Location: 550 Capitol Way S
National Downtown Historic District, Women’s History, Mid-century modern
|Stuart Block, 1891
Edward Lange drawing from Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue 1891, Washington State Library
Robert and Abbie Howard Hunt Stuart built the commercial building shown at above left around 1891, on the former location of their home, across from Sylvester Park. It housed retail stores on the ground floor, including a grocery store and later Crombie’s Drug Store. Studios and offices on the second floor included the Woman’s Club (before the Abbie Stuart Building was erected) and photographer Ida B. Smith.
The Stuart Block building was demolished some time between 1947 and 1949. In the late 1940s, a new building was erected at this location, which housed the Miller Department Store. This building suffered minor damage in the 1949 earthquake and currently (2012) houses several restaurants on the ground floor. A four-story apartment unit, named Stuart Place in recognition of the site’s previous owners, was erected above this building in 1994.
Historian Bernice Sapp claims that on this site was the first home of Governor Isaac I. Stevens.
Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1945.20.15 (Robert and Abbie Stuart House at this location); C1952.1068.1 (Stuart Block is in foreground at right in this 1898 photo of Main Street looking north) 1998.81.12 (earthquake damage); C1996.6.22; C19184.108.40.206.8; C19220.127.116.11.5
Photograph of Miller’s Store, 1949, Susan Parish collection, on Olympia Historical Society website
For more information on Abbie Howard Hunt Stuart, see Where Are We? listing for Woman’s Club; also Residents section of this website. For more information on Ida B. Smith, also see Residents section of this website.
Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross