Category Archives: Looking Back – Images from page 2 of the Sunday Olympian

The Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum selects and captions Olympia-area images for page 2 of the Sunday Olympian. This page features those images and may include additional information about them. You can use the Search button on our menu banner to search for specific photographs and subjects.

Olympia Opera House – 9/12/2021

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. At the far right of the 1899 cityscape is the Olympia Opera House, built in 1890 by publisher John Miller Murphy. Over its short 35 year life, it hosted national celebrities such as Mark Twain, and many local productions.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

Olympia Opera House, State Library photograph collection, Washington State Archives, about 1890

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Capitol Center building – 9/5/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Shown in the distance of the 1972 cityscape is the Capitol Center Building, erected in 1966. The building was the feather in local architect G. Stacey Bennett’s cap. It featured cutting edge modernism with its glass curtain effect, termed the Miesian style, after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It has been rehabilitated and remodeled as the Views on Fifth apartment building. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

late 1960s photo, courtesy Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

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Mother Joseph – 8/29/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1899 cityscape includes an elderly Mother Joseph visiting St. Peter’s Hospital, one of the many schools and hospitals that her order, the Sisters of Providence, built during her long tenure in the Pacific Northwest. Mother Joseph is honored with statues in our Legislative Building and the U.S. Senate Statuary Hall.  For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

Courtesy Providence archives

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Isaac Ellis – 8/22/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1874 cityscape includes Isaac (Ike) Ellis. Ellis was a noted and successful lumberman, establishing efficient logging and milling operations throughout Puget Sound. Later in his life, he invested in a short-lived racetrack in what is now Lacey.  For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/.

Unknown photographer, 1860-1880, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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George Bush – 8/15/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1856 cityscape includes George Bush, early American settler. He and the Simmons party arrived first in Oregon Territory; but as a mixed race man, Bush was not welcome there. The party proceeded north to what is now Tumwater, where Bush and his wife Isabella helped countless fellow settlers to establish their homesteads. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information see. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Heritage Fountain – 8/8/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 2001 cityscape includes the popular Heritage Fountain, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The property was acquired by the city, with the fountain donated by a generous family. It was dedicated in 1996 and is one of the few public recreational water features in our city. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

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Joyce Simmons Cheeka – 8/1/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1972 cityscape includes Joyce Simmons Cheeka, Squaxin Island Tribe activist. Mrs. Cheeka was trained as a Rememberer, responsible for preserving and celebrating her tribal culture.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

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5th Avenue dam construction – 7/24/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1950 cityscape features construction of the Fifth Avenue dam and bridge to create Capitol Lake. In this photo from 1949 we can see the project from the vantage point of the Fourth Avenue Bridge. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/.

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Hotel Olympian – 7/18/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. 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 elegant five-story Hotel Olympian, pictured in the 1933 cityscape, was completed in 1920, directly to the north of Sylvester Park. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1933-2/6/27/21

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S.S. Beaver – 7/11/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The S.S. Beaver, pictured in the 1856 cityscape, was the first steam-operated vessel in Puget Sound. She was owned by the British Hudson’s Bay Company and plied the waters of our sound and all the way to Alaska, until she foundered in 1888. The Vancouver (B.C.) Maritime Museum has a display with several of her salvaged parts. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Bicycles – 7/4/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1899 cityscape features a bicycle parade around the grounds of Sylvester Park. Bicycling was all the rage in the last years of the 19th century. Pictured here are Olympia’s Robert Blankenship and another unidentified man with their “wheels,” including a high-wheeled pennyfarthing, already going out of style when the photo was taken.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

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Bertha Eugley – 6/27/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In the 1899 cityscape we see Bertha Eugley in front of her millinery (hat) store on 6th Avenue (now Legion). Late nineteenth century women would not dream of going out in public without a hat, and Mrs. Eugley made sure that those who could afford it had the opportunity to sport her latest, elaborate creations. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

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Anna Conner Hartsuck – 6/20/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1874 cityscape includes Anna Conner Hartsuck, a so-called “Mercer Girl,” brought to the Pacific Northwest in the 1860s to remedy a deficit of eligible brides. The Mercer Girls story inspired the TV series “Here Come the Brides.” Anna married Mark Hartsuck and was a prominent member of Olympia society.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/

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Clara Sylvester – 6/13/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1856 cityscape depicts Clara Pottle Sylvester with her husband, Olympia’s co-founder Edmund Sylvester, pointing out their new home, then under construction. Clara arrived in Olympia as a newlywed in 1854. She was an ardent supporter of women’s suffrage and helped establish the Woman’s Club, one of the first on the West Coast.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Barbara O’Neill – 6/6/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Barbara O’Neill, pictured in the 2001 cityscape, was a commanding presence in our area for many years. While operating a soul food restaurant on Fourth Avenue, she instituted a practice of providing free holiday meals for those in need. The tradition continued after her death, with the annual Barb’s Family and Friends program, led by her children and numerous volunteers and supporters. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

 

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Memorial Clinic – 5/23/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1950 cityscape begins to include some of downtown Olympia’s iconic mid-Century architecture. The Memorial Clinic just east of the Fourth Avenue bridge, designed in 1948 by father-son team Joseph and Robert Wohleb, was an innovative concept at the time, grouping several physicians and specialties under one roof. The building was demolished in 2015.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/

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Security Building – 5/16/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The Security Building on Fourth Avenue, pictured in the 1933 cityscape, was Olympia’s first “skyscraper,” at five stories! The building features elaborate rosettes and pineapple motifs, a variety of rare stones, and mahogany woodwork throughout. Built on pilings that extended 60 feet deep, the building survived both the 1949 and the 2001 earthquakes. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1933-2/

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Trolleys – 5/9/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1899 cityscape shows one of Olympia’s five yellow trolleys proceeding southward on Main Street (now Capitol Way). The trolley system was electrified in 1892, with power supplied by the hydroelectric plant at Deschutes Falls. The system ran until 1933; a remnant exists in the form of a trolley pole at 11th and Capitol. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

 

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First Congregational Church – 5/2/21


Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Religious communities have always played an important role in the life of our residents. First Congregational church, pictured here at its first location on 9th and Capitol (out of view in the 1874 cityscape), was the fifth church to be organized in Olympia. The congregation still exists, part of the federated United Churches of Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. 

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Washington Center – 4/18/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The site of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts has been an entertainment mecca since the 1920s, beginning with the Liberty movie theater. As suburban multiplexes spelled the slow demise of downtown cinema venues, the city of Olympia teamed up with the state to develop the current entertainment complex. The cityscape for 2001 features the center as it appeared before its much-needed facelift in 2014. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

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Governor Hotel – 4/11/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The 1972 cityscape pictures The Governor Hotel at the corner of 7th and Legion. The hotel has existed here since 1890, but in three different incarnations. The latest structure was built in 1970 in a mid-Century modern design by architectural firm Camp, Dresser, McKee. It is seen here during Pride Week 2014. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/.

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Lower Main Street – 4/4/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In its early decades, as seen in the 1856 cityscape, Olympia’s commercial core was located in the few blocks north of State Avenue. In this photograph, taken much later, around 1902, we can still see remnants of the Bettman store, the balconied Washington Hotel, and the seat of the first territorial legislature beyond it (now the location of Chelsea Farms restaurant on Capitol Way north). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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3/28/21 – Miller’s

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. The Miller’s Department Store building was erected at Legion Way and Capitol Way about 1949, around the time this photograph was taken. The building has housed a number of retail establishments throughout the years. Damage from the 2001 earthquake and other alterations have largely eliminated its original mid-Century modern architectural features. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/. Jeffers photo, 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Washington Veneer – 3/21/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. With the completion of the Carlyon Fill in 1911, the port area of Olympia was able to accommodate dramatic industrial growth. The Washington Veneer Company was founded in 1924, joining the existing Olympia Veneer cooperative at the northern tip of the Port. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1933-2/.

unknown photographer and date, State Library photograph collection, Washington State Archives

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3/14/21 – Sylvester Park with 7th Avenue “lid”

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. This photo, taken from the Old State Capitol building, shows Sylvester Park around the end of the 19th century. To the south of the park we see the planking of “the lid,” the predecessor of the 7th Avenue railroad tunnel. It was originally a trench dug along Seventh Avenue and capped by wooden planking. The trench was replaced by the current tunnel in 1913. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

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3/7/21 – Washington Standard

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. John Miller Murphy, prolific, opinionated, long-lived editor of the Washington Standard, came to Olympia with his sister in 1851 and published the Standard from 1860 until 1921. The Standard building was located on Third Avenue (now State Avenue). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/.

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2/28/21 – Leschi

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Leschi, a member of the Nisqually tribe, was designated a leader of the tribe in treaty negotiations after Washington gained territorial status, but refused to sign the Medicine Creek treaty, deeming it inadequate to preserve the Nisqually way of life. He was later judicially murdered for his role in the so-called Indian Wars of the 1850s, but posthumously exonerated in 2004. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information https://olympiahistory.org/1841-cheetwoot/

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2/21/21 – Procession of the Species

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In 1995, Earthbound Productions founder Eli Sterling spearheaded the Procession of the Species, an annual event commemorating Earth Day and the natural environment. The event features thousands of participants and spectators and involves months of preparation. This angler fish is a perennial favorite. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/2001-2/

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2/14/21 – KGY

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Radio station KGY is one of the oldest on the Pacific Coast, licensed in 1916. In 1960 it moved into a mid-Century modern building design by G. Stacey Bennett, at the far northern tip of the Port area. The 1972 Sylvester’s Window narrative describes the welcome voice of KGY’s long-time and beloved Dick Pust, announcing a snow day during the blizzard of January 1972. Both Dick and the station tower are visible in the cityscape for 1972. Dick has now (2021) retired from radio broadcasting and is working on a memoir. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1972-2/

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2/7/2021- Centennial Parade

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In May 1950, Olympia held a week-long celebration of our city’s centennial. The Olympian put together a multi-page spread, residents dressed as pioneers, culminating with the Grand Centennial Parade of Progress. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1950-2/.

