Tag Archives: Olympia Historical Society

First United Methodist Church-Legion Way/Henry tree

Location: 1224 Legion Way SE
mid-Century modern; Religious institutions; Landmark Tree

FUMCOFirst United Methodist Church around 1952, photo from First United Methodist website OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst United Methodist Church today (2013) photograph by Deb Ross

The church building located at the corner of Boundary Street and Legion Way is the third purpose-built location of the First United Methodist Church. Earlier locations are shown on pages for Cunningham’s Building/First Methodist and First Methodist Church-5th Avenue. The sequence of moves is an example of the “musical pews” movement of Olympia churches from the downtown core out to residential neighborhoods (see  Gloria Dei for other examples). The building and location of this church were hastened by the 1949 earthquake that made the Fifth Avenue location unusable. The mid-Century design was originally intended for a location to the north of the original Capitol Campus, but the state appropriated that land for the Department of Enterprise Services (General Administration) building that sits on that site now.

The First United Methodist congregation is the oldest in Olympia, having been founded in 1852. The current building was dedicated exactly one hundred years later. It was built in Modern style with architecture by Donald Edmundson. The stained glass windows in the sanctuary were designed by one of the church’s pastors, Reverent Walter A. MacArthur and were hand installed by members of the congregation.

The church is located at the site of the Dudley Story Bradstreet (DSB) Henry family. “Dud” and his wife Fanny Talcott Henry were both descended from early Olympia settlers. He was an engineer, eventually becoming U.S. Deputy Surveyor for this area. Dud and Fanny planted the Garry oak that is located at the corner of the church’s parking lot and has been lovingly maintained by the congregation. The oak tree is one of three “Landmark Trees” officially recognized by the City of Olympia.

First United Methodist history webpage

Mid-Century Modern context statement (see page 62)

Washington State Historical Society,

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1986.

For more information on the Henry and Talcott families, see the Residents section of this website












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Five Firs Point-Blankenship House site (demolished)

Location: 513 Flora Vista Dr NE
Women’s history; Religious institutions

Five Firs (lower right, cropped from photo that includes Floravista bulb farm), 1947, courtesy Kathy Farr

???????????????????????????????Five Firs Point today (2014) photograph by Deb Ross

In the late 19th and early 20th century, it was not uncommon for Olympia’s social elite to own summer homes or land to which they would retreat during the heat of the season (see also, for example, Butler’s Cove). George and Georgiana Blankenship established Five Firs Point here just north of Priest Point Park, in 1910. Their winter home was the Blankenship House near Capitol Campus. The house was on property previously owned by the oblate mission that gave Priest Point its name. The home was a classic craftsman style structure and, according to the City of Olympia inventory, well maintained prior to its acquisition by the City and annexation to Priest Point Park. The home was demolished some time after 2001.

The Blankenships were a well-known Olympia couple: they were both writers on local history. George Blankenship was a member of the pioneer Thurston County Yantis family. Georgiana was a journalist and writer, originally from Spokane, who took on the task of interviewing the aging pioneer families of Thurston County. Five Firs Point was a popular visiting and stopping point for the Blankenships’ friends and relatives, who typically would sail or row out to spend the day or a weekend.

Thank you to Kathy Farr, whose parents acquired Five Firs and the adjacent property developed into the Floravista bulb farm. 

More information:

For more information on the Blankenship family, see the Residents section of this website.













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Free Methodist Church

Location: 1431 Legion Way SE
Local register; Religious institutions

Free Methodist church, 1961, courtesy Washington State Historical Society OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFree Methodist Church building today (2013) photograph by Deb Ross

The Free Methodist Christian denomination was founded in the 1860s as an offshoot of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The denomination is considered more conservative and evangelical than the United Methodist Church, of which First United Methodist is a member. The first building of Olympia’s Free Methodist congregation was erected on this site in 1913. At the time, it would have been far out of town, just as the port area was beginning to be developed. Its likely members would have included many of the working families living in the neighborhood.  The current building was larger, erected in 1933. The congregation moved to an even larger facility in 1957, and this building is now a privately owned wedding chapel. The building is on the local register.

Olympia Heritage inventory

Washington State Historical Society,

Enter the catalog number in the Collections Search Box: C1986.














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Foutch: Origins of the Olympia Historical Society: part 4

Mark Foutch

For the remainder of 2002, the Olympia Historical Society continued the process of “standing up” its permanent organization while performing its mission and responding to opportunities. Members elected a Board of Directors, who in turn adopted staggered Board terms and elected officers and adopted a budget for the following year. There were three more meetings of the Society, interspersed with two Board meetings. 

The June 6 Meeting

Two short news items in The Olympian, for May 28 and June 3, publicized the Society’s next meeting on June 6 at the Thurston County Public Health and Human Services building on Lilly Road. Presiding officer Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. Members present were Rebecca Christie, Marilyn Connon, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Meta Heller, David Kindle, Winnifred Olsen, Shanna Stevenson, Derek Valley, Lanny Weaver.

Treasurer Drew Crooks reported that OHS had joined South Sound Heritage Association for $25. After a $2.00 account fee the Society’ bank balance was $670.28. There were 39 paid members.


Susan Goff reported a request for an image of the ferry Hartstene Two which had operated from the 1930s-‘60s. Referred to the Stretch Island Maritime Museum.

Derek Valley announced an upcoming exhibit for the County Sesquicentennial, “Thurston County Through Artist’s Eyes,” at the State Capitol Museum opening July 2, and distributed cards for the event. There will also be a special Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) exhibit at SCM. He noted the recent ceremony at the Washington State Historical Society where the Robert Gray Medal was presented to Shanna Stevenson.

Discussion RE:  the Carnegie Library building, on sale for $1 million. Some interest in it as future site for OHS. Anna Fitzgerald outlined some of the building’s needs, plus a capital fund drive and endowment requirement, which she estimated would bring total project cost to $5 million. Issues identified included partnering, funding, parking, accessibility (building lacks elevator). No consensus about pursuing the project but members would keep informed of developments regarding the building.

Discussion Items from Agenda:

Drew Crooks asked that his Treasurer’s responsibilities be transferred to Lois Fenske because she was better qualified and his expertise in historic preservation could be better utilized. Agreed by consensus.

Annamary Fitzgerald reported that the Locke family had approached the Bigelow House Preservation Association about channeling funds for a proposed Chinese community marker in downtown Olympia. BHPA had been approached due to Ed Echtle’s work on Chinese community history locally and in Seattle. She felt it was more appropriate for OHS to be the channel given its broader mission. This prompted an initial discussion of applying for IRS 501(c)(3) status as contributions would provide tax benefits for the donors. OHS could get publicity for its participation in the project, it was consistent with OHS bylaws while someone else would promote the project and raise the money. Members agreed there should be a memorandum of agreement for the work and to establish an account as a restricted fund.

Fall/Winter meetings would be at the Health Department building. The permanent Board will decide whether Society meetings would be monthly or bi-monthly on the first Saturday at 10 a.m.

Continued discussion of IRS status: Annamary Fitzgerald reported that, depending on group income ($10,000 more or less) the fee would be $150 or $450 and a preliminary ruling would be for six years. Drew Crooks thought OHS should wait a year or two, others suggested the Heritage Resource Center could help with the application.  Decision deferred until early 2003 when a permanent Board would be in place.

Lois Fenske agreed to provide information about OHS to The Olympian for its annual “Source Book.”

Committee Reports:

Education Committee: Drew Crooks reported the committee was working on future OHS programs: Jim Hannum on railroads of the area; Dave Burney on Little Hollywood; Susan Goff on the Ostrander family and the Crosby House; Michael Houser on local 1950s-‘60s architecture; and Ed Echtle on the Olympia Chinese community.  Also, the committee would have a booth at the Family History Day August 17 at the State Capitol Museum. Funding needed for exhibit materials and a display board. The display would have information about OHS and historic photos, possible from the recent postcard donation. Derek Valley moved, Marilyn Connon seconded, to allocate $100 for exhibit material. Drew Crooks would consult with OHS officers on display content. Shanna Stevenson will provide a display panel.

Membership Committee: Rebecca Christie suggested printing 250 copies of the membership brochure on 60 lb. Paper, folded. Pat Harper moved, Drew Crooks seconded, to allocate $40 for the brochure.

Nominations Committee: Annamary Fitzgerald will appoint the committee and a slate of nominees for the permanent board would be presented at the August meeting.

Territorial Sesquicentennial: Committee will participate with Olympia Heritage Commission to invite Kent Richards to speak in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens, and help with a possible walking tour of Territorial buildings (sites?) in Olympia.

Program: Eli Sterling presented his “Vision for Capitol Lake.”

The August 1 Meeting

Annamary Fitzgerald called this meeting to order at 7 p.m. at the County Health building.  Present were Bob Arnold, Janet Charles, Rebecca Christie, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Mark Foutch, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, David Kindle, Ron Locke, Brian Miller, Bruce Newman, Winnifred Olsen, Vicki Poitra, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Weaver.

Treasurer Lois Fenske reported expenses of $38 for P.O. Box annual rent, $35.64 for membership brochures, $2 monthly bank fee, and $8.95 for the website. Two new members paid a total of $50 dues. Balance as of August 1, $640.79.


Eve Johnson announced the AASLH conference in Portland. Annamary Fitzgerald said that some South Sound Heritage Association members would be part of a panel presenting there on September 25.

Rebecca Christie announced that the membership brochures were ready for distribution.

OHS now has community rebate cards from Ralph’s Thriftway grocery which rebates one percent of purchases back to OHS from shoppers presenting the card.

Discussion items:

Nominations Committee report: (The minutes do not name members of the committee.) Annamary Fitzgerald announced the slate of candidates for the first permanent Board of Directors election: Lois Fenske, Susan Goff, Roger Easton, Annamary Fitzgerald, Lannny Weaver, Pat Harper, Spencer Daniels, Ed Echltle and Shanna Stevenson. Drew Crooks moved, Rebecca Christie seconded, and the slate was approved for submittal to the membership. OHS members would receive ballots by mail and Email; the ballot directed them to vote for seven of the nine nominees by August 9.

Olympia Chinese Marker: Ed Echtle and Ron Locke presented information about the project. Proposed location is in Heritage Park on the west side of Water Street, site of the last “Chinatown” in Olympia. Winnifred Olsen remembered the site as being more between 5th and 6th on Water since her family’s business was on the corner of 4th.  Treasurer Lois Fenske expressed concern about OHS involvement, costs for banking and time for accounting of funds. She asked if funds would pass through OHS’ primary account or a separate account, both of which would bring fiduciary responsibility to OHS, which she opposed. Ed Echtle had assumed that OHS already had IRS 501(c)(3) status. Both Ed Echtle and Annamary Fitzgerald thought OHS could gain recognition from the project. Bob Arnold noted that Olympia’s nonprofit PARC committee associated with the Parks department already had tax-free status and could serve as the pass-through for project funds. This option should be explored with Jane Boubel, City Parks director. After further discussion, an informal vote was taken with 16 of 25 persons attending in favor of pursuing OHS involvement. Ed Echtle said the Chinese Marker group would return with a more detailed proposal. Project timeline might be as long as five years. Annamary Fitzgerald noted the upcoming OHS program by Ed Echtle on Olympia’s Chinese community.

Committee Reports:

Education Committee: Drew Crooks reported on the tabletop display he was preparing for the Family Heritage Festival, featuring views of Old Olympia including some of the recently-donated postcards. The new membership brochures would be available. Members signed up to staff the display.

Membership Committee: Attendees agreed to distribute the new brochures.

Collections Committee: Drew Crooks has been using Lacey Museum’s collections policy for accessioning donations but an OHS policy should be developed. In another development, there might be an opportunity for OHS to acquire the collection of photographs from The Olympian, which might be de-accessioned from the State Capitol Museum and moved to Tacoma. Drew Crooks and Annamary Fitzgerald spoke in favor of investigating the possibility although storage and staffing  (for access by researchers?) would be a challenge. Drew Crooks moved, Rebecca Christie seconded a motion to look into requiring that collection and other Olympia-related materials if they become available. Motion passed. Winnifred Olsen and her high school classmates could assist with identification and labeling of the photographs. Members signed up for a committee to pursue this issue.


Territorial Sesquicentennial: As discussed June 6, OHS will participate with the Olympia Heritage Commission to invite Kent Richards to speak in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens with a possible walking tour of Territorial Buildings in Olympia. Shanna Stevenson has now confirmed Kent Richards as the speaker.

Bob Arnold announced that the Hazard Stevens House at 1100 Carlyon Avenue was being renovated, and the Yeager House on E. 10th owned by Rose This would be featured on HGTV’s program “Restore America.”

Program: Dave Burney’s presentation, “Finding Little Hollywood.”

Postscript: In a mail and Email notification August 16, Annamary Fitzgerald informed OHS members that Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Ed Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff and Shanna Stevenson had been elected as OHS’ first permanent Board of Directors. The new Directors would now schedule a meeting and elect officers.  Members would be notified of the Board meeting.


First OHS Permanent Board of Directors Meeting

This meeting was called to order by Annamary Fitzgerald at 7:05 p.m., September 12, 2002, at the County Health Department Building on Lilly Road. Board members present:  Spencer Daniels, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff.  (Apparently absent: Roger Easton and Shanna Stevenson). Also attending: David Kindle.

The Board appointed Annamary Fitzgerald, President; Edward Echtle; Vice President; Shanna Stevenson, Secretary; Lois Fenske, Treasurer. All officer positions are for one-year terms per the Bylaws.

Board member terms were then adjusted to achieve the staggered terms called for in the Bylaws:

One-year term expiring December 2003: Spencer Daniels
Two-year terms expiring December 2004: Edward Echtle, Susan Goff
Three-year terms expiring December 2005: Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Shanna Stevenson

Treasurer’s Report: Lois Fenske clarified requirements for financial reporting. The board suggested reports include a current account balance, overview of expenses and membership total be presented at general membership meetings. Lois noted that expenses paid, either donated by members or reimbursed to them must be tracked for accounting records. Annamary Fitzgerald suggested a form could be used to show what funds were spent for and if cash reimbursement or in-kind donations were involved. Lois Fenske also noted that an annual budget must be approved by the Board by November 30 each year.  She will develop a proposed budget to share with the general membership at the October meeting. The Board will approve a final budget at its November meeting.

Board and Membership Meetings: These would alternate month-to-month. A general membership meeting would be Thursday October 3 at 7 p.m., a Board meeting Saturday November 2 at 10 a.m., and a general membership potluck meeting Saturday December 7 at 10 a.m. For 2003, General membership meetings would be in January, March, May, July, September and November; Board meetings in February, April, June, August, October and December.

Committee Reports:

Membership: Spencer Daniels will coordinate efforts.
Collections: Susan Goff will coordinate as potential collections and physical space become available.
Programs: Drew Crooks will continue developing programs for the general membership meetings.
Newsletter: Lois Fenske reported that the newsletter (concept?) has evolved into a quarterly journal of scholarly research.
Fundraising: Focus first on establishing 501(c)(3) status.
Website: Ed Echtle reported that he would add a bibliography of secondary research sources, links to library and archival resources and minutes of previous Society meetings to the website. The Board discussed adding a “virtual bookstore” to provide more public access to locally published research, but concluded that providing information on where and how to purchase them would be the most appropriate OHS web feature for now.  Echtle will document all access information for managing the website for OHS’ records.

Meeting adjourned at 8:37 p.m.

The October 3 General Membership Meeting

President Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order a 7 p.m. at the County Health building. Present: Bob Arnold, Janet Charles, Rebecca Christie, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Mark Foutch, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Rob Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, David Kindle, Ron Locke, Brian Miller, Bruce Newman, Winnifred Olsen, Vicki Poitra, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Miller.

President Fitzgerald formally announced the Board election results, and the September 12  Board actions on staggered Board terms and officer appointments.

Treasurer Lois Fenske reported the usual expenses: Bank fee, website fee and copying.  OHS has 43 members and the bank balance is $640.09. She distributed a proposed 2003 budget and a form for reporting expenditures in support of OHS activities whether in-kind or reimbursable. The IRS wants to know in-kind and other contributions, and the information can also be used for grant matches. She reconfirmed that the 501(c)(3) application fee for groups with OHS’ income level would be $150. Members thanked Ms. Fenske for her work. The Board will adopt a 2003 budget at its November meeting ; it will be provided to the membership at the January meeting.

Old Business:

The Olympian photograph collection at the State Capitol Museum: WSHS has moved most of the collection to the Tacoma facility. WSHS has expressed no intention to de-accession the collection. Questions to be referred to WSHS Director David Nicandri.  Members acknowledged that the collection was going to a better archival facility with more staff to assist researchers. Drew Crooks remarked that this might be a spur for OHS to develop its own collection housed in Olympia. Alexander Marr (not listed in attendees above) questioned whether St. Martin’s or Evergreen might house collections temporarily. Roger Easton reported that some of the portrait collection from photographers Jeffers and Ron Allen had been purchased from Susan Parish by State Archives. Susan Goff noted that some items, such as a Mottman ashtray she knew about, would not fit with archival storage. Annamary Fitzgerald agreed that OHS’ collection would not be all photographs. Susan Goff noted it would not be wise to locate OHS’ collection in multiple locations. Rebecca Christie reported no response from the Olympia Downtown Association about donated space; this should be followed up.

Family Heritage Day: Drew Crooks reported that the event was not highly attended. WSDOT Photogrammetry had donated some labor, which made the event (OHS’ exhibit?) less expensive to produce. Russ and Genevieve Hupe’ had attended and said they thought people found the exhibit interesting.

New Business:

Olympia School District Sesquicentennial: Shelly Carr from OSD commended OHS for organizing. The first school here was opened in 1852 and the District was planning a two-year celebration. A committee was formed in January and was planning and carrying out events. Lynn Erickson was on the committee, and has played a key part in the oral histories. For example, Wanda Roder, the first woman district administrator (1938-39) for some reason was not part of the established documentary history of the District so her recent oral history was important. Ms. Carr distributed commemorative calendars. Susan Rohrer and Melissa Parr from the State Capital Museum are helping with photo identification. The district newsletter will feature historic information about the district during the two-year celebration. Ms. Carr suggested that OHS could assist this project by helping with oral histories, deciding disposition of tapes and transcriptions, and also helping with Lynn Erickson’s project “The View From Sylvester’s Window.”  All school libraries now have copies of “My Backyard History Book” to interest students in community history. TCTV is planning productions that OHS members could help with.  Winnifred Olsen suggested that her Olympia High School class recently had its 68th reunion and some of them might be good oral history interviewees. She also offered to assist with PTA history in the District. Shanna Stevenson will be providing information on the Cloverfields Farm for Pioneer School. Ms. Carr said the librarian in each school will be in charge of the school’s history. She is preparing a Resource Book and photo exhibit for the celebration.

Territorial Sesquicentennial: Roger Easton reported that he had been appointed to the Sesquicentennial Commission. He had mentioned to Secretary of State Sam Reed that OHS would be doing a project for the observance. Shanna Stevenson mentioned OHS co-sponsorship with Olympia Heritage Commission of the Kent Richard presentation in November 2003 on Isaac Stevens. Consensus was reached that OHS would work on a special project for the Sesquicentennial.


David Kindle announced that the Capitol Theater and office building was undergoing repair but that additional damage had been discovered.

Annamary Fitzgerald announced the Fall Bulb Sale at the Bigelow House Museum, October 12. Vendors of antiques (plants?) and perennials will be there plus a walking tour of the neighborhood by Lauren Danner. Laura Cannon Robinson will give a garden tour of the Bigelow House and evaluate the BHPA proposal for garden restoration there.

Susan Goff announced National Archives Week beginning in October, featuring special  projects and presentations.

Drew Crooks announced an Archaeology Month presentation October 24 at the Lacey Community Center.

City councilmember Mark Foutch noted that the City would be making a decision in November on Public Facility District proposals for a Convention Center. He said Susan Parish had contacted him suggesting a “high tech” permanent local history display in the facility. He suggested it could be pre-wired for AV uses for historical presentations, which might serve as one approach to a local history museum/archive.  Sites under consideration are at the head of East Bay and at the Phoenix Inn/Old Yardbirds property. Russ Hupe’ moved, Winnifred Olsen seconded, motion approved, that the Board would explore options for the proposed PFD Convention Center.

Alexander Marr announced an upcoming Celebration of Chinese Music and Culture at The Evergreen State College.

Program: Ed Echtle’s presentation of  “Olympia Chinese Community History.”

Wrapping Up 2002:  The November 2 Board Meeting

President Annamary Fitzgerald called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. (minutes say p.m.) at the County Health Building. Board Members Present: Spencer Daniels, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff, Roger Easton, Shanna Stevenson.  Also present: David Kindle.

Treasurer’s Report: Lois Fenske reported an end of year balance of $617.00. She distributed a revised budget for 2003. It now conforms to nonprofit organizations standards for accounting in the cash system. Although the revised budget shows different categories, the amounts are the same as presented at the October general membership meeting. The budget projected an increase to 84 members, total income rising from 2002’s actual of $965 to $3980, attributed to increased member dues, donations and organized fundraising. Expenditures would increase from the current year’s $400.36 to a projected $1667, reflecting growing Society programs such as Outreach Activities, Program Guest Speaker Expense and Travel reimbursement, Publications and Collections, Brochures and Development Activities. Spencer Daniels moved, Ed Echtle seconded, and the Board approved the 2003 Budget.

Membership Management: Membership applications will be received by Treasurer Lois Fenske, who will deposit dues and pass the application forms to Shanna Stevenson who will file the forms and keep a current list of members. Treasurer Fenske will also pass new members’ contact information to President Fitzgerald to add to her list for meeting notifications. Membership renewal requests (reminders?) to be sent by Email with the form available on the website in PFD format. Those without Email will be sent postcards with the forms printed on them.

Collection Issues: Susan Goff will draft a statement of need for suitable physical space for the growing OHS Collection. Ed Echtle and Shanna Stevenson will pursue possible locations and notify Annamary Fitzgerald for the membership to consider at the January meeting. Shanna Stevenson brought up Mark Foutch’s suggestion at the October meeting regarding space for a local history display at the City-proposed PFD funded conference center. President Fitzgerald will draft a letter to the City Council requesting a display cabinet in the facility for quarterly rotating local history displays (similar to Lacey City Hall and Lacey Library). In exchange for this service, OHS would request 400 square feet of storage/office space in the new facility.

Web Update: Ed Echtle will provide a PDF format membership form on the OHS website. He also asked to be informed of upcoming events etc. for the website’s calendar.  He reported that web searches for “Olympia History” bring our website up first. He then reported a request to post commercial ads on the website. Board agreed that he would draft a policy for consideration at the next general membership meeting. For now only public or non-profit resources would be posted, with a future possibility of sponsored links.

Other Business:

President Fitzgerald will review IRS requirements for 501(c)(3) status and assign tasks to Board members to complete the application form.

For the Territorial Sesquicentennial display, Roger Easton suggested “Then and Now” photographs. He will work with Ed Echtle on the project. He also noted ongoing projects providing information on early censuses and land records through the State Archives.

David Kindle reported that the Olympic Club in Centralia was being re-done by McMenamins and was due to open.

Members were reminded to submit reimbursement forms to Treasurer Fenske.  Annamary Fitzgerald asked for program suggestions for upcoming meetings. Michael Houser from the State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation will present the January program on local modern architecture.

The November 2, 2002 Board meeting adjourned at noon.

Not quite 13 ½ months after that first letter dated August 19, 2001, the Olympia Historical Society had completed all the organizing tasks called for in its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. OHS was increasingly recognized as a valuable community resource. Opportunities were constantly appearing which presented the usual practical challenges of “money and time” faced by any volunteer-staffed group. Urgent administrative chores such as building membership and completing the 501(c)(3) application vied for attention as the Society continued to provide interesting and informative programs, displays, responses to inquiries, and web-based resources for its members and the general public. Quite an accomplishment for a group of very talented and dedicated local citizens.



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Grimm Brothers brickyard site/Le May grocery

Location: 1027 4th Ave E

eastside brickyardGrimm Brothers brickyard, ca. 1880, State Library Collection OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Le May Market building now (2013) photograph by Deb Ross

Brickyards existed in and around Olympia from its earliest days. Early bricks were made by mining the extensive clay beds around Olympia’s shores, molding them, building wooden kilns to hold them and then setting the kilns on fire to bake the bricks.

The brickyard at the corner of Fourth and Eastside was one of at least two in East Olympia. It was owned by the Grimm brothers, and then by William Burchett and Christopher Baker until early in the 20th century.

The building currently at this site was erected in 1929, according to the Thurston County assessor. It was one of many commercial buildings built at the dawn of the automobile era, after the Carlyon Fill eased the way for Fourth Avenue to become a major east-west arterial through Olympia. The city directory for the following year shows this was a grocery store, the Le May Sanitary Market, owned by the Le May family (see also Le May House , Le May/Hedges House, Le May/Leonardson House, and Le May Meat Market on Capitol Way).

Eastside Neighborhood Brochure, City of Olympia














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Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, Chapter 3

Mark Foutch


The first two chapters of this history described the Society’s early organizing efforts beginning in 2001, leading to formalizing the organization and its incorporation in February 2002. At the Society’s next two meetings the group began to change its focus as it scheduled public activities and offered historical information resources online, while continuing to set policy and wrap up its organizing tasks.

The Olympia Historical Society’s meeting for March 30, 2002, was called to order by interim President Annamary Fitzgerald at 10:10 a.m. at the Thurston County Courthouse.  Present were: Virginia Challen, Rebecca Christie, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Lynn Erickson, Lois Fenske, Mark Foutch, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Russ Hupe’, Jim Jenner, Eve Johnson, David Kindle, Barbara McKeieley, Winnifred Olsen, Liza Rognas, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Weaver, Tom Zahn.

Treasurer’s Report:  $640.00 in revenue; expenditures of $18.50 for checks and $51.40 for reimbursements of expenses; balance $569.66.

Announcements: Russ Hupe’ asked who was keeping the history of the Olympia Historical Society. Rebecca Christie replied she was keeping all materials including emails. Shanna Stevenson reported Drew Crooks’ presentation April 2 on the Hudson’s Bay Company in Thurston County.

Committee Reports:

Publicity Committee: Requested guidance on whether to pursue a newsletter or a (more scholarly?) publication. (See below for discussion/clarification of committee issues.)

Membership Committee: Rebecca Christie reported they were working on a membership brochure, using the Olympia Genealogical Society’s brochure as a model. Also, OHS had 33 members. She noted that only paid members are allowed to vote.
Collections Committee: Susan Goff resigned. Preliminary guidelines have been drafted but the geographical area of interest has not been decided. Examples: “Olympia and Environs” or “Olympia School District”.

Committee Clarifications:

Publicity: After discussion, the group settled on a quarterly newsletter format with OHS activities, schedule of events, possibly some original research.

Collections: Activities outside Olympia (Example: logging) had impact within Olympia.  But if the standard was too vague lots of extraneous material might be collected.  “Olympia and Environs” was the standard suggested by Annamary Fitzgerald; no further action taken. Roger Easton noted that extraneous material could be redistributed to other (interested) groups. Drew Crooks noted that items submitted had to be approved for accession by the Committee. Drew Crooks and Annamary Fitzgerald reported that the South Sound Heritage Association was a group of local museums that it might be good for OHS to join to coordinate accessions and other activities. Drew Crooks moved and Liza Rognas seconded, that OHS join SSHA for dues of $25 per year. (Apparent approval, no formal action noted in minutes.)

Committee Reports (Continued):

Finance and Fundraising: Drew Crooks noted that some people were joining OHS as institutional members. After the brochure is ready, service clubs and other groups will be approached about joining.

Logo Design: Roger Easton presented an oyster shell motif with the motto, “The Pearl of Puget Sound.” Nikki McClure will draw the logo but this might take a few weeks. (No formal action noted; apparent agreement?)

Web/phone: Drew Crooks has secured a debit card for Ed Echtle to use; Echtle will now secure www.olympiahistory.org as the OHS website URL. Ed Echtle also reported costs for a phone line going directly to voice mail: $16 per month plus hookup charges, plus $.02 per minute for incoming calls. Rebecca Christie said this was too expensive; Annamary Fitzgerald agreed. The web presence is more important at this time. (Old media was losing to new media even at this early date!)

Meeting Locations: Rebecca Christie has secured the Courthouse meeting room for future meetings but it is always possible that County business could bump OHS from the room’s schedule. Other locations suggested were Madison School, Apollo’s Pizza, Puget Sound Energy.

Membership (Continued Discussion): Annamary Fitzgerald cited confusion about voting rights for various categories of members. Decision: Clarify Bylaws that one membership means one vote, by changing “regular” to “individual” membership category. Liza Rognas moved, Tom Zahn seconded; approved.

Other matters: Rebecca Christie asked for suggestions to organizations to be added to OHS’ Email notification list.


Eve Johnson, representing Friends of the Waterfront, discussed the City of Olympia’s proposed zoning amendment to allow higher buildings on the downtown Isthmus.  She said this would block views of the Capitol and endanger historic buildings. It also would impede views of the waterfront and restrict public access. She reminded the group that local activists saved Sylvester Park and this is a similar situation. Lois Fenske asked what citizens should do; Annamary Fitzgerald suggested contacting the City Council.

Lynn Erickson presented her project, “The View From Sylvester’s Window.”  It will consist of eight views of Olympia looking north from where Edmund Sylvester’s mansion south of Sylvester Park would be built/was built/once was. Years completed to date: 1841, 1856, 2001. She is developing a classroom curriculum using smaller versions of the paintings to discuss urban design, architecture, etc. Members congratulated Lynn on her project, and the meeting adjourned at noon.

The Society’s May 2 meeting was called to order by Annamary Fitzgerald at the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Building on Lilly Road NE at 7:08 p.m.

Present: Bob Arnold, Rebecca Christie, Marilyn Connon, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Lynn Erickson, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Susan Goff, Pat  Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, Thomas Kerr, David Kindle, Eve Johnson, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Weaver.

Treasurer’s Report: Drew Crooks reported $789.66 in the checking account at South Sound Bank.

Housekeeping Items: Need to discuss a Draft Collections Policy, Nominations for Permanent Office, Meeting Location, Monthly or Bi-Monthly Meetings, Logo.

Meetings: Drew Crooks suggested the whole group meet bi-monthly and the officers meet monthly. Bob Arnold agreed. Russ Hupe’ said the group should meet monthly.  Lois Fenske suggested bi-monthly until permanent officers were elected. Drew Crooks suggested the group meet in June but not July; in August there should be a slate of nominees (this would be six months after incorporation, per the Bylaws). But if officers were elected in August they would have less than a one-year term. Annamary Fitzgerald will appoint a Nominating Committee to propose a slate of Board candidates for the August meeting. The Public Health and Social Services building would be the permanent meeting location. There would be no July meeting.

Collections: Some donations received already. Drew Crooks has adopted the Lacey Museum’s accession form to accept them: Postcards of downtown Olympia ca. 1920, collected by Olympia Light and Power. At Sue Goff’s suggestion, Drew and Annamary agreed to establish a screening committee. On an interim basis donated items would be given to Drew who will use his adaptation of Lacey’s accessioning system, marking items in pencil for now. Lanny Weaver reported an inquiry about two clocks from the Olympia Fire Department. The Collections Committee will continue to flesh out the collections policy. Spencer Daniels asked about acknowledgement letters for donations.  Drew Crooks replied that the deed of gift constituted an acknowledgement. Questions arose about the tax deductibility of donations. Annamary Fitzgerald replied that OHS did not yet have 501(c)(3) status; will discuss at the next meeting. (As of 6/18/13 OHS still does not have tax exempt status; in process of applying.)

Logo: OHS will keep “for the time being” the earlier version of the oyster shell logo with the motto, “The Pearl of Puget Sound.”  Will revisit the logo after a permanent Board is elected.


Annamary Fitzgerald noted a (statewide?) request from Secretary of State Sam Reed for Territorial Sesquicentennial projects. OHS will sponsor, probably with the Olympia Heritage Commission, Kent Richards to speak on Gov. Isaac Stevens in November 2003, to commemorate Stevens’ arrival in Olympia November 25, 1853.

Shanna Stevenson reviewed a recent meeting about the (Art Deco) Greyhound Bus Station and concerns for its preservation.

Three requests for information have been posted on the OHS website, about: A chair inscribed November 28, 1853; Jothan Goodall’s Point, A.E. Hicks and Gallatin Hartsock; and Friendly Grove in NE Olympia.

Susan Goff volunteered to be a screener for the web requests and refer them to the appropriate museum or group.

Committee Reports:

Outreach/Education: Drew Crooks reported planning an OHS booth for the August 2 Family History Day at the State Capitol Museum. He is also working on speakers for the June and August meetings.

Publications: Lois Fenske reported the committee is planning a newsletter for September.  Susan Goff will provide an article on the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exhibition by Olympia High School and will ask Michael Houser for an item on Olympia City Hall. Shanna Stevenson will provide information on Francis Sylvester; Drew Crooks will provide one of the donated postcards for an illustration.

Membership: Rebecca Christie presented the draft membership flier. Members suggested 250 copies for the first printing; members would distribute them instead of mailing.

Program: Lois Fenske presented “A Short History of South Puget Sound Community College” as part of the school’s 40th Anniversary Celebration. Lois has been involved with the College since its beginnings as Olympia Vocational-Technical Institute.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

So, in slightly less than nine months after the first organizational meeting, the Olympia Historical society had organized and incorporated, and addressed issues of policy, procedure and logistics.  It had produced its first programs, established an active Website, and received its first collections, all while planning for the next phase:  Electing permanent officers and Board members, which would relieve the general membership of the need to meet as a “committee of the whole” so frequently to conduct Society business. 


Posted in Summer 2013 | Tagged | Comments Off on Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, Chapter 3

Foutch: Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, part 2

By Mark Foutch, President

Incorporation, Bylaws and Progress

(If the exploratory and organizational meetings of 2001 could be considered “conception” and “birth,” then early in 2002 the Olympia Historical Society was “confirmed” and took its first steps.  And suddenly the “toddler” had lots of great ideas.  The challenge would be to choose among them and then focus organizational talent and energy to turn them into reality.)

2002: The January 26th Meeting

On January 9, The Olympian ran a notice that “The Olympia Historical Society’s second organizational meeting will be 2 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Thurston County Courthouse…Agenda items include adopting articles of incorporation, electing officers and setting up committees.  An additional meeting is planned for 2 p.m. Feb. 23.”

Present were Bob Arnold, Karen Bowen, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lynn Erickson, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald, Gary Foote, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Jerry Handfield, Pat  Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, E.L. Johnson, F. David Kindle, Anne Kilgannon, Bonnie Marie, Charles Roe, Liza Rognas, Ann Shipley, Randolph Stilson, Rae Verhoff, Lanny Weaver and Tom Zahn.

Temporary Chair Annamary Fitzgerald opened the meeting with an announcement on meeting etiquette:  “No one will be allowed to speak for more than 3 minutes before yielding the floor to another member.”  Apparently the past meeting’s experience had caused this measure to be felt necessary.

The proposed Articles of Incorporation passed after a few amendments.  Article I confirmed the group’s official name as “Olympia Historical Society.”  Article II specified that the period of existence of the new corporation was to be “perpetual.”  Article III laid out OHS’ “business and purpose,” drawn from the drafts considered at earlier meetings.  Article IV gave the group’s location as “Olympia, Washington.”  Article V listed Annamary Fitzgerald as the Initial Registered Agent. Article IV listed her address for the record

Article VII specified that the Board of Directors would number not less than three but that the final number, methods of election or appointment, and term of office, would be further specified in the Bylaws.  Article VIII said that classes of membership, qualifications, rights, and method of acceptance for each class would also be specified in the Bylaws.

Article IX listed the Incorporators as:  President Annamary Fitzgerald; Vice President Rebecca Christie; Secretary Spencer Daniels; Treasurer Shanna Stevenson; Board Member Drew Crooks.  Article X directed that, if/when the Corporation were to be dissolved, its assets would be distributed to “another 501(c)(3) or nonprofit groups with similar purposes and objects,”  and exempt from U.S. taxes, or to the Federal , State or local government for “a public purpose.”  Any assets not so distributed would be disposed of by a Court.  And Article XI allowed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation only by a general or special meeting of the membership.

Bob Arnold then moved approval of the draft Bylaws and Lois Fenske seconded.  After five amendments were approved, Bob Arnold again moved approval, Drew Crooks seconded, and the Bylaws were adopted:

Article I dealt with membership and dues (not raised until 10 years later).  Article II dealt with scheduling of meetings and quorum requirements.  Article III established requirements for the Board of Directors, including a minimum number of seven.  Article IV laid out duties of Officers and Directors.  Article V established committees:  Organization, Collections, Publications, Educational Programs and Outreach, Membership, Finance and Fundraising.  All committees were to have no fewer than three members and chairs would serve one-year terms.  Committees would submit quarterly reports to the Board.  And other committees or subcommittees could be appointed by the Board or by a general vote of the members.  Article VI dealt with Financial Provisions and Article VII, controlled acceptance of Gifts and Donations and called for a formal collections policy.  Article VIII, Ethical Behavior, prohibited conflicts of interest by Directors in employment or contracting with/by the Society during a term of office or 12 months thereafter.    Article IX controlled use of the Society’s name and image.  Article X prescribed Robert’s Rules of Order for conducting Board general meetings.  Article XI was the standard indemnity and hold harmless clause.   (There seemed to be no Article XII.)  Article XIII made the Bylaws effective upon adoption, except for Article III.  Election of Directors by the membership would take place after six months or until the membership numbered 50 persons.   Article XIV allowed amendments to the Bylaws only by a vote of the members at a general or special meeting.

The interim officers continued to manage the Society’s business until the conditions in Article XIII were satisfied.   Meanwhile the Society continued with initial administrative tasks and began to explore program topics and other heritage-related activities.

The February 23rd Meeting

This meeting recorded lots of follow-up actions by committees.  Attending were Bob Arnold, Ralph Blankenship, Rebecca Christie, Marilyn Connon, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels, Roger Easton, Edward Echtle, Lois Fenske, Susan Goff, Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, Anne Kilgannon, David Kindle,  Duane King, E.L.Johnson, Mark Johnson, Bruce Newman, Shanna Stevenson, Lanny Weaver, and Derek Valley.

Treasurer Drew Crooks reported that an account had been opened at South Sound Bank with a $100 deposit.

Organization Committee chair Rebecca Christie reported that the Articles of Incorporation had been filed with the Secretary of State for Washington State.



Also, a Post Office Box had been established and OHS’ official address was now P.O. Box 6064, Olympia, WA 98507.

Finance Committee chair Drew Crooks reported that he and Lois Fenske were working out the details to reimburse those who had advanced funds to organize the Society.

Education, Programs and Outreach Committee chair Drew Crooks reported the committee was looking for programs and speakers. He also stated that the Olympia School District would be celebrating its Sesquicentennial in the 2002-3 school year; Lynn Erickson was on a district committee for that event.

For the Society’s first program, Lanny Weaver suggested Lynn Erickson present her project, “The View From Sylvester’s Window.”

Lois Fenske said that South Puget Sound Community College was celebrating its 40th anniversary in September.  Genevieve Hupe’ moved that OHS support the Olympia School District for their Sesquicentenial celebration; Duane King suggested OHS give financial support.  Drew Crooks responded that financial support was impractical but that other support would be desirable, so Duane King withdrew his suggestion.  Mark Johnson moved that OHS support the OSD effort with suggestions from the Education  Committee.  Drew Crooks seconded; motion carried.

For more program suggestions Drew Crooks also recommended Lynn Erickson’s “Sylvester’s Window,” OSD make a presentation, also the 75th anniversary of the Capitol Building (Legislative Building).  Rebecca Christie asked if OHS could cooperate with State Capitol Museum evens and Derek Valley said yes.

Lois Fenske asked what geographical area of interest was OHS’; Rebecca Christie replied that the bylaws did not limit those to the city limits only.

Other program suggestions:  Les Eldridge on maritime history; Ed Echtle for Chinese history; Lisa Rognas’ students from Evergreen; Lois Fenske on SPSCC; Eli Sterling on Heritage Park proposals.

Collections Committee chair Susan Goff had met with Bev Gunstone and Pat Harper.   A Mission Statement should be developed and geographical boundaries set for collectios.   Example:  Lacey Museum had set North Thurston school district boundaries  for their area of interest.   OHS collection policy can be fine-tuned without changing the bylaws.

Webpage chair Ed Echtle reported that a web presence could be secured for about $100 per year, free of advertisements.  Price included an Email address for the officers.  He had drafted a covenant for the webmaster to access the OHS bank account to debit the account to pay for the web.  The Board would discuss that after the meeting.  Anne Kilgannon noted that web access would be a great tool to publicize the Society.  Ed Echtle clarified that the cost would be $15 to start and about $9 monthly and that the URL www.olympiahistory.org was available.

Logo committee chair Roger Easton joked that it should be the “Loco Committee” because of all the possible logo options including two of the “oyster” versions, showing the old Capitol and the current Capitol buildings.  Bruce Newman suggested the oyster logo would connect with Native American history.  Marilyn Connon asked about the Lacey and Tumwater society’s logos.  Members agreed “the simpler, the better.”  After a suggestion to adopt an interim logo, Drew Crooks moved and Spencer Daniels seconded to approve an oyster logo in concept and have the committee bring back a refined version.  The motion carried 13-5.

Rebecca Christie brought up the issue of a contact telephone number for the Society.  Ed Echtle said Qwest offered a voice mail service to organizations and he would check into it.  Spencer Daniels cautioned that someone must be willing to monitor the voice mail on a regular basis.

Regarding meeting times and locations, Rebecca Christie had polled many members and suggested that for those members who did not wish to drive at night the group continue to meet on Saturdays in the winter and in summer on the first Thursday of the month.  She had also researched locations including the Library, Coach House, Women’s Club, Fire Department training room, and The Olympian community room. Duane King suggested Churches and she suggested he pursue that option.  Roger Easton would check Puget Power community room and E.L. Johnson, Lincoln School.  Mark Johnson noted that the Courthouse was free and OHS had no funds for room rental.

The group agreed to the following schedule:  Saturday, March 30 at the Courthouse, then beginning in May, 7 p.m., the first Thursday, location TBA.  On Standard Time, Saturday meetings would start at 10 a.m.

Committee Meetings followed:

Finance and Fundraising:  Bruce Newman suggested pursuing City of Olympia Neighborhood organizations for members; Rebecca Christie noted they were already on the mailing list.

Membership:  Members so far were E.L. Johnson, Spencer Daniels, Marilyn Connon, Lanny Weaver and Rebecca Christie.  No chair designated yet.   Drew Crooks will give Rebecca a list of people attending meetings but not yet paying dues.  Committee will draft a cover letter for President’s signature and send them application forms.  Forms to be sent also to City Councilmembers’ inboxes.  Will contact neighborhood and homeowners’ associations asking for publicity.   Will create a membership brochure (print and electronic versions) to be discussed March 12.  Will need facts from other committees to draft brochure language.  Asked OHS members for leads for new members.

Education, Program and Outreach:  Will follow up on program suggestions.  Aim for May or June for the first program.  Will report OHS support to School District and plan an interactive OHS booth for Sesquicentennial Family History Day in August.

Collections:  Chair, Susan Goff.  Members Pat Harper, Genevieve Hupe’, Duane  King and Bev Gunstone. Will draft a Mission Statement, proposed geographic area for collections and a collections site or sites for consideration at next meeting.   Attendees’ input:   Anne Kilgannon asked if collections would be limited to “paper only;” Susan Goff responded that the bylaws allowed other formats.   President Christie agreed to forward Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to members.  Bruce Newman suggested a formal portrait of members when the 50 member threshold was reached.

Publications:  Members were Lois Fenske, Shanna Stevenson, Anne Kilgannon, Ann Shipley, Roger Easton and Bob Arnold.  Lois Fenske reported that the committee will present a draft newsletter at a future meeting.  It will include basic information about OHS and also features about Olympia history.

Other Business:  Rebecca Christie reported that OHS was applying for the Stormans’ rebate program.  David Kindle noted that Albertson’s had a similar program.

The meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.

(Some participants at these early meetings report that they seemed tedious, and perhaps they were.  But looking at all that was accomplished, and all that was laid out for future action, progress seems remarkable.  Since then, some things have changed but much remains the same:  The bylaws set the framework for a large, thriving future organization.  The dues structure remained unchanged until 2013.  OHS still has the same P.O. box, website URL, and bank account.  The split 13-5 vote for the ”oyster logo” apparently did not bode well because today’s logo is entirely different.  IRS 501(c)(3) status has not been applied for as the group’s income so far has not warranted it.  The group still tries to schedule board, general meetings and programs a year ahead but often bumps up against individuals’ personal and professional schedules.  Next chapter:  Organizational progress, first programs, and more!)

