of here, on the Swantown Slough, collapsed during a storm and that the building shown at above left was built on slightly higher ground.

After Farquhar’s death, this building served several functions. It was a stopgap location for the legislature after the original Territorial Capitol Building became unfit for occupation, and before the legislature was able to move into the  Old State Capitol Building (now the Superintendent of Public Instruction building) in 1903. After that, it was known for some time as The Lobby, a sort of informal annex to the legislature, and also served as an armory and social hall.

Additional resources:

Digital Archives image above

Washington State Historical Society, Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1951.284.3

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First Christian Church

Location: 701 Franklin St SE
Religious institutions; Wohleb; Local register

firstchristian1897First Christian around 1897, from Lawson, 100 Years of Christian Witness.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst Christian Church today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Disciples of Christ (also known as Christian) denomination arrived in Thurston County in the very earliest years of American settlement, when the Longmire family founded a small church in Yelm. Another Christian church was established in Olympia but failed to thrive. Several decades later, the current congregation, First Christian, was founded about 1890. Following the common practice, it met in several public buildings, including the Washington School and Columbia Hall.  This congregation met with immediate success, purchased land at the corner of Adams and Union, and built a church structure there. In 1895, in another instance of “musical pews,” that building was moved to the location of the current church, at Seventh and Franklin, where it is pictured at above left. (For more on the musical pews phenomenon in Olympia, see the Gloria Dei listing)

The current structure at this location was built in 1928. Architect Joseph Wohleb demonstrated his virtuosity and range by adopting a Gothic style, with its characteristic buttresses and arched windows. The longer one-story extension to the south was added in the 1960s. The church is on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years ago

Pioneer History Churches of Christ in Thurston County

Washington State Historical Society photograph from 1961,

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1986.43.61.1.26.1.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First Congregational Church site – Capitol Way

Location: 919 Capitol Way S
Religious communities

firstcongFirst Congregational Church, Main Street around 1878, Washington State Historical Society collection

Site of First Congregational today,  photograph by Deborah Ross (2017)

The First Congregational Church was the fifth church organized in Olympia, in 1874. The building site is another example of the “Musical Pews” phenomenon described in other Where Are We? pages (see, for example,  Gloria Dei congregation). Once incorporated, the congregation erected this building on grounds formerly owned by the Catholic Church (that building can be seen in the background of the photograph linked below). A steeple was added in 1886 (see link below). The building served First Congregational until 1915, when First Congregational federated with First Presbyterian to form The United Churches of Olympia (First Congregational also acquired the original Sunset Life Building to be used as a recreational annex for a short period of time). For a time, the church was used by the Seventh Day Adventist congregation, which moved to a site on Puget and Bigelow in the mid-1920s (see Seventh Day Adventist Building) . The manse of First Congregational still exists and is next door on 10th Avenue.

Additional resources:

Washington  State Historical Society

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1960.298x.10; C1952.226.68; C1959.8.6 (above photograph, notable view for having the steeple uncompleted); 2016.0.8

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, 1879 (location number 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First National Bank of Seattle (Olympia National Bank) Annex

Location: 110 5th Ave SE
Downtown National Historic District; Wohleb

No good vintage photograph of this building has been located; if you have one to share, please contact us
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANational Bank of Seattle Annex today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

In the early 1930s, the ornate Olympia National Bank building just to the west of here became a branch of the First National Bank of Seattle. This annex was built three years later, in 1936. It is a Joseph Wohleb design and, while not as ornate as its neighbor, retains some of its neoclassical features. The building is in Olympia’s Downtown National Historic District, where it is listed as Historic Contributing.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory

 

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First United Methodist Church-Legion Way/Henry tree

Location: 1224 Legion Way SE
mid-Century modern; Religious institutions; Landmark Tree

FUMCOFirst United Methodist Church around 1952, photo from First United Methodist websiteOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst United Methodist Church today (2013) photograph by Deb Ross

The church building located at the corner of Boundary Street and Legion Way is the third purpose-built location of the First United Methodist Church. Earlier locations are shown on Where Are We? pages Cunningham’s Building/First Methodist and First Methodist Church-5th Avenue. The sequence of moves is an example of the “musical pews” movement of Olympia churches from the downtown core out to residential neighborhoods (see Where Are We? Gloria Dei for other examples). The building and location of this church were hastened by the 1949 earthquake that made the Fifth Avenue location unusable. The mid-Century design was originally intended for a location to the north of the original Capitol Campus, but the state appropriated that land for the General Administration building that sits on that site now.

The First United Methodist congregation is the oldest in Olympia, having been founded in 1852. The current building was dedicated exactly one hundred years later. It was built in Modern style with architecture by Donald Edmundson. The stained glass windows in the sanctuary were designed by one of the church’s pastors, Reverent Walter A. MacArthur and were hand installed by members of the congregation.

The church is located at the site of the Dudley Story Bradstreet (DSB) Henry family. “Dud” and his wife Fanny Talcott Henry were both descended from early Olympia pioneers. He was an engineer, eventually becoming U.S. Deputy Surveyor for this area. Dud and Fanny planted the Garry oak that is located at the corner of the church’s parking lot and has been lovingly maintained by the congregation. The oak tree is one of three “Landmark Trees” officially recognized by the City of Olympia.

First United Methodist history webpage

Mid-Century Modern context statement (see page 62)

Washington State Historical Society,

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1986.43.61.1.26.1.32

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Firs Point-Blankenship House site (demolished)

Location: 513 Flora Vista Dr NE
Women’s history; Religious institutions

Five Firs (lower right, cropped from photo that includes Floravista bulb farm), 1947, courtesy Kathy Farr

???????????????????????????????Five Firs Point today (2014) photograph by Deb Ross

In the late 19th and early 20th century, it was not uncommon for Olympia’s social elite to own summer homes or land to which they would retreat during the heat of the season (see also, for example, Butler’s Cove). George and Georgiana Blankenship established Five Firs Point here just north of Priest Point Park, in 1910. Their winter home was the Blankenship House near Capitol Campus. The house was on property previously owned by the oblate mission that gave Priest Point its name. The home was a classic craftsman style structure and, according to the City of Olympia inventory, well maintained prior to its acquisition by the City and annexation to Priest Point Park. The home was demolished some time after 2001.

The Blankenships were a well-known Olympia couple: they were both writers on local history. George Blankenship was a member of the pioneer Thurston County Yantis family. Georgiana was a journalist and writer, originally from Spokane, who took on the task of interviewing the aging pioneer families of Thurston County. Five Firs Point was a popular visiting and stopping point for the Blankenships’ friends and relatives, who typically would sail or row out to spend the day or a weekend.

Thank you to Kathy Farr, whose parents acquired Five Firs and the adjacent property developed into the Floravista bulb farm. 

More information:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fleetwood Building

 

Location: 119 7th Ave SE
Local register; Women’s History; Popular culture

Laying conduit for Fleetwood Building (in background), 1938, Washington State Department of Transportation photo, State Archives


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fleetwood Building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

Telephone service was first provided in Olympia beginning in 1889, by the Sunset Telephone Company. Its offices moved several times over the next few decades. By early 20th century the company had been acquired by California-based Pacific Telephone & Telegraph whose first purpose-built building was on Fifth Avenue. The company erected this building in about 1938  on Sylvester Park. It is on the original site of the Redpath House, which was moved to 17th Avenue. Noted Seattle architect Carl Gould designed it in the art moderne style, with decorative art deco features meant to reflect modernity and progress.

The company employed many female operators and is included in the Olympia National Women’s History Multiple Property listing, as well as the Olympia Women’s Walking Tour.

Although officially called the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building, it is known locally as the Fleetwood Building. “Fleetwood” was the first seven-digit telephone exchange in Olympia (popular lore that it was named for the Lacey Fleetwood family cannot be verified). In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a group of Olympia High School students formed The Fleetwoods, named after the exchange, and rocketed to national fame with their hits “Come Softly to Me,” “Mr. Blue,” and many others.

The building is on the local register. It is now low income apartments.

Thurston County inventory

City of Olympia Women’s Walking Tour

Women’s History in Olympia Multiple Property Listing

 

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Fleming House

Location: 1717 Jefferson St SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

fleming_1942Fleming House, 1942, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFleming House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Fleming House was built about 1941 for John Gragg, a member of the Olympia Veneer cooperative. It was bought shortly after by the Fleming family, who owned Fleming-Harvey Motors for many years. The home is a well maintained example of the Dutch Colonial style. It is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fleming-Longaker House

Location: 3140 Maringo Rd SE
local register

fleming-longaker1956Fleming-Longaker House, 1957, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFleming-Longaker House today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

This outstanding Spanish Colonial style house was built about 1932 for Dr. Berton and Anna Fleming. It was the longtime home of Birdie Kegley Longaker, the widow of Dr. Francis Longaker a former mayor of Olympia. It has been meticulously preserved, including its notable landscape features. The home is on the local register.

Thank you to Sue Goff for information about the ownership of the home. 

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Forsberg, Gust and Nanny House

Location: 1908 Washington St SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

forsberg_1939Gust and Nanny Forsberg House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGust and Nanny Forsberg  House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Gust and Nanny Forsberg House is a good and well-maintained example of the English Builder style, built about 1936. Forsberg was a native of Sweden and worked at Tumwater Lumber Mills, but the local Heritage Inventory does not show this as a Tumwater Lumber Mills home. It is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Foursquare Church/Capital City Studios (burned down 2014)

Location: 911 4th Ave E
Religion, Popular Culture

Parish6-6-14032Foursquare Congregation, 1941, Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archivescapital city studios 2009Capital City Studios today (2009), photo by Jason Scragz, posted on Flickr

This building was originally the Foursquare Gospel church of Olympia, the denomination founded by Aimee Semple McPherson. It was built in 1939 using donated materials and labor, and was in an Ecclesiastical design with Craftsmen style elements. In later years it was used as the home of the Olympia Film Society, a recording studio, and a music hall. The building burned down in 2014.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society,

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1986.43.61.1.26.1.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fourth Avenue Bridge

Location: Fourth  Avenue Bridge
Transportation

Olympia_4th_Ave_Drawspan_1899-24th Avenue bridge with drawspan open, ca. 1899, Ed Echtle collection, Olympia Historical SocietySpectral SpidersFourth Avenue Bridge  (Fall Artswalk 2013) photograph by Stuart Reed

 

The need for bridges from downtown Olympia to West Olympia (then called Marshville) was recognized as early as 1852. However, construction was not completed until 1869. The bridge was termed the Long Bridge to distinguish it from the much shorter bridge spanning Swantown Slough to East Olympia (another bridge further south on the estuary, leading to Tumwater, was also confusing referred to as the “long bridge to Tumwater” in press accounts). Commercial establishments lined the side of it, and wharves extended to both north and south. At that time, the Deschutes Estuary was quite wide when it emptied into Budd Inlet, and a drawbridge, shown above, allowed ships to enter and leave the estuary. The drawbridge often failed, and worms infested the wooden pilings supporting the bridge, necessitating many repairs and reconstructions.

When the narrow gauge railroad was built connecting Olympia to the Northern Pacific line at Tenino, the track connected to the bridge with a depot just to the north of it. The 1890s-era trolley line to West Olympia went right down the center of the bridge: a typical day in the 1890s would see the bridge as a chaotic mix of trolleys, new fangled bicycles, pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages, with frequent collisions among all of them.

In 1918 the earlier drawbridge was demolished, and a new bridge with three arches over the estuary was erected. The 1922 picture  from the Olympia Fire Department, linked below, shows this later incarnation of the bridge going over the railroad tracks; the terracing of Percival Mansion’s lawn can still be seen here. This is the bridge that residents used up until 2001.

In the early 1950s, the construction of Capitol Lake, the Fifth Avenue bridge, and the dam creating the lake, reduced the Fourth Avenue bridge’s span over water. A photograph in the Susan Parish collection (linked below) shows the bridge as it looked shortly after that project was completed.

In 2001, the Nisqually Earthquake badly damaged the bridge, hastening an already-planned reconstruction.

Thank you to Jim Hannum for contributing to research about the Long Bridge/long bridge. Thank you to Bob Jacobs for clarifying that the Nisqually Earthquake was not the sole cause of the reconstruction of the bridge. 

Additional links:

Digital Archives scan of Olympia Fire Department photograph

Olympia Heritage inventory (of bridge pre-earthquake)

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia

Washington State Historical Society,

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C2016.0.118

Susan Parish Photograph collection (scroll down to photograph)

Miscellaneous Photograph collection (shows photograph at above left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fox House

Location: 2804 Orange St.
mid-Century modern; Diversity: Racial covenants

fox_1946Fox House, 1946, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFox House today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

Frederick Schmidt and his brother Frank, who were part of the Olympia Brewing Company family, platted Stratford Place during World War II. They built several homes in the subdivision out of concrete block, including Frederick’s own home, the Frederick W. Schmidt House.  This home, the Fox House, was located diagonally across the street, at the edge of what is now Watershed Park. It was built in 1945. According to historians, concrete block was used because of the difficulty of obtaining wood during the war. Several unique features were used to reduce moisture as well as insulate the homes. The first resident here, Robert Fox, worked for Neuffer Jeweler’s.

Stratford Place was also  one of at least three area subdivisions that had racial exclusion covenants, now outlawed. See Olympia Time article by Emmett O’Connell. 

Olympia Heritage inventory

mid-Century modern context statement

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Free Methodist Church

Location: 1431 Legion Way SE
Local register; Religious institutions

Free Methodist church, 1961, courtesy Washington State Historical SocietyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFree Methodist Church building today (2013) photograph by Deb Ross

The Free Methodist Christian denomination was founded in the 1860s as an offshoot of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The denomination is considered more conservative and evangelical than the United Methodist Church, of which First United Methodist is a member. The first building of Olympia’s Free Methodist congregation was erected on this site in 1913. At the time, it would have been far out of town, just as the port area was beginning to be developed. Its likely members would have included many of the working families living in the neighborhood.  The current building was larger, erected in 1933. The congregation moved to an even larger facility in 1957, and this building is now a privately owned wedding chapel. The building is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society,

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1986.43.61.1.26.1.27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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French, Judge Arthur House

Location: 221 20th Ave SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

judgefrench_1948Judge French House 1948, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Judge French HouseJudge French House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

This is an early example of the Craftsman style bungalow, built around 1912 for Mrs. Ursula Clark. It was acquired in 1927 by Judge Arthur French who only lived here for three years before his death, an example of a house being named for its most prominent resident rather than its builder or longest-term occupant. It is on the local register and located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

 

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Fuller House and store (Central Drug)

Location: 1418 and 1428 4th Ave E

fuller houseFuller House 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
fuller house
Fuller House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

William Fuller worked in a variety of trades in the early part of the 20th century in Olympia. He and his wife Dorothy, a writer, built this home around 1928. According to the inventory listing, it is a Dawley Brothers design, assisted by Mrs. Fuller. The Dawleys designed and built many commercial and residential structures in Olympia. They were unusual in having their own in-house designers and architects. The house is perched well above grade on Fourth Avenue, in a Craftsman design.

Next door to the Fuller home was the W.D. Fuller Store, later known as the Central Drug store (not pictured). The Fullers operated this store for only two years, and then it was operated by the Gunstones, whose home was nearby. It was a Bigelow Highlands neighborhood fixture for many years. The building still exists but has been much altered.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Funk House

Location: 1202 Olympia Ave NE
National, State and Local Register, Olympia Avenue Local Historical District, Women’s History

Funk House_1938Funk House in 1939, Thurston County Assessor, State Archivesfunk house nowFunk House today (2010), photo by Joe Mabel posted on Wikimedia Commons

The Funk House, one of the most elaborate Queen Anne homes in Olympia, was built in about 1892 or 1894 by Bradford and Ann Pattison Davis, where they lived until 1907 when Brad moved to Portland to manage the bottling plant for Olympia Brewing Company (see also Pattison-Davis House). It was purchased by attorney George Funk and his wife Goldie Robertson Funk. The Funks were some of the more prominent and active citizens in Olympia: he was a lawyer, city council member, and Chamber of Commerce officer; she was an historian, a women’s activist, and a writer.

The house has been meticulously preserved outside over the years and contains a myriad of delightful ornamentation and details. It is on the National, State and Local register, as well as anchoring the eastern end of the Olympia Avenue Local Historical District.

For more information follow these links:

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (items in bold face have scanned images associated with them):C1964.26.4.5.8

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Register nomination form

City of Olympia Women’s Walking Tour

Olympia Avenue Local Historic District

For more information about George Funk, Goldie Robertson Funk, Brad Davis and Ann Pattison, see the Residents section of this website (F, R, D, P)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Garfield School

Location: 325 Plymouth St NW
Schools

garfield school 1919Garfield School in 1919 (original location), State Library Photograph Collection, Digital Archivesgarfield nowGarfield School today (2012) photograph by
Matt Kennelly

According to Olympia School District historian Esther Knox, the first school near this location was the Westside school on Rogers Street, which served all children in West Olympia and was built in the 1880s. As the area grew, particularly after the platting of the Woodruff and other subdivisions, two other schools were established in West Olympia to serve the smaller children who had difficulty making it from the north end of West Olympia to the site on Plymouth Avenue. The name of the school was changed in the early 20th century to honor President James Garfield.

