McClain Motors Building/Site of Charley Vietzen home

Location: 703 4th Ave E
Transportation, Diversity: German heritage

mcclain motorsMcMahon’s Furniture Store at this site around 1965, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional Archivescourtyard antiquesCourtyard Antiques mall at this location today (2012), photo by Matthew Kennelly

In early days, the Swantown Slough separated the commercial part of Fourth Avenue from the residential area to its east. Charley Vietzen, a German immigrant who ran Charlie’s Place saloon downtown, lived at the eastern edge of the slough and would have had to cross a bridge every day to go to work.

The Carlyon Fill, which eliminated the slough in 1911, coincided with the advent of the Motor Age. The building at this location was erected in 1918 for one of the first local automobile dealers. Fourth Avenue by then was the major arterial through Olympia. Fourth Avenue, coupled with State Avenue, were two of the first one-way roads in the state. In this stretch it bore the US 99 designation. Because of its connection with the advent of motorized transportation and the highway system, this building is iconic of the transition from water- to surface-based transportion in our area.

This building became a furniture store some time before the 1960s and is now an antique mall.

More information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington  State Historical  Society photographs (enter following catalog number in Collections Search box): C1949.3.95 (unscanned photograph of Vietzen home)

History of Route 99, accessed May 27, 2012

For more information on the Vietzen family, see Residents section of this website

 

 

 

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