President’s Message Summer 2011

Mark Foutch, President

It’s been a busy Spring for your Olympia Historical Society.  At our April 30, board meeting, we approved the purchase of a banner to identify our displays at local history events. Thanks to Karen Bowen for managing that “short fuse” project—the banner came just in time for Ralph Blankenship and Deb Ross to use it in Tenino at the first “Thurston County Through The Decades” event of the year.  It really looks great!

Early in June we supported the City of Olympia in a downtown event marking and interpreting the city’s historic shoreline, which has been much altered by dredge and fill operations over the past century or so.  Our members were busy: Karen Bowen staffed our information table; Shanna Stevensen, Ed Echtle, and Drew Crooks conducted tours; while our ever vigilent treasurer, Ralph Blankenship affixed ribbons on parking meters that marked the historic shoreline.  

Stay tuned to your OHS bulletins and the website for announcements about upcoming events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Wilder and White Capital Campus design and the ongoing shoreline walks sponsored by the city of Olympia, as well as the upcoming Lacey Historical Society annual meeting. The Society has no officially sponsored activities until fall, when we’ve been invited to participate in a second “Thurston County Through The Decades” event, this one October 2 in Tumwater covering 1875-1900.  Many of those years’ notable events happened right here in Olympia so there’s plenty for us to work with.  And on Sunday October 16 we’ll have our second General Membership Meeting, this one at the Bigelow House Museum, which will be reopening after repairs and general sprucing up.

Because it’s been operating at a low ebb for so long, the Bigelow House Museum needs to rebuild its staff of volunteer docents.  This is a great opportunity to learn and share some vital local history.  Contact Karen Bowen bowenkap@comcast.net to sign up!

Back in January I mentioned my concern that there’s still no “go to” location here in Olympia for residents and visitors to learn our local history, and to store irreplaceable documents, artifacts, photographs, films and recordings securely and safely.  Others have expressed a similar frustration, and we’re wondering whether our membership would support the Society’s exploring the issue further.  We’ll need your ideas on what’s needed and how to proceed—and then your solid, committed support to go forward if that’s our choice.  Let the Board know what you think and we’ll discuss it at our September 17 meeting:  olyhistory@googlegroups.com

Meanwhile, kick back and enjoy your OHS Summer Newsletter.  Ralph Blankenship leads off a new series on notable local families with a tale of his pioneer Yantis and Blankenship forebears.  Then Deb Ross and Lanny Weaver tell more of what they’re discovering in their work at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, where a lot of Olympia and Thurston County historical resources have been stored.

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