Tag Archives: Downtown National

Baretich Building/Site of Olympia Cafe

Location: 116 4th Ave E
National Downtown Historic District, Local register, Wohleb

olympia cafeOlympia Cafe, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical SocietyBaretich Building

Baretich building today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

Since Olympia’s beginnings, there have been small but popular commercial establishments along Fourth Avenue, including numerous cafes and bars. The Olympia Cafe pictured at above left was owned by John Baretich. In 1936, Baretich commissioned local architect Joseph Wohleb to design a stylish new building for the same location. Wohleb incorporated several of his signature features  into this charming building, including the fixed awning, clerestory windows and fancy carrera glass. For several years these features were hidden, but the building was restored recently and original features can now be seen and add to the characteristic look of Olympia’s downtown. The building is cited as a historic contributing building in the National Downtown Historic District and is on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society photographs

enter the following catalog number in collection search box: 2010.149.28.1; Best Camera Store in 1950s or 1960s, C1986.43.0.269

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeffers Building

Location: 500 Washington St SE
Local, State and National Registers, Downtown National Historic District, Wohleb

jeffers thenJeffers Building around 1914, photograph by Joe Jeffers, courtesy of Washington State Historical Societyjeffers nowJeffers Building today (2012), photo by Matt Kennelly

The Jeffers Building, erected in 1913 on the corner of Washington and Fifth Avenue, is one of the first, and most iconic, buildings of architect Joseph Wohleb. Wohleb brought the Mission style of architecture up from California and incorporated it into many buildings in downtown Olympia and elsewhere. But recognizing Olympia’s weather, he also incorporated the fixed awnings that still permit Olympia’s downtown shoppers to dodge the raindrops throughout many of the streets. The building was the studio of the Jeffers dynasty, consisting of Joseph and his brother H.W., and later Vibert and Wenzell Cusack Jeffers. The building is on the Local, State and National Registers of Historic Places and is also part of the Olympia Downtown National Historic District.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog number in the Collections Search box), C2010.227.7

For more information on the Jeffers family, see the Residents section of this website, and the Jeffers House.

Thank you to Susan Parish for identification of the photographer for above left photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeffers, Hugh House

Location: 218 19th St SW
South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

hughjeffers_1939Hugh Jeffers House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives???????????????????????????????Hugh Jeffers House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

The Hugh Jeffers House is one of many in this neighborhood using the Tumwater Lumber Mills precut designs. It is in one of their pleasingly symmetrical Dutch Colonial styles, built in 1922. (see Harmon House entry for more on Tumwater Lumber Mills).  Hugh Jeffers was the brother of photographer Joseph Jeffers (see Jeffers House, Jeffers Studio). He was in the laundry business and owned and operated Capital City Laundry. He was also an avid aviator.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

 

South Capitol National Historic Neighborhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeffers, Joseph House

Location: 2109 East Bay Drive NE
Local register?, Wohleb

jeffers_houseJoseph Jeffers House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional ArchivesJeffers HouseJoseph Jeffers House today (2015), photo by Deb Ross

Joseph Jeffers arrived in Olympia as an infant and took an interest in photography from a very early age. He established his own studio in 1904, and hired preeminent architect Joseph Wohleb to design a photography studio, the Jeffers Building at 4th and Washington, in Wohleb’s signature Mission style, but with a large north-facing light at the roof line. Joseph Jeffers’s home here was built in 1922, also with a Wohleb design. Unfortunately, he lived in the home only two years, dying in a mountain-climbing accident in 1924. His wife continued to live here and continued in the photography business with their son Vibert until the 1970s. The home is one of the finest on East Bay Drive, and has been listed in the local register. It is a Craftsman style building, but current owners have installed a tile roof that echoes Wohleb’s signature Mission style.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

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Spar Restaurant/Site of Oxford Saloon

Location: 114 4th Ave E
National Downtown Historic District, Local register, Wohleb

 

 

Oxford SaloonOxford Saloon, 1914, photo by Robert Esterly, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society

 

The Spar

The Spar today (2012), photo by Deb Ross

 

There has been a restaurant or saloon at this location in downtown Olympia since 1860. The current occupant, the Spar, was opened in 1935, taking the place of its predecessor the Oxford Saloon between the Chambers Block and the establishments to the east which included baths, a barber shop, a cafe and other commercial establishments. Like its neighbor the Baretich Building, the Spar is an iconic Joseph Wohleb building with its fixed awnings and clerestory windows. The interior of the Spar retains many of its early features, including its long counter with swiveling chairs that have hooks to hang one’s hat on, as well as a fountain dispensing water from the artesian well beneath the building. The building is cited as a historic contributing building in the National Downtown Historic District and is on the local register.

Additional resources:

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2010.149.40.1 (Oxford)

McMenamin’s article about the Spar

Looking Back feature on demise of sports postings at the Spar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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State Theater/Site of Thurston County Courthouse, 4th Avenue/Burmeister saloon and residence

Location: 202 4th Ave E
National Downtown Historic District; Wohleb; Popular culture;  mid-Century modern

courthouse-columbiahallThurston County Courthouse-4th Avenue, 1905, postcard private collectionState TheaterState Theatre today (2003), photo by Ed Echtle

The northeast corner of Fourth and Washington was once occupied by a wooden structure built in about 1853, at a time when the center of Olympia was north of State Avenue. At one time that building was the home and business location of saloonkeeper Charles Burmeister, see Looking Back photo linked below. Burmeister later moved his saloon to the corner of State and Capitol (see Burmeister Saloon). (Confusingly, a C. Burmeister later owned a cigar store across the street at the southwest corner of Fourth and Washington; the relationship between this C. Burmeister and the saloonkeeper is unclear, as the saloonkeeper died in 1885.)

The wooden structure was moved at the turn of the 20th century to make way for the building shown at above left,  the second purpose-built Thurston County Courthouse and jail. It was erected around the turn of the 20th century after the county sold the  Old State Capitol Building to the state in 1902. The building also replaced the existing deteriorating county jail and featured state of the art security systems. As can be seen in the photograph, it was also conveniently located next to the Columbia Hall, and was close to the heart of downtown Olympia. In 1930 a new courthouse was built on Capitol Way (the Old Thurston County Courthouse-Capitol Way building) and this building was abandoned.

The Art Moderne-style State Theater currently at this location was built in 1949 and designed by local architect Joseph Wohleb. It was converted from a movie theater into a performing arts center in the 1990s. The building is included as a contributing building in the Downtown National Historic district.

The wooden structure that originally stood on this spot was moved to the area now occupied by the Martin Building, and was torn down when that building was erected.

Additional resources:

Looking Back image of the original Burmeister saloon at this location

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympian Downtown National Historic District

Cinema Treasures listing

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), C1950.1330.1,  C2019.0.145 (Burmeister saloon)

Olympia Lore article, accessed April 25, 2014

Sapp, Olympia 100 years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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