Location: 314 Franklin St NE
Women’s History

lucie cookDr. Lucie Cook’s residence and practice around 1914, Robert Esterly photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Olympia Electric building

Olympia Electric building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross


The series of photographs of Olympia’s business establishments, taken by photographer Robert Esterly in 1914, offers a wonderful snapshot of Olympia life of that time. The photograph at above left shows the home and medical office of Dr. Lucie Cook. Dr. Cook, nee Hemenway, became licensed to practice medicine in the midwest just before the turn of the century. She married Willis Cook in 1900 and they began a peripatetic life, moving every 5 or 10 years. Dr. Cook arrived here from Sequim in 1910, and practiced in Olympia until about 1920, when she moved to the McLane area, and then on to California. Her husband Willis listed his profession variously as fruit purchaser and salmon fisherman.

The neighborhood where Dr. Cook established her practice and residence was not a good one. The area north of State Avenue was, at the time, the part of town where prostitution and gambling were legal (see Dead Zone), and it was also in transition to the mixed commercial and industrial use area brought in as a result of the 1911 Carlyon Fill. We do know that Dr.  Cook delivered babies, but the fact that she is apparently renting out part of her  home to supplement her income, and was not mentioned in a contemporary account of Olympia’s doctors, indicates that she operated in the margins of the profession, despite being a licensed physician.

By  mid-century, this part of Olympia was solidly commercial/industrial, anchored by the plywood mills at the north end of the peninsula. The Olympia Electric building has been here, operating under the same name, since 1948.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs enter the following catalog number in Collections Search box: 2010.149.5.1

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross