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.

Reed Building – 7/31/16

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The Reed Building, at the corner of Washington and Legion, is one of downtown Olympia’s earliest downtown structures. It was erected in 1891 by Thomas Milburne Reed and features apartments at the second story with retail establishments on ground level. The building originally had elaborate decorative moldings at the roofline, but it was badly damaged during the 1949 earthquake and few of the decorative features remain. 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.

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Security Building – 7/24/16

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The Security Building on Fourth Avenue 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 on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org. Jeffers photograph, around 1926, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Capitol Chevrolet – 7/17/16

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A crowd gathers outside Capitol Chevrolet for the arrival of the new 1942 model Chevrolet. This building is now the home of Ramblin’ Jack’s, on Fourth Avenue. 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.

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Sears Opening in Lacey – 7/10/16

95-054 Sears Opening, 7-13-1966

Lt. Governor John Cherberg, with assistance from Lakefair Queen Sue Kilde, is about to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the new Sears store at the South Sound Shopping Center on July 12, 1966. The indoor shopping mall, which was officially opened a few months later, was the only one of its kind in the South Sound region. Also notable in this picture is the mall’s developer Bob Blume. Photograph selected and captioned by Erin Quinn Valcho on behalf of the Lacey Museum. Daily Olympian photo, Lacey Museum collection.

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Tenino Fourth of July 7/3/16

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Clouds of dust are raised as floats and automobiles parade through Tenino on July 4, around 1913. Leading the parade were horse-drawn floats sponsored by merchants Campbell and Campbell and a  skating rink on wheels. 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.

Unknown photographer, around 1913, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Last Day of Nisqually School – 6/26/16

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Students are dismissed on the last day of the Nisqually School, on the Nisqually Cut-off Road, in June of 1962. Students attended school in the Nisqually area from as early as the 1850s. This schoolhouse was erected in 1911 and served until 1962, when the school was consolidated with others in the North Thurston School District. The building is still in existence and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For additional information, visit olympiahistory.org.

June 1962, Daily Olympian collection, courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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North Coast bus station – 6/19/16

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In about 1937, the North Coast Lines built the art moderne building that stands at the corner of Capitol Way and 7th Avenue, where it was photographed here shortly after its completion. North Coast was one of the many subsidiaries of Puget Sound Power and Light, begun in 1922 to provide electrically-powered transportation up and down the coast, but soon branching out into motorized transportation. Today the building is the home of Greyhound Bus Lines and has retained most of its original art moderne features. In the 2000s, the Art Deco Society of Olympia acquired funds to repaint the building, along with its iconic motto: “See America By Bus the Modern Travel Way.” Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For additional information, visit olympiahistory.org.

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Pacific Tel building – 6/12/16

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The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Building, shown here, stood on Fifth Avenue, where the Washington Business Bank is now. Telephone service was available in Olympia by 1889. In 1908, the California conglomerate Pacific Tel &Tel acquired the local telephone franchise from the Sunset Telephone Company. It erected this structure in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Pacific Tel & Tel moved to the so-called Fleetwood building (named after Olympia’s local Fleetwood telephone exchange). Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For additional information, visit olympiahistory.org. Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1920s, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Plywood factory – 6/5/16

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Workers process sheets of plywood at the St. Paul and Tacoma plywood plant in the Port of Olympia, in the 1940s. The plant was established in 1921 as the Olympia Veneer Company, an innovative worker-owned cooperative. In 1946 the plant was sold to the St. Paul and Tacoma Lumber Company. The machinery shown here was supplied by Tacoma’s Globe Machine Company. The plywood and veneer manufacturing businesses in the Port of Olympia contributed heavily to the war effort during World War II. Today, only remnants exist of these once-thriving and important elements of Olympia’s economy. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For additional information, visit olympiahistory.org. Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1940s, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Fishing arrests 5/30/16

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Long before the more widely known Native American “fish-ins,” member of the Nisqually Tribes were defiantly engaged in fishing activities that had been decreed illegal by Washington State. The Department of Game made numerous arrests and confiscated gear throughout the 1960s. Here, in a 1962 Daily Olympian photograph, Game Department enforcers arrest Nisqually tribal members as they return with their catch. Native American treaty fishing rights were finally upheld in the US Supreme Court’s 1974 Boldt decision.  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. John Bailey photograph, January 1962, Daily Olympian collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Olympia Brewing Company bottle-cap workers – 5/22/16

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Olympia Brewing Company, in Tumwater, was an important employer and presence in our community from 1893 to 1983 (with a hiatus during Prohibition). In this photograph from 1940, female workers attend to bottle caps in the production line. 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 photo, 1940, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Odd Fellows building – 5/15/16

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The imposing Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Olympia was dedicated, to great fanfare, in 1888. Odd Fellows from all over the area arrived to celebrate the completion of one of the most important lodges in Washington Territory. The building burned in 1937. The G. Miller clothing store is now at this location. 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. Photograph from about 1889, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Little Hollywood Float House – 5/8/16

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Little Hollywood was the name given to a collection of float houses, businesses, and shanties that occupied the lower end of the Deschutes Estuary in the early part of the 20th century. In the late 1930s, the City began removing the structures, in order to make way for the future Capitol Lake. In this photograph from the early 1940s, a forlorn float house sits on the mud at low tide, with debris left over from previous removals scattered about. The last structures were finally put to the flame in 1942.  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. Merle Junk photograph, 1940s, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Centennial Parade – 5/1/16

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In May of 1950, the City of Olympia observed its centennial. Celebrations included a log cabin Centennial Headquarters in Sylvester Park, a special edition of the Daily Olympian, and, naturally, a parade. Here a replica of Tumwater’s Crosby House makes its way up Capitol Way, thronged by spectators, many in “pioneer” garb. 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.Merle Junk photograph, May 1950, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Livingston baby #12 – 4/24/16

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If you meet someone surnamed Livingston in Olympia, there’s a good chance they are children or grandchildren of Al and Anna Mae Livingston. Fourteen children in all were born to this family, and nine of them still live in our community. In this photo from 1962, Mr. and Mrs. Livingston are bringing home Bill, baby number 12. The event was of such importance that the Archbishop of Seattle performed Bill’s christening ceremony; the Thurston County Cowbelles presented the family with a case of meat; and the family received free passes to local events. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Thank you to Denise Livingston for additional background. For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org.

