Location: 116 Legion Way SE
Downtown National Historical District, Women’s History
Hotel Olympian by Jeffers, 1954. Susan Parish Photograph Collections, Washington State Archives
Hotel Olympian today (2012), Photo courtesy of Matthew Kennelly
When the state acquired the Old State Capitol Building and moved the seat of government to downtown Olympia, it was apparent that downtown accommodations were inadequate to house all of the legislators, lobbyists and others during legislative session. After much delay, the five-story Hotel Olympian was built in 1918 directly to the north of Sylvester Park. The exterior of the building is remarkably well preserved. It sustained only minor damage during the 1949 and 2001 earthquakes. The interior now includes apartments on the upper floors, a restaurant and retail stores on ground floor, and a ballroom on the second floor. A persistent urban myth that there is a tunnel linking the hotel to the Old State Capitol Building appears not to have any basis in fact. See this article by James Hannum in Thurston County Historical Journal.
Before construction of this hotel, this was one of several locations of Bertha Eugley’s millinery and residence, and subsequently her daughter Katherine Eugley Musgrove’s millinery store. (Katherine’s husband owned a shoe store around the corner in the Walker Building)
According to historian Bernice Sapp, the Tarbells and the Hamers lived in homes along Washington Street where the Olympian Hotel building now is.
Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter catalog numbers in Collections Search box, bold face indicates photograph has been scanned): 2008.210.10.1; C1981.30x.9 (earthquake damage); C1961.1185.15, 2010.149.32.2, Musgrove Millinery
Dining room of hotel, from Moody Collection
Olympia Downtown National Historic District
City of Olympia Women’s Walking Tour
Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross