Tag Archives: Downtown Olympia National Historical District

Harris Dry Goods/Grainger Stable site

Location: 518 Capitol Way Southeast
Local Register, Downtown Olympia National Historical District, Diversity: Jewish Heritage; Transportation

Parish6-6-14038Harris Dry Goods Building interior, 1943, Vibert Jeffers photograph, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives Harris Dry Goods (2)As it appears today
Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross 

The block between Fifth Avenue and Legion Way on Capitol Way has always been one of the most important commercial locations in Olympia. In very early years, this was the site of the Grainger Stable and stage line, operated by Charles Grainger. The building currently at this site, the Harris Dry Goods building, was built by Isaac Harris in 1896 when he relocated his store from a location just west of here. The Harris family (Isaac and his sons Mitchel and Gus) were prominent merchants, active in local politics as well as the Jewish Temple. Their home was nearby, across from Sylvester Park.

Over the years, several stores have been located here. The building was badly damaged in the 2001 earthquake, when it was owned by Skookum Bay Outfitters. Following the earthquake, the building was acquired by Sandy Desner and restored to resemble its original vernacular design.

For more information about and historic photographs of the building, as well as the Harris family, follow these links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown  District National Register

Washington State Historical Society photographs (boldfaced links to scanned images, others to detailed descriptions; enter the following catalog numbers in the Collections Search box): C1957.134x.7; C2016.0.12 (Grainger Stable)

City of Olympia Downtown Walking Tour

Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago

For more information about the Harris family, see the Residents section of this website and the Harris House in Where Are We?

Thank you to Susan Goff for information relating to the recent history of this building.



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Red Top Taxi building/Site of Cohen’s Confectionary

Location: 113 4th Ave W
National Downtown Historic District, Diversity: Jewish heritage, Women’s History, Popular Culture, Transportation

cohen's pool roomCohen’s confectionary, photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Red Top Taxi Building

New Moon  Cafe (Red Top Taxi building) today (2012) photograph by
Deb Ross 

Annie and Barney Cohen operated the confectionary/pool hall at this location in the early 20th century, and lived above the store. It was one of many small, family-owned businesses that stretched westwards from the center of town towards the Fourth Avenue bridge. The photograph at above left was one of the series taken by photographer Robert Esterly in 1914, cataloguing the businesses of Olympia and their owners.

Some time later, the building was demolished, and the current brick building was erected in 1948. It housed the Red Top Taxi and also the Trailways Bus station. The building currently houses a small cafe and is well maintained. Its west side once sported one of the several graffiti murals in downtown Olympia, now obscured by the erection of an apartment building next door.

Additional links:

Olympia Heritage inventory

National Downtown Historic District 

Washington State Historical Society photograph (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 2010.149.6.1














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