Tag Archives: Capitol Campus

Stevens Mansion site/World War II memorial

Location: Capitol Campus, near 11th and Capitol
located in Washington State Capitol National Historic District, but not identified individually

stevens mansionStevens Mansion in late 1800s or early 1900s, State Library Photograph collectionsite of Stevens Mansion

Site of Stevens Mansion, photograph by Deb Ross (2012)

When Isaac I. Stevens was appointed the first territorial governor of Washington Territory in 1853, he likely lived for a time in the then-center of Olympia, near where the Olympia Center is today. In 1856 or so he began construction of a house that would be situated nearer to the Territorial Capitol, which was a distance from town and not easily accessible. The house was set back from Capitol Way (then Main Street), between 11th and 12th Avenues. Although photographs and Sanborn Maps of this building depict an apparently modest, one and a half story house with a rear ell, the governor invited the entire population of Olympia to a celebratory housewarming party.

The mansion was not owned by the Territory or, later, the State, but was privately owned and later occupied both by governors and prominent citizens over the years, including the first governor of Washington State, Elisha P. Ferry. The house then fell into disrepair, looking quite decrepit in photographs from the late 19th century. However, in the 1920s, Governor Stevens’s son Hazard Stevens rehabilitated the house with a view to preserving its historic importance for posterity. Around that time, in 1924, Governor Stevens’s daughter Kate Stevens Bates wrote a short history of the house, also supporting the notion of preserving the house as the grounds of Capitol Campus were being developed.  This was not to be. The planners of the Capitol Campus grounds had different ideas, and the house was torn down in 1928 when the Legislative Building was completed. The northern diagonal way leading to the Legislative building cuts right through the original location of the house. The site of the mansion is not mentioned in the nomination form for the National Capitol Campus Historic District, nor identified in on-line resources describing other monuments on Campus. It is marked only by a marker that was erected in 1924, before the building was demolished. [marker stolen in early 2020]

It is perhaps fitting that the current World War II monument stands on the grounds of the Stevens Mansion, as Governor Stevens was killed in battle during the Civil War. Dedicated in 1999, the monument was one of the first state monuments devoted to veterans of World War II.

Additional links:

Article: Kate Stevens Bates: The Old Stevens Mansion, transcribed on Olympia Historical Society website.

Digital Archives, photograph at above left

World War II Memorial

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box) , C2018.0.116;  C1963.27.3

Bird’s Eye view of Olympia, 1879 (house is across from Territorial Capital building at 11th and Main)

For more information on the Stevens family, see the Residents section of our website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stevens Field

Location: 300 24th Ave SE
Educational institutions

footballgame-19291Olympia and Tacoma High Schools playing football at Stevens Field in 1929, Jeffers PhotographSusan Parish Collection Washington State Archivesstevens fieldStevens Field today (2015)  photograph by Deb Ross

Olympia’s first ballfields were located at the current location of the Sunset Life Building near the border with Tumwater, extending eastwards towards the current location of Olympia High School. The property was platted and owned by Hazard Stevens, Governor Isaac Stevens’s son, who owned much of the land adjacent to South Capitol Way (see also Cloverfields Farm) Beginning in the 1890s, the ballpark property was  leased to Olympia Light and Power, who subleased it to the city for $100 a year. But in 1920, the Stevens family decided to sell the original ballpark property to developers. A new location had to be found for Olympia’s playing fields.

In 1921, George Mills, a member of the pioneer Mills family, purchased the land for the new park from Hazard Stevens, then sold it to the Olympia School District for $6,000 (see also George Mills/Kent House). Mills was a hardware store owner, mayor of Olympia, school board member, and city booster. The field, named after Hazard and Isaac Stevens, became the new home of the Olympia High School ball team as well as hosting minor league professional baseball teams and even an agricultural fair. The field was much larger than it is now, with covered bleachers running the length of field along Washington Street. The current Lincoln School building adjacent to Stevens Park was erected four years later, in 1925. The school district began leasing the field and park to the city in 1963.

The photograph at above left is of a game in November 1929 between the Olympia High School Bears and the Tacoma Trappers.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Looking Back feature on Stevens Field football game

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winged Victory

Location: Capitol Campus
Washington State Capital National Historic District; Arts and Culture

winged victory-1960sWinged Victory statue in 1960s, Susan Parish Collection Washington State Archiveswinged victoryWinged Victory today (2012) photograph by
Benjamin Helle

The winged victory monument on Capitol Campus, honoring those who served in World War I, was first conceived in 1919. Plans were approved in 1927, soon after completion of the main buildings of  Capitol Campus. It was designed by noted sculptor Alonzo Victor Lewis. The monument was dedicated in 1938. The central figure represents the Greek goddess Nike, or Victory, flanked by members of the then-three armed forces: sailor, soldier, and marine, along with a Red Cross nurse.

The photograph at above left is from the Susan Parish collection, and shows members of the Alfred William Leach Band of the American Legion in Olympia.

Additional links:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation inventory

Washington State Capitol Historic District

Link to larger left hand image 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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