Location: end of Jefferson St., north of Hands on Museum
Springer and White mill, Edward Lange, 1891 Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State Library
Site of Springer and White Mill today (2014), photo by Deb Ross
Just north of the home of the Hands on Children’s Museum in the port area of Olympia is the site of what was once one of the more important industrial facilities in the area, the Springer and White Mill. Co-founded by Charles H. Springer and Allen White, the factory was one component of a vertically integrated business that included ownership of logging rights, logging, manufacture of doors and other building components, and shipping. The mill was a major employer in the early days of the development of Olympia as an important lumber city. Charles Springer also built the listed Springer House in the South Capitol neighborhood, and Allen White built the White Building in downtown Olympia.
The detailed drawing at above left, created around 1891 by Edward Lange, is interesting in a number of ways. It shows that this site was once waterfront, where now land extends several blocks to the north of here. In the background we can see the Olympia Opera House (about where Orca Books is now) as well as the Washington School (where the Armory is now). But the railroad running down to the mill was not actually built by Union Pacific until a few years later, and the Hale Block on Fourth Avenue, two blocks south of here, was still being constructed when Lange created this drawing. This optimistic vision is characteristic of many of Lange’s drawings. The drawing, as well as a history of the site, was included in the publication Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue of 1891, a promotional pamphlet published by the State of Washington (and transcribed on this website).
Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross