Percival House

Location: 811 4th Ave W
Women’s History; Religious Institutions

percivalhouse_1939Percival House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
Percival House today (2014), photo by Deb Ross

The Queen Anne style home known variously as the Percival House and the Partlow House was built in 1892 on a lot above the Percival Mansion, overlooking the mouth of the Deschutes River and the Fourth Avenue Bridge. According to the city’s inventory, it was deeded to Drusilla Percival by her mother-in-law, Lurana Ware Percival, in 1896. (The city’s inventory does not state why Drusilla’s husband, Samuel M. Percival, was not included on the deed. The fact that Samuel’s younger brother, John, was given the family business to run at the tender age of 16, and that Samuel lived apart from Drusilla for long periods of time, may provide some clue. Samuel’s life-long job was claims agent for the Northern Pacific Railroad.)

The 1900 census shows Drusilla and Samuel M. living here, with Lurana and a younger Percival sibling, Horace, and his wife, living below in the mansion. By 1910, however, Samuel and Drusilla were living at 10th and Columbia (site of the Gowey House). Drusilla, a popular amateur actress and musician, later moved to Seattle, and was a noted composer of popular music. In Seattle directories Drusilla is also shown as the head of the household.

The  house eventually passed to the Christian Science church and was its reading room from the 1920s to early 1940s (photograph at above left from 1939 shows the house with the Christian Science Reading Room sign). It was then purchased by the first Kenneth Partlow, the second generation of Partlow physicians in Olympia (see Partlow House). It passed out of the Partlow family and then returned to the family when Dr. Kenneth Partlow III bought it in 1979. It is no longer owned by that family. (The Partlows and Percivals were also neighbors on Columbia Street, and Percival descendant Elizabeth Brett recalls taking piano lessons from Mrs. Partlow when Elizabeth’s grandmother, Mrs. John Percival, lived on Columbia Street.)

The home is in excellent condition, although it has lost its wrap-around porch. Several additions have been made to the south, not visible from the street.


Olympia Heritage Inventory

For more information on the Percival and Partlow families, see the Residents section of this website.


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