Location: 114 20th Ave SE
Religious institutions; mid-Century modern; South Capitol National Historic District

St. John’s Episcopal, 1961, courtesy Washington State Historical Society St John'sSt. John’s Episcopal Church today (2015), photo by Deborah Ross

The St. John’s Episcopal Church building on 20th Avenue, in the South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood, is the third building associated with this congregation (see Governor Hotel/Silsby Store/St. John’s and St. John’s Episcopal – Second site). The move away from Olympia’s central core came around the same time as other mainline congregations — First United Methodist, United Churches, and Gloria Dei — were finding that the Baby Boom and rapid post-war growth of Olympia were creating cramped conditions in their downtown 19th and early 20th century buildings (see the Gloria Dei page for an overview of the phenomenon of “musical pews” in Olympia). It was erected in two stages, with the administrative offices extending down 20th Avenue in a fairly traditional Gothic style in 1949, followed by the important mid-Century architectural design of the church sanctuary in 1957 at the corner of 20th and Capitol Way. The site is located in the South Capitol National Historic District but shown as non-contributing, since at the time of the creation of the district the building was not old enough. It certainly would be included today as an important contribution to the history and architecture of the area.

More information:

Olympia Heritage Inventory

mid-Century Modern Context Statement, p. 60

South Capitol National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box, C1986.

Copyright © 2022  Deborah Ross