Location: 1515 Harrison Ave NW
Religious institutions; mid-Century modern

Gloria Dei Lutheran in 1961, before addition, courtesy Washington State Historical Society Gloria DeiGloria Dei Lutheran Church today (2015), photo by Deborah Ross

The Gloria Dei Church building on Harrison Street in West Olympia is the second eccelesiastical building associated with this congregation. The congregation began as a small Mission church catering to Scandinavian immigrants, as related in the First Gloria Day site page here. The move away from Olympia’s central core came around the same time as other mainline congregations — First United Methodist, United Churches, and St. John’s Episcopal — were finding that the Baby Boom and rapid post-war growth of Olympia were creating cramped conditions in their downtown 19th and early 20th century buildings (see the Gloria Dei page linked above for an overview of the phenomenon of “musical pews” in Olympia). The compound on this site was erected in two stages. A church building with a relatively traditional design was first built in 1951  but outgrew that building, so a more adventurous design, adding on to the west of the original building, was selected for a major expansion in 1967. Volunteers donated over 4,000 hours of labor and many of the materials over the 15 year period. The DAHP inventory sheet linked below has photographs of both phases of the compound’s construction.

More information:

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog number in the search box: C1986.

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Inventory 

mid-Century Modern Context Statement, p. 61

Copyright ©  2022 Deborah Ross