Olympia Sand and Gravel/Site of Fred Levee Bicycle Shop

Location: 401 Columbia St NW
Wohleb, Transportation

fred leveeFred Levee Bicycle Shop, 1914, Robert Esterly photograph, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society 

Olympia Sand and Gravel building

Olympia Sand and Gravel office building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross


As the land base of Olympia grew to the north with each succeeding dredge and fill operation, commercial businesses expanded into the new territory along the waterfront at Columbia Street. A row of businesses between First and Second Avenue (now Thurston and Olympia Avenues) was documented by photographer Robert Esterly in 1914, including Fred Levee’s bicycle shop shown above.

These small businesses were overtaken by larger industrial operations such as Olympia Sand and Gravel with the growth of the port area in the 1920s. Olympia Sand and Gravel was one of the larger companies on the waterfront and at one time had several buildings used to transport sand and gravel by barge. Its office in the brick building shown at above right was built in 1928 and designed by famed local architect Joseph Wohleb. It is one of the few remaining buildings from the heyday of the port area’s industrial history. Small but distinctive, the building features decorative elements such as a cartouche over the entryway. A recent inventory update (2009) by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation recommends that the building be considered for inclusion in the National Register. Currently, it is a wine store.

Additional resources:

Olympia heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box), 2010.149.14.1




















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