Location: 301 Maple Park SE
South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood
Ogden House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives
Ogden House today (2014), Photo courtesy of Deb Ross
In the early part of the 20th Century, Maple Park was one of the more socially desirable locations in Olympia. Gracious and large homes flanked the park, which was planted with flowers and lovingly maintained. A bandstand hosted regular summer concerts, and a tall flagpole with a gold globe surmounting it crowned the park. The park was flanked by homes of Olympia’s wealthy citizens, including the A.D. Rogers home and the house featured here, the Ogden House. Unfortunately, most of the homes originally located here were demolished or moved to make way for the expansion of Capitol Campus to the east side of Capitol Way.
The Ogden House was built in 1896 for lumberman Harold Ogden in the Shingle Style. This style, initiated in the east and somewhat rare in the Pacific Northwest, features use of shingles for siding, and often uses turrets, multiple ornamental details, and massive stone (in this case, ornamental concrete) foundations. It would have been one of the more important homes in Olympia when built, and continues to be an important architectural feature of the South Capitol National Historic District.
The home is also connected with the pioneer Mills family, having been owned by Helen Merritt and George Mills, who also owned the George Mills/Kent House on East Bay Drive. George was a land registrar, teacher, and hardware store operator. George’s brother Jesse owned the Parker/Mills House nearby, and was operator of the Mills and Mills funeral parlor.
In later years, the house was lodging for bachelor lawyer, and took the name “Empty Arms.” The house is well maintained, although a few features have been modified.
For more information about and historic photographs of the building, see:
For more on the Mills family, see the Residents section of this website
Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross