Foutch: Origins of the Olympia Historical Society: part 4

Mark Foutch

For the remainder of 2002, the Olympia Historical Society continued the process of “standing up” its permanent organization while performing its mission and responding to opportunities. Members elected a Board of Directors, who in turn adopted staggered Board terms and elected officers and adopted a budget for the following year. There were three more meetings of the Society, interspersed with two Board meetings. 

The June 6 Meeting

Two short news items in The Olympian, for May 28 and June 3, publicized the Society’s next meeting on June 6 at the Thurston County Public Health and Human Services building on Lilly Road. Presiding officer Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. Members present were Rebecca Christie, Marilyn Connon, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Meta Heller, David Kindle, Winnifred Olsen, Shanna Stevenson, Derek Valley, Lanny Weaver.

Treasurer Drew Crooks reported that OHS had joined South Sound Heritage Association for $25. After a $2.00 account fee the Society’ bank balance was $670.28. There were 39 paid members.

Announcements:

Susan Goff reported a request for an image of the ferry Hartstene Two which had operated from the 1930s-‘60s. Referred to the Stretch Island Maritime Museum.

Derek Valley announced an upcoming exhibit for the County Sesquicentennial, “Thurston County Through Artist’s Eyes,” at the State Capitol Museum opening July 2, and distributed cards for the event. There will also be a special Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) exhibit at SCM. He noted the recent ceremony at the Washington State Historical Society where the Robert Gray Medal was presented to Shanna Stevenson.

Discussion RE:  the Carnegie Library building, on sale for $1 million. Some interest in it as future site for OHS. Anna Fitzgerald outlined some of the building’s needs, plus a capital fund drive and endowment requirement, which she estimated would bring total project cost to $5 million. Issues identified included partnering, funding, parking, accessibility (building lacks elevator). No consensus about pursuing the project but members would keep informed of developments regarding the building.

Discussion Items from Agenda:

Drew Crooks asked that his Treasurer’s responsibilities be transferred to Lois Fenske because she was better qualified and his expertise in historic preservation could be better utilized. Agreed by consensus.

Annamary Fitzgerald reported that the Locke family had approached the Bigelow House Preservation Association about channeling funds for a proposed Chinese community marker in downtown Olympia. BHPA had been approached due to Ed Echtle’s work on Chinese community history locally and in Seattle. She felt it was more appropriate for OHS to be the channel given its broader mission. This prompted an initial discussion of applying for IRS 501(c)(3) status as contributions would provide tax benefits for the donors. OHS could get publicity for its participation in the project, it was consistent with OHS bylaws while someone else would promote the project and raise the money. Members agreed there should be a memorandum of agreement for the work and to establish an account as a restricted fund.

Fall/Winter meetings would be at the Health Department building. The permanent Board will decide whether Society meetings would be monthly or bi-monthly on the first Saturday at 10 a.m.

Continued discussion of IRS status: Annamary Fitzgerald reported that, depending on group income ($10,000 more or less) the fee would be $150 or $450 and a preliminary ruling would be for six years. Drew Crooks thought OHS should wait a year or two, others suggested the Heritage Resource Center could help with the application.  Decision deferred until early 2003 when a permanent Board would be in place.

Lois Fenske agreed to provide information about OHS to The Olympian for its annual “Source Book.”

Committee Reports:

Education Committee: Drew Crooks reported the committee was working on future OHS programs: Jim Hannum on railroads of the area; Dave Burney on Little Hollywood; Susan Goff on the Ostrander family and the Crosby House; Michael Houser on local 1950s-‘60s architecture; and Ed Echtle on the Olympia Chinese community.  Also, the committee would have a booth at the Family History Day August 17 at the State Capitol Museum. Funding needed for exhibit materials and a display board. The display would have information about OHS and historic photos, possible from the recent postcard donation. Derek Valley moved, Marilyn Connon seconded, to allocate $100 for exhibit material. Drew Crooks would consult with OHS officers on display content. Shanna Stevenson will provide a display panel.

Membership Committee: Rebecca Christie suggested printing 250 copies of the membership brochure on 60 lb. Paper, folded. Pat Harper moved, Drew Crooks seconded, to allocate $40 for the brochure.

Nominations Committee: Annamary Fitzgerald will appoint the committee and a slate of nominees for the permanent board would be presented at the August meeting.

Territorial Sesquicentennial: Committee will participate with Olympia Heritage Commission to invite Kent Richards to speak in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens, and help with a possible walking tour of Territorial buildings (sites?) in Olympia.

Program: Eli Sterling presented his “Vision for Capitol Lake.”

The August 1 Meeting

Annamary Fitzgerald called this meeting to order at 7 p.m. at the County Health building.  Present were Bob Arnold, Janet Charles, Rebecca Christie, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Mark Foutch, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, David Kindle, Ron Locke, Brian Miller, Bruce Newman, Winnifred Olsen, Vicki Poitra, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Weaver.

Treasurer Lois Fenske reported expenses of $38 for P.O. Box annual rent, $35.64 for membership brochures, $2 monthly bank fee, and $8.95 for the website. Two new members paid a total of $50 dues. Balance as of August 1, $640.79.

Announcements:

Eve Johnson announced the AASLH conference in Portland. Annamary Fitzgerald said that some South Sound Heritage Association members would be part of a panel presenting there on September 25.

Rebecca Christie announced that the membership brochures were ready for distribution.

OHS now has community rebate cards from Ralph’s Thriftway grocery which rebates one percent of purchases back to OHS from shoppers presenting the card.

Discussion items:

Nominations Committee report: (The minutes do not name members of the committee.) Annamary Fitzgerald announced the slate of candidates for the first permanent Board of Directors election: Lois Fenske, Susan Goff, Roger Easton, Annamary Fitzgerald, Lannny Weaver, Pat Harper, Spencer Daniels, Ed Echltle and Shanna Stevenson. Drew Crooks moved, Rebecca Christie seconded, and the slate was approved for submittal to the membership. OHS members would receive ballots by mail and Email; the ballot directed them to vote for seven of the nine nominees by August 9.

Olympia Chinese Marker: Ed Echtle and Ron Locke presented information about the project. Proposed location is in Heritage Park on the west side of Water Street, site of the last “Chinatown” in Olympia. Winnifred Olsen remembered the site as being more between 5th and 6th on Water since her family’s business was on the corner of 4th.  Treasurer Lois Fenske expressed concern about OHS involvement, costs for banking and time for accounting of funds. She asked if funds would pass through OHS’ primary account or a separate account, both of which would bring fiduciary responsibility to OHS, which she opposed. Ed Echtle had assumed that OHS already had IRS 501(c)(3) status. Both Ed Echtle and Annamary Fitzgerald thought OHS could gain recognition from the project. Bob Arnold noted that Olympia’s nonprofit PARC committee associated with the Parks department already had tax-free status and could serve as the pass-through for project funds. This option should be explored with Jane Boubel, City Parks director. After further discussion, an informal vote was taken with 16 of 25 persons attending in favor of pursuing OHS involvement. Ed Echtle said the Chinese Marker group would return with a more detailed proposal. Project timeline might be as long as five years. Annamary Fitzgerald noted the upcoming OHS program by Ed Echtle on Olympia’s Chinese community.

Committee Reports:

Education Committee: Drew Crooks reported on the tabletop display he was preparing for the Family Heritage Festival, featuring views of Old Olympia including some of the recently-donated postcards. The new membership brochures would be available. Members signed up to staff the display.

Membership Committee: Attendees agreed to distribute the new brochures.

Collections Committee: Drew Crooks has been using Lacey Museum’s collections policy for accessioning donations but an OHS policy should be developed. In another development, there might be an opportunity for OHS to acquire the collection of photographs from The Olympian, which might be de-accessioned from the State Capitol Museum and moved to Tacoma. Drew Crooks and Annamary Fitzgerald spoke in favor of investigating the possibility although storage and staffing  (for access by researchers?) would be a challenge. Drew Crooks moved, Rebecca Christie seconded a motion to look into requiring that collection and other Olympia-related materials if they become available. Motion passed. Winnifred Olsen and her high school classmates could assist with identification and labeling of the photographs. Members signed up for a committee to pursue this issue.

Updates:

Territorial Sesquicentennial: As discussed June 6, OHS will participate with the Olympia Heritage Commission to invite Kent Richards to speak in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens with a possible walking tour of Territorial Buildings in Olympia. Shanna Stevenson has now confirmed Kent Richards as the speaker.

Bob Arnold announced that the Hazard Stevens House at 1100 Carlyon Avenue was being renovated, and the Yeager House on E. 10th owned by Rose This would be featured on HGTV’s program “Restore America.”

Program: Dave Burney’s presentation, “Finding Little Hollywood.”

Postscript: In a mail and Email notification August 16, Annamary Fitzgerald informed OHS members that Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Ed Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff and Shanna Stevenson had been elected as OHS’ first permanent Board of Directors. The new Directors would now schedule a meeting and elect officers.  Members would be notified of the Board meeting.

 

First OHS Permanent Board of Directors Meeting

This meeting was called to order by Annamary Fitzgerald at 7:05 p.m., September 12, 2002, at the County Health Department Building on Lilly Road. Board members present:  Spencer Daniels, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff.  (Apparently absent: Roger Easton and Shanna Stevenson). Also attending: David Kindle.

The Board appointed Annamary Fitzgerald, President; Edward Echtle; Vice President; Shanna Stevenson, Secretary; Lois Fenske, Treasurer. All officer positions are for one-year terms per the Bylaws.

Board member terms were then adjusted to achieve the staggered terms called for in the Bylaws:

One-year term expiring December 2003: Spencer Daniels
Two-year terms expiring December 2004: Edward Echtle, Susan Goff
Three-year terms expiring December 2005: Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Shanna Stevenson

Treasurer’s Report: Lois Fenske clarified requirements for financial reporting. The board suggested reports include a current account balance, overview of expenses and membership total be presented at general membership meetings. Lois noted that expenses paid, either donated by members or reimbursed to them must be tracked for accounting records. Annamary Fitzgerald suggested a form could be used to show what funds were spent for and if cash reimbursement or in-kind donations were involved. Lois Fenske also noted that an annual budget must be approved by the Board by November 30 each year.  She will develop a proposed budget to share with the general membership at the October meeting. The Board will approve a final budget at its November meeting.

Board and Membership Meetings: These would alternate month-to-month. A general membership meeting would be Thursday October 3 at 7 p.m., a Board meeting Saturday November 2 at 10 a.m., and a general membership potluck meeting Saturday December 7 at 10 a.m. For 2003, General membership meetings would be in January, March, May, July, September and November; Board meetings in February, April, June, August, October and December.

Committee Reports:

Membership: Spencer Daniels will coordinate efforts.
Collections: Susan Goff will coordinate as potential collections and physical space become available.
Programs: Drew Crooks will continue developing programs for the general membership meetings.
Newsletter: Lois Fenske reported that the newsletter (concept?) has evolved into a quarterly journal of scholarly research.
Fundraising: Focus first on establishing 501(c)(3) status.
Website: Ed Echtle reported that he would add a bibliography of secondary research sources, links to library and archival resources and minutes of previous Society meetings to the website. The Board discussed adding a “virtual bookstore” to provide more public access to locally published research, but concluded that providing information on where and how to purchase them would be the most appropriate OHS web feature for now.  Echtle will document all access information for managing the website for OHS’ records.

Meeting adjourned at 8:37 p.m.

The October 3 General Membership Meeting

President Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order a 7 p.m. at the County Health building. Present: Bob Arnold, Janet Charles, Rebecca Christie, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Mark Foutch, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, David Kindle, Ron Locke, Brian Miller, Bruce Newman, Winnifred Olsen, Vicki Poitra, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Miller.

President Fitzgerald formally announced the Board election results, and the September 12  Board actions on staggered Board terms and officer appointments.

Treasurer Lois Fenske reported the usual expenses: Bank fee, website fee and copying.  OHS has 43 members and the bank balance is $640.09. She distributed a proposed 2003 budget and a form for reporting expenditures in support of OHS activities whether in-kind or reimbursable. The IRS wants to know in-kind and other contributions, and the information can also be used for grant matches. She reconfirmed that the 501(c)(3) application fee for groups with OHS’ income level would be $150. Members thanked Ms. Fenske for her work. The Board will adopt a 2003 budget at its November meeting ; it will be provided to the membership at the January meeting.

Old Business:

The Olympian photograph collection at the State Capitol Museum: WSHS has moved most of the collection to the Tacoma facility. WSHS has expressed no intention to de-accession the collection. Questions to be referred to WSHS Director David Nicandri.  Members acknowledged that the collection was going to a better archival facility with more staff to assist researchers. Drew Crooks remarked that this might be a spur for OHS to develop its own collection housed in Olympia. Alexander Marr (not listed in attendees above) questioned whether St. Martin’s or Evergreen might house collections temporarily. Roger Easton reported that some of the portrait collection from photographers Jeffers and Ron Allen had been purchased from Susan Parish by State Archives. Susan Goff noted that some items, such as a Mottman ashtray she knew about, would not fit with archival storage. Annamary Fitzgerald agreed that OHS’ collection would not be all photographs. Susan Goff noted it would not be wise to locate OHS’ collection in multiple locations. Rebecca Christie reported no response from the Olympia Downtown Association about donated space; this should be followed up.

Family Heritage Day: Drew Crooks reported that the event was not highly attended. WSDOT Photogrammetry had donated some labor, which made the event (OHS’ exhibit?) less expensive to produce. Russ and Genevieve Hupe’ had attended and said they thought people found the exhibit interesting.

New Business:

Olympia School District Sesquicentennial: Shelly Carr from OSD commended OHS for organizing. The first school here was opened in 1852 and the District was planning a two-year celebration. A committee was formed in January and was planning and carrying out events. Lynn Erickson was on the committee, and has played a key part in the oral histories. For example, Wanda Roder, the first woman district administrator (1938-39) for some reason was not part of the established documentary history of the District so her recent oral history was important. Ms. Carr distributed commemorative calendars. Susan Rohrer and Melissa Parr from the State Capital Museum are helping with photo identification. The district newsletter will feature historic information about the district during the two-year celebration. Ms. Carr suggested that OHS could assist this project by helping with oral histories, deciding disposition of tapes and transcriptions, and also helping with Lynn Erickson’s project “The View From Sylvester’s Window.”  All school libraries now have copies of “My Backyard History Book” to interest students in community history. TCTV is planning productions that OHS members could help with.  Winnifred Olsen suggested that her Olympia High School class recently had its 68th reunion and some of them might be good oral history interviewees. She also offered to assist with PTA history in the District. Shanna Stevenson will be providing information on the Cloverfields Farm for Pioneer School. Ms. Carr said the librarian in each school will be in charge of the school’s history. She is preparing a Resource Book and photo exhibit for the celebration.

Territorial Sesquicentennial: Roger Easton reported that he had been appointed to the Sesquicentennial Commission. He had mentioned to Secretary of State Sam Reed that OHS would be doing a project for the observance. Shanna Stevenson mentioned OHS co-sponsorship with Olympia Heritage Commission of the Kent Richard presentation in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens. Consensus was reached that OHS would work on a special project for the Sesquicentennial.

Announcements:

David Kindle announced that the Capitol Theater and office building was undergoing repair but that additional damage had been discovered.

Annamary Fitzgerald announced the Fall Bulb Sale at the Bigelow House Museum, October 12. Vendors of antiques (plants?) and perennials will be there plus a walking tour of the neighborhood by Lauren Danner. Laura Cannon Robinson will give a garden tour of the Bigelow House and evaluate the BHPA proposal for garden restoration there.

Susan Goff announced National Archives Week beginning in October, featuring special  projects and presentations.

Drew Crooks announced an Archaeology Month presentation October 24 at the Lacey Community Center.

City councilmember Mark Foutch noted that the City would be making a decision in November on Public Facility District proposals for a Convention Center. He said Susan Parish had contacted him suggesting a “high tech” permanent local history display in the facility. He suggested it could be pre-wired for AV uses for historical presentations, which might serve as one approach to a local history museum/archive.  Sites under consideration are at the head of East Bay and at the Phoenix Inn/Old Yardbirds property. Russ Hupe’ moved, Winnifred Olsen seconded, motion approved, that the Board would explore options for the proposed PFD Convention Center.

Alexander Marr announced an upcoming Celebration of Chinese Music and Culture at The Evergreen State College.

Program: Ed Echtle’s presentation of  “Olympia Chinese Community History.”

Wrapping Up 2002:  The November 2 Board Meeting

President Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. (minutes say p.m.) at the County Health Building. Board Members Present: Spencer Daniels, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff, Roger Easton, Shanna Stevenson.  Also present: David Kindle.

Treasurer’s Report: Lois Fenske reported an end of year balance of $617.00. She distributed a revised budget for 2003. It now conforms to nonprofit organizations standards for accounting in the cash system. Although the revised budget shows different categories, the amounts are the same as presented at the October general membership meeting. The budget projected an increase to 84 members, total income rising from 2002’s actual of $965 to $3980, attributed to increased member dues, donations and organized fundraising. Expenditures would increase from the current year’s $400.36 to a projected $1667, reflecting growing Society programs such as Outreach Activities, Program Guest Speaker Expense and Travel reimbursement, Publications and Collections, Brochures and Development Activities. Spencer Daniels moved, Ed Echtle seconded, and the Board approved the 2003 Budget.

Membership Management: Membership applications will be received by Treasurer Lois Fenske, who will deposit dues and pass the application forms to Shanna Stevenson who will file the forms and keep a current list of members. Treasurer Fenske will also pass new members’ contact information to President Fitzgerald to add to her list for meeting notifications. Membership renewal requests (reminders?) to be sent by Email with the form available on the website in PFD format. Those without Email will be sent postcards with the forms printed on them.

Collection Issues: Susan Goff will draft a statement of need for suitable physical space for the growing OHS Collection. Ed Echtle and Shanna Stevenson will pursue possible locations and notify Annamary Fitzgerald for the membership to consider at the January meeting. Shanna Stevenson brought up Mark Foutch’s suggestion at the October meeting regarding space for a local history display at the City-proposed PFD funded conference center. President Fitzgerald will draft a letter to the City Council requesting a display cabinet in the facility for quarterly rotating local history displays (similar to Lacey City Hall and Lacey Library). In exchange for this service, OHS would request 400 square feet of storage/office space in the new facility.

Web Update: Ed Echtle will provide a PDF format membership form on the OHS website. He also asked to be informed of upcoming events etc. for the website’s calendar.  He reported that web searches for “Olympia History” bring our website up first. He then reported a request to post commercial ads on the website. Board agreed that he would draft a policy for consideration at the next general membership meeting. For now only public or non-profit resources would be posted, with a future possibility of sponsored links.

Other Business:

President Fitzgerald will review IRS requirements for 501(c)(3) status and assign tasks to Board members to complete the application form.

For the Territorial Sesquicentennial display, Roger Easton suggested “Then and Now” photographs. He will work with Ed Echtle on the project. He also noted ongoing projects providing information on early censuses and land records through the State Archives.

David Kindle reported that the Olympic Club in Centralia was being re-done by McMenamins and was due to open.

Members were reminded to submit reimbursement forms to Treasurer Fenske.  Annamary Fitzgerald asked for program suggestions for upcoming meetings. Michael Houser from the State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation will present the January program on local modern architecture.

The November 2, 2002 Board meeting adjourned at noon.


Not quite 13 ½ months after that first letter dated August 19, 2001, the Olympia Historical Society had completed all the organizing tasks called for in its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. OHS was increasingly recognized as a valuable community resource. Opportunities were constantly appearing which presented the usual practical challenges of “money and time” faced by any volunteer-staffed group. Urgent administrative chores such as building membership and completing the 501(c)(3) application vied for attention as the Society continued to provide interesting and informative programs, displays, responses to inquiries, and web-based resources for its members and the general public. Quite an accomplishment for a group of very talented and dedicated local citizens.

 

 

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