Location: 113-119 5th Ave SE
Downtown National Historical District, Wohleb design; Women’s History

doanes oysterDoane’s Oyster House around 1880, photograph from Digital Archives wind up hereMartin Building today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

The corner of 5th and Washington was, in Olympia’s earliest years, the homes of builder Benjamin Harned and territorial librarian Jeremiah Mabie, and later the site of Doane’s Oyster House and garden. 

Captain Woodbury Doane established his oyster house in the 1870s near the waterfront; his restaurant was so popular that he moved to this premier location close to the center of political and commercial activity at the corner of 5th  Avenue and Washington Street. Here politicians, lobbyists and businessmen could gather for the signature pan-roasted oysters that were served in the “R” months, and enjoy a stroll around the backyard rose garden in the summer.

In this block also stood the Tony Faust saloon, a long-standing local watering hole.

The Martin Building, which is currently at this location, was built in 1920, and was a classic Joseph Wohleb design. (James Martin built several other buildings in downtown Olympia, including the Martin Warehouse and the Donald Building.) Notable businesses located here included the fashionable M.M. Morris ladies’ apparel store, a day care center, and a toy store. The building was damaged during the 1949 earthquake and lost some of its decorative features.

During World War I, the Minute Women operated from this location. Members distributed literature, collected funds for war bonds, and helped with the war effort on the home front.

Links to more information:

Article, Goldie Funk, Captain Doane’s Oyster Pan Roast

Digital Archives photos of Doane’s Oyster House: Oyster House 1; Oyster House 2 (above picture); MM Morris Store

Washington State Historical Society (enter catalog numbers in Collection Search box): Harned and Mabie homes, C2013.18.76, Garden of oyster house, with teacher Mary O’Brien: C1950.1325.1; C2016.0.10; C1981.30x.5, 1998.81.9 (M.M. Morris store after earthquake); 2010.149.24.2

Looking Back article with image of Oyster House

(Tony  Faust Saloon in 1914); C1943.1003.14 (Doane’s)

Olympia Heritage inventory (Martin Building)

Olympia Downtown Historic District National Listing

For more information on Woodbury Doane, see the Residents section of this website.

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross