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

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

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

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

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

First United Methodist history webpage

Mid-Century Modern context statement (see page 62)

Washington State Historical Society,

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

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

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross