Location: 606 13th Ave SE
|Silsby House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives|
Silsby House today (2014), Photo by Deb Ross
The John and Josephine Silsby House on 13th Avenue just south of downtown Olympia, was built some time between 1887 and 1891, in what is termed a vernacular style. John A. Silsby was a grocer whose market was at the location of the Governor Hotel (he purchased the property from the Episcopal Church that was once on that site). He unsuccessfully sued the Northern Pacific Railroad for noise and disruption associated with the construction of the 7th Avenue Railroad Tunnel. nearby. Josephine Silsby, John’s first wife, was a member of the Munson family, long-time merchants in Olympia (see Munson Millinery site, Munson House). John then married Jane Barnett, from Tacoma.
By the time this home was built, the Swantown Slough was partly filled in, creating new blocks for construction. Judging from the 1891 Sanborn map, the home was one of the first in this new neighborhood. It is not clear from property records whether the Silsbys ever lived in this home, or when it was transferred to their daughter, Dora May Weston, after it was built. It exchanged hands many times over the years, but has now been nicely restored and is on the local register.
For a biography of John Silsby, and more information on the Munson family, see the Residents section of this website.