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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Additional resources:

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

DAHP report, General Administration Building

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

City of Olympia mid-Century modern Context Statement

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

Docomomo “Endangered Properties” listing

Olympia Women’s Walking Tour

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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