A new structure was erected in 1930 adjacent to the original structure, with a design by Joseph Wohleb very similar to the Lincoln School building erected about the same time. 

In a controversial move, the Olympia School District was permitted to demolish the historic Garfield school building in 1987 and replace it with the current building.

Additional links:

Photograph at above left, Digital Archives

History of Olympia School District, Esther Knox

Thurston Talk article, the Story of Olympia’s Garfield School

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George House

Location: 125 17th St SE
Local Register, South Capitol National Historic District

George House_1936George House, 1936, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesGeorge House

George House today (2010) photograph by
Deb Ross 

The George House was built about 1896 and was later sold to Orville George, a grocer. His son Marion George ran the M.E. George grocery located in the Angelus Hotel building downtown.  The house is a modest, but well preserved example of a Pioneer style home, and is on the local register, besides being located in the South Capitol National Historic District.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District 

Washington State Historical Society photograph (items in bold face indicate a scanned image is available): C1964.26.4.24.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Georgia Pacific/Washington Fish and Wildlife Building

Location: 600 Capitol Way N
National Register, Wohleb, mid-Century modern

georgia pacific thenGeorgia Pacific building in 1950s, photo from DAHPgeorgia pacific nowGeorgia Pacific building today  photograph from DAHP

The plywood industry was an essential part of Olympia’s economy in the early to mid-20th century. Plywood was not only decorative, but used in construction of airplanes during the war. The two factories in this area, Olympia Veneer and Washington Veneer, thrived in the years leading up to World War II and afterwards. East coast based Georgia Pacific entered into the plywood business after World War II and bought the Washington Veneer Company to serve as its central manufacturing base. In 1952 the company decided to make Olympia its operational headquarters. It retained the noted Seattle firm of Naramore, Bain, Brady & Johanson (NBBJ) to design a building that would  embrace the emerging post war modern aesthetic now known as mid-Century modern (and which made extensive use of plywood in furnishings and construction). The company chose to showcase its line of plywood products by creating interiors and exteriors featuring its line of decorative plywood veneers. Each office is decorated in a different kind of exotic plywood with built-in cabinetry, each identified by a plaque (click on links below for additional images).

Two years after the building was completed, the company decided to move its headquarters to Portland, and the building was sold to the Game Department (now Department of Fish and Wildlife). The state expanded the building, hiring the noted local firm of Wohleb and Wohleb to design the extension. The Port of Olympia later acquired the veneer manufacturing sites, and today the only remaining vestiges of this important industry are this building and a few smaller structures scattered throughout the port area.

The building was accepted into National Register of Historic Places in 2007. It is considered to be “endangered” by mid-Century enthusiasts, as the state has indicated a desire to demolish the building.

Additional links:

WEWA-Docomomo (mid-Century modern enthusiasts) 

Olympia Heritage inventory

DAHP mid-Century Modern Walking Tour

City of Olympia mid-Century modern context statement, page 23

Listing, National  Register

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gibbons House

Location: 1017 Capitol Way S
Local register, Women’s History

jessie gibbonsJessie Gibbons and daughter Catherine, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGibbons House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

This large Foursquare style house, with an adjoining rear annex, was built in 1918 bv contractor E.B. Crews, for his daughter Jessie (sometimes spelled Jesse) Crews Gibbons. It was built as a rooming house and the two buildings taken together contained 28 rooms. Mrs. Gibbons, a divorcee, operated the rooming house from 1918 to the 1960s. The 1930 census shows 21 separately listed tenants, including Jessie’s mother, Ida Crews. Tenants included both men and women, many working in clerical capacities for the state. Over the years, legislators, judges, and others needing temporary lodging took rooms here. The home is on the local register and is noted in the Women’s History Walking Tour as an example of a woman-owned business. The rooms have been converted to apartments but the house is otherwise well preserved.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Women’s History in Olympia National Multiple Property Listing

 

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Gilbert House

Location: 331 Rogers St NW
Local register

Gilbert House, 1939, Thurston County  Assessor, Washington State ArchivesGilbert House now (2013), photo by Deb Ross

This is another example of the modest but attractive homes that were built by J.R. Chaplin in order to induce immigrants to come to Olympia and participate in the development of his utopian college and community (see also the McClelland House nearby). Although the college venture was a failure, Chaplin did manage to induce several families to relocate to Olympia. Frank and Nancy Gilbert arrived here from New York, already quite elderly, in their 70s, and it’s not clear what induced them to come. Frank listed his occupation as miller before he left New York but was retired by the time the Gilberts arrived here. Frank died soon after his arrival, and Nancy in 1915.

The Gilbert House was erected around 1900. It is built in a pioneer style and has attractive decorative features including shingling and a small window under the eaves with a pediment. The house is on the local register.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Giles House

Location: 727 West Bay Drive NW
State Register

Giles House 1939Giles House, 1939, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesGiles House

Giles House today  (2010), photo by Deborah Ross

The Charles Giles House was built in 1885 and is in the Italianate style unusual for existing Olympia homes. It is essentially a tall rectangular building with a few unusual ornamental details, and has been well preserved. It is early for West Olympia homes, built by saw mill operator Charles Giles whose mill was within walking distance on West Bay Drive. It is perched on a hillside in West Olympia and has a view of Mount Rainier and downtown Olympia. It is on the state, but not the local, registry.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society (links in bold face have scanned photos, others detailed descriptions): C1964.26.4.9.4

For more information on the Giles family, including Charles Giles’s brother Milton, see the Residents section of this website

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Glass House

Location: 514 Quince St NE
Local Register; Religious communities

glasshouse_1970Glass House, 1970, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives???????????????????????????????Glass House today  (2014), photo by Deborah Ross

The Glass House near the Olympia Avenue local historic district was erected around 1893, presumably to serve as a Methodist manse, with land donated by Daniel and Ann Elizabeth Bigelow. The home would have been conveniently close to the Bigelows, to the Methodist-supported Olympia Collegiate Institute (although OCI folded soon after the home was built), and not far from the Methodist Church on Fourth Avenue, near the Swantown Bridge. The house is named after one of the home’s occupants, Robert Glass, who served First Methodist from 1899 to 1902. According to church history, Reverend Glass was in part responsible for raising funds to replace the original aging building with a new structure on Fifth and Adams. Glass Avenue, on which the Bigelow House sits, was named after Reverend Glass.

The home is in the typical Foursquare style; modifications have been made to the front with the addition of the porch. The home is on the local register.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Glidden Duplex

Location: 1601-1603 Capitol Way S
Wohleb; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

glidden duplexGlidden Duplex, 1938, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
glidden duplex
Glidden Duplex today (2015), photograph by Deborah Ross

Demonstrating once again the amazing breadth of his talents, Joseph Wohleb designed this classic Colonial style duplex in about 1938, the year the above left photo was taken, for Arno Glidden. Glidden was the son of teamster Frank Glidden, a longtime South Bay family (see Glidden Homestead and Glidden House on Central). He worked as a cement worker in Olympia and took a job at McCleary Door Company (see McCleary Mansion and McCleary-Robinson House) where he rose from the ranks of lumberman and eventually was a superintendent. Arno built three modest rental houses on Central Street in the 1920s (see link above). He built this much grander duplex for himself and his wife Christine Sylvester Glidden to live in, with furniture store owner Jacob Goldberg (see Goldberg‘s) shown as living in the other half in the 1940 census.

The house is not individually on the local register, but is in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood District.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood listing

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

 

 

 

 

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Glidden House-523 Central

Location: 523 Central St SE

glidden523_1970Glidden House-523 Central, 1970, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGlidden House-523 Central today (2013), photograph by Deborah Ross

The house at 523 Central Avenue SE is one of three homes in a row that were built by Arno Glidden around 1924 (the others are at 515 and 503 Central). They are relatively simple frame homes, each with a different set of decorative features. Arno Glidden was the son of teamster Frank Glidden, a longtime South Bay family (see Glidden Homestead). He worked as a cement worker in Olympia and took a job at McCleary Door Company (see McCleary Mansion and McCleary-Robinson House) where he rose from the ranks of lumberman and eventually was a superintendent. Arno built these homes and rented them out to a variety of tenants. The homes are characteristic of many of the modest workers’ homes on the east side of Olympia.

 

For more information on the Glidden family, see the Residents section of this website. See also Glidden Duplex in the South Capitol Neighborhood.

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Gloria Dei Lutheran first site

Location: Southwest corner Adams and 5th
Religious institutions, Women’s history; Diversity:  Scandinavians

Gloria Dei Lutheran, 1949, Courtesy of Gloria Dei Lutheran churchFormer site of Gloria Dei Lutheran today (2013)photo by Matt Kennelly

Astute visitors to this website may recognize the building at above left as the original First Presbyterian Church building. This building was one of the participants in what may be called the game of “musical pews” in Olympia that continues to evolve today with a number of local faith communities. The game begins with a small church meeting in an existing building – a tavern, cooper’s shop, community hall. As it grows, it decides to erect a purpose-built structure (many early churches were located just southeast of downtown). It then either continues to outgrow its building, typically  moving to an outlying residential neighborhood; or it folds up shop. This creates a problem: most churches are suitable only for that purpose. The structures then have three fates: they are moved to a new location, another congregation begins worshipping in the building at the same location, or the building is torn down.

The Gloria Dei Lutheran church began as a church that catered to the growing Swedish population of Olympia and indeed its first name was the Swedish Lutheran Church. Founded by a group of Swedish/Finnish women in 1905, the church soon found itself wanting a structure. At the time, First Presbyterian was about to build its fine new brick building, so the church purchased the building and moved it to the southwest corner of Fifth and Adams. Gloria Dei continued to grow and  in 1950 broke ground and soon moved into its current location in West Olympia. The “musical pews” continued when the Salvation Army moved into the building in 1953. This was the last recorded use of this venerable building, although there are unconfirmed rumors that there are remnants of that 1860 building in the current Salvation Army structure on Fourth Avenue. The location is now a parking lot.

Additional resources:

History of Gloria Dei

Washington State Historical Society, C1986.43.53.12.7.2; C1986.43.61.1.26.1.26 (as Salvation Army in 1961)

Thanks to Sue Schultz and Gloria Dei Lutheran for information and use of photograph.

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Gloria Dei – second site

Location: 1515 Harrison Ave NW
Religious institutions; mid-Century modern

Gloria Dei Lutheran in 1961, before addition, courtesy Washington State Historical SocietyGloria DeiGloria Dei Lutheran Church today (2015), photo by Deborah Ross

The Gloria Dei Church building on Harrison Street in West Olympia is the second eccelesiastical building associated with this congregation. The congregation began as a small Mission church catering to Scandinavian immigrants, as related in the Where Are We? page here. The move away from Olympia’s central core came around the same time as other mainline congregations — First United Methodist, United Churches, and St. John’s Episcopal — 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 linked above for an overview of the phenomenon of “musical pews” in Olympia). The compound on this site was erected in two stages. A church building with a relatively traditional design was first built in 1951  but outgrew that building, so a more adventurous design, adding on to the west of the original building, was selected for a major expansion in 1967. Volunteers donated over 4,000 hours of labor and many of the materials over the 15 year period. The DAHP inventory sheet linked below has photographs of both phases of the compound’s construction.

More information:

Washington State Historical Society, C1986.43.61.1.26.1.15

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory 

mid-Century Modern Context Statement, p. 61

 

 

 

 

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Goddard House

Location: 212 Rogers St NW

goddard_1966Goddard House, 1966, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Goddard House today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

Built in 1905, the Goddard House is one of the older working class homes in this mixed neighborhood of West Olympia. The home is emblematic of the changes that are often wrought, as styles and needs change over the years. According to the city’s inventory, it was originally a fairly simple Victorian style house. At some point, decorative features were added, including the front porch with Craftsman-style arched entry, the bay window, and the brackets at roofline. The home appears to have been built for Lydia and David Goddard. David is listed in directories and census listings as a painter originally from England.

More information:

Olympia Heritage sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goldberg’s Building/site of McKenny Block/Crane’s Cafe/Yenney’s building

Location: 403 Capitol Way S
Downtown National Historic District, Diversity: Jewish Heritage,  Mid-century

mcKenny BlockMcKenny Block around 1891, Drawing by Edward Lange from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891, Washington  State LibraryschoenfeldGoldberg’s Building today (2012) photo courtesy of Deb Ross

The McKenny Block was built in 1889 by General T.I. McKenny, a prominent Olympia businessman. It housed a number of state offices, particularly during the years between the acquisition of the Thurston County Courthouse by the state and its conversion to the [Old] State Capitol building. For a number of years it operated as the Kneeland Hotel, an upscale lodging with its very convenient location near the State Capitol and the center of downtown Olympia.

The building, however, was so badly damaged in the 1949 earthquake that it had to be completely razed.

The current building was erected the following year, in 1950, and housed Goldberg’s Furniture. Goldberg’s was owned by the Goldberg family, then as now a prominent Jewish-American family in Olympia. Designed by local mid-Century architects Bennett and Johnston, the building incorporated the latest design features. It later was the Schoenfeld Furniture and is currently (2012) vacant.

Next door to the Kneeland Hotel was Crane’s Cafe. The Cafe survived the 1949 earthquake but later was razed, and the building at this location, originally the Yenney’s music store, is an extension of the Shoenfeld Furniture building.

For further information and links, see the following:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory listing 

Olympia Heritage inventory (Yenney’s building)

Olympia Downtown Historic District

Olympia Modernism,  DAHP self-guided tour

Washington State Historical Society Photos (items in Bold Face include scanned images, others detailed descriptions): C1972.37.15 (view from rooftop); C1964.26.4.2.1;  ; C1996.6.19 (earthquake damage);  C1986.36.108 (Clark’s Crane cafe); C1986.43.62.9.20.1 (demolition of cafe in 1962)

Private postcard collection

Looking back posting, Goldberg’s in 1951

McKenny family, see Residents section of this website

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Golden Gavel Motel building

Location: 909 Capitol Way SE
Transportation; mid-Century modern

Olympia_Golden_Gavel_1960Golden Gavel Motel, 1960s, Department of Archaeology and Historic PreservationOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGolden Gavel Motel building today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross

The Golden Gavel Motel building was constructed in 1958. At the time, Capitol Way was still part of the main west coast highway, US Route 99. Motels, hotels, restaurants, and other automotive businesses lined the street, which was often congested. In just a couple of years, however, the construction of Interstate 5 would divert most through traffic away from downtown Olympia.

The building is a classic 1950s-era motor hotel design, the only one remaining near downtown. The design was by the Dawley Brothers, who were responsible for many of the early and mid-century commercial buildings downtown, as well as some residential construction including the L.E. Dawley House and Hart-Dawley House. The Dawley firm was unusual in having in-house architects. The building is very similar to the Dawley Building at Union and Capitol. It is included in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s “Nifty from the Last 50” project.  Its vertical sign is original, though the name of the business has changed. The building next door, the Weidner Auto Court, is about 30 years older, and the two buildings might be considered to bookend the Pacific Coast Highway/U.S. 99 era in downtown Olympia.

More information:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory 

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation mid-Century Walking Tour

WSHS, building under construction ca. 1958, not scanned, C1986.43.0.569

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodyear Tire Company Building/First site of United Presbyterian

Location: 421 4th Ave E
Wohleb; Transportation; Religious institutions

JJ_BrennerUnited Presbyterian Church, undated, courtesy of Westminster PresbyterianBayviewGoodyear tire building (2013), photo by Deb Ross 

United Presbyterian Church, now Westminster Presbyterian Church, is another participant in the game of “musical pews” described in our listing for Gloria Dei. The church was organized in 1893 in a room of the Hale Block, and grew quickly enough so that a permanent building, pictured at above left, was completed in 1896 at the southwest corner of 4th and Jefferson Streets. In the 1920s, the church built a new brick building further east on Fourth Avenue and sold this structure (that brick building later became the home of the Salvation Army). Westminster is now located on Boulevard Road.

The current art deco style building at this location was designed in 1935 by architect Joseph Wohleb and was a Goodyear Tire Company store. Besides tires, it sold appliances such as washing machines. Its sleek L-shaped style is consistent with the streamlined aesthetic of the early automobile era, and was one of the many buildings along the eastern end of Fourth Avenue to cater to the growing automotive environment of Olympia in the early to mid 20th century. The building is now (2013) a bar.

Thanks to Drew Crooks for research and assistance.

Additional resources:

History of Westminster Presbyterian Church

Olympia Heritage inventory (Goodyear Tire building)

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Goss House

Location: 208 20th Ave SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

goss_1938Goss House 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Goss HouseGoss House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

An early example of the Craftsman style bungalow, the Goss House was built around 1915 for Orville and Mamie Goss. Mr. Goss was Thurston County Superintendent of Schools and Principal of Lincoln School. The Gosses lived in the home from 1915 to 1930. It is on the local register and located in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

 

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Gottfeld’s

Location: 213 4th Ave E
Downtown National Historic District, Wohleb, Transportation

Fourth Avenue4th Avenue looking east, mid 1940s, with Gottfeld’s halfway down on right,  Private Postcard Collectiongottfeld'sGottfeld’s Building today (2012) photograph by
Matt Kennelly

The Gottfeld Building was erected in 1908 by local businessmen Millard Lemon and Henry Mallory (see also Mallory House). In later years it was a men’s and boys’ clothing store. In 1971 it was renovated by Wohleb Architects. It is one of several commercial buildings that lined Fourth Avenue as it progressed eastwards towards the Swantown Slough and beyond. The photograph at left shows Fourth Avenue in the days when it was two-way. Traffic was heavy here, as this was part of Route 99, the main north-south thoroughfare in the Pacific Northwest. Traffic was changed to one-way following the 1949 earthquake.

