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

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

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


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

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

Additional resources:

City of Olympia, mid-Century modern context statement

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

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

Washington State Historical Society photographs

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: 2010.149.12

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross