Hale Block

Location: 502 4th Ave E
Local register; Women’s history; Religious institutions

hale blockHale Block, 1914, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Societyhale block nowHale Block today (2012) photograph by Matt Kennelly

Pamela Case Hale – teacher, superintendant, Unitarian preacher, suffragist, and businesswoman par excellence – built the Hale Block in 1891, during a time of great prosperity for Olympia. This important addition to downtown Olympia was, at the time, on the edge of the Swantown Slough and, more importantly, was near the waterfront and the Springer and White mill (the Hale Block, then under construction, can be seen in the background of the Edward Lange drawing shown on the Where Are We? webpage for the mill). Hale also built the Jefferson Apartments a short distance away. As with the other large buildings in this area (for example, the Union Block), the upstairs rooms were used by a number of organizations and businesses. The Unitarian Society met here after the departure of their last minister in 1893 and the abandonment of their own church building (Hale’s connection with the church was likely a factor in choosing this location).

In the early 20th century this building was the location of the J.E. Kelley Furniture store. The name J.E. Kelley remains incised into the sidewalk in front of the building, confusing historians, as Kelley later moved across the street to the building that bears his name.

This building is on the local register, more for its historic significance than the building’s current characteristics, as it has been drastically altered over the years.

Additional links:

Washington State Historical Society (bold face indicates photograph is scanned), above photo 2010.149.1.2 (Robert Esterly photograph)

Olympia Heritage inventory

For more information on Pamela Case Hale, see the Residents section of this website

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