In recent years, this part of downtown Olympia has transitioned to include numerous small restaurants and cafes like the one at this location, making this part of town popular with the late-night crowd

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Downtown National Historic District

Link to larger left hand image 

Washington State Historical  Society (not scanned): C1964.26.4.18.2

For more information on Millard Lemon and the Lemon family, see the Residents section of this website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Governor Hotel/Silsby Grocery/St. John’s Episcopal site

Location: 621 Capitol Way S
mid-Century modern, Religious institutions

governor houseGovernor House, about 1890
Photograph from Digital Archives
governor prideGovernor Hotel today – Pride Weekend (2012), Photo by Deborah Ross

As the capital of Washington State, accommodations have played an important role in the life of Olympia. The photographic record shows the gradual growth and transformation of this downtown hotel, across from Sylvester Park. In 1890 the hotel (variously called the Governor House and the Mitchell Hotel) was a three story structure with columned entryway (see above left). It was developed by William H. Mitchell, a pioneer businessman. In 1928, a larger, seven-story brick structure was built to the south. This building was damaged during the 1949 earthquake but still in existence in 1960.

The current structure, built in 1971 for the Ramada Inn franchise, was designed by Camp, Dresser, McKee, following the “form follows function” philosophy.

This location was also the site of the first St. John’s Episcopal Church building, until 1891, when it moved to its location on 9th and Washington. The site was then sold to John A. Silsby (see Silsby House), who had a grocery store at the corner for many years. He unsuccessfully sued the Northern Pacific Railroad for disruption association with the construction and operation of the 7th Avenue tunnel, which went by his store (and still goes by the hotel).

Digital Archives photo above, photo from around 1945, photo from around 1960

Washington State Historical Society photographs (bold face indicates that a scanned image is available): C1981.30x.8, 1998.81.1 (earthquake damage); 2014.130.1.10; C2017.0.56.21 (Sanatarium Baths in the Mitchell Hotel)

Mid-Century Walking Tour

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, 1879 (Episcopal church item 9 on map)

Private postcard collection

Miscellaneous Images collection, three images of Governor Hotel 

Looking Back post with photograph of dining room

For more information on William H. Mitchell and John Silsby, see the Residents section of this website.

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Governor’s Mansion

Location: Capitol Campus
Women’s History, Diversity: Chinese

mansion thenGovernor’s Mansion 1955, photo from Digital Archivesgovernors mansionGovernor’s Mansion today (2010), photo from Governor’s Mansion Foundation

Text and page researched and written in 2012 by Christina Schaller, Olympia Historical Society/Olympia Heritage Commission intern

The responsibilities of governing a state as large as Washington are numerous, but it does have its perks. One perk which I consider to be the best, is the privilege (and requirement) to live in the Governor’s Mansion. This 19 room house was designed in 1908 by the architectural firm Russell and Babcock of Tacoma. Washington was amongst the first 20 states to provide governors with housing during their term in office.

The need to provide housing for governors of Washington State arose when Governor Albert Edward Mead was expected to raise his five children, a garden, pets, cows and chickens and provide for his wife, Mina Jane Hosmer Pifer Mead, all on a monthly salary of $333.33. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was the fact that Governor Mead was also expected to entertain guests in this home. Realizing the governor’s predicament the state of Washington built a $35,000 Georgian style mansion to house each governor during their term of office. [However, Governor and Mrs. Mead never occupied the mansion, as he was defeated in the primary before the building was completed.]

The mansion is presently [written in 2012] occupied by Governor Christine Gregoire and her family. The historic integrity of the home has been carefully preserved; the front exterior of the mansion looks exactly as it did in 1908. The interior was remodeled dramatically by First Lady Nancy B. Evans, who created a nonprofit organization that raised funds specifically for the restoration of the home. At that time, about 4,000 square feet were added to the rear of the building. After the remodeling in 1975 the home has only had slight alterations made by each governor.

The location is significant for women’s history as well as Chinese-American history: Washington’s first female governor, Dixy Lee Ray, lived here from 1977-1981, as does the current governor  [written in 2012], Christine Gregoire. The nation’s first Chinese-American governor, Gary Locke, and his wife Mona Lee Locke, occupied the house from 1997 to 2005.

For more information follow these links:

Governor’s Mansion Foundation

Historylink article

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory 

Photographs of the Mansion from Digital Archives (some of my favorites): GM1, GM2, GM3, GM4, GM5, GM6

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (items in bold face have scanned images associated with them): 1981.94.489, 1943.42.14644 (Ashel Curtis photograph shortly after completion); C1982.18.29.7

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Greyhound Depot/Site of Harris house

Location: 107 7th Ave SE
Transportation; Diversity: Jewish heritage; National Downtown Historic District

parade with harris houseParade for dead Spanish-American war soldiers, 1900, with Harris house in background, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyGreyhound Station

Greyhound station today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Isaac Harris house was built in 1880 at an important location on the corner of Main Street (Capitol Way) and Sylvester Park. It was one among several large homes and mansions built along the Main Street corridor south of the park. (The park and the Old State Capitol Building can be seen in the background of the photograph at above left.)  Isaac Harris was one of the most important merchants in Olympia, arriving here in 1870. His sons Mitchel and Gus carried on the business and built the Harris Dry Goods store a block and a half away. In addition to this mercantile business, they were investors in many important commercial ventures, as well as being prominent members of the Jewish community. Mitchel Harris was a three-time mayor of Olympia.

According to historian Bernice Sapp, the Harris House was moved to a location at 7th Avenue and Adams Street, possibly the hip-roofed apartment building currently (2014) at that location.

In about 1937, the North Coast Lines built the art moderne building that stands at this location. North Coast was one of the many subsidiaries of Puget Sound Power and Light, begun in 1922 to provide electrically-powered transportation up and down the coast, but soon branching out into motorized transportation. With the completion of Highway 99, which ran down Capitol Way and turned onto Fourth Avenue, this corner was a key surface transportation hub for the city and its surrounding areas. Today it is the home of Greyhound Bus Lines and has retained most of its original art moderne features. In the 2000s, the Art Deco Society of Olympia, in collaboration with the Olympia Downtown Association, acquired funds to repaint the building, along with its iconic motto: “See America By Bus the Modern Travel Way.” However, the building is currently in decline. It is in the National  Downtown Historic District but not individually registered.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Downtown Historic District

Washington State Historical Society (images in bold are scanned): 2012.0.345; C1947.7.5; C1945.141.2

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grimm Brothers brickyard site/Le May grocery

Location: 1027 4th Ave E

eastside brickyardGrimm Brothers brickyard, ca. 1880, State Library CollectionOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Le May Market building now (2013) photograph by Deb Ross

Brickyards existed in and around Olympia from its earliest days. Early bricks were made by mining the extensive clay beds around Olympia’s shores, molding them, building wooden kilns to hold them and then setting the kilns on fire to bake the bricks.

The brickyard at the corner of Fourth and Eastside was one of at least two in East Olympia. It was owned by the Grimm brothers, and then by William Burchett and Christopher Baker until early in the 20th century.

The building currently at this site was erected in 1929, according to the Thurston County assessor. It was one of many commercial buildings built at the dawn of the automobile era, after the Carlyon Fill eased the way for Fourth Avenue to become a major east-west arterial through Olympia. The city directory for the following year shows this was a grocery store, the Le May Sanitary Market, owned by the Le May family (see also Le May House , Le May/Hedges House, Le May/Leonardson House, and Le May Meat Market on Capitol Way).

Eastside Neighborhood Brochure, City of Olympia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grugan House

Location: 1120 5th Ave SW

Grugan house_1938Grugan House in 1938, photo from Thurston County Assessor, Washington State ArchivesGrugan House

Grugan House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross

This well proportioned and well preserved home on the West Side was built in 1889, a very early date for West Olympia homes. It is in the pleasing and simple Victorian cottage style, with some ornamentation at the doorway. According to the Olympia Heritage inventory, Mr. Grugan worked at the Westside Mill, along West Bay Drive – his commute would have been an easy slide down to West Bay, and a tough, muddy slog back uphill to his home. This house has been inventoried but is not listed.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society (links in bold face have scanned photos, others detailed descriptions): C1964.26.4.18.7

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Gruhlke House

Location: 1114-1116 8th Ave SE
Popular culture

Kurt Cobain in EastsideGruhlke House in 1991, poster for Olympia punk rock compilation album, courtesy City of Olympia???????????????????????????????Gruhlke House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This well maintained Queen Anne home was built around 1903 by Rolph Gruhlke, a German-born carpenter. Along with characteristic shingling, columns, and cornices, it has an unusual front porch with a circular roof.

The home is associated with the punk rock movement in Olympia in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The photograph at above left is a promotional poster for a compilation album of local punk groups that was recorded in the house. The home is on the local inventory, but not the register. It has been converted into a duplex.

Thank you to owner Kathy Gilliam for additional information about the home and to Anna Schlecht for unearthing the poster. Thank you to Olympia’s music community for additional identifications. 

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Guyot House

Location: 902 Olympia Ave NE
Local register, Olympia Avenue Local Historic District

guyot_1965Guyot House 1965, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGuyot House today(2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Guyot House was built in 1927 by John Norris, but his relatives the Guyots moved here soon after. It is an attractive Craftsman style bungalow and is located in the Olympia Avenue local historic district, as well as being on the local register in its own right. The wrought iron features on the streetside are original, though they have suffered damage over the years. The home has recently undergone some careful restoration and renovation work. The home is associated with three older Olympia families: the Dobbinses, the Norrises, and the Guyots.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Avenue local historic district

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Hale Block

Location: 502 4th Ave E
Local register; Women’s history; Religious institutions

hale blockHale Block, 1914, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Societyhale block nowHale Block today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly

Pamela Case Hale – teacher, superintendant, Unitarian preacher, suffragist, and businesswoman par excellence – built the Hale Block in 1891, during a time of great prosperity for Olympia. This important addition to downtown Olympia was, at the time, on the edge of the Swantown Slough and, more importantly, was near the waterfront and the Springer and White mill (the Hale Block, then under construction, can be seen in the background of the Edward Lange drawing shown on the Where Are We? webpage for the mill). Hale also built the Jefferson Apartments a short distance away. As with the other large buildings in this area (for example, the Union Block), the upstairs rooms were used by a number of organizations and businesses. The Unitarian Society met here after the departure of their last minister in 1893 and the abandonment of their own church building (Hale’s connection with the church was likely a factor in choosing this location).

In the early 20th century this building was the location of the J.E. Kelley Furniture store. The name J.E. Kelley remains incised into the sidewalk in front of the building, confusing historians, as Kelley later moved across the street to the building that bears his name.

This building is on the local register, more for its historic significance than the building’s current characteristics, as it has been drastically altered over the years.

Additional links:

Washington State Historical Society (bold face indicates photograph is scanned), above photo 2010.149.1.2 (Robert Esterly photograph)

Olympia Heritage inventory

For more information on Pamela Case Hale, see the Residents section of this website

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Hale House

Location: 902 Tullis St NE
National, State, and Local registers, Women’s History

Hale House1939Hale House 1939, Thurston County Assessor Photo, Washington State ArchivesHale House

Hale House today (2010), photo by Deb Ross

The Hale House on Tullis Street is a good example of a Queen Anne cottage. Diminutive in size, its exterior is full of embellishments such as decorative shingling, pressed glass lights, and multiple facades. As can be seen from the photo to the left, the current owners have restored many of the original features of the house that had been lost, and in some cases, duplicated features that may not have been original but are consistent with the character of the home. Although several larger Queen Anne homes survive in Olympia, this house is rare for its small size, which would have been common at the time it was built.

The home’s place on the national, state and local register, however, is also secured by virtue of the prominence of its original inhabitants. Captain Calvin Hale settled on this land, part of a 320 acre Donation Act claim, with his first wife Waitstill, in 1852. He was an important citizen of Olympia and Washington Territory, serving in many elected positions and, for a time, as Indian Agent. After Waitstill’s death, Calvin married Pamela Case, a widow who had moved to Olympia after the death of her first husband and rapidly rose to prominence as a teacher (see listing for Central School site); was the first woman elected as County Superintendent of Instruction; and was appointed as State Superintendent of Instruction. This house was built in 1882, and the couple only lived here for five years. Their earlier residences do not survive.

After Calvin’s death, Pamela became very active in business and at one time was the wealthiest person of either sex in Thurston County (see Hale Block, Olympia Hotel, and Jefferson Apartments, all partly or completely funded or built by her). Today, Pamela Case Hale is considered one of the most important figures in Olympia’s late nineteenth-century history.

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

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (items in bold face have scanned images associated with them):C1964.26.4.16.4

Article,  Captain Calvin Hale and his home on Tullis Street, by Lois Fenske

Women’s History Walking Tour, Hale House

For more information on the Hales, including links to Wikipedia and other articles, see the Residents section of this website.

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Hamley House

Location: 3008 Lorne St SE
Local register

hamley_1941Hamley House, 1941, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHamley House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Hamley House was built in 1940 for Frederick Hamley, a lawyer, public official, and judge. While most of his professional career was in Seattle and later on in San Francisco as a member of the 9th Circuit court of appeals, he lived for several years in Olympia as an attorney for the Public Service Commission and later a member of the Supreme Court, which he chaired in 1955 and 1956. While in Olympia he researched the availability of Unitarian churches in the area. Finding none, he was instrumental in founding the Olympia Unitarian Fellowship, which continues to this day as the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Community.

This home is described as a minimal traditional style, but includes “modern” features such as the corner window, glass block by the entryway, and a large chimney facing the street. The home is on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Frederick Hamley papers at University of Washington

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Hanson, Louise Duplex (White House Press Building)

Location: 1417-1419 Columbia St SW
Women’s History 

louise hansonLouise Hanson Duplex (White House Press Building), 1969, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
louise hanson
Louise Hanson Duplex today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

Louise Hanson, wife of Olympia Oyster Company co-founder Ole Hanson (see O.C. Hanson House) commissioned Elizabeth Ayer to design this rental duplex in 1936. Ayer was the first female to graduate from the University of Washington’s architecture school. She is noted for her classical architecture with understated, graceful, decorative features (see, for example, Westhillsyde). This building is much less decorative than some but does reflect Ayer’s use of classical architecture in its Colonial style.

In the early 1960s many homes in this area were razed or moved to make way for expansions of Capitol Campus. This building and the adjacent Carlyon House were spared, to become offices for the press. They are now surrounded by gravel parking lots. The press and politicians refer to this building as the White House Press Building.

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

 

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Hanson, Ole C. House

Location: 1607 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District; Wohleb; Diversity: Scandinavians

ochanson_1937Ole C Hanson House, 1937, Thurston County assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOle C Hanson House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Ole C Hanson House, built in 1914, was an early commission for Joseph Wohleb. In these early years of his work in Olympia Wohleb 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. This Craftsman style home, with Tudor elements, is very similar in style to the nearby Otis House that was built the same year.

Ole C Hanson, an immigrant from Norway, was a cofounder of the Olympia Oyster Company, along with his first father-in-law, W.H. Kneeland. After his divorce from Bertha Kneeland Hanson, Hanson married his second wife, Louise (see also Louise Hanson duplex). As with many homes in this neighborhood, the home was then occupied by a judge and a doctor, due to its proximity both to the courts and the first St. Peter Hospital.  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

WSHS: enter following catalog number in Collections Search:  2012.123.115

 

 

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Harbst Service Station

Location: 728 4th Ave E
Transportation

 harbstHarbst Service Station building, 1964, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
harbst
Harbst Service Station today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

In 1916, at the dawn of the automotive age, this part of Fourth Avenue, down to Capitol Way through Olympia was designated part of the Pacific Highway, the main thoroughfare connecting cities in Washington State. The route was re-designated U.S. Route 99 in 1926. John Harbst, a German immigrant, built this service station in 1920 to service the thousands of vehicles that passed through downtown Olympia before Interstate 5 was built to bypass downtown. Harbst also owned the Harbst Tire Company on Columbia Street.

The decline of urban gas stations began in the 1990s, when this building was repurposed into an espresso stand. Greater fuel efficiency, the advent of multi-pump stations, and environmental regulations all served to deplete the margins of small mom-and-pop gas stations. This building represents an innovative way to preserve an art moderne icon of 1920s Olympia.

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Harbst Tire building/Site of Olympia Fire Co. No. 2

Location: 407 Columbia St SW
Downtown National Historic District;  Wohleb; Diversity: African Americans; Transportation

olympia fire coOlympia Fire Co. No. 2, 1891, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHarbst Tire Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

It is difficult to imagine that at one time, fire fighting organizations were not only organized exclusively by private organizations, but occasionally were competitors.  Firefighting in Olympia began very early on with the organization of Barnes Hook and Ladder Company by merchant George Barnes. The city’s “engine” was a converted farm wagon. In the 1860s, the first purpose-built fire engine was acquired, named the Columbia, which came around the Horn and arrived in the city to great fanfare. The volunteers manning the Columbia called themselves the Columbia No. 1 company.  The engine was housed in Columbia Hall, and both the Barnes Hook and Ladder and Columbia No. 1 called Columbia Hall their headquarters. (There was at least one other early fire fighting organization called the Squilgees that carried on a sporadic rivalry with Columbia No. 1 until the Squilgees’ engine burned.)

After the 1882 fire that destroyed the central block of Olympia’s downtown, the city acquired a new Silsby engine, which was powered by steam. At this time, another fire fighting organization was formed, called Olympia Fire Co. No. 2. Olympia Fire Co. No 2 was housed in a one-story clapboard building on Columbia St. between Fourth and Fifth, the location of this Where Are We? page. (This building already existed in 1879, as the Bird’s Eye View map linked below shows.)  An 1885 photograph of that one story building, with the Silsby engine and the crew, was found on Roger Easton’s webpage devoted to the chronology of the Olympia Fire Department (webpage no longer exists).

In 1891, the building was expanded to include a second story which had sleeping and eating accommodations for the firefighters. It also added a second bay, and another engine, locally built by blacksmith and city council member Thomas McBratney, was acquired. The photograph at above left may have been taken to commemorate this event. Among the crew of firefighters in this picture is young Jesse Mars, probably the first African American to serve as a firefighter in Olympia. He began as a firefighter at the young age of 13.  Sadly, he died of consumption (tuberculosis) only two months after this picture was taken. As Jesse was listed as a firefighter with Columbia No. 1, it may be supposed that the personnel of both crews was somewhat interchangeable.

Both Columbia Hall and Olympia Company No. 2 buildings continued to serve as fire stations until the new City Hall was built on State and Capitol and downtown fire fighting was consolidated.

Some time before 1914, the building currently on this site was erected and was the home of the Harbst Tire Company, continuing the tradition of having this part of town associated with the transportation industry. The building was remodeled in 1950 with a design by architect Joseph Wohleb. It is currently (2014) used as a restaurant. It is not on the local register nor inventoried, but is listed as “Historic Contributing” in the National Olympia Downtown Historic District listing.

National Olympia Downtown Historic District

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter catalog number in Collections Search page): C1960.290x.5 (interior of station); C1943.2x.137

City of Olympia history of fire department, showing another view of Columbia Fire Company No. 2

Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, 1879

Sources for information on this page were compiled from  Frank Spickelmire’s “Some Moment of History of the Olympia Fire Department, ” in Olympia Washington: A People’s History, edited by Drew Crooks; from Roger Easton’s chronology of fire fighting in Olympia; photographs, maps, and news articles. The above narrative constitutes an  effort to reconcile occasional conflicting chronologies and accounts. Thank you to Ed Echtle for providing valuable insights on chronology and locations.

For more information on Jesse Mars and Thomas McBratney see the Residents (M and B) section of this website.

 

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Harmon House

Location: 1532 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood; Diversity: Scandinavians

harmon_1937Harmon House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Harmon HouseHarmon House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

The Harmon 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 (the Rogers Street local historic district in West Olympia also features several TLM homes). The Harmon home’s design was featured in Tumwater Lumber Mills’s 1922 catalogue, and was bought by C.M. Harmon in 1928. Harmon was also associated with the lumber industry, being an officer in Hyak Lumber Company in downtown Olympia. The house has a combination of Craftsman style and Dutch Colonial features. 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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Harmony House

Location: 1603 Columbia St SW
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

harmony_1937Harmony House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Harmony HouseHarmony House today (2013), photo by Marisa Merkel

Kitty-corner from the similarly named Harmon House, the Harmony House is an early example of the modest bungalows that are typical of the South Capitol Neighborhood. It was built by Charles Harmony around 1910 and was later owned by CB Mann, a country treasurer and businessman, who was the instigator of the valuable Thurston County Pioneers project, the source of much information about early Thurston County. The home is very well preserved and is on the local register, and located in the South Capital National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic Neighborhood

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

 

 

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Harris Dry Goods/Grainger Stable site

Location: 518 Capitol Way Southeast
Local Register, Downtown Olympia National Historical District, Diversity: Jewish Heritage; Transportation

Parish6-6-14038Harris Dry Goods Building interior, 1943, Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State ArchivesHarris Dry Goods (2)As it appears today
Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

The block between Fifth Avenue and Legion Way on Capitol Way has always been one of the most important commercial locations in Olympia. In very early years, this was the site of the Grainger Stable and stage line, operated by Charles Grainger. The building currently at this site, the Harris Dry Goods building, was built by Isaac Harris in 1896 when he relocated his store from a location just west of here. The Harris family (Isaac and his sons Mitchel and Gus) were prominent merchants, active in local politics as well as the Jewish Temple. Their home was nearby, across from Sylvester Park.

Over the years, several stores have been located here. The building was badly damaged in the 2001 earthquake, when it was owned by Skookum Bay Outfitters. Following the earthquake, the building was acquired by Sandy Desner and restored to resemble its original vernacular design.

For more information about and historic photographs of the building, as well as the Harris family, follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown  District National Register

Washington State Historical Society photographs (boldfaced links to scanned images, others to detailed descriptions; enter the following catalog numbers in the Collections Search box): C1957.134x.7; C2016.0.12 (Grainger Stable)

City of Olympia Downtown Walking Tour

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

For more information about the Harris family, see the Residents section of this website and the Harris House in Where Are We?

Thank you to Susan Goff for information relating to the recent history of this building.

 

 

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Hart-Dawley House

Location: 121 24th Ave SE
Local register; South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

hartdawley_1940Hart-Dawley House 1940, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHart-Dawley House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

This elegant masonry English revival home was constructed in 1923 by contractor Leo Dawley, who built several other important buildings in Olympia along with his brother J.M. Dawley (see Dawley buildings and Golden Gavel Motel building, for example). If the Dawleys lived in this house at all, it was for a short time only, as the home was sold to Governor Louis Hart two years later. The home is on the local register and in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol Neighborhood National Historic District

 

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Hartung House

Location: 416 Carlyon Ave SE
Wohleb

hartung_1941Hartung House 1941, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHartung House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

Dr. Frank Hartung commissioned Joseph Wohleb in 1939 to substantially renovate and expand a 1 1/2 story home that was originally at this location in the Carlyon neighborhood of Southeast Olympia. It is in a Colonial revival style, demonstrating the breadth of Wohleb’s abilities. Dr. Hartung organized the Olympia Medical and Dental Corporation, which operated out of the McCleary Mansion nearby. The home has been inventoried but is not on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory sheet

 

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Henderson, Harriet House

Location: 503 Puget St NE
Women’s History, Popular Culture

henderson house_1950Henderson House, 1950, photo from Thurston County Assessor, State ArchivesHenderson House

Henderson House now (2010), photo by Deborah Ross

 

This house, known locally as the Harriet Henderson House, was built in about 1889, and was the residence of Florence Humphrey and her widowed mother. Miss Humphrey operated a boarding house here and also called herself a “nurse” in at least one directory. Her half-sister, Harriet Humphrey Henderson, is reported to have lived here for a time (hence the name Henderson House); however, contemporary directories show her living on Plum Street (East Bay Drive), just below the Henderson House, at least until after her sister’s death in the 1920s. Her son Edwin Henderson is reported to have sold many of the house’s furnishings.

Mrs. Henderson (who married and divorced teacher John Leland Henderson and then an evangelical pastor, Mr. Noble), was a founder of the Assembly of God Pentecostal church down the street at Puget and Bigelow. She was rumored to take in infants of prostitutes from the Red Light District north of State Avenue, and place them on the doorstep of wealthy citizens. Rebecca Christie’s book Workingman’s Hill devotes a chapter to Mrs. Henderson.

This house is one of the so-called Black Houses owned and rented by a local dentist, the subject of several local legends. 

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter the following catalog number in the Collections Search box):C1964.26.4.5.5 (unscanned photo circa 1937)

Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour (Assembly of God, information on Harriet Humphrey Henderson)

Video about Bigelow Highlands and legend of Harriet Henderson, available on Youtube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heritage Bank/Site of organization of First Presbyterian

Location: 221 5th Ave SW
mid-Century modern; Religious institutions

first pres meeting placeSite of organization of First Presbyterian Church, photograph by Asahel Curtis, date unknown, United Churches of Olympia 

heritage bankHeritage Bank today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

 

The first church in Olympia was organized in 1854 at this location, a cooper’s shop owned by James Wood, pictured at above left before it was demolished. A small congregation, called by George Whitworth, gathered here for services the morning of November 12, and organized into a church the same afternoon. The first congregation had just seven members. After its initial organization here, the church met in various existing structures until the first purpose-built church was erected in 1862, the First Presbyterian Church building.

The building currently on this site, the Heritage Bank building, was an early example in downtown of Olympia of the Brutalist style of architecture. It was erected in 1972 and is one of several downtown mid-Century modern buildings associated with the banking and finance industry.

Additional resources:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation report, property 48863

City of Olympia, mid-Century modern context statement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heritage Fountain/Site of Little Hollywood, Armory

Location: 315 4th Ave W
Diversity: Immigrants

little hollywoodLittle Hollywood, 1950, Olympia Fire Department Collection, Digital Archivesheritage fountainHeritage Fountain now (2010), photo from City of Olympia

Before the construction of Capitol Lake in 1951, the wide Deschutes Estuary extended to the north, up to the Fourth Avenue bridge. Float houses were built on the town side of this body of water and housed small businesses as well as residents. By the Depression in the 1930s, this area had developed into a full-scale community, later dubbed Little Hollywood, which housed the less acceptable elements of Olympia society, including immigrants, prostitutes, and alcoholics; as well as continuing to be the location for small-scale commercial concerns and a thriving community of about 100 structures. At this point, the city fathers determined to rid themselves of these undesirable elements and, over a space of two years, torched all of the shanties. (Note the photograph at above left, taken in 1950, shows the Legislative Building dome still under repair following the 1949 earthquake.) In 1951 the process was completed with the completion of the Fifth Avenue Dam and creation of additional land between Fourth and Fifth Avenues adjacent to the bridges. This area is now partly occupied by the Heritage Fountain.

Across from Little Hollywood, on the water side, was an armory, one of three armory locations over the years (see Armory and Farquhar Store). Adjacent to Little Hollywood, running up to and along the Fourth Avenue Bridge, was a series of commercial buildings. The Blake and Riggs Farmer’s Barn was one of these buildings, documented in the 1914 series of photographs taken by photographer Robert Esterly and also linked below.

For more information follow these links:

Washington State Historical Society (enter catalog number in Collections Search box): 2010.149.13.1 (Blake and Riggs barn)

Olyblog article about Little Hollywood; Evergreen Archives Article about Little Hollywood

Now Where Were We?: Little Hollywood, on Youtube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hibberd & Cole Building/Postal Telegraph/Carroll House site

Location: 522 Capitol Way S
Local register; Downtown National Historic District; Women’s History

main street at 6thMain Street with Carroll House, 1876 (detail), courtesy of Washington State Historical Society

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hibberd & Cole Building today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

In the early years of Olympia’s settlement, residences and commercial buildings freely mingled downtown. Shown at above left is a view of Main Street (now Capitol Way), looking north from Sixth Avenue (now Legion Way). The house at the right of the image is Robert and Abigail Stuart’s (see Stuart Building), and to the left of it is the home of lawyer Patrick P. Carroll and his family. Two of his children, George and Othilia followed in his footsteps. Othilia Carroll was the first woman to graduate from the University of Maine School of Law, and the first female justice of the peace. She married jurist Walter Beals and later they lived in Westhillsyde in West Olympia.

With the growth of Olympia and the location of the State Capitol downtown, commercial buildings began to overtake residences in the downtown core. In a 1914 photograph by Robert Esterly, the site is the location of the Postal Telegraph building, a two-story clapboard building. It’s possible this was the same structure as the Carroll House. The building currently at the site of the Carroll home was erected in 1926, in a style congruent with much of downtown, with its clerestory windows, recessed openings, and fixed awnings. It has been the home to several businesses over the years, including the Hibberd & Cole Men’s Store, from which the building takes its name. The building is on the local register and in the Downtown National Historic District.

Links:

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Olympia Heritage inventory (Hibberd & Cole Building)

Washington State Historical Society (enter catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C2013.18.85; 2010.149.8.1 (Postal Telegraph)

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

 

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Highmiller House

Location: 1200 Terrace Lane SW
Local Register

No vintage photograph for this home has been located. If you have one to share, please contact us
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Highmiller House today (2014), photograph by Deb Ross

Dr. Highmiller, a general practioner in Olympia, designed this house in around 1940. It was built by Copeland Lumber. The home is a simplified English Revival style and has elaborate landscaping overlooking Capitol Lake. The home is on the local register.

Many thanks to owner Angela Bowen for access to the grounds and additional information about it. 

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Hinkle House

Location: 2604 Capitol Way S
Local register, South Capitol National Historic District

hinkle_1939Hinkle House 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHinkle House today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

This relatively modest Craftsman/Foursquare style house at the far southern end of the South Capitol neighborhood was the long-time home of Secretary of State J. Grant Hinkle and his wife Irene. At the time it was built, in about 1920, it would have been a long, tedious commute from this distant home on the edge of town, to the State Capitol Building at Sylvester Park (the Old State Capitol, now Superintendent of Public Instruction building). On the other hand, Capitol Way was paved, and the current Legislative Building was in process of construction: by the time Hinkle finished his long service as Secretary of State in 1933, he had the opportunity to move into his offices on Capitol Campus.

The home is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

For more information on J. Grant Hinkle, see the Residents section of this website.

 

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Holbrook House

Location: 503 Foote St SW
Local register

 

 

Holbrook_1966Holbrook House 1966, Thurston County Assessor Photo, Washington State Archives

 

holbrookHolbrook House today (2016), photo by Ron Barnhart

Built in 1892, this spacious Queen Anne home was among the earlier homes to be built in West Olympia, and sat above the Percival Mansion to the south of the bridge. It was owned by Dr. Holbrook for many years. It retains most of the features of the original home, including a large, landscaped lot and many of the interior features have been preserved as well.

The home is on the local register.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter catalog number in Collections Search box):C1964.26.4.7.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hollocraft House

Location: 314 Legion Way SE

hollocraft_1964Hollocraft House 1964, Thurston County Assessor Photo, Washington State Archives???????????????????????????????Hollocraft House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Foursquare-style Hollocraft home was built in 1907 by Thomas Hollocraft, who worked in the State Printing Office. It is one of the few remaining residential structures in the downtown core. The family lived and operated a boarding house here for many years. The building has been nicely preserved.

For more information follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Hosking House

Location: 1404 28th Ave SE
local register, Wohleb, mid-Century modern

hosking_1940Hosking House, 1940, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHosking House today (2013), Photo by Deb Ross

Frederick Schmidt and his brother Franck, who were part of the Olympia Brewing Company family, platted Stratford Place during World War II. They built several homes in the subdivision out of concrete block, including Frederick’s own home, the Frederick W. Schmidt House   and the nearby Fox House. This home, the Hosking House, was located at the edge of what is now Watershed Park. It was built in 1939 with a design by architect Joseph Wohleb. According to historians, concrete block was used because of the difficulty of obtaining wood during the war. Several unique features were used to reduce moisture as well as insulate the homes. The first owner, Marvin Hosking, Jr., worked as parts manager for Fleming Harvey Motors. The home is on the local heritage register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

mid-Century modern context statement

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Hotel Olympian/Site of Eugley & Musgrove Millinery

Location: 116 Legion Way SE
Downtown National Historical  District, Women’s History

Hotel-Olympian_1954Hotel Olympian by Jeffers, 1954. Susan Parish Photograph Collections, Washington State ArchivesOlympian Hotel Hotel Olympian today (2012), Photo courtesy of Matthew Kennelly

When the state acquired the Old State Capitol Building and moved the seat of government to downtown Olympia, it was apparent that downtown accommodations were inadequate to house all of the legislators, lobbyists and others during legislative session. After much delay, the five-story Hotel Olympian was built in 1918 directly to the north of Sylvester Park. The exterior of the building is remarkably well preserved. It sustained only minor damage during the 1949 and 2001 earthquakes. The interior now includes apartments on the upper floors, a restaurant and retail stores on ground floor, and a ballroom on the second floor.

Before construction of this hotel, this was one of several locations of Bertha Eugley’s millinery and residence, and subsequently her daughter Katherine Eugley Musgrove’s millinery store. (Katherine’s husband owned a shoe store around the corner in the Walker Building)

According to historian Bernice Sapp, the Tarbells and the Hamers lived in homes along Washington Street where the Olympian Hotel building now is.

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter catalog numbers in Collections Search box, bold face indicates photograph has been scanned): 2008.210.10.1; C1981.30x.9 (earthquake damage);  C1961.1185.15, 2010.149.32.2, Musgrove Millinery

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Olympia Downtown National Historic District

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