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Little Hollywood – 1/31/21

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. A neighborhood known as Little Hollywood had existed for many years along the shores of the Deschutes Estuary (now Capitol Lake), but expanded during the Great Depression, as depicted in the cityscape for 1933. Buildings were a mixture of float houses, temporary structures known as shanties, and more permanent structures such as Zamberlin’s Market, pictured here. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1933-2/.

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Sylvester Park – 1/25/2021

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. After the construction of the magnificent Thurston County Courthouse, now the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the town commons was beautified into a public park with winding pathways, bandstand, and fountain. In the year of the 1899 cityscape, Olympia celebrated the last year of the century with a bicycle parade through the park. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1899-2/

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Columbia Hall – 1/17/2021

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. Columbia Hall, pictured in the 1874 cityscape, was built in 1869 on 4th Avenue, near the center of downtown Olympia. 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. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information see https://olympiahistory.org/1874-building-a-railroad/

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Konrad Schneider – 1/10/2021

Throughout 2021 we are featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In 1856, Olympia’s cofounder Edmund Sylvester was overseeing construction of his Italianate mansion, located just south of the town common now named after him. A German immigrant, Konrad Schneider, was responsible for much of the home’s construction. Schneider had just returned to Olympia after building the New Dungeness lighthouse outside of Sequim. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1856-the-indian-war/

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Charles Wilkes – 1/3/2021

Throughout 2021 we will be featuring events and people from the Sylvester’s Window cityscape project, now available online. In 1838, an American naval officer, Charles Wilkes, was given command of an expedition to explore the Pacific Ocean and document its shores and islands. Wilkes reached the southern end of Puget Sound in July 1841. He and his crew were among the first Americans to set foot at what is now Olympia.   Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society. For more information, see https://olympiahistory.org/1841-cheetwoot/.

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Admittance Day – 12/27/2020

In this image from November 1939, a group of Cub Scouts participates in a parade celebrating the Golden Anniversary of Washington’s admittance as a state into the Union.  The float, though, commemorates an earlier occasion, namely the arrival of the first U.S. citizen settlers over the Oregon Trail. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Richards Studio, 1939, courtesy Tacoma Public Library

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GP Tester – 12/20/2020

Manufacturing giant Georgia Pacific took over the Washington Veneer plywood plant in Olympia and built its headquarters in the Port area, a building noted for its modern architecture demonstrating the versatile uses of plywood. In this photograph from 1955, a tester at the headquarters analyzes the strength of plywood. The building is now occupied by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and is on the National Register.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. Richards Studio, 1955, courtesy Tacoma Public Library

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Ron Dodge – 12/13/2020

Olympia native Ron Dodge was a 19 year old up-and-coming baseball player for Tacoma’s Cheney Studs when this photograph was taken of him in 1955. After playing for several different baseball teams, Ron signed up as a pilot with the U.S. Navy, and was sent to Vietnam, where he was shot down and held as a prisoner of war. His remains were finally returned home in 1981. Ron’s cousin John Dodge was a longtime reporter for the Olympian. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society.

Richards Studio, 1955, courtesy  Tacoma Public Library

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Ken Balsley – 12/6/2020

A young Ken Balsley poses for his photograph, accompanying an article from 1971 that identified him as a student representative to The Evergreen State College Board of Trustees. Ken has remained in the Olympia area, as an influential journalist, broadcaster, commentator, and political activist. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, August 1971, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Land Office – 11/29/2020

Throughout much of the 19th century, citizens were entitled to claim acreage under a series of federal laws designed to encourage Americans to settle in Western territories and states. As the population of the West grew rapidly in the 1870s and 1880s, United States Land Offices were established to process land claims. A group of early settlers poses here outside the Land Office in downtown Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Unidentified photographer, around 1880, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Vote for Olympia poster – 11/22/2020

When Washington achieved statehood in 1889, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that Olympia would remain the capital of the new state. A concerted campaign featuring posters like this one, and “bribes” in the form of local restaurateur Woodbury Doane’s famous pan-roasted oysters, helped Olympia retain its status over contenders Ellensburg and North Yakima. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Poster, 1889, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Oxen team at Bordeaux – 11/15/2020

The Bordeaux logging community was established in the 1880s by French Canadian-born Thomas Bordeaux. Before the advent of a logging railroad, teams of oxen laboriously pulled the huge logs along makeshift corduroy roads. This photograph of one such team is said to be the model for the oxen team depicted in bronze on the doors of the Legislative Building.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Unknown photographer, 1880s, Washington State Archives

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Diamond Jubilee Cake – 11/8/2020

Washington State celebrated its Diamond Jubilee (75th anniversary) in November 1964 with a 600 pound cake. Although there had been concerns that the cake would not fit inside the doors of the Legislative Building, it survived the journey, accompanied by sisters Christy, Gayle, and Sarah Conger, of Olympia. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, November 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

 

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Olympia High School football team of 1909 – 10/25/2020

The Olympia High School football team of 1909 included the children of many of Olympia’s most prominent citizens. The sweaters, emblazoned with a capital “O,” were made at Olympia Knitting Mills, then in its infancy. Eventually the company grew to become a large operation that shipped knitted sportswear as far away as China. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Unidentified photographer, 1909, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Hays children at Governor’s Mansion – 10/18/2020

It may surprise some that there was no Washington State-owned Governor’s Mansion until 1909. The current mansion on Capitol Campus was first occupied by Governor Marion Hay and his family. In this photograph, taken around that time, two of the governor’s seven children pose on the mansion grounds with a member of the Mansion staff. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. Unknown photographer, about 1911, Washington State Archives

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Donald Anthony White demonstration – 10/11/2020

Donald Anthony White, a young Black man, was sentenced to death after being convicted of murder. Protesters against the death penalty, including folk singer Joan Baez, convened on the steps of the Legislative Building in 1964, seeking clemency for White, who had been diagnosed as schizophrenic. He was granted a new trial and his sentence commuted to life in prison. He later graduated from high school and college while in prison. White’s story galvanized the nationwide anti-death penalty movement. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.  Unknown photographer, 1964, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Franklin Roosevelt in Olympia – 10/4/2020

On October 1, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went on a whirlwind tour of the Olympic Peninsula, and then stopped for a few minutes in Olympia. Rain throughout the day had forced him to tour in a closed-top car for most of the trip, but he quickly changed to an open car just before he reached the capital, accompanied by a rainbow and a throng of spectators. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Merle Junk photo, 1937, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Velodrome – 9/27/2020

Bicycles and bicycle racing were immensely popular at the turn of the 20th century. A velodrome (bicycle racing arena) was constructed near the current site of Olympia High School, and races were held weekly. In this photo from around 1900, the contenders race by in a blur while spectators, many bearing umbrellas, fill the stands. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

W.A. Van Epps photo, about 1900, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Olympia Cafe – 9/20/2020

In 1914, photographer Robert Esterley took a series of photographs documenting downtown businesses, their owners, and staff. Shown here is The Olympia Cafe at 116 4th Avenue. It was owned by John Baretich. In the 1930s he hired architect Joseph Wohleb to design an art moderne-style building for the same location. The Baretich building is currently the home of the Danang Restaurant. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. Robert Esterley photo, 1914, Washington State Historical Society

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Olympia Brewing Company poster – 9/16/2020

Leopold Schmidt began brewing beer in 1896 at the foot of Tumwater Falls. By 1906 he had built the large complex seen in this advertising poster. The Old Brewhouse building, still in existence, takes center stage; beyond it we can see the Schmidt Mansion on the hillside, but most other structures in the image were obliterated when I-5 came through in the 1960s. Image  selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Advertising poster, early 1900s, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Sky River II – 9/6/2020

In 1969, the second annual Sky River Rock Festival took place in Tenino over Labor Day weekend. (The first Sky River was in Snohomish County.) Held over the objections of local residents, the festival lineup included James CottonCountry Joe and the FishFlying Burrito BrothersBuddy GuyDan Hicks and His Hot Licks, among others. Daily Olympian staff were on hand to document the three-day long event. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, 1969, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Burmeister Saloon – 7/26/2020

In 1853, Charles Burmeister established one of the earliest saloons in Olympia. It was located on Fourth Avenue and Washington Street, where the State Theater is now. This photograph from the 1860s shows Burmeister, his wife, and others in front of the saloon. The building was later moved further west on Fourth Avenue but succumbed to the extension of downtown’s masonry buildings in the early 1900s. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Unknown photographer, 1860s, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Mary O’Neil – 8/16/2020

Mary O’Neil was one of the earliest territorial schoolteachers, arriving in Olympia in 1863. In 1910, several of her former students gathered to honor her, posing here on the steps of the State Capitol Building (now Office of Superintendant of Public Instruction). Miss O’Neil is in the center of the front row. Many of her students came to be prominent civic leaders. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Unknown photographer, 1910, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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George Adams – 8/30/2020

George Adams, a member of the Skokomish Tribe in Mason County, was one of the first Native Americans elected to the Washington State Legislature, serving for sixteen years. In this photograph taken early in his career, Adams poses in traditional attire. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

 

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Fourth Avenue Bridge – 8/9/2020

The Fourth Avenue Bridge shown here was completed in 1921, replacing a faulty drawbridge. The new bridge accommodated a trolley line from downtown to West Olympia, as well as foot, bicycle, and automobile traffic. After it sustained damage in the 2001 Nisqually Quake, it was reopened and dedicated in 2004 as the Olympia-Yashiro Friendship Bridge. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Unknown photographer, about 1921, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Rutledge and Littlerock – 8/2/2020

Albert Rutledge, son of pioneer Thomas Rutledge, stands behind the rock that gives Littlerock, Washington its name, in this photo from 1963. The Rutledge family settled here in 1855. The homestead was one of the earliest in Washington State, and both it and the rock still exist. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Elmer Plumb – 7/19/2020

Elmer Plumb, son of early pioneers, operated a cigar and confectionary store in the Cowling Building at 117 Washington Street (the building still exists, in the National Downtown Historic District). A lifelong bachelor, Elmer was asked by a reporter on his 70th birthday, “What are some of the important events which have occurred in Thurston county in your time?” He responded, “pretty near all that’s happened.” Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

1933 photograph, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Capitol Lake swimming area – 7/12/2020

When the Capitol Lake recreation area opened in summer 1964, it was an instant hit with adults and children alike. Here an unidentified grownup makes a big splash while trying out the water slide. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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1908 Suffrage Float – 7/5/2020

The 1908 Fourth of July parade in downtown Olympia featured a float, dubbed the Liberty Car, promoting the drive for women’s suffrage. Women dressed in white, the emblem of the suffrage movement, wear sashes representing the states, while float queen Mollie Moore is draped in the flag. Women’s Suffrage was passed in Washington State in 1910, and nationally in 1920. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Unknown photographer, 1908, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Wooden Pipes – 6/28/2020

Early public water systems used wooden pipes to carry water underground to homes and businesses. One major manufacturer of wooden pipes was the National Wood Pipe company, located about where the Hands On Children’s Museum is today. This photograph shows a load of wooden pipes being transported along the Union Railroad tracks on Jefferson Street. Recent excavations on Legion Way unearthed one of these older wooden pipes. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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Fourth Avenue in 1860s – 6/21/2020

This drawing of Fourth Avenue, reproduced in an 1891 edition of the Olympia Tribune, was based on an earlier photograph, now lost. It shows Fourth Avenue, looking west. The building with the cupola at the right of the image is Columbia Hall, the current site of the Fourth Ave Tav. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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Civil War veterans – 6/14/2020

A group of Washington State Civil War veterans gathered for a convention in Olympia in 1934, posing here for their photograph in the Old State Capitol Building (now Superintendent of Public Instruction). The local chapter of the Civil War veterans’ association, known as the Grand Army of the Republic, gathered each year for a picnic at Priest Point Park until the 1930s; the Olympia GAR chapter’s oldest veteran died in 1939. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Vibert Jeffers photo, 1934, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Ernest Cheeka – 6/7/2020

In 1964, Ernest Cheeka, Jr., was named chief of the Makah Tribe. Cheeka, then a resident of Olympia, took the Indian name of Khulchoot. He is pictured here with a ceremonial mask, in preparation for his installation. Cheeka was a Vietnam veteran, accomplished artist, and supporter of Native American rights and traditions. He died in 2011. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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The Importance of Being Earnest – 5/31/2020

Our focus this month has been Thurston County’s long love affair with amateur theatrics. School dramatic performances have always been popular with students and parents alike. In this Daily Olympian publicity photograph from 1966, Tumwater High School students Virginia Hamrick, Jim Damitio, Rick Yarber, Kathy Kohse, and Candy Street rehearse a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest, a perennial favorite among high school and local theater companies.  Photograph selected by costumier Melanie Ransom on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1966, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Whirl O’ The Town – 5/24/2020

Our focus this month is Thurston County’s long love affair with amateur theatrics. In 1908 a performance of The Whirl O’ the Town was staged at the 1,000-seat Olympia Opera House, as a fund raiser for a new Olympia Woman’s Club home. Its previous clubhouse had burned down in 1907. With a cast numbering about 100, the seats were undoubtedly filled with performers’ relatives and friends.   Photograph selected by costumier Melanie Ransom on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Unknown photographer, 1908, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Minstrels – 5/17/2020

Our focus this month is Thurston County’s long love affair with amateur theatrics. Unlike some other kinds of comedy routines, men dressing as women never seems to go out of style. In this image, one of a montage of publicity images for a local minstrel show, a male actor, dressed in a sweeping gown, is wooed by “her” rustic swain. Photograph selected by costumier Melanie Ransom on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

A.D. Rogers Photo, around 1910, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Chimes of Normandy – 5/3/2020

Our focus this month is Thurston County’s long love affair with amateur theatrics. In this image from 1888, members of the St. John’s Musical Society perform a number from the operetta The Chimes of Normandy.  It was staged at Columbia Hall, one of the earliest performing arts venues in Olympia. Proceeds of the production helped in the acquisition of a pipe organ for the church. Photograph selected by costumier Melanie Ransom on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

A.D. Rogers Photo, 1888, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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4/12/2020 – Mann’s Seeds

Frank Sparks looks over an antique prescription case in this photograph from 1965. His grandfather was Champion Mann, who first operated a pharmacy downtown, and later opened Mann’s Seeds, at the current location of Rainy Day Records on 5th Avenue. Sparks was closing the store after many years of operation, the victim of mass production and distribution of seed. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, February 1965, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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4/5/2020 – Abbie Howard Hunt Stuart

Abbie Howard Hunt, born and college-educated in Massachusetts, came west to seek a career. She eventually married Robert Stuart, a Federal lands commissioner, and moved to Olympia. Abbie was an ardent suffragist who founded one of the first women’s clubs on the west coast, the Olympia Woman’s Club. Its clubhouse on Washington Street is named for her, as are Stuart Apartments downtown, the site of the Stuarts’ home. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Ida B. Smith photo, 1900, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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3/29/2020 – Lurana Percival

Meet Lurana Ware Percival. The Percivals were early arrivals to Olympia. Samuel Wing Percival operated a lumber mill and store, and established Percival Wharf, now Percival Landing, in order to receive and transport merchandise to and from his operations. An apartment building, the Laurana, located at the southern end of Percival Landing, honors Mrs. Percival (with an alternate spelling of her first name). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Joseph Buchtel, around 1870, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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3/15/2020 – Marlon Brando is arrested

In March 1964, Marlon Brando arrived in our area to support Native American tribes as they challenged the state’s interpretation of fishing treaty rights. He was arrested for his efforts. He’s shown here in the Thurston County Courthouse, consulting with Puyallup tribe member Robert Satiacum.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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CC and Asenath Ann Kennedy Simmons – 3/8/2020

In 1864, Asenath Ann Kennedy and Christopher Columbus (CC) Simmons eloped via a “rudely fashioned rowboat.” Asenath Ann was only 14, and CC 19. Legend has it that Asenath Ann placed a piece of paper inscribed with the number 18 in her shoe, so she could answer the preacher truthfully when he asked “Are you over 18?” The couple lived to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Unknown photographer, about 1864, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Makah protestors – 3/1/2020

As the “fish wars” asserting Native American fishing rights heated up in the mid-1960s, protests regularly occurred at the Legislative Building. In this photograph from March 1964, a group of Makah Indians performed as dance as part of one such event. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Road Runners – 2/23/2020

Roadrunners of Olympia was a hot rod club for teenage boys, aimed at “giving teenage boys good things to do.” The boys helped motorists, engaged in car talk, and enjoyed cruising the 4th Avenue and State Street circuit downtown. Members pictured here with club advisor Officer Oscar Schultz include Ernie Main, John Bert, Mike Faber, Pat Shay, Mike Wood, and Andy Miller. President Will Wolf, now 83, is at right of second row. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

1952 photo donated by Marcia and Will Wolf

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Olympia High School Band – 2/16/2020

Music has always been an important feature of Olympia life. In this photo from around 1915, instructor Benjamin McClelland is seated with members of the Olympia High School Band.  McClelland’s home on the West Side is on the local heritage register. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Collier Photo, about 1915, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Port of Olympia – 2/2/2020

In February 1938, Ann Nielsen’s Scottish father was aboard the Pacific Pioneer, a British cargo ship that arrived at the Port of Olympia, loading fresh fruit and lumber bound for Great Britain, which was already on the verge of World War II. The port would have looked vastly different than it does today. This aerial from that timeframe shows oil tanks, veneer plants, warehouses, and a row of ships pulled up along Percival Dock. Photograph selected and captioned by Ann Nielsen on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

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Sherwood Press – 1/19/20

Jocelyn Dohm founded the Sherwood Press in 1940 to produce high-quality printed material using traditional techniques. Here, in a photo from 1964, Miss Dohm is creating stationery for the Olympia branch of the American Association of University Women. AAUW member Mrs. Walter Vitous looks on appreciatively. The Sherwood Press is still in operation, now under the able management of Jamie Heinricher. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, October 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Ted Burntrager – 1/12/20

Ted Burntrager, long-time Olympia resident, demonstrates how to mount a “pennyfarthing,” or high wheeled bicycle. The bicycle was on display at Talcott Jewelers, a long-time Olympia store that sold jewelry, bicycles, and everything in between. The bicycle would have been an antique at the time the photograph was taken. Fittingly, the Talcott Jewelers building is now a downtown bicycle shop. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

unknown photographer, around 1950s, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Jeannette Whitcher pays it forward – 1/5/20

Jeannette Whitcher understood the concept of “pay it forward” before it became a byword. In this January 1964 photo, she and Olympia Vocational Technical Institute classmate Paul Golden view a pile of wrapped gifts. The Golden family had lost all of their Christmas gifts in a fire, and Mrs. Whitcher organized a drive to replace them. Her family had experienced a similar loss and resulting community support several years before.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Daily Olympian photo, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Rotunda castle – 12/29/19

Carpenter Bill Soller put his talents into action to create this Disneyesque castle for the holiday display at the Legislative Building Rotunda in 1963. Soller is shown at the entrance to the castle, putting on finishing touches. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Daily Olympian photo, December 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Washington Junior High Glee Club – 12/2/19

The Daily Olympian captured youngsters from Washington Junior High School in December 1963 as they practiced for an upcoming Christmas concert. Pictured here are Freddy Dobler, Tom Cooper, and Doug Parris, members of the school’s glee club. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, December 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Frost girls – 11/24/19

Meet the four daughters of Olympia merchant Robert Frost: Carrie, Annie, Nellie and Florence (Floy). The Frost home was on the east side of Olympia, near East Bay Drive. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

1885 photo by Rogers Studio, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Union Pacific Depot – 11/17/19

The Union Pacific depot on Fourth Avenue is shown here in a photo from the 1920s. The depot was later the site of a tragic 1959 accident involving runaway freight cars. A portion of the depot building still exists, now the site of a pet store. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Boland photo, 1920s, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

 

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Minnie Mossman Hill – 11/10/19

A former resident of Olympia, Minnie Mossman Hill was the first licensed female steamship captain. She navigated some of the most treacherous waters on the Pacific Coast, the mouth of the Columbia River on the border between Oregon and Washington, on a variety of steamships, one of them named the Minnie Hill.  She was posthumously inducted into the National Rivers Hall of Fame in 2017. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

tintype by unknown photographer, around 1885, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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New Voting Machine – 11/3/19

League of Women Voters members Mrs. Jess Spielholz and Mrs. Frank Calkins receive instructions from Thurston County auditor Wes Leach on the workings of the new voting machine in Olympia, acquired in 1964 to tabulate votes without human intervention. The machine was temporarily installed in a grocery store, to give voters experience using it in advance of the upcoming elections. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Margaret McKenny autographs books for youngsters – 10/20/19

Renowned and beloved mycologist (mushroom expert) Margaret McKenny meets with young Freddy Dobler, Gary Bichsel and Greg Bichsel at Pat’s Bookery in downtown Olympia, to autograph her book The Savory Wild Mushroom. A local park, campground, and elementary school are all named after Miss McKenny, a lifelong resident of Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, October 1962, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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John Grace – 9/29/19

John Grace is a cherished member of Olympia’s music-loving community. Blind from early childhood, Grace has operated a piano tuning service for over five decades. He is shown here in this Daily Olympian article from 1964, early in his career. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Loyal Women at Emma Page fountain – 9/22/19

Emma Page was a noted temperance advocate. A fountain at the corner of Sylvester Park commemorates her work to promote water as a healthy alternative to alcohol. A trough at the base of the fountain recognizes her love of animals. In this photograph from the early 20th century, a group of women from Olympia’s First Christian Church pose in front of the fountain. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Alfred Tice photo, around 1905, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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China Clipper – 9/15/19

The China Clipper, now the Clipper Cafe, is an iconic establishment in downtown Olympia. In this photograph from 1963, owner CY Wong is at work in the restaurant’s kitchen. The Clipper was one of the businesses destroyed in the Great Train Wreck of 1959 but was rebuilt within a year and continued to be a popular source of Chinese cuisine.   Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Lincoln Crossing Guards – 9/1/19

Lincoln Elementary School crossing guards sported new fluorescent vests for the start of the 1963 school year. Pictured here are fifth graders Charles Barron and Mary Thomson, assisting young Susie Baker, Bobby Hunter, and Wanda Ewell. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Pet Parade – 8/25/19

The annual Pet Parade, sponsored by the Olympian, is a long-standing late summer tradition. In this photo from 1964, four-year-old Jeff Hettler dresses as his favorite Beatle, John. His pet is not identified: perhaps a beetle? Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Waiting for Taft – 8/19/19

In 1909, President William Howard Taft took a tour of Washington State. This photo commemorates the day that residents of Lacey came out in force to cheer on the president as he passed by rail through the small community. The Lacey depot can be seen behind the crowd. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

unknown photographer, 1909, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Null Set – 8/11/19

The Null Set coffee house opened in West Olympia in August 1964, owned by Pat and Pete Holm and Bonnie and Bob Gillis. In addition to serving coffee and pastries, the coffee house featured folk music, served up with a dash of liberal-leaning politics. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Mary Olney Brown – 8/4/19

Mary Olney Brown, an early area settler, was a medical practitioner, poet, and ardent suffragist. In 1870 she attempted to vote in Thurston County but was turned away. Several other women, including Mary’s sister Emily Olney French, were more successful, voting in south Thurston County.  

  1. Wilson Clark photo, about 1883, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society
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Petroglyph – 7/28/19

A group of workers carefully places a large stone, called a petroglyph, at the Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s headquarters at Tumwater Falls Park. The stone, inscribed with multiple tribal symbols, had been transported from a beach on Harstine Island in 1963 and donated to the Washington State Historical Society. In 2008 it was returned to the Squaxin Tribe and is now at the Veterans Memorial at the Tribal Museum near Shelton. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Henry Harris – 7/21/19

A young Henry Harris looks distinctly unimpressed at being photographed in his smart kilted suit. The Harris family were prominent Olympia merchants and active in the Jewish community. Their store building still exists at 518 Capitol Way, and their home, formerly adjacent to Sylvester Park, is now at the corner of 7th and Adams. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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The Spotlighters – 7/14/19

Father Eugene Kellenbenz was a renowned liturgical composer and faculty member at St. Martin’s College in Lacey. But he also enjoyed music on the lighter side, and is shown here in 1964 with the Spotlighters, St. Martin’s glee club, who were rehearsing for a concert to honor the Sisters of Providence. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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July 4, 1889 – 7/7/19

On July 4, 1889 the S.S. T.J. Potter and the S.S. Fleetwood, members of Puget Sound’s Mosquito Fleet, steam into the Port of Olympia. The day was a particularly important one in our state’s history. Besides being our nation’s Independence Day, it was on this day that Washington Territory assembled delegates to begin writing a state constitution. Washington officially became a state on November 11 of that year. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Silas Wray photo, July 4, 1889, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Emiline Himes – 6/30/19

Pioneer Emiline Himes is shown here with her knitting, in this photo taken around 1880. Mrs. Himes was the mother of George Himes, one of the first and most prolific historians of Oregon and Washington Territory. After crossing west on the Oregon Trail, Emiline and her husband settled in what is now Lacey. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

undated photo, probably about 1880, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Crosby store – 6/16/19

Nathaniel Crosby III was the son of a sea captain whose family settled in Tumwater in early days. Nathaniel, the central figure in this photo, operated this store for several years. He and his wife Cordelia built the Crosby House in Tumwater, which still exists, one of the few spared when I-5 was built. Crosby was the grandfather of crooner Bing Crosby.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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Anna Blom – 6/9/19

Anna Blom, a Russian immigrant, opened the Anna Blom Book Shop in 1938 at the current location of Drees. She was a beloved and long-time fixture in downtown Olympia, presiding over the store until 1968. The bookshop still exists, now called Browser’s, on Capitol Way. Anna is pictured here surrounded by some of the thousands of books at the store. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, 1964, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Capt. Duncan Finch – 6/2/19

Captain Duncan Finch began his sailing profession in New York, then navigated the Horn to California. In about 1868 he arrived in Puget Sound, where he pursued a distinguished career as captain of the wood-burning steamer Eliza Anderson. He is described as a “cold water man,” that is, anti-alcohol, and permitted no alcoholic beverages to be served on vessels he captained.

William Shew photo, around 1875, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Jury Selection – 5/26/19

In this photograph from 1963, a blindfolded Mary Hall, Thurston County clerk, selects slips of paper with prospective jurors’ names from a hopper and hands them to Judge Charles Wright. Rosemary Ewer transcribes their names. The process was developed to ensure that jury selection was fair and impartial. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. : Daily Olympian photo, October 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Katherine Musgrove milliner – 5/19/19

This photograph of milliner Katherine Eugley Musgrove is one of a series, taken by Robert Esterly around 1914, of local businesses and their owners. Mrs. Musgrove was one of a handful of female proprietors in downtown Olympia. A milliner is a hat maker, an important trade in days when a woman’s hat defined her status in society. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Robert Esterly photo, circa 1914, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Computer Disk – 5/12/19

Phyllis Olsen and Nelson Osborn, students at the Olympia Vocational Technical Institute (now South Puget Sound Community College), fire up a new data storage disk machine. The machine was rented for $244 a month and could store 6 disks for a total of .2 megabytes (for comparison, this digital image is about 12 times that size and storage cost a few pennies) Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, September 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Mosquito Fleet Messenger – 5/5/19

The Messenger was a member of the Mosquito Fleet of steam-power vessels that plied that waters of Puget Sound. The small stern-wheeler had separate compartments for ladies and gentlemen. In this photo from around the 1880s, she pulls up alongside an unnamed dock.

undated photo, courtesy State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Chambers Cherry Tree – 4/28/19

In 1850, pioneer David Chambers purchased a Black Heart cherry sapling from Oregon-based orchardist Henderson Lewelling and planted it on his homestead, now the site of Panorama retirement community in Lacey. The tree lived to an immense age and size and continued to bear cherries until the 1920s. In this photograph from around 1912, the tree is with members of the Chambers family; the homestead is behind them. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. circa 1912 photo, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Capital City Forging Moves – 4/21/19

 

In August 1963, Capital City Forging was forced to relocate from its site in downtown Olympia, to make way for the establishment of new recreational facilities at Capitol Lake. In this Daily Olympian photo, co-owner John Plantenberg and his crew prepare to move a huge air hammer out of the 43 year old building. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, August 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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1949 Earthquake – 4/14/19

Sixty years ago, on April 13, Olympia experienced the most destructive earthquake in recent memory. In this photograph taken the following day, hardware store owner Oscar Kincy surveys the damage to his downtown store. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

April 14, 1949 photograph, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Arbor Day at the State Capital Museum – 4/7/19

On a rainy Arbor Day in 1963, Governor Albert Rosellini plants a tree on the grounds of the State Capital Museum. With the governor are museum staffers and naturalist Margaret McKenny. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

Daily Olympian photo, April 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Daffodil Princesses – 3/31/19

The Daffodil Festival has been held in Pierce county annually since the 1930s. Here the 1964 daffodil princesses make a goodwill stop at the Hotel Olympian in downtown Olympia in advance of the event. Daffodil parade entrants from Olympia that year included a 50 foot yacht, and the Lakefair Float, which won a prize for best portraying the theme of the state’s Diamond Jubilee. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. unknown photographer, March 1964, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives. 

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3/10/19 – Artesian Fountain

In this photo from 1963, Olympia native Walt Hamilton fills a jug with artesian water at a fountain on the corner of 4th Avenue and Washington Street. Although he had moved to Yuma, Arizona, he made a point of bringing back the good water whenever he visited his hometown. The fountain was removed several years ago.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Rossell Galbraith O’Brien – 3/17/19

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we bring you this photograph of Rossell Galbraith O’Brien, an Irish immigrant who rose to become a Brigadier General in the Washington National Guard. O’Brien is said to have initiated the custom of standing for the National Anthem. He was a long-time resident of Olympia and served on the City Council for several years. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Isaac Davidson photograph, around 1890, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Harry McElroy – 3/3/19

A young Harry McElroy poses in a studio portrait from around 1865. Harry was the son of Olympia’s first newspaper publisher, Thornton McElroy. Until the early 20th century, it was customary for young boys to be dressed in skirts or dresses until they were “breeched” at around age 3 or 4. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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Seamart – 2/17/19

The Seamart store was a sprawling complex in the Port of Olympia that featured everything from groceries to amusement rides. In this undated photo, likely from the 1970s, a manager proudly displays the produce section of the store. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Merle Junk photo, Susan Parish collection, Washington  State Archives

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ZIP code introduced – 2/10/19

The ZIP code was introduced in 1963, to facilitate sorting and delivering United States mail. In this publicity photo, Thurston County resident Carol Bjorklund demonstrates the correct use of the ZIP on an oversized envelope.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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2/3/19 – Dedication of End of Oregon Trail Monument

A group of men, women, and children gather around the End of the Oregon Trail monument, in Sylvester Park, at its dedication in 1913. The bearded gentleman at the right of the image is Ezra Meeker, who helped to publicize and celebrate the significance of the Oregon Trail. Governor Lister is in the center. The monument was installed by the Sacajawea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Collier, 1913, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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1/27/19 – Grand Mound Oregon Trail dedication

A group of local citizens, pioneer descendants, and historians pose for their photograph at the 1916 dedication of the Oregon Trail Monument in Grand Mound. The monument, shown draped in a U.S. flag, was one of several erected by the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution to commemorate the historic mass migration.  The monument still exists, on Old Highway 99.

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1/20/19 – Fallout Shelter practice

Threats of nuclear fallout were much on the public’s mind in the early 1960s. Here, youngsters Doug Drew and Donald Collins pose for their photo, having demonstrated they could survive a week in a simulated fallout shelter (with their parents’ permission and periodic contributions of food). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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1/13/19 – Legislative Page uniforms

Legislative pages Tom Harris and Pascual Pellizzia model page uniforms from the present (1963) and past. The older uniforms had recently been discovered at the State Capital Museum. With the boys are their legislative sponsors Harry Lewis and Charles Savage. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

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Benjamin Hartsuck – 1/6/19

Benjamin Hartsuck was the first architect registered in Olympia. His most lasting contribution was as supervising architect for the Old State Capitol building, now the Superintendent of Public Instruction building in downtown Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

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Andy Crow – 12/30/18

A young Andy Crow repairs pipes of the Wurlitzer organ at the Olympic movie theater, in this 1963 photograph. When the theater was headed for demolition, Crow bought and restored the magnificent organ, which was then re-installed at the same site, now the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. The renamed Andy Crow Wurlitzer continues to delight audiences with performances at regular silent movie showings. Crow died in 2016. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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SS Nisqually – 12/23/18

The S.S. Nisqually, a member of the Mosquito Fleet, steams along Puget Sound. The Mosquito Fleet is the name given to the dozens of small steamers that plied the waters of the Sound in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

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Proffitt’s – 12/16/18

The Proffitt’s Department store was a fixture of downtown Olympia for many years. The building is now the site of the New Caldonia mini-mall on Fifth Avenue. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. May 1970, unknown photographer, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Frederick J.X. Miller – 12/2/18

Frederick J.X. Miller, shown here, was a prolific Thurston County writer and poet. He and his sisters donated the family property to the State of Washington provided it be maintained as a park, now Millersylvania State Park. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Julius Asher photo, about 1880, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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View from the Westside – 11/19/18

In this photograph from around 1904, we are looking across the Fourth Avenue Bridge towards downtown Olympia, from the Westside. Visible buildings that still exist include the Old State Capitol Building (now Superintendent of Public Instruction), with its clock tower still intact; and the Iverson and Overhulse homes in foreground left. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. 

C.S. Reeves photo, around 1904, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Jack Gimblet’s boxer – 11/4/18

Early Olympia saloon keeper Jack Gimblet had this professional photograph taken of his handsome boxer “Jerry” in this image from around the turn of the century.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. 

unknown photographer, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Sam McClellan – 10/21/18

Sam McClellan (or McClelland) was a businessman and chief of the Olympia Fire Department. He poses here in his uniform in a photograph from the late 1800s. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Frank Camps photograph, undated, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Roe sisters – 10/14/18

The two Roe sisters Jeannine and Sharon, along with their mother and an instructor, Mrs. Carl Neal, have fun with hand-made puppets as part of Olympia’s 1963 summer activity program. One of the sisters, Jeannine, later served on the Olympia City Council. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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James Spirlock – 10/7/18

James T. Spirlock arrived in Thurston County in 1858, and settled in the Mima Mounds area. His property, now the Nelson Ranch, has been in the family ever since and is being farmed by the fourth and fifth generations of his descendants. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Courtesy Washington State Historical Society. For additional links about James Spirlock, see our Residents page and scroll to Spirlock. 

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Kenney family at Woodland Hotel

In this undated photograph, members of the Kenney family proudly pose in front of the Woodland Hotel that they operated. Woodland was the original name for the community that is now the City of Lacey, and the hotel was located at a key intersection near the current location of the Lacey Post Office. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 8/26/18

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Welcoming Pole at State Capital Museum – 9/9/18

In 1963 a welcoming pole was created for the State Capital Museum at the Lord Mansion that replicated the poles at the entrance to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. The poles were designed by famed architect Fred Bassetti. Only a small portion of the pole still exists, deteriorating on the grounds of the mansion. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Port of Olympia in 1910 – 9/2/18

This photograph by Asahel Curtis shows members of the Mosquito Fleet approaching Percival Landing at the Port of Olympia on an overcast day in 1910. The Sand Man tug is at the left, near the same location you can find it today. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. 

Asahel Curtis photograph, 1910, Washington State Historical Society

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Bulletin – 9/1/18

September 1, 2018

Fall is just around the corner, bringing with it changing colors and fascinating History events! Today, we note with sadness the sudden death of accomplished area historian and writer John Hough while on vacation in South Africa. John was a past president and board member of the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, and recently co-wrote “Maritime Olympia and South Puget Sound” with Les Eldridge, documenting the South Sound’s evolution to an important international seaport. Mr. Hough’s detailed obituary may be viewed online at https://funeralalternatives.org/, a full clickable link is included at the bottom of this bulletin, just below the orange box. A memorial service will be held at South Puget Sound Community College on September 15 at 2:00 PM. To hear John discuss some of the early maritime history of the Olympia area and the famed Mosquito Fleet, visit “Now Where Were We” on Youtube. See the clickable link to the video at the bottom of the bulletin.

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* September 4, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Harbor History Museum (Gig Harbor): Gig Harbor Literary Society Discusses “Sarah Canary”.

When black-cloaked Sarah Canary wandered into a railway camp in the Washington territories in 1873, she had no notion of the adventures she was about to face, including being referred to as “The ugliest woman imaginable” and a period of commitment to a local insane asylum. Join the Gig harbor Literary Society for a fascinating discussion of this engaging work. Attendees are welcome to bring an appetizer or dish to share with fellow bibliophiles. The Museum will provide complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. You are welcome to BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine). Library and Museum staff will lead the discussion. This event is FREE and open to the public. Seats are limited; RSVPs are encouraged. To RSVP or for questions, please contact Zachary Sokolik, Marketing & Events Coordinator, at marketing@harborhistorymuseum.org or 253-858-6722. The Harbor History Museum is located at 4121 Harborview Dr, Gig Harbor.

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* September 7, 7:30 PM. Schneebeck Concert Hall (Tacoma): Jacobsen Series – Bernstein 100.

Famed conductor Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday was August 25, 2018. Celebrating Bernstein’s legacy as a composer, conductor, and intellectual, Anna Wittstruck will emcee an evening of classical music, jazz, and Broadway. Featuring soloists Maria Sampen, violin; Dawn Padula, mezzo-soprano; Tanya Stambuk, piano; Tracy Knoop, saxophone/clarinet; and other faculty and student performers. Established in 1984, the Jacobsen Series celebrates faculty and guest talent in a variety of performances held at Schneebeck Concert Hall. The Schneebeck Concert Hall is located on the campus of the University of Puget Sound, 1567-1625 N Union Ave, Tacoma.

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* September 8, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Olympia Timberland Library (Olympia): Beginning Genealogy Workshop.

Olympia Genealogical Society members will help workshop participants gain the skills they need to begin their family history research. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop if they have one, and a lunch for the 30-minute break. Check in at 9:00 AM, before the library opens, at the 9th and Adams Exit Only doors to the library. Registration is required and walk-ins will not be accepted. Register online, at http://www.olygensoc.org/, in person, or by phone at 360-352-0595. The Olympia Timberland Library is located at 313 8th Ave SE, Olympia.

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* September 8, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum (Tacoma): Harvest Home Festival.

Join the Living History Museum to celebrate the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn at their Harvest Home festival! The day will include popular Victorian games, traditional music and dance performances, and the arrival of the hock cart carrying the last sheaf of wheat through the fort to the granary. Everyone is welcome to come down and press cider, make a corn dolly, and help us send off summer 19th century style. For more information visit fortnisqually.org or call (253) 404-3970. The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is located at 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma.

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* September 8, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM. Chehalis Timberland Library (Chehalis): Tales from the Parks – Author Talk with Russell Cahill.

The National Park Service celebrated their 100th birthday in 2016, but the origin of America’s parks goes all the way back to the Civil War and beyond. Author Russell Cahill thinks it started when a single tree was cut down in California in 1852. Cahill was a National Park Ranger during the 1960’s and 1970’s and has written on the origins of our parks and his adventures in Yosemite, Alaska, Washington D.C. and Hawai’i. Join him and hear of rescues, forest fires, bears breaking into a five star hotel and other happenings. Books will be available for purchase and signing. The Chehalis Timberland Library is located at 400 N. Market Blvd, Chehalis.

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* September 8, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Asia Pacific Cultural Center (Tacoma): We Are History Keepers – Tacoma!

We Are History Keepers – Tacoma! is a free daylong workshop on preserving the historical and cultural record of your family and community – a program brought to you by the Ethnic Heritage Council, the University of Washington Libraries, and the Washington State Historical Society. Sessions will include: small group instruction on sorting and preserving papers and records of your family and cultural organizations; creating exhibits; organizing and preserving your photo collections; conducting oral histories; cultural preservation through storytelling; and more! Library, archives, and museum professionals from the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections, UW Tacoma Library, and the Washington State Historical Society will lead the program. The Asia Pacific Cultural Center will serve a delicious lunch of Asian Pacific foods for a $15 cash donation per person. Reserve lunch and indicate vegetarian, if required, when you RSVP to: rsvp@ethnicheritagecouncil.org. Participants are also invited to share a completed history project or work in progress. If you or your youth have a visual display to exhibit, please let us know when you RSVP for the event. We Are History Keepers! is co-created by the Ethnic Heritage Council and the University of Washington Libraries. Tacoma History Keepers! is funded in part by the Washington State Historical Society, the Heritage League of Pierce County and 4 Culture. The Asia Pacific Cultural Center is located at 4851 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma.

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* September 9, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM. Tumwater Historic District (Tumwater): Voices from the Past.

On Sunday, September 9, three talented living history reenactors will give performances at period homes located in Tumwater’s Historic District. Staggered start times will allow the public to hear all three presentations. Beginning at Schmidt House at 1:00 PM, storyteller Kristin Alana will portray Rebecca Groundage Howard, an African-American woman who operated the Pacific House, a restaurant and hotel in Olympia in the 1860’s and ‘70’s. At 2:00 PM, reenactor Karen Haas will visit Crosby House to portray Norwegian immigrant Thea Foss, who in 1912 bought a used rowboat in Tacoma and built a maritime empire on Puget Sound. At 2:45 PM at Henderson House, long-time reenactor Ray Egan will portray one of his favorite historic personalities, Ezra Meeker. Meeker’s reminiscence begins with his first experiences working with oxen, and continues with a discussion of what oxen are and are not, and why they were vitally important on the Oregon Trail. All three Houses will be open for tours before and after the performances. Schmidt House is located at 330 Schmidt Place SW, Crosby House is located at 702 Deschutes Way SW, and Henderson House is located at 602 Deschutes Way SW, all in Tumwater. For more information, contact Karen Johnson at karen@olytumfoundation.org or 360-890-2299.

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* September 10, 7:00 PM. Tacoma Historical Society (Tacoma): Some Mid Life History of Tacoma Rail.

Join the Tacoma Historical Society for their first monthly meeting of the fall, and hear local railroad historian, photographer, and author of multiple articles on railroading David Cantlinas discuss the history of rail in the Tacoma area. Admission is free and all are welcome! This event will take place at the Murray Board Room of the Wheelock Student Center, University of Puget Sound, located at 1500 N Warner St, Tacoma.

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* September 13, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. Schmidt House (Tumwater): The Darker Side of Tumwater’s History.

Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s Public History Manager Don Trosper will begin a new season of History Talks at Schmidt House with an illustrated talk highlighting the darker side of Tumwater’s history. Learn how newspapers of the day reported on murder, political intrigue, scandal, immorality, tragedy, racism, conflict, and Trosper’s personal favorite, “Strange Events.” Schmidt House is located at 330 Schmidt Place SW, Tumwater.

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* September 13, 7:00 PM – 8:15 PM. Lacey Timberland Library (Lacey): Antiquated Technologies Series – Moving Pictures with Devon Damonte.

Witness a plethora of 16mm & 35mm movie viewing and projecting apparatus, including a running upright Moviola editing machine once used by film director Hal Ashby (Being There, Harold & Maude, etc). Help celebrate Devon’s latest acquisition: a Tagarno 35mm medical viewer that plays both in high speed and in super slow motion. These technologies have withstood the test of time – what other media format has remained playable for over 100 years? This program is part of the Antiquated Technologies series and is sponsored by the Friends of the Lacey Library. The Lacey Timberland Library is located at 500 College St SE, Lacey.

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St. Peter introduces television in rooms – 8/26/18

In 1963, St. Peter Hospital, then located in West Olympia, introduced the opportunity for patients to have televisions in their rooms. Here, Mrs. Herb (Shirley) Legg, a volunteer at the hospital, demonstrates its use to a grateful patient. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit the Society’s Looking Back page, https://olympiahistory.org/category/lookingback/. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1963, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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5th Avenue Dam Construction – 8/12/18

Few landmarks still exist to identify this August 1949 scene as the future site of the 5th Avenue dam and bridge. This photograph was taken as construction was getting under way. In the distance we can just make out the Governor Hotel, the Dolliver Building, and the Security Building. We can also see the smokestack of the Memorial Clinic building that was demolished in 2015. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Merle Junk photograph, 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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August 1909 special session – 8/5/18

In 1909, a special summer session of the Legislature was called, resulting in Session lasting until mid-August. A group of young women, all legislative clerks, posed for a group photo in Governor Hays’s automobile, still a relative rarity in Olympia. Behind them are the Old State Capitol Building, now the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Reed Building. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

unknown photographer, 1909, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Lower Capitol Way – 7/29/18

The Port of Olympia was the hub of commercial activity in Olympia’s earliest decades. By 1910, when this photograph was taken, it was in decline: even the Red Light District had moved elsewhere. The old Bettman store is at foreground left, with the New England Hotel to its right, now the site of the 222 shopping and dining complex. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

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View from Old State Capitol – 7/15/18

This photograph was taken about 1900 from the Old State Capitol Building (now Superintendent of Public Instruction). Dominating the image is the Olympia Hotel, which burned down in 1904. Other identifiable buildings include the Sylvester Mansion and steepled St. Michael Parish. The home in the foreground belonged to Mitchel Harris. It still exists, but was moved to the southeast corner of 9th and Adams. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

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Natalie Riggin – 7/8/18

Natalie Riggin won Second Grand Prize in the national Pillsbury Bakeoff contest in 1956, when she was only a teenager. Her Hoot Owl cookies are still included in compilations of best cookie recipes of all time. Natalie was later Lakefair Queen in 1962, the third young woman to earn that title. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Here’s a link to the recipe: https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/hoot-owl-cookies/

Daily Olympian photo, 1956, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Trena Belsito Worthington with the Rosellinis – 6/17/18

Olympia attorney Trena Belsito Worthington, at left, confers with Governor Albert and First Lady Ethel Rosellini as they barbecue a fish on Capitol Campus. In addition to being a successful lawyer, in an age where female attorneys were rare, Mrs. Worthington was responsible for the design and construction of five nearly identical homes in southeast Olympia and along Capitol Lake.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information about Mrs. Worthington is available at olympiahistory.org in our Residents feature, under her maiden name Trena Selvidge. 

Daily Olympian photo, late 1950s, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Fish at City Hall – 5/27/18

In this Daily Olympian photo from summer 1966, Olympia city staffers stock the water feature at the new City Hall with fish. Since the “moat” was never intended as a fish pond, all the fish died shortly thereafter. This building complex is now the Lee Creighton Justice Center. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1966, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Tumwater Long Bridge – 5/20/18

In this early photograph from about 1880, we see the Tumwater Long Bridge spanning the Deschutes Estuary. The homes and businesses of Tumwater are in the background; they succumbed to I-5 construction in the 1960s. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

State Capital Museum collection, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Knights of Pythias Parade – 5/13/18

In June of 1894, during the “golden age of fraternalism” in America, members of the Grand Lodge Knights of Pythias parade up a rain- and mud-soaked Capitol Way in Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org. 

William Duckering photo, 1894, Washington State Historical Society

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1965 Earthquake – 4/29/18

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit the Pacific Northwest on April 29, 1965, causing 7 deaths and millions of dollars of damage. In this photograph from the Daily Olympian, a postal worker at the brand-new Olympia post office examines the havoc wreaked by the quake. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photograph, April 1965, State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Millersylvania CCC – 4/15/18

During the Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps hired thousands of young men and put them to work building and improving public amenities. CCC members were responsible for building many of the structures still in place at Millersylvania State Park, outside of Olympia. In this photo, a group of young men are hard at work building one of the kitchen shelters at the park. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. 

circa 1935 photograph, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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John Montgomery – 4/8/18

In this Daily Olympian photograph from 1966, Washington State Archivist Sid McAlpin puzzles over a jar of ashes of a person identified only as John Montgomery. No one knew who he was or why his ashes were at Archives. In 2014, genealogists identified the ashes as belonging to a 6 year old, and the ashes were then buried with John’s father. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Daily Olympian photograph, 1966, State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Anna and Maggie – 3/25/18

This sweet photograph from around 1870 commemorates the teenaged friendship of early Olympia residents Anna Pullen and Maggie Sutton. Anna later married printer Martin Kelly and Maggie became a teacher in Tumwater. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. 

circa 1870 photograph, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Peace Pilgrim – 3/18/18

Peace Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman, was an American non-denominational spiritual teacher and peace activist. Starting on January 1, 1953, in Pasadena, California, she adopted the name “Peace Pilgrim” and walked across the United States for 28 years, advocating for world peace. She’s shown here in 1966, walking by the Daily Olympian building at State and Capitol (now the Olympia Press Building). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photograph, 1966, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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St. Peter Hospital – Sherman St

By the 1920s, St. Peter Hospital had outgrown its original location on what’s now Capitol Campus. The large structure shown here, in West Olympia on Sherman Street, was completed in 1924, and included a nursing school and modern X-ray equipment. In this 1952 photograph, a nurse and Sister of Providence attend a patient. The building is now an apartment complex. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org. 1952 photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives 

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St. Peter Hospital – 3/4/18

St. Peter Hospital was founded by the Sisters of Charity of the House of Providence in 1887, and served the needs of area residents, including many injured loggers. Its original location, on what’s now Capitol Campus, is marked by a plaque across from the current Department of Enterprise Services (GA) building. The hospital has moved twice since then. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. A.D. Rogers Photograph, 1895, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Star Laundry – 2/25/18

This photograph of the jovial proprietors of the Star Laundry is one of a series, by photographer Robert Esterly, of local businesspeople. Located on Capitol Way in the bustling Port area, Star Laundry catered to the needs of itinerant sailors and merchants. It existed until the 1960s, eventually growing to take up the large masonry building that is now the home of Lassen Electric. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Esterly Photograph, 1914, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Dr. Lucie Cook

This photograph of Doctor Lucie Cook and her child is one of a series of local businesses and their owners taken by photographer Robert Esterly. Dr. Cook’s office was located in the Port area. Her patients were mostly female, and she is known to have ministered to some of the less fortunate members of Olympia society.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Esterly Photograph, 1914, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Roger Easton pen pal – 2/11/18

Roger Easton, a teacher at Mountain View Elementary in Lacey, initiated an international pen pal program between his students and children from around the world. In addition to sending letters, the children exchanged audiotapes. Easton was also an avid local historian; at his untimely death he bequeathed his estate to the Olympia Historical Society and the Bigelow House Preservation Association. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photo, 1966, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Olympia Opera House – 2/4/18

Publisher John Miller Murphy built the Olympia Opera House on Fourth Avenue, about where Orca Books is now. As this photograph from 1890 shows, a trolley line ran by the theater, providing easy access to all classes of Olympia society. Over its 30 years of existence some of the biggest national names played here, including John Phillips Sousa, Mark Twain, and others, as well as numerous local performers. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. 

unknown photographer, 1890, State Library Collection

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Street vendor – 1/28/18

Photographer Robert Esterly took this photograph of an unnamed street vendor in 1914, as part of his series of local businesses and their proprietors. The photo was taken at the corner of 4th and Washington. The Boardman Building, still in existence, is behind the vendor at the northwest corner.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org.

Esterly Photograph, 1914, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Ray Theater – 1/21/18

In the heyday of the motion picture industry, downtown Olympia had several movie theaters. The Zabel family owned several of them. This one, the Ray, was located at the corner of 5th and Washington, at the current site of the Timberland Bank. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Esterly Photograph, 1914, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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District heating stack dismantled – 1/14/18

In the early 20th century, veneer plants in the Port of Olympia supplied surplus heat to a central plant that distributed steam heating to the area through underground pipes. The steam plant building is still in existence on Thurston Avenue. But this 1966 photograph from the Daily Olympian shows the dismantling of the plant’s smokestack, after the veneer plants were all shuttered. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

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City Hall in 1966 – 1/7/18

The “O” shaped Olympia City Hall building, now the Lee Creighton Justice Center on Plum Street, was part of Olympia’s “Committee of the 60s” effort to improve the infrastructure of the city. It was touted nation-wide as a model of good design, architectural innovation and space planning. This photograph was taken in early 1966 when the building was brand-new, just before architect Robert Wohleb’s untimely death. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. Ron Allen photograph, March 1966, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives 

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Olympia Veneer – 12/31/17

The Olympia Veneer Company was founded in 1921 as a revolutionary example of a cooperative company, owned by its workers. Located at the far northern tip of the port area, it also developed techniques that were soon copied by other manufacturers. The mill employed many Scandinavian immigrants who had come to this area in the early 20th century. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

1946 photo by Merle Junk, Susan Parish collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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“Cheery” Street – 12/24/17

Did a sign painter have Christmas on his mind when he misspelled Cherry Street as Cheery Street? An astute Daily Olympian photographer caught the “typo” in time to print it in a December paper from 1962. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Daily Olympian photograph, December 1962, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

 

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Pool Hall and Taylor Music – 12/17/17

The proprietors of a pool hall pose for their photograph in this photograph from late 1914. A sign in the window of the adjacent E.E. Taylor Music Store asks, Will there Be a Victrola In your Home this Christmas?  The establishments were located at the current site of the Ward Building on Fourth Avenue (see last week’s Looking Back for a photograph of that building). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org.

Esterly Photograph, 1914, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Montgomery Ward Building – 12/10/17

The Montgomery Ward Building was erected in 1928 on Fourth Avenue. Ward’s was a department store and catalogue retailer. The building was repurposed in the early 1960s to serve as the first home of the Olympia Regional Vocational Technical Institute (now South Puget Sound Community College). It has since been occupied by retail and entertainment venues. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

Vibert Jeffers photo, 1938, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Abandoned Territorial Capitol in snow – 12/3/17

This photograph from December 1911 shows the abandoned Washington Territorial Capitol in the snow. The structure was eventually razed when Capitol Campus was created a few years later. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org. 

1911 photograph, Washington State Archives

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Methodist Church in 1890s – 11/12/17

First United Methodist Church is among Olympia’s earliest congregations. Here we see the original church structure, built 1856, at the corner of Fourth and Adams. The congregation outgrew this structure and acquired an adjacent lot on Fifth Avenue. The newer building, erected in 1894, can be seen in the background of this image. This allows us to date the photograph to between 1894 and 1896, when the Cunningham’s Building now at this site was erected. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Unknown photographer, 1894-1896, Susan Parish collection, Washington State Archives

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Dick Nichols arrives at KGY – 11/5/17

A young Dick Nichols is welcomed to radio station KGY in 1964. He soon became the beloved Voice of South Puget Sound sports. He served as the station’s announcer for 40 years. His stay at KGY ran concurrently with two terms as Thurston County commissioner, among other occupations. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Susan Parish collection, Washington State Archives 

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Fourth Avenue – 10/22/17

In this 1906 photograph of Fourth Avenue in downtown Olympia, we can see some familiar buildings, and some that are no longer with us. At the left is the three-story Mottman Building at the northwest corner of Fourth and Capitol, and across from it on the northeast corner is the Chambers Block. Both still exist and are on the heritage register. The large masonry structure on the southwest corner was demolished after the 1949 Earthquake. The building in the distance, with the cupola, is Columbia Hall, now the site of the 4th Ave Tav. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org.

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Columbus Day Storm – 10/15/17

The Columbus Day Storm, on October 12, 1962, is considered the most powerful extratropical storm in history. This Daily Olympian photograph, taken at Capitol Lake the day following the storm, shows some of the devastation, which included thousands of uprooted trees and much destruction of property. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Daily Olympian Photograph, October 1962, State Capitol Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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McElroy House – 10/8/17

Thornton McElroy was the colorful publisher of Olympia’s first newspaper, the Columbian, whose fiery editorials were in part responsible for the creation of Washington as a territory independent of Oregon. His stately home was at the corner of Sylvester Park, at 7th and Washington. His son, Harry, was a local merchant and lived in this house until well into the 1930s. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Vibert Jeffers, undated, Susan Parish collection, Washington State Archives

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B’nai Brith meeting – 10/1/17

The Jewish communities of Centralia, Chehalis, Aberdeen, and Elma formed a chapter of the B’nai B’rith in the early 1900s. In this photograph from 1934, the group is meeting in the Masonic Temple, then located at 8th and Capitol in Olympia. Olympia’s Temple Beth Hatfiloh was formed just a few years later, in 1937. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Vibert Jeffers, 1934, Susan Parish collection, Washington State Archives

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Thelma Freitag – 9/24/17

Amateur theatrics were and are a popular source of local entertainment in Olympia, even after the advent of moving pictures. In this photo from about 1925, a young Thelma Freitag poses in an exotic costume as publicity for an upcoming production. Her father, Louis, was a musician. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. State Capital Museum collection photograph, about 1925, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Olympia band – 9/17/17

In the days before radio and television, home-grown entertainment was an important component of Olympia society. Here a small band poses solemnly for their studio portrait, in about 1885. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. Photo courtesy Washington State Historical Society. 

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Civil Defense – 9/10/17

Civil defense was an ever-present concern in the Cold War era. Here a group of Washington Junior High students, in 1962, is led through an exercise involving the evacuation of their school and a walk to Capitol Campus where they would be expected to seek safety in the event of an attack (the school was located in what is now the Knox Administration Building on Legion Way). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photograph, 1962, State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society

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M.M. Morris store – 9/3/17

The M.M. Morris store was a fashionable women’s wear shop in downtown Olympia for many years. It stood at the corner of 5th Avenue and Washington Street in the historic Martin Building (the current site of the Captain Little toy store). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Vibert Jeffers, 1950, Susan Parish collection, Washington State Archives

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Columbia Hall – 8/27/17

The Columbia Hall was built in 1869 on Fourth Avenue near the center of downtown Olympia (the current site of the 4th Ave Tav). 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. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

1902, Williams Romans photograph, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Knox Apartments – 8/6/17

Clara Knox built the Knox Apartments and Hotel in the early 20th century. It was located on Washington Street, adjacent to the then-Thurston County Courthouse, now the location of the State Theater. The building lasted until at least the 1940s. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Merle Junk photo, 1945, Susan Parish collection, Washington State Archives 

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Brown Farm – 7/30/17

In 1913, Asahel Curtis took a series of photographs of the A.L. Brown Farm, in the Nisqually Valley, now part of the Billy Frank Jr. National Wildlife Refuge. This photograph of a harvest portrays a bucolic lifestyle that would not last much longer into the 20th century. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Asahel Curtis photograph, 1913, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Greetings from the Westside – 7/23/17

A view of Olympia from the Westside shows the tidy Konrad Schneider farmhouse in the foreground. In the distance, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens loom over Budd Inlet, the Fourth Avenue Bridge and downtown Olympia. The mountains are misplaced northwards. Artist Edward Lange was known for his minute attention to detail, sometimes offset by artistic embellishments. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

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Olympia Hotel – 7/16/17

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, at 8th and Capitol. Sadly, it burned in a spectacular fire in 1904. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. ca. 1890 photograph, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Legislative Building TP’ed – 6/25/17

In the summer of 1966, staff arrived at the Legislative Building to find that the Rotunda had been “TP’ed.” The culprit was never found. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org.

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Dick Nichols at KGY – 7/2/17

A young Dick Nichols is welcomed to radio station KGY in 1964. He soon became the beloved Voice of South Puget Sound sports. He served as the station’s announcer for 40 years. His stay at KGY ran concurrently with two terms as Thurston County commissioner, among other jobs. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

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Anti-Saloon League Boat Club – 6/18/17

Five young women from prominent Olympia families pose in their club uniforms, holding oars aloft. Their straw hats, adorned with A.S.L. insignia, identify them as members of the Anti-Saloon League Boat Club, a temperance organization. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

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McAllister sisters moving – 6/11/17

Sisters Pauline McAllister McBride and Ruby McAllister stand outside their home in the Nisqually Valley, where their family had lived for generations. They had been given a 30 day notice to vacate their house so that Interstate 5 could be built through their property. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photograph, June 1966,  State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Liberty Theater – 6/4/17

The Liberty Theater was built around 1924 by the Reed-Ingham Company, which was owned by Thomas M. Reed and his brother-in-law Paul Ingham. It was located at the current site of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, on Washington Street near Legion Way. The Liberty was one of many theaters located in downtown Olympia at the time, including the Rex, the Ray, the Capitol Theater, the Avalon, and others. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.Vibert Jeffers, 1941, Susan Parish collection, Washington State Archives 

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Ernie Taylor Music Store – 5/28/17

Ernie Taylor was a popular musician in late 19th and early 20th century Olympia, leading and playing in several bands and orchestras. He owned the E.E. Taylor music store, shown here, at the current location of the Gyro Spot on 4th Avenue (the Ward Building). Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org.

Robert Esterly photograph, around 1914, State Capital Museum Collection, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Teddy Roosevelt visits Sylvester Park

President Theodore Roosevelt visited Olympia as part of a swing through the western states in May 1903. Here he addresses a large crowd in Sylvester Park, in front of the then-Washington State Capitol building (now the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum (cropped).

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J.E. Kelley – 5/14/17

Pamela Case Hale built the Hale Block at 502 4th Avenue in 1891, during a time of great prosperity for Olympia. 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, which is now the home of Olympia Fireplace and Spa. This photograph is part of a 1914 series, by photographer Robert Esterly, of local businesses and their owners. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Robert Esterly photograph, around 1914,  State Capital Museum Collection, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Street “typo” – 5/7/17

The Daily Olympian advised a sign painter to go back to class after misspelling the word School at a city intersection.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Daily Olympian photograph, October 1962, State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society 

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Lynda in miniskirt – 4/30/17

In 1962, the Olympia Blueprint and Copy Company experienced a sharp uptick in customers when employee Linda Burkey began wearing a mid-thigh length dress to work, which her mother had created for her. Shorter hemlines had just started to appear on the fashion scene. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photograph, 1962, Washington State Historical Society State Capital Museum collection

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Pacific House – 4/23/17

The Pacific House was one of the earliest hotel/restaurants in Olympia, at the corner of what is now State Avenue and Capitol Way. In 1859, African-American Rebecca Groundage Howard took over its management and soon became famous all over the northwest for her hospitality and good food. In this photo from 1902, the building is in decline. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

William Romans photograph, 1902, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Gift of Capitol Lake – 4/9/17

In 1962, Sacramento, California’s Camelia Queen Carole Cottrell visited Olympia, Sacramento’s sister city. Bert Cole, State Land Commissioner and Jim Leader, Olympia’s Ambassador of Friendship, presented Carole with a deed to Capitol Lake, provided she could carry it away with her. Shortly after, several Sacramento citizens arrived and were presented with jars of water from the lake to take home with them. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. 

Daily Olympian photograph, June 1962, State Capital Museum Collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Memorial Clinic – 4/2/17

The Memorial Clinic building, just east of the Fourth Avenue bridge, designed by local architect father and son team Robert and Joseph Wohleb, was built in 1948. The clinic was an innovative concept at the time, grouping several physicians and specialties under one roof. It was located near downtown but handily close to St. Peter Hospital, then on Sherman Street. The building was demolished in 2015. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. Jeffers Photograph, 1950, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Frank Guslander mill – 3/26/17

With an abundant source of nearby timber, the wood products industry was an important element of the Thurston County economy for many decades. This image from about 1909 shows the Frank Guslander shingle mill, on Black Lake.  Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

circa 1909 photo, courtesy Washington State Historical Society, State Capital Museum collection

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Bear cub eludes capture – 3/19/17

In this photo from May 1962, a bear cub eludes capture in downtown Olympia. The cub was on its way to be displayed at the Tumwater Falls Park when it escaped, after having its photograph taken. The chase led into an insurance office in the Hotel Olympian where it surprised salesman Walter Olsen before finally being captured. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org.

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Olympia streetcar – 3/5/17

The Olympia streetcar system was launched in the late 1800s and ceased operations in the mid-1930s. Here a streetcar is seen proceeding up Main Street (now Capitol Way) toward Tumwater. Behind it is Olympia High School, which was then across the street from Capitol Campus. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Unknown photographer, around 1920s, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Masonic Hall – 2/26/17

This photograph from 1902 captures the stately Masonic Temple at the corner of 8th Avenue and Capitol Way. Built in 1855 as one of the city’s earliest public structures, it was razed in 1911. Photograph selected by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. William Romans photograph, 1902, Courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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Columbia Hall Police – 2/19/17

The Columbia Hall, located where the 4th Ave Tav is now, was a combined police station, fire station, City Hall, and gathering place. Here members of Olympia’s finest pose in front of the hall, sporting their law enforcement badges.  Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Oscar Sternberg photograph, 1905, Courtesy Washington State Historical Society, State Capital Museum collection

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Territorial Capitol – 2/5/17

The capitol building from Washington’s territorial days sits empty in this photograph from 1911. Between 1905 and 1928, the Washington State Legislature met in the Old State Capitol building downtown, now the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Work began on the current Capitol Campus grouping in 1912. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. Asahel Curtis photograph, 1911, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Spar Ticker – 2/12/17

In May 1962 attorney general Brock Adams issued an order to stop posting ongoing game scores at public places, on the grounds it promoted illegal gambling. Here Stan Parsons demonstrates the soon-to-be-halted practice, at the Spar restaurant in downtown Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. 

Daily Olympian photograph, May 1962, State Capital Museum collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Percival Children – 1/29/17

Captain Samuel Wing Percival built Percival’s Dock (now the site of Percival Landing) as well as an imposing home with terraced grounds overlooking the Deschutes Estuary and downtown Olympia. In this early photograph his three children, John, Georgiana, and Sam, pose in a studio setting. John later took over the shipping business from his father. Image selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. More information is available at olympiahistory.org. Photograph around 1865, courtesy Washington State Historical Society, State Capital Museum collection

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