Location: 901 Olympia Ave NE
Local register, Olympia Avenue Historic District, Women’s history
Ruddell House 1965, Thurston County Assessor, Washington State Archives
Ruddell House today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly
The Ruddell House at the corner of Olympia Avenue and Pear Street is the southern anchor of the influence of the matriarchal White family in this part of town. Margaret Stewart White Ruddell arrived in Thurston County as a very early pioneer and was married to James White. After White was killed in the Indian Treaty Wars of 1855-1856, Margaret married another early pioneer, Stephen Ruddell, who was living in what is now Lacey on Chambers Prairie (Ruddell Road is named after this family). In the early to mid- 1860s the Ruddells built this home. Ruddell was involved in local politics and this area near his step-daughters, as well as local politicians and attorneys, would have been convenient. Just a few blocks to the north was the home of Margaret’s daughter, Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow (Bigelow House). Over the next three decades, two other daughters built on Olympia Avenue (then called Second Avenue). Their homes also still exist (Byrd House, built by George and Mary White Byrd, and Dunbar House, built by Ralph Oregon and Clara White Dunbar). All are on the local register and the Bigelow House is on the national register as well.
The Ruddell House is a very early Olympia home and one of the only examples of a saltbox style in Olympia. It can be seen in the 1879 Bird’s Eye view of Olympia, kitty-corner to the Olympia Collegiate Institute at the corner of Second and Pear. It is on the local register and is located in the Olympia Avenue Historic District.
For more information on the White family, see the Residents section of this website
Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross