Many Voices – A Resource Guide

This page has been created in response to calls to make it easier for researchers and others to access existing information on our website and elsewhere about ethnic, ancestral, and other communities that may have been marginalized in mainstream histories of our community. This page is a work in progress: we welcome your input and suggestions! Each community’s section may include categories such as people, places, and external links that may be able to provide more historical resources. Note: links in the people categories will take you to the letter of the alphabet in our Who Are We? feature where the person is found. 

It is difficult in a task such as this to decide what communities to include and what to exclude. For the time being, and for various reasons, we are not including resources on northern European communities (for example, Scandinavians), women, and specific religious communities other than Jewish, which is considered both a religion and ethnicity. As an historical society, we are also choosing to omit references to living people, but links to associations and organizations may be helpful for those wishing to contact our living leaders. 

Some of the historical materials linked on this page may stem from a period or culture in which different standards and norms were dominating public opinion – and some of this historical material is discriminatory. People from a great range of identities, whether due to gender, religion, ethnicity, race, sexuality, disability or class are presented in derogatory ways – both in word and image. The inclusion of any such historical documents does not represent the views of the Society and Museum. We request that you alert us to any contemporary documents that contain racist or discriminatory language and links to these documents will be removed from this page and our website. We apologize in advance for any unintended insensitivity, and encourage you to contact us with additions, corrections, and suggestions for more inclusive or accurate language.

General Sources
Toggle the Diversity theme in our Where Are We? map feature to access locations associated with diverse communities in Olympia.  
City of Olympia STQRY map and stories, many of which describe some of the sites and stories associated with the themes on this page
The Cultural History of the Olympia Oyster by Ed Echtle, on the City of Olympia’s website, references Indigenous, Chinese, and Japanese contributions to the development and decline of our local delicacy. 
The resource has thousands of articles about Washington history, many of which refer to our community and our people. 

Black/African American
General Sources
City of Olympia, Black Pioneers Walking Tour
George Bush, very early Thurston County settler, and family
Festus Campbell, horticulturalist (see bio and image in Black Pioneers Walking Tour linked above)
Rebecca Groundage Howard and son Frank Howard, restaurateurs
James Mars, owner of Our House restaurant; son Jesse first African-American firefighter in Olympia
Charles Mitchell, slave of James Tilton, escaped to British Columbia
Thomas Park, servant of Robert Frost family
Cora Pinson, first African-American elected to a city council in Washington  State, see Black Pioneers Walking Tour linked above
Barbara O’Neil, restaurateur and founder of Barb O’Neill’s family and friends community meals, profiled in Women of Olympia page
Site of Tilton House, home of Charles Mitchell
Stratford Place, platted with racial covenants (link to Fox House for background on Stratford Place)
Pacific House site, operated by Rebecca Howard
Site of Festus Campbell and Mary Quincy home (currently Temple of Justice site)
Site of Bill Williams’s Boot Blacking stand (Odd Fellows Hall)
Site of Our House restaurant (Rex Building)
Bush Prairie (Tumwater)

Bush Family resources
Blackpast website (covers African-American and worldwide Black/African-American history)
Kilgannon, Anne “Free Boy, a story about slavery and freedom in Washington Territory,” Olympia Historical Society book review, undated
McConaghy, Lorraine, Free Boy, A True Story of Slave and Master
Now Where Were We? The Tilton-Mitchell Episode, Youtube video
Munro, Ralph, “Olympia’s African American Trailblazers,” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Summer 2012.
Olympian article, Building a Black Community in Olympia During the Civil Rights Era, Feb. 16, 2020
Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum presentation, Thelma Jackson: Blacks in Thurston County, 1950-1975 (Youtube link)
Point on East Bay to be Named after Howards, Thurstontalk article
George and Isabella Bush Butternut Tree on Capitol Campus, Thurstontalk article
Rebecca Howard: An African-American Businesswoman, Thurstontalk article

Despite a robust presence in our community, we have not found many resources about the history of Cambodians in the Olympia area. Please contact us if you have resources to share. 
Olympia: Where My Parents Realized their American Dream, Traveling Thy blog

General Sources
Olympia’s History Chinese Community, series by Ed Echtle
Nettie Chiang, married Toone James
James family, Toone patriarch
Kay family, restauranteurs
Hoy Lock, restauranteur
Locke family, prominent merchants and civic leaders, Sam Fun patriarch
Sun Wo, merchant

Site of Kay’s Chop Suey (Olympia Hardware Building)
Site of Nankin Cafe
Site of Pekin Cafe
China Clipper cafe (now Clipper Club)
James, Walter; “Walter James: Reminiscences of My Younger Days”  (Hom, Marlon K., ed.; Lai, Him Mark, Lai, Laura, and Choy, Philip P., interviewers.) Chinese America: History and Perspectives 1995:  75-86. 
Now Where Were We? Chinese in Olympia (Youtube video)
Olympia Area Chinese Association
Kay, Toy, An American Picture Bride, available from Gorham Publishing and Timberland Regional Library

Indigenous/Native American/Indian
Jish-Jish, Nisqually (probably), known by Americans as Old Betsy
Blind Sam, son of Jish-Jish
Leschi, leader of Nisqually tribe during Medicine Creek negotiations
McLeod, Nisqually family
Quiemuth, Leschi’s brother, murdered
Joyce Cheeka, Squaxin member and author, profiled in City of Olympia’s Women of Olympia page 
Squaxin Park (formery Priest Point Park) traditional meeting place of local tribes
Community Well site (4th and Capitol)
Thurston County  Courthouse (Capitol Way), site of Fishing Wars trials
Emmons, Della Gould, Leschi of the Nisquallies. T.S. Dennison & Co., 1965
Heffernan, Trova. Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr. Olympia, Wash: Washington State Heritage Center Legacy Project, 2012.
Reddick, SuAnn M. and Cary C. Collins. “Medicine Creek to Fox Island: Cadastral Scams and Contested Domains” Oregon Historical Quarterly 106:3 (Fall, 2005)
Nisqually Indian Tribe home page
Squaxin Island Tribe home page
Who Killed Quiemuth? Thurstontalk article

Site of JJ Brenner Oyster Co
Olympia Oyster Company building
Japanese-American Citizens League, Olympia chapter Facebook page

Jacob, Mollie, and Earl Bean, owners of Olympia Junk/Supply
Morris Berkowitz, original founder of Olympia Junk
Bettman family (Louis, Morris, Amelia, Belle, Gustav, Moses, Sigmund, William), merchants
Harris family, merchants
Kaufman family, merchants
Gustav Rosenthal, early merchant
Edward Salomon, Washington’s first (and only) Jewish governor
Bettman Store (first site)
Bettman Store (second site)

Bettman-Oppenheimer House
Temple Beth Hatfiloh (current site), Site of Rosenthal home
Olympia Junk Building, owned by Berkowitz and Bean families
Harris Dry Goods Building, owned by Harris family
Site of  Cohen’s Confectionary (Red Top Taxi Building)
Temple Beth Hatfiloh building (original)
Site of Rosenthal Store
Toklas and Kaufman Store (Mottman Building)
Goldberg House
Kilgannon, Anne “Temple Beth Hatfiloh is 75!” Olympia Historical Society Newsletter Summer 2013.
Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington

Despite a robust presence in our community, we have not found many resources about the history of Latinx community in the Olympia area. Please contact us if you have resources to share. 
Hispanic Roundtable
CIELO, community hub for Latinx community

Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Transexual-Queer+ (LGBTQ+)
General Sources
Gay and Lesbian History Walking Tour

Rainbow Restaurant, Angelus Hotel Building
Hard Rain Cooperative site, Boardman Building
Capitol Lake Restrooms, site of raid
Eagles Club, Olympia chapter Stonewall Youth founding site
Sherwood Press, founded by Jocelyn Dohm
Woodruff Park, site of Gay Men’s Social Justice gatherings
Site of Cafe Intermezzo (Olympia News Building)
Links/other resources
Pizza Klatch

Pacific Islanders
“Kanaka Jack”, Hawaiian native, and wife Kiki, lived at Johnson Point
Asian-Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington, Facebook page (please contact us if you have contact information for Thurston County chapter)
Filipino-American Community of South Sound

Despite a robust presence in our community, we have not found many resources about the history of  the Vietnamese community in the Olympia area. Please contact us if you have resources to share. 
NW Vietnamese News
Ralph Munro and  Trang Tu, Voices of the Vietnamese Refugee Experience, on PBS American Voices series
Vietnamese Couple Recall Harrowing Escape, Seattle Times article