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The annual tour of historic homes is by now a cherished tradition, kicking off the holiday season. It’s a fun way to support the preservation of one of Olympia’s oldest existing homes, the Bigelow House, as well as an opportunity to see inside some of our city’s most intriguing and storied homes. This year has on offer five private homes and two former homes that have become community gathering places: the Schmidt Mansion in Tumwater, built in 1904 and home of the original Olympia Brewery family, and the Bigelow House itself, built by 1860. The pioneering families of Olympia are also represented by homes owned by two of the Talcott brothers and one by Robert Yantis of that extended pioneer family, all built in the early twentieth century. Another home, designed a few decades later by local attorney Trena Belsito Worthington, who built a series of stately brick homes inspired by a plan in Architectural Digest, is an example of Colonial Revival style. Each of these homes present a different example of what was popular in Olympia over the years and what has survived through continued care and attention to preserving historic structures and features.
To further encourage tour participants’ curiosity, we feature here the history of the fifth house to be open for this year’s tour. All houses have history, but the story of the Egbert-Ingham house has drama as well. Present owner David Goularte relates its happy times and near-tragic loss, not once but three times. It’s a reminder of how close we can come to losing historic houses and how important it is to save and appreciate our local storied homes.