Location: 422 Capitol Way S
Downtown National Historic District, State Register, National Register, Wohleb
Main Street (Capitol Way) and 5th, looking north, around 1874 , Stereograph (left half) courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
Olympia National Bank building today (2012), Photo from Wikimedia commons
The block bound by Main Street (now Capitol Way), 4th Avenue, Washington Street, and 5th Avenue has always been one of the most important commercial blocks in Olympia. Originally the buildings were wooden, often with false fronts as shown in the image to the left. In 1882 a disastrous fire burned down most of the buildings in this block. Almost immediately the owners rebuilt, most of them opting for more fireproof brick construction.
The building now occupying the northeast corner of 5th and Capitol, the Olympia National Bank building, was built in 1914 with Joseph Wohleb as consulting architect. Historian Shanna Stevenson notes that its ornate design was the epitome of the “Bank as Temple concept of American life.” The building was badly damaged in the 2001 earthquake; to their credit, the owner restored the building to its original design.
For further information and links, see the following:
Washington State Historical Society Photos, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1950.3.69, 1997.52.509 (building at far right); C2017.0.56.12
Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross