Tag Archives: armory

Armory/Site of Washington School

Location: 515 Eastside St. SE
Schools, Wohleb, Local Register

Washington School Building (pg 2)Washington School about 1891, Olympia Tribune Souvenir Issue, Washington State Library armoryArmory today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

This location was originally the site of the first Washington  School, shown above, which faced onto Quince Street. It housed elementary, middle and high school students. In 1923 the second Washington School, currently the Esther Knox Administrative Building of the Olympia School District, was built nearby and the building was demolished. In 1938, the current Armory (National Guard) building was built. It is a classic Wohleb design in an Art Deco style.

The Armory is no longer in active service to the National Guard, and was transferred to the City of Olympia in 2022 for use as a creative center. 

Links to more information:

Digital Archives photo

Washington State Historical Society: enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1957.134x.15, C1980.22.4, C1963.18.1

Washington State Military Department Historic Structures report

Olympia Heritage inventory

Knox, a Diary of the Olympia School District

Olympia Armory Creative Campus web page

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross




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Avalon Theater Building (Griswold’s – demolished)

Location: 308 4th Ave E
Popular culture

avalonsmallerAvalon Theater, 1936, Jeffers photograph. Susan Parish Collection, Southwest Regional Archives OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAvalon Theater (Griswold’s) building (2014), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

The Avalon Theater was built in 1928, one of several movie theaters in downtown Olympia. The architect was Franklin Cox Stanton, who adopted the Mission style that characterizes much of downtown’s architecture. The photograph at above left, by Vibert Jeffers, was taken in 1936. In later years this was the Griswold Office Supply building, which burned down in 2004. The building was demolished in 2022. 

Links to more information:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Cinema Treasures listing

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross





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Backlund House

Location: 616 Boundary St SE
Diversity: Scandinavians

backlund_1937Backlund House, 1937, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABacklund House today (2014), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

This imposing brick home was built by Frank and Ida Backlund around 1936, shortly before the photograph at above left was taken. The Backlunds were Finnish immigrants. Like many other Scandinavians in our community, Frank worked at and was a founding member of the Olympia Veneer cooperative, an early and successful exemplar of the cooperative movement in the Pacific Northwest. Aside from replaced windows, the home is remarkably unchanged from its original Tudor/Craftsman design, and is well maintained. It has not been inventoried.

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross




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