Location: 203 E Fourth Ave.
Downtown Olympia National Historical District
|Chambers and Swanton Meat Market photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society||Security Building today|
Photograph courtesy of “Murderbike” via Wikimedia commons
Fourth Avenue has always been a hub of commercial activity. Several businesses have located at the southeast corner of Washington and Fourth, including the Chambers and Swanton Meat Market on the southeast corner, and the Daily Bread bakery and Otis Insurance company, facing Washington Street; and Mann’s Drug Store. The Chambers and Swanton Meat Market evolved into an important commercial enterprise, the Chambers Packing Company, that survived well into the 20th century. It was co-owned by Andsworth Chambers, a mayor of Olympia and builder of the Chambers Block.
The smaller buildings at this location were replaced by the Security Building in 1926. The Security Building was Olympia’s first “skyscraper,” at five stories! The building features elaborate rosettes and pineapple motifs, a variety of rare stones, and mahogany woodwork throughout. Built on pilings that extended 60 feet deep, the building survived both the 1949 and the 2001 earthquakes well. A small crack, caused by the 1949 earthquake, is still visible at the corner of the building.
Links to more information:
Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): Chambers and Swanton Meat Market C1949.3.71, C1949.3.68, C1949.3.69; 2010.149.4.2 (Daily Bread bakery), 2010.149.21.1 (Otis & Brown Insurance)