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Kneeland Hotel demolition and outdoor barbershop – 4/17/16

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The April 13, 1949 earthquake resulted in damage to or destruction of several downtown Olympia buildings. Here, a barber sets up temporary “shop” along Fourth Avenue, across from the Kneeland Hotel, which had to be demolished after the quake. (This is now the location of the Schoenfeld Furniture building). 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. Unknown photographer, 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Percival Mansion terrace – 4/10/16

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In this photo from 1949 we see the beginnings of construction of the Fifth Avenue dam and bridge and the Deschutes Parkway. At the right of the image are the terraced grounds of the Percival Mansion, once a prominent city landmark, now obliterated. 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. Unknown photographer, 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Olympia Transit – 4/3/16

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Before Intercity Transit came into being, the Olympia Transit Company provided service within Olympia and to neighboring communities. Here, in this photo from 1950, the fleet and its drivers are lined up in front of the Temple of Justice. 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.

Unknown photographer, 1950, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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William Frank, Sr. – 3/27/16

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Nisqually Tribal elder William Frank, Sr. poles a canoe on the Nisqually River in this photograph from March 1962. William Frank was the father of noted activist Billy Frank, Jr., for whom the Billy Frank Jr. National Wildlife Refuge was recently renamed. This photograph accompanied a Daily Olympian profile of Frank, Sr., in which he lamented the decline of the Nisqually Tribe and the fisheries resource it traditionally relied on for sustenance. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

March 1962, Daily Olympian collection, Washington State Historical Society

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Sylvester Park in early 1950s – 3/20/16

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Servicemen enjoy a sunny day in Sylvester Park in the early 1950s. Before I-5 was built, all north-south and east-west travelers had to pass through downtown 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. Unknown photographer, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Union Pacific Train Wreck – 3/13/16

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On March 13, 1959, a runaway train smashed through the Union Pacific depot on Fourth Avenue and into businesses on the other side of the street, destroying half a block. Miraculously, only one person was killed, telegraph operator Kenneth Dilley. This photograph shows the destroyed depot, as a large crowd of onlookers gathers after the accident. 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 photograph, 1959, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Hunger March – 3/7/16

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In early March of 1933, a group of about 4,000 men, women, and children marched to Olympia to protest inadequate relief efforts for unemployed and destitute citizens during the Great Depression. After demonstrating at the Legislative Building, the marchers were escorted by sheriffs, Olympia police, and a group of vigilantes to Priest Point Park where they were obligated to camp out in the rain without shelter. Although the march was deemed a failure at the time, it drew attention to the plight of the unemployed and demonstrated the ability of workers to organize and unite in a cause. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

Jeffers photograph, 1933, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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USO Club – 2/28/16

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The USO Club in Olympia opened in early 1942. According to a Daily Olympian article dated January 22, 1942, it had a lounge, library, showers, and cafeteria. The USO (United Service Organization) is a nonprofit, founded in 1941, that provides support to service troops and their families. This building was located on Fourth Avenue, just east of where the Olympian building now stands.  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, 1942, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Bordeaux – 2/21/16

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Established in the 1890s, the timber town of Bordeaux at one time had a population of over 400 and employed up to 700 workers. It was the site of logging and milling, sprawled over a huge area 15 miles southwest of Olympia. Most of the town site is now located in Capitol Forest, where remnants of the mill operations can still be 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. Unknown photographer, 1930s, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Fifth Avenue Dam and Bridge Construction – 2/14/16

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In early 1949, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the construction of a dam, bulkhead, and new bridge at the mouth of the Deschutes River, thereby creating Capitol Lake. This photograph from late 1949 or early 1950 shows the beginning of construction of the dam and the Fifth Avenue Bridge over it. In the distance we can see the dome of the Legislative Building, still under repair following the April 1949 earthquake. The dam and bridge were completed in 1951. 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 1950, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Amanda Benek Smith – 2/7/16

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Olympia’s current mayor, Cheryl Selby, is the third woman to hold this office. The first, Amanda Benek Smith, held the office from 1953 to 1960. She was also the first female mayor of any state capital. Smith was mayor during the siting and construction of what would become Interstate 5, which she proposed be routed through downtown Olympia, via a tunnel or overpass. (The route that was adopted, over her objection, destroyed downtown Tumwater.) Smith also banned gambling in downtown Olympia, supported the planting and preservation of trees in the cityscape, and made numerous improvements in city infrastructure. Amanda Smith Way is named after her. 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, 1954, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Lewis and Clark Trading Post – 1/31/16

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The Lewis and Clark Trading Post was located at the eastern end of the Fourth Avenue bridge, and offered repairs, trades, and “Affectionate Tourist Information.” Notable in this photograph from 1949 are the cranes which were being used in construction of the Fifth Avenue dam and bridge; the dome of the Legislative Building, under repair after the 1949 earthquake; and the then-new Memorial Clinic to the east, which was razed in late 2015. 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. Unknown photographer, 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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American Legion Band at Winged Victory – 1/24/16

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The Washington American Legion Band was formed in 1923 by the members of Alfred William Leach Post No. 3 of the American Legion. It is the oldest legion band in continuous existence in Washington State. It has received numerous awards and honors over the years and performs several times a year. Here the band poses in front of the Winged Victory statue on Capitol Campus, which honors men and women who served in World War I. This picture was taken in the summer of 1956 after the band won the National American Legion Band Championship in Los Angeles at the National American Legion Convention.  The majorette is Dorothy Bergh, who was 17 years old at the time. She was with the band between the ages of 8 and 22. 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. Thank you to Dorothy Bergh Wack for additional information.

Merle Junk photo, 1956, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Banned Book display – 1/17/16

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In January 1962, the Olympia Public Library created its first “Banned Book” display, now an annual tradition of the Timberland Regional Library system. The display was in response to an incident the previous December, when the Thurston County sheriff confiscated copies of Tropic of Cancer from local bookstores. Among the books displayed here is The Rabbits’ Wedding, featuring a marriage between a black and white rabbit. 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. Daily Olympian collection, January 2, 1962, Washington State Historical Society

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St. Peter Hospital on Sherman Street

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St. Peter Hospital  was founded in 1887 by the Sisters of Providence, at a location now on the grounds of Capitol Campus. The hospital moved to a new building on Sherman Street, in West Olympia, in the early 1920s. The new structure was a first-class facility, housing 100 beds and all the modern equipment, as well as a nursing school. After the completion of the current hospital building on Lilly Road, in 1971, the Sherman Street building was converted into apartments. 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. Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1943, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Deschutes Estuary in 1949

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In this image from early 1949, the Deschutes Estuary is at high tide and calm on an overcast day. The photo was taken looking north from Tumwater towards Olympia. Construction of the Fifth Avenue dam and Capitol Lake had not yet begun. 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. Merle Junk photo, 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Robert Wadlow at GallenKamp’s

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GallenKamp’s was a shoe store chain with a location in downtown Olympia. In 1938, as a publicity stunt, the chain retained Robert Wadlow, the World’s Tallest Man, to undertake a nationwide tour of the stores. In this photograph, Wadlow is towering over a vehicle advertising the event. Due to a rare disorder of the pituitary gland, Wadlow never stopped growing. In 1938, a year before his early death, he was over 8 feet tall. 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 photograph, 1938, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Christmas Island – 12/20/15

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In the 1940s Frank Huber created and displayed a  life-size crèche on his front lawn, where it was a popular seasonal attraction. In 1959, a coalition of partners acquired the display to create “Christmas Island,” a twinkling raft afloat in the middle of Capitol Lake. Sponsors erected the display annually until the early 1970s, when it was moved to the Sears parking lot, then to the Metro Church on Puget Street. When the congregation moved to Maytown, the display went along with it, where it can still be seen during the holiday season. 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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St. John’s Sunday School – 12/13/15

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A group of well-behaved youngsters listens to a Sunday School lesson at St. John’s Episcopal Church, in 1954. 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, 1954, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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4th Avenue December 1954 – 12/6/15

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It’s a dreary, rainy December day in 1954, but Fourth Avenue is decked out in holiday greenery. As can be seen on the route sign, the street was part of Route 99, the West Coast’s main north-south thoroughfare, as well as Route 410, the main highway linking Aberdeen and Lewiston, Idaho. To accommodate increasing amounts of traffic, Fourth Avenue was “twinned” with State Avenue and made one-way, one of the first to do so in the West. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

Merle Junk photo, 1954, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Doane’s Oyster House – 11/29/15

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Doane’s Oyster House stood near the corner of 5th Avenue and Washington Street. “Captain” Woodbury Doane presided, with his famous pan-fried oyster recipe that some claim contributed to Olympia’s being retained as the state capital. Politicians, lobbyists, and anyone else who wanted to be seen flocked to the restaurant; ladies had their own entrance at the side. The Olympia Oyster House is a direct descendant of Doane’s. 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. Unknown photographer, around 1883, Southwest Regional Archives, Susan Parish Collection

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Deane Apartments – 11/22/15

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A group of workers poses proudly in front of the new Deane Apartment building, in 1936. The building still stands, behind the YMCA, on Adams Street. 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.

Vibert Jeffers, 1936, Southwest Regional Archives, Susan Parish Collection

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Daily Olympian building – 11/15/15

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This venerable structure stood at the corner of Franklin and Legion, where Selden’s Furniture is now. Over its 65 years of existence, it served many functions, including schoolhouse, Thurston County courthouse, and, as shown here in 1903, the Daily Olympian office. At one time the building was even rotated 90 degrees, for reasons lost to history. 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. Unknown photographer, 1903, Southwest Regional Archives, Susan Parish collection

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Don Rich – 11/8/15

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Olympia-born Donald Eugene Ulrich, best known by the stage name Don Rich (August 15, 1941 – July 17, 1974) was a country musician who helped develop the Bakersfield sound in the early 1960s. He was a noted guitarist and fiddler, and a member of the The Buckaroos, the backing band of country singer Buck Owens. Don graduated from Olympia High School in 1959, already having opened for Elvis Presley at the Tacoma Dome at age 16. This photograph was taken in the 1950s or early 1960s at the beginning of his career. 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.

Merle Junk photograph, Southwest Regional Archives, Susan Parish Collection

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Olympia Collegiate Institute – 11/1/15

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The Olympia Collegiate Institute was the third in a series of private schools supported by the Methodist Church in Olympia’s early years. This building was located on East Bay Drive, at the corner of Olympia Avenue. It was probably erected around 1874. Many of the Washington’s notable citizens were graduates and supporters of the institute. Image 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.

1891 Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State Library

 

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Olympia High School band – 10/25/15

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Olympia High School (official name: William Winlock Miller High School) has a long and proud tradition of outstanding marching bands. In this photograph from 1950, the band, leader, and majorettes stand in formation on the lawn of the Washington School, which had formerly been the home of Olympia High School. This building is now the Knox Administrative Building on Eastside Street. 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.

1950, Merle Junk Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Carnegie Library – 10/18/15

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The collection that became the Olympia Public Library was begun by the Women’s Club of Olympia in 1896. In 1909, the City took over the collection. Around that time, Andrew Carnegie instituted his program of endowing communities with funds to build local libraries, subject to certain stipulations. Carnegie’s grant of $25,000 assisted in the construction of this building, which was completed in 1914. After the current Timberland Regional Library was erected in 1968, this building served as a bookstore, restaurant, and most recently as a church. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. 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.

Vibert Jeffers Photograph, about 1925, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Barker Motors – 10/11/15

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At the outset of the automotive era, Capitol Way became part of the main north-south thoroughfare of the West Coast, first designated the Pacific Highway, then renamed State Route 1, and, in 1926, US 99.  Automobile dealerships, filling stations, motels, and restaurants lined the “main drag” to serve America on the move. The Barker Motors dealership and filling station shown here was adjacent to the Governor Hotel and just uphill from the Northern Pacific depot on Water Street (whose sign can be seen at the right of this image). 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. 1942, Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Foursquare Church – 10/4/15

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The Foursquare Church on Fourth Avenue in Olympia was founded in 1939. The building was constructed with labor and materials supplied by the congregation. This photograph was taken in 1941: note the presence of men in uniform, as well as a young man wearing an Olympia High School letter sweater. After the building was deconsecrated, it served for a time as the home of the Olympia Film Festival as well as a recording studio. Vacant for several years, it burned down in 2014. 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. 1941 Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives.

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Paul Wiseman with Mountaineers – 9/27/15

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Paul Wiseman, a nearly life-long resident of Olympia, was the founder of the Olympia branch of the Mountaineers. He led trips for the Mountaineers into his ’80s and continued to hike and drive his Lincoln—the one vehicle with a trunk big enough to hold a set of skis—well into his late ’90s. He died in 2011 two days short of his 99th birthday. In this photograph, which accompanied a Sports Illustrated feature entitled “A Date on Mt. Rainier,” he chats with fellow mountain climbers. The feature ran in the second issue of the magazine, in the summer of 1953. 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. Ira Spring photograph, used by permission

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Fallout shelter – 9/20/15

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In the fall of 1961, fears of radioactive fallout sent some panicked Olympians to building fallout shelters. For $215, a family could buy a ready-made shelter from the Seamart store downtown and install it in their basement. In this photograph, a family demonstrates life in an underground shelter. While Mom happily plucks away at her ukulele, Dad and big brother look on approvingly (note as well the medicinal bottle of Canadian Club on the shelf.) Only little brother looks a tad bored on his upper bunk. 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. Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives.

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Lindbergh over Capitol

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On September 14, 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, over the relatively new Legislative Building as part of his 48-state tour of the country. Newspaper reports estimate that 1 in 4 Americans witnessed some part of Lindbergh’s tour. According to the Seattle Times, when Lindbergh’s plane reached Olympia, “the plane flew around the dome of the Capitol three times, descending to a low altitude. The flyer then dropped a message of greeting and roared off.”  Washington state was especially proud of the aircraft because it was constructed almost entirely from Western Washington spruce trees. Footage of Lindbergh’s flight over Seattle, the previous day, has only recently been discovered. 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.

Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Capitol Theater – 9/6/15

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The Capitol Theater, now the home of the Olympia Film Society, was the crowning achievement of the Zabel family, who owned several movie theaters downtown. It includes terra cotta decorations, stained glass windows depicting each of the five muses, and marble flooring.  Anticipating some of today’s theater design features, Zabel installed special seating for parents of small children, assisted-hearing devices, and even an extra-wide seat to accommodate a larger patron. This photograph from 1931 shows the ornate lobby. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1931, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Tenino quarry – 8/30/15

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In the late 19th century several sandstone quarries were established in Tenino, Washington. Stone from these quarries shipped for buildings and construction throughout Washington and Oregon, including many distinguished existing structures. This photograph from around 1900 shows the Tenino Stone Company quarry in full operation, with its stepped wall of sandstone in the foreground. The site is now a popular swimming area in downtown Tenino.  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.

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Capitol Way and Legion – 8/23/15

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In this photograph from early 1960s, we are looking north on Capitol Way from the southwest corner of Legion Avenue. Across the way is the Miller’s Department Store, a mid-Century modern building erected just before the 1949 earthquake. Across from it is the Penney’s store. The building still exists though remodeled into its current “blank” façade. In the distance we can see billowing black smoke from the veneer plants in the Port area. 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. Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

 

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9th Avenue – 8/16/15

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When we see old photographs of Olympia, it’s sometimes difficult to nail down what we are looking at. There are two clues in this photograph, which was taken in 1928: the dome of the Legislative Building in the background, and the Foursquare home with its dormer toward the left side of the image. This helps us to see that we are looking westward across 9th Avenue in downtown Olympia, towards Capitol Way. The home with the dormer is the Gibbons House, which still exists on Capitol between 10th and Union and is on the local register. The Texaco and Rogers gasoline stations, as well as the residences along Capitol are long gone. 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.

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Be-Slim Display – 8/9/15

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Diet fads have been with us since at least the 1800s. In the 1950s, miracle pills and powders abounded, as they do today. Many included amphetamines as an active ingredient, now frowned upon as a slimming solution. The display in this photograph from 1958 featured the “Be-Slim” product, and shows “Miss Be Slim” visiting a supermarket in Olympia. 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. 1958, Merle Junk Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Miller’s Department Store – 7/26/15

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The Miller’s Department Store was located at the important intersection of Capitol and Legion Ways. This mid-Century modern building was erected about 1949, just before the 1949 earthquake, which caused minor damage to the structure. The building currently houses commercial operations at the ground level, and the large façade above the entryways has been removed. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information visit Olympiahistory.org. 

Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Lakefair celebrates Diamond Jubilee – 7/19/15

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Lakefair and its parade have been an Olympia fixture since 1957. In 1964, in observance of Washington state’s Diamond Jubilee, the Lakefair princesses and queens were transported down Capitol Way in a magnificent float with a diamond theme. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information visit Olympiahistory.org. Note: the negative was inadvertently reversed in the scanning of this photograph. The large mid-Century modern building in the background is the Highway and Licensing building, then recently completed.

 

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Cadillac Dealership – 7/12/15

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In 1914, Tumwater resident Robert Esterly took a series of photographs of many of Olympia’s commercial and industrial operations, providing a valuable record of our city as it looked 100 years ago. Most of the photographs also include owners and staff. This automobile dealership was at the corner of Columbia and 5th. The building still exists and is well preserved. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information visit Olympiahistory.org. Esterly photograph, 1914, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Grimm Brickyard – 7/5/15

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Brickyards existed in and around Olympia from its earliest days. Bricks were made by mining the extensive clay beds around Olympia’s shores, molding them, building wooden kilns to hold them and then setting the kilns on fire. The brickyard at the corner of Fourth and Eastside, shown here in about 1880, was one of at least two on Olympia’s east side. It was owned by the Grimm brothers, and then by William Burchett and Christopher Baker until early in the 20th century. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information visit Olympiahistory.org. Washington State Library Collection, Washington State Archives

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Denn Powder Explosion – 6/28/15

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On June 27, 1934, a huge explosion at the Denn Powder Company in the community of Lacey resulted in 11 deaths. The company produced dynamite, which was in great demand for logging, stump clearing, mining, and demolition. The damage from the explosion was so extensive that it was never possible to reach a definitive conclusion on its cause. 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. Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1934, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Fish ladder – 6/21/15

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The fish ladder at Tumwater Falls was built in the 1950s to provide a pathway for salmon up the Deschutes River. Before the ladder was built, there was no natural salmon run up the Deschutes.
The hatchery at the top of the falls was constructed in 1962. The ladder and hatchery provide a way for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to supplement the natural Chinook salmon population in our area. This photograph from 1957 shows the fish ladder soon after its completion.  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. Merle Junk photograph, 1957, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Bergstrom and Lassen – 6/14/15

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In the early 1930s, Bill Bergstrom and Irving Lassen founded Bergstrom’s Sporting Goods store (in the Simenson Jeweler Building) on Fourth Avenue, where the Spider Monkey tattoo parlor is now. Here, Bergstrom and Lassen show off a brace of fish caught with tackle from their store. Irving Lassen is the dapper gentleman at the left. He later founded Lassen Electric (now in the Star Laundry building, see also Lassen House) and, at his death, endowed the Lassen Foundation for the benefit of the people of Thurston County. 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.Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1938, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Bettman Store – 6/7/15

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The Bettman family were merchants in Olympia from very early days. Their men’s clothing store was in business downtown on Capitol Way until the 1970s (see also Bettman First Store, Bettman Block, and Bettman-Oppenheimer House for more sites associated with this family). In this photograph from June of 1949, a gentleman is trying on a suit. Assisting him is Charles Lyman, long-time employee. (Thank you to Charles Lyman’s granddaughter Mollie Lyman Hall for this information.) The profusion of floral arrangements in the photo suggests that this may have been the grand re-opening of the store following the earthquake of 1949. 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. Vibert Jeffers photograph, June 1949, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Forest Memorial Gardens – 5/31/15

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The Forest Cemetery, now Forest Memorial Gardens, was established in 1857 by early pioneers. Several members of the Bigelow family are buried here. The cemetery was later referred to as the Chinese Cemetery — somewhat to the Bigelow family’s indignation — as it is the burial place for many Chinese immigrants. In addition, the cemetery is the only burial place for Thurston County Muslims, marked by mounds rather than stones; and several early unmarked African-American gravesites. As can be seen from this photograph from 1956, the cemetery fell into neglect in the early years of the 20th century. Early gravesites have now been restored as they have been rediscovered. 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. Vibert Jeffers, May 31, 1956. Susan Parish Collection Southwest Regional Archives

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Percival Mansion – 5/24/15

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The Percival Mansion, the home of pioneers Samuel W.and Lurana Percival, is one of the more recognizable structures in early Olympia images. It was built by Benjamin Harned in 1874, at the western end of the Fourth Avenue bridge. Built in Gothic Revival and Italianate style, it perched on top of a terraced hillside and had a spectacular view of Olympia and Mount Rainier. Image 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. Edward Lange drawing, 1891 Olympia Tribune Souvenir Edition, Washington State Library

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Littlerock School – 5/17/15

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In the early days of statehood, one room schoolhouses were the norm throughout Thurston County. Here a stern looking teacher has charge of a group of 27 youngsters at the Littlerock School, in 1909.  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. Photo: Frances Dena, 1909, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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May 11, 2015

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Whitlock Collection, Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum

This week marks the 70th anniversary of V-E day, the end of the European conflict in World War II. On May 10, 1946, near the first anniversary of V-E Day, the United States Army’s Second Division participated in events held in its honor in Olympia. The Division had been reassigned to Fort Lewis only three weeks before. The Morning Olympian reported that there were 8,000 participants in the parade, including several battalions, a band, howitzers, and the hit of the “show,” 45 dogs of the 50th Scout dog platoon. In this photograph, Division colors are being carried past the McKenny Building on Capitol Way, where the Schoenfeld Furniture building is today. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information visit their website at olympiahistory.org.

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Alice Padilla Salon – 4/5/15

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Alice Padilla, left, opens a new hair salon in Tumwater in 1950. The salon featured Thomasine Andre, “a hair stylist from Hollywood,” probably shown at Alice’s right. It was located in a new, modern, shopping center called The Village. Photographs 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. Vibert Jeffers photograph 1950, Susan Parish collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Bayview Hotel – 4/12/15

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The Bayview Hotel was located on Third Avenue (now State Street) in Olympia. Third Avenue was the dividing line between the “respectable” part of downtown and the Dead Zone, or Tenderloin District. As suggested by its name, the hotel was located on what was then waterfront on the north side of the street. In this photograph, from around 1900, the staff and proprietor are awaiting customers in the hotel’s restaurant. Photographs selected and captioned by Deborah Ross.

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Youth in Government – 3/29/15

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The Washington State YMCA-sponsored Youth in Government program was begun in 1947, just a few years after the first such program was founded in New York State. Some of our state’s most important citizens, including former Governor Gary Locke, acquired their first taste of politics by participating in this annual event. Olympia-area citizens play a key role by acting as hosts to the teens who arrive here from all parts of the state. In this photograph from 1957, unidentified youths confer on the House floor, occupying seats of actual legislators Elmer Johnston and Harold Petrie. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

Merle Junk photograph, 1957, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Chambers Prairie Cherry Tree – 3/22/2015

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David Chambers arrived in this area in 1848, a member of the very early pioneer Chambers family. On the migration west, he brought with him fruit tree saplings and planted them on his homestead in what is now Lacey. One of the saplings grew into a magnificent and well-known cherry tree, which outlasted both the sale of the property to the Mountain View Country Club and then to Panorama City (now Panorama). In this photograph from 1925, David Chambers’s son, Olympia mayor A.H. Chambers, stands by the tree, which is in full bloom. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1925, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Gowey House – 3/15/15

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John Gowey was an important citizen of Olympia, who served in many local and territorial capacities and eventually rose to the level of consul of Japan, where he died. His wife was one of the original “Mercer girls” who were brought to Washington Territory to meet the matrimonial needs of the men of the territory. The Goweys’ mansion served as the residence of two Washington governors, Ferry and Rogers. The elegant home was located just north of where the Department of Enterprise Services building is now, on Columbia Street. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org. 1891 Souvenir Edition, Olympia Tribune, Washington State Library

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Capitol Way Bricking – 3/8/15

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Until the early 20th century, Capitol Way (or, as it was known then, Main Street), was unpaved. It was a muddy mess in the rainy season, and dusty in the summertime. The need for a hard surface became urgent with the advent of bicycles and automobiles. Thus, the bricking of Main Street in 1908 was a major and welcome improvement. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1908, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

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Governor Hotel Dining Room – 3/1/15

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Vibert Jeffers photograph, 1939, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

The Governor Hotel, across from Sylvester Park on Capitol Way, has a long and distinguished history. In 1890 the hotel (variously called the Governor House and the Mitchell Hotel) was a three story structure with a columned entryway. It was developed by William H. Mitchell, a pioneer businessman. In 1928, a larger, seven-story brick structure was built to the south. It was damaged during the 1949 earthquake but still in existence in 1960. That building was replaced in the early 1970s by the current structure. This photograph by Vibert Jeffers, taken in 1939, shows the elegant dining room of the hotel. 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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William Owen Bush Farm – 2/22/15

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1945, C.R. Jenson Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

William Owen Bush was the eldest of six sons of the pioneer George and Isabella Bush family. Carrying on his parents’ remarkable legacy of careful land stewardship and public service, he was one of the most successful farmers in the northwest. He brought his products, along with other Washington produce, to the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. He also served in the first Washington State Legislature, and authored an important civil rights act, the first to be passed in the West. His home in Tumwater is pictured here in 1945, after his death. It was demolished in 1970, but the land on which it stood is now aptly the home of a farm supporting Community Supported Agriculture. Photographs 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.

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Miles Sporting Goods – 2/15/15

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1937, Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

This image from February 1937 shows the result of a successful cougar hunt. Elwyn Miles, the owner of the Miles Sporting Goods store, is one of the proud men in the photograph by Vibert Jeffers. The store was located in the Van Epps building at 107 Capitol Way, where Browser’s Books is now. Photographs 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.

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“1063 Building” – 2/8/15

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1951 Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

The Capital Park building, commonly known as the “1063 Building” after its address on Capitol Way, was erected in 1931 by the Dawley Brothers, who built several of the commercial buildings in Olympia’s core. It is a large masonry structure in the art moderne style. The building had several retail businesses on the ground floor, including the Sav-Mor grocery store shown in this photograph from 1951. Upstairs it housed lobbyists, radio stations, and law offices, including that of early female attorney Julia Waldrip Ker. The center of the building held a bowling alley and ballroom. The building is slated for demolition. Photographs 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.

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Springer and White Mill – 2/1/15

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The Springer & White mill was an important early business in Olympia’s port district. It was co-owned by Charles Springer and Allen White, and fabricated doors and other building elements. The mill was located at the north end of Jefferson Street, about where the Hands-on Museum is now. This drawing from 1891 by Edward Lange has several interesting details, including, in the background, the Olympia Opera House on Fourth Avenue and the old Washington School (current site of the Armory). But the railroad track running down through the mill and onto a dock was wishful, or forward, thinking on Lange’s part: it wasn’t actually built until many year later. Photographs 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.

Drawing by Edward Lange, for 1891 Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State Library collection

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Safeway Store on Fourth Avenue – 1/25/15

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Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1962

The Safeway Store chain has long been a fixture in the Olympia area. The first store was located in downtown Olympia. In 1962, a new, modern building was erected on Fourth Avenue. Its arched glass front, with domed ceiling, lent an airy, open feeling to the store and was an important addition to Olympia’s commercial mid-Century buildings. This photograph was taken soon after the store’s opening. In 2011 the City purchased the property, razed the building, and erected the current City Hall on the site. This location was once part of the Swantown Slough. It was filled in about 1910 as part of the Carlyon Fill, which filled in most of the slough, dredged Budd Inlet, and added several blocks to the north, west, and east. 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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Construction of I-5 – 1/18/15

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During the long planning period leading up to the construction of Interstate 5, several routes were considered, including one that would have tunneled underneath downtown Olympia. Ultimately, it was decided to site the freeway in a wide arc around the capital city, facilitating connection with Route 101, but requiring the demolition of most of downtown Tumwater. This photograph from 1956 shows the beginning of the construction of the bridge spanning the upper end of Capitol Lake. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1956

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Greenwood’s Ark – 1/11/15

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Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1930’s; Greenwood’s Ark photograph by Vibert Jeffers

In 1920, William Greenwood began to build an ark, convinced that a second flood was imminent. The ark was constructed entirely out of found material, and located in West Olympia, near the waterfront of Budd Inlet. Greenwood, at right, spent the next 22 years working on the ark, which was decorated with flags, quotes from the Bible, stars, and other artwork. In the early 1940s the city reluctantly declared the ark a fire hazard and forced Greenwood to move to “retirement” in Grand Mound, where he immediately began building another ark. He died in 1958, surrounded by the animals he had hoped to save when the flood came. Link here to video footage of Greenwood and the ark. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

 

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Legislative Building after earthquake – 1/4/15

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Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1950

This aerial photograph, taken in 1950, shows the dome of the Legislative Building under repair after the 1949 earthquake. Among the many repairs required, the original stone lantern atop the dome was replaced with a lighter weight lantern. An elaborate scaffold was built, with a tramway to transport materials and workers to the top. Dignitaries and their wives made frequent visits to the construction platform surrounding the top of the dome. Also visible in this photo are the Insurance Building under repair; the Capital Apartments and Olympia High School on Capitol Way visible in the background at right before their demolition to make way for East Capitol Campus; and black smoke wafting from the smokestack at Washington or Olympia Veneer. 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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Goldberg’s Building – 12/18/14

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Merle Junk photograph, 1951, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

The intersection of Fourth Avenue and Capitol Way is both literally and figuratively the center of Olympia. At one time the Kneeland Hotel stood here at the southwest corner; it had to be razed after the 1949 Earthquake. Soon after, the Goldberg family opened Goldberg’s furniture store here. The building design was considered bold and modern, designed by Olympia’s preeminent mid-Century architects Bennett and Johnston. Photograph selected by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For additional information, visit Olympiahistory.org.

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5th Avenue Dam Construction – 12/21/14

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

This photograph from December 1949 shows Capitol Lake under construction. In the foreground is the 4th Avenue Bridge, while the beginnings of the 5th Avenue Bridge and dam construction can be seen behind it. The terraced area to its right is what remained of the Percival Mansion grounds, a long-time fixture in Olympia. It succumbed to construction of the Deschutes Parkway, Capitol Lake, and the 5th Avenue bridge. Photograph selected by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For additional information, visit Olympiahistory.org.

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Block’s Shoe Store – 12/14/14

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Vibert Jeffers photograph, December 1937, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

Block’s Shoe Store was located in the Pacific Building, now the home of Archibald Sisters. The building was once three stories tall; the 1949 Earthquake made the removal of the top two stories necessary. In this photograph from 1937, the store is decked out for Christmas. Photograph selected by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For additional information, visit Olympiahistory.org.

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J.C. Penney store – 12/7/14

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Vibert Jeffers photograph, December 1957, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

The J.C. Penney store occupied a prominent position at the corner of Legion Way and Capitol Way in downtown Olympia. The building was originally developed by P.H. Carlyon, a prominent dentist, businessman, and public figure. In the 1990s the building was redeveloped into its current “blank” façade, spurring the city to institute downtown design review procedures. Photograph selected by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For additional information, visit Olympiahistory.org.

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Olympia Cornet Band – 11/30/14

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Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

The Olympia Cornet Band was formed in the 1870s and provided entertainment at local events, as well as traveling as far as Victoria, B.C. Members of the band included many of Olympia’s most prominent citizens. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

For another photograph of the band, with many members identified, see Washington State Historical Society catalogue number C1950.1301.22.3 

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Amateur theatricals – 11/16/14

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William Duckering photograph, 1893, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

Professional and amateur theater was an important part of early Olympia social life. Here, four amateur thespians rehearse in 1893 for a production of H.M.S. Pinafore, a benefit for St. John’s Episcopal Church. The woman in the center is Drusilla Percival; at the left of the image is Sam Woodruff. Percival Landing and Percival Creek are named after the Percival family, while the Woodruff Building and Woodruff Park are named after Sam Woodruff. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

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Oyster Bay – 11/23/14

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Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

Oystering was an important industry from Olympia’s earliest days. In this photograph, taken at Oyster Bay in the 1930s, a line of floats piled high with oysters waits out low tide. In the background we can see residential float houses lined up along the shore. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

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Olympia Federal Savings – 11/2/14

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Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives

Making a bold modern statement, the Olympia Federal Savings building is a floating glass box framed by metal and brick. Erected in 1967, it was one of the best works of Olympia architect G. Stacey Bennett. The elaborate carved doors were the work of artist Walter Graham. The building is located in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District and is one of the most important mid-Century modern buildings in Olympia. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit olympiahistory.org.

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Japanese at Labor Temple – 10/26/14

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Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives, photograph by Vibert Jeffers

This photograph of a group of second-generation (Nisei) and third-generation Japanese-Americans was taken at the Labor Temple, also known as the Woodruff Building, in downtown Olympia in October of 1938. The banner over the group can be translated as Olympia Japanese Nisei Association of Kindred Spirits Opening Ceremony. Japanese immigrants and their descendants were important contributors to the development of Olympia’s growth, particularly the oyster industry. Some of the men, women, and children in this photograph may have later been interned during World War II, not many years after this photograph was taken. Several Nisei from the area served with distinction in the United States armed services. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

We would welcome any additional information about this group or its members!

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John Percival in 1940 – 10/19/14

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Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives, photograph by Vibert Jeffers

John Percival was the second son of pioneer Samuel Wing Percival. In 1877, Samuel entrusted to John the important job of running the family’s dock business when John was only 16. In this photograph from 1940, John Percival stands in front of his shipping office, now the location of Percival Landing. He died in 1942, aged 81, after a sixty-five year career. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

 

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Harris Dry Goods – 10/12/14

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Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives, photograph by Vibert Jeffers

Isaac Harris founded Harris Dry Goods in the 1880s. In 1896 he moved the store to Main Street (now Capitol Way) between Fifth Avenue and Legion Way, one of the most desirable locations in downtown Olympia. The building still exists and is on the local heritage register. The Harris family (Isaac and his sons Mitchel and Gus) were prominent merchants, active in local politics as well as the Jewish community. This photograph of the department store was taken in 1943. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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Olympia Light and Power – 10/5/14

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Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives, photograph by Mae Cummins

The Olympia Light & Power Company, organized in 1890, brought the first electricity to Olympia and Tumwater, Washington. The waterwheel-generated hydroelectric power plant at Tumwater Falls also powered the streetcars between Olympia and Tumwater. In 1923 it was purchased by Puget Sound Power & Light Co.  This photograph was taken in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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Miniature Golf – 9/28/14

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Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1930

The miniature golf craze hit Olympia in 1930, with two indoor parlors opening that year. This one was located at the former site of a Buick dealership at the corner of Franklin Street and Fifth Avenue. This photograph may depict its opening day in late September. Newspaper reports remarked that the game was taken just as seriously as “real” golf, and with just as much wagering involved. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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Mann’s Seeds – 9/21/14

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Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1960s

Champion Bramwell Mann, an early Olympia pioneer, held a variety of public offices, including territorial librarian, Thurston County Treasurer, and mayor. His most lasting legacy to local historians is a survey he sent out to other Thurston County pioneers and their descendants, asking questions about their family roots, how they arrived here, and their family members. Mann’s first profession was apothecary, or druggist, but by 1920 he had converted his family homesite on the corner of Fifth and Franklin into a seed store. Mann’s Seeds was still in existence into the 1970s. It is now the home of Rainy Day Records and Little General grocery store. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org.

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Ralph’s Thriftway – 9/14/14

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Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, 1958

Ralph’s Thriftway opened at its present location on State Avenue in 1956. It was a showcase for the very latest in grocery stores. It was also one of the largest stores in the northwest, and included a children’s play area, clothing department, and two leased areas, Bailey Pharmacy and Blue Ribbon Meats. This photograph, taken in 1958, shows the soda fountain and the pharmacy. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org

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Capitol Lake swimming area – 9/7/14

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Merle Junk photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, around 1968

This aerial photograph, taken around 1968, shows the bathing area of Capitol Lake, a popular summertime spot for Olympia’s families. The float in the lake was used for the Christmas Island display in wintertime. Not visible is the dressing area and restroom building, built in the 1960s. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org

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Avalon Theater – 8/31/14

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Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

The Avalon Theater was built in 1928, one of several movie theaters in downtown Olympia. The architect was Franklin Cox Stanton, who adopted the Mission style that characterizes much of downtown’s architecture. This photograph, by Vibert Jeffers, was taken in 1936. In later years this was the Griswold Office Supply building, which burned down in 2004. Today, only a portion of the facade remains. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org

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Olympia Oyster – 8/24/14

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Attribution: Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

This building was designed in 1924 by architect Joseph Wohleb as a packing and storage facility for the Olympia Oyster Company. This is the only remaining building from Olympia’s once-thriving oyster industry. It is now the site of the popular Olympia Oyster House, the front of which burned in 2013. It reopened in summer 2014. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

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Ruth Stubbs at Allison Springs – 8/17/14

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Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

Ruth Stubbs, now Ruth Stubbs Lewis, recalls that this photograph was taken as a publicity photograph for a calendar, in August of 1950. The Allison Trout Farms diverted Mud Bay’s Allison Creek into a privately owned set of artificially created pools and streams. Mrs. Lewis remembers the determination of the trout to break down the barriers that had been created to pen them in! In recent years, the South Puget Sound Enhancement Group has come to their rescue and restored the springs to their natural contribution to the McLane Creek estuary. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

 

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Armory – 8/10/14

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Attribution: Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

This photograph was taken in August of 1939 soon after the Armory building was completed. The building, on Legion Way and Eastside Street, was designed by Olympia’s preeminent architect, Joseph Wohleb, in an Art Deco style. This was a departure from the Mission style that characterized many of his earlier public buildings. The Armory served as a listening post for enemy aircraft during World War II. It is currently the home of the National Guard. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

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Fifth Avenue in 1942 – 8/3/14

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Attribution: Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

Photographer Vibert Jeffers took this photograph in 1942, looking west down Fifth Avenue in downtown Olympia. Many of the buildings in this photograph remain today, including the Capitol Theater on the right side, the Donald building about halfway down the left side (now the home of Darby’s Cafe), and beyond it, Jeffers’s own studio, the Jeffers Building, now the home to the State of The Arts Gallery. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

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Fourth Avenue looking west – 7/27/2014

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Susan Parish Photograph Collection, Washington State Archives, undated postcard, about 1910

 

In this postcard photograph, taken about 1910, we are looking west up Fourth Avenue from Adams Street. Trolley tracks run down the center of the street. On the right side of the street, the building with the cupola is Columbia Hall, the original city hall and fire station. The White House, about halfway down the left side, is one of the only buildings in this photograph that exist today. It was a grocery store and rooming house. This postcard, along with others featuring Fourth Avenue and Capitol Way, can be viewed at the Olympia Historical Society’s display window in the New Caldonia Building on Fifth Avenue. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

 

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Anderson Apartments – 7/20/14

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Attribution: Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Photograph Collection, Washington State Archives, 1938

The Anderson Apartment building was located on North Capitol Way, adjacent to Zeigler’s Welding. Like other lodging establishments in this part of the city, many of its lodgers were men and women engaged in the port area’s industrial activities, such as seafaring, wood products, canning, and shellfish processing. This photograph by Vibert Jeffers was taken in 1938. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

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Acme Fuel Company at Capitol – 7/13/14

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Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Photograph Collection, Washington State Archives, 1935

The Acme Fuel Company was founded in 1925 by the Springer Mill Company as a way to sell off their waste wood products to homes for heating needs. They soon began selling coal and heating oil as those energy sources became more common. In this photograph from 1935, the company is advertising its new General Motors delivery truck, parked in front of the Legislative Building. The company has been owned by the same family, the Allens, since 1940. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

 

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Beer Cans at Broyles Market – 7/6/14

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Vibert Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives, July 1938

In this photograph from 1938, Olympia’s Broyles Grocery store is advertising “Beer in Keg Lined Cans.” Beer cans were first introduced in 1934, but only gained widespread acceptance during World War II, when they became popular with US Troops. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

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Wildwood Shopping Center – 6/29/14

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Olympia Centennial Souvenir Program, Southwest Regional Archives
The Wildwood Building (also known as the G.C. Valley Shopping Center) was the first shopping center built in Olympia, in 1938. The building was designed for owner G.C. Valley by Olympia architect Joseph Wohleb, as he transitioned from his signature Mission style into Art Moderne, which echoed the sleek streamlining of the automobile industry. This advertisement appeared in a newspaper supplement for Olympia’s centennial celebration in 1950. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.
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St. John’s Episcopal Church – 6-22-2014

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The St. John’s Episcopal congregation celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2014. The structure pictured here was the congregation’s second structure, built in 1888 at 9th Avenue and Washington Street. It is currently the home of First Baptist Church. The building is on the local heritage register. The image is taken from an 1891 publicity pamphlet produced by the Olympia Tribune. Image selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

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Fire at National Wood Pipe – 6/15/14

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In early days of western cities’ development, municipal water was conducted through threaded wooden pipes, a healthier and cheaper material than lead. Our thriving port, with its abundant nearby forest resources, was a natural location for wood-based industries. The National Wood Pipe Company established a factory at the north end of Olympia’s central peninsula (near the current Hands On Children Museum), shipping its products up and down the west coast.Unfortunately, a spectacular fire destroyed the factory in 1909. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

State Library Collection, Digital Archives

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Elks Club Caravan – 6/8/14

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In June 1933, the Studebaker company sponsored a group of Elks Club members on a journey from Los Angeles to Milwaukee, a promotion for their short-lived Rockne model. Here the group poses in front of Olympia’s Elks Club building on Capitol Way. The building is now on the local, state, and national heritage registers. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org.

Jeffers Photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

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Funeral Procession for Unclaimed Dead – 5/25/14

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State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives
On March 18, 1900, the City of Olympia was honored to host the funeral for unclaimed dead Spanish-American War soldiers from Washington State. This photograph shows the funeral procession, which began at the Olympia Opera House (near the current location of City Hall) to the Masonic Cemetery, where a bronze statue honors their resting place. Behind the funeral cortege is the grand Olympia Hotel, which burned in 1904. The Dolliver Building on Capitol Way stands at that location now.
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Centennial Parade – 5/13/2014

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Merle Junk photographer, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives

On May 5, 1950, the City of Olympia celebrated its centennial with a parade. Here, a float, featuring bathing beauties over the decades, rounds the corner of Capitol and Fifth Avenue. The Funk-Volland Building is in the background, where Olympia Federal Savings is now. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org

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St. Martin’s College – 5/14/14

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State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives
St. Martin’s College in Lacey, Washington, now St. Martin’s University, was founded in 1895. In this early aerial photograph we see Old Main, constructed between 1913 and 1923, with the steam plant being the only other visible structure among the surrounding fields and forests. Photograph selected and captioned by the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information see olympiahistory.org
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Chambers Block in 1891 – 5/4/14

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The Olympia Tribune published a promotional brochure in 1891 highlighting important people and places in and around Olympia. This image is of the Chambers Block at Fourth Avenue and Main Street (now Capitol Way), then and now the center of Downtown Olympia. The building still exists. Its ornate parapets and bay windows were severely damaged during the 1949 earthquake. Washington State Library collection. Image selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org

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Olympia High School – 4/27/14

Olympia High School Capitol Way

State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov

 
The institution formally named William Winlock Miller High School, but  known by all as Olympia High School, has existed at three locations. The second location, featured here, was built in 1919, on Capitol Way between 12th and 13th, on what is now East Capitol Campus. It was originally a three-story brick building with a parapet. An addition was built to the rear in 1926. The building was torn down in 1961 to make way for the Capitol Campus expansion. Photograph selected and captioned by Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, see olympiahistory.org
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Mosquito Fleet at Percival Landing – 4/20/14

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In the days when Puget Sound was the equivalent of our Interstate 5, dozens of small, privately owned steam-driven freight and passenger vessels, dubbed the Mosquito Fleet, plied the waterways between Olympia, at the southern end, all the way to Vancouver, in British Columbia. In this photograph, probably from the 1890s, three sternwheelers – the Northern Light, City of Shelton and Multnomah – are all pulled up at Percival Landing, in Olympia. State Library Photograph Collection, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov

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Old State Capitol Building after 1949 Earthquake – 4/13/14

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On April 13, 1949 a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Puget Sound, the largest ever recorded. It caused extensive damage and destruction to downtown Olympia and to the State Capitol Campus buildings, as well as the entire Puget Sound region. The Old State Capitol Building (now Office of Superintendent of Instruction) is shown here undergoing repairs. General Subjects Photograph Collection, 1845-2005, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov. Link here to information about the Old State Capitol Building.

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Flame Princesses

Photographic negative, of a group of three young women identified as the flame princesses,Olympia, WA, Thurston County, evidently a beauty contest associated with the Olympia Fire Department. They are posed outside of the Olympia Fire Department building (now, 2013, the Family Support Center) standing on a fire truck and wearing fire helmets; taken for Olympian (newspaper) May 4, 1960. Photograph ran in the Olympian on May 9, 1960, page 1. Identities of women are Mary Pat Brownell, Becky Cline, Ann Perrault, June Masser, Jenny Lee Michael, Beverly Ikerd, Linda Dobson. (Looking Back feature March 23, 2014) Washington State Historical Society catalogue C1986.43.60.5.4.3.1

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