Posted in Articles, Spring 2013 | Tagged , | Comments Off on Foutch: Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, part 2

Foutch: Origins of the Olympia Historical Society, part 1

Background:  For many decades Olympia was content to depend on the State Capital Museum for its local history venue and a place to store many of its important historical assets.  In the early ‘90s it appeared that the Art Deco Thurston County Courthouse on Capitol Way would be torn down and a State History Museum built on that site.  But the courthouse was saved for adaptive reuse and the new History Museum ended up in Tacoma.  Then, after it was determined that the old Lord family mansion housing the State Capital Museum was not suitable for long-term archival use, its “Olympia Collection”  went to Tacoma, also.  For years after that the local historic preservation community has variously muttered about the move of “our” history to Tacoma, or wondered about how to develop a facility to bring it back.  A bond issue for a new Olympia library, which might have included such a room, failed twice in 1997.

Local history and preservation advocates Rebecca Christie,
author of the neighborhood history  Workingman’s Hill, and Annamary Fitzgerald, then-Executive Director of the Bigelow House Preservation
Association, met when both served on the Olympia Heritage Commission.  Both recognized the need for a local history repository and a community-based preservation advocacy organization.

While doing research for her book, Rebecca became aware of historical materials stored in closets, basements, attics and garages.  Many families expressed a desire to have a place where they could donate their materials to be preserved and available to researchers and the general public.

So on August 19, 2001, Rebecca Christie, Annamary Fitzgerald and Liza Rognas signed and sent out letters addressed to “Dear Friend of Olympia History.”  Recipients were invited to a community potluck meal at Rebecca’s home Sunday evening, September 9. 

This letter identified the “Need: Identify, collect and preserve our community’s rich and rapidly vanishing/dispersing historical record,” and then asked, “ How can we locate, gather and house the historic materials currently held in private collections….?” and “What can concerned members of the community do to support other ongoing heritage-related projects?” Attendees would meet for a “…brainstorm discussion and to get the ball rolling.”

The meeting agenda included:
Refining the Statement of Need, selecting the Intended Audience, and drafting a Statement of Purpose.  This last was determined to be, “To identify, preserve, protect, promote, interpret and perpetuate resources associated with the history of the City of Olympia and its identified growth area.”

The file contains no attendance list for this first get-together, but the group did set up “Identified Committees” with these members:

    Invitation List:  Rebecca Christie, Shanna Stevenson, Winnie Olsen
    Program:  Drew Crooks, Pat Harper, Shanna Stevenson
    PR/Publicity:  Liza Rognas, Randy Stilson
    Mission Development:  Bob Arnold

Today, some attendees believe that Roger Easton and Susan Goff also were at that first meeting.Perhaps others were also.

The group concluded its work by outlining “Next Steps:

    Identify Stakeholders for an Organizational Meeting
    Hold Organizational Meeting
    Establish an Olympia Historical Society”

On November 8, 2001, a short item in The Olympian confirmed
that the group was actively pursuing its goals:

“A gathering to explore forming an Olympia Historical Society is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 10), at the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, Room 152.  For more information call Annamary Fitzgerald, ….”

A flier for this meeting listed hosts Annamary Fitzgerald,
Rebecca Christie, Winnifred Olsen, Shanna Stevenson, Pat Harper, Drew Crooks,
Randy Stilson,and  Bob Arnold.  Meeting sponsors were listed as “…interested
individuals and the Conservation Associates of the Pacific Northwest.”

Two vintage engravings grace the reverse of this flier.  One shows a girl on the shore collecting shellfish which she held in the front of her gathered-up dress, while just offshore
a Native American fisher in a traditional canoe casts a net.  The image was framed with oyster shells.  The second engraving shows a bustling port and city viewed from the Westside, with the wooden bridge to “Marshville” and downtown in the right background and a departing steamboat in the foreground.   Mt. Rainier rises in the far distance.  (These two images would later be considered for an official OHS logo.)

The group’s publicity effort brought a very credible response:

Present at this key meeting were: Gerry Alexander, Bob Arnold, Karen Bowen, Ann
Christensen, Rebecca Christie, Marilyn Connon, Drew Crooks, Spencer Daniels,
Lauren Danner, Edward Echtle, Lynn Erickson, Lois Fenske, Annamary Fitzgerald,
Chuck Fowler, Susan Goff, Beverly Gunstone, Pat Harper, Dorothy Hernes,
Genevieve Hupe’, Russ Hupe’, Dick Johnson, Agnes Kelley, David Kindle, Bonnie
Marie, Winnie Olsen, Susan O’Neal, Susan Parish, Liza Rognas, Don Roselle, Lila
Sjodin, Shanna Stevenson, Randy Stilson, Ed Swan, Kathleen Turner, Lanny Weaver,
Diana Wilkowski, Sandy Yannone, and Tom Zahn.

The agenda included:

Annamary Fitzgerald
Speaker:  Chief Justice Gerry Alexander,
on the topic, “An Olympia Historical Society—A Good Idea”
Motion to organize an O.H.S.
Motion empowering the temporary chair to appoint a Committee on Organization,
responsible for           drafting a
Constitution and Bylaws.
Committees and Interest Areas (signup sheet)
Discussion and Adjourn

After Chief Justice Alexander’s remarks, the group set to
work.  Susan Parish moved, seconded by Ed
Swan, that an Olympia Historical Society be established “on this day, Saturday,
November 10, 2001.”  There was no
discussion and the motion passed unanimously.

Drew Crooks then moved that “Temporary Chair Annamary Fitzgerald
be authorized to appoint a Steering Committee to continue the organizing (of)
the Olympia Historical Society.”  Rebecca
Christie seconded the motion.  Concern
was raised about the possibility of duplicating the work of the State Capital
Museum.  Chuck Fowler volunteered to be
the liaison between the Museum and the Olympia Historical Society.  There was no further discussion and the
motion passed unanimously.

Committees were named:
Organization (Steering Committee), Collections, Education and Programs,
Membership, Finance and Fundraising, and Outreach and Publications.

The next meeting was set for Saturday, January 26, 2002, at
the same location.  Its main order of
business would be to adopt Articles of Incorporation, to appoint a nominating committee
that would present a slate of officers for a Board of Directors, and to set up
standing committees.

The minutes were signed by Patricia Carol Harper, Acting

The Olympia Historical Society had been born.

(End of Part One)

It would seem, then,
that 2012 is actually OHS’ 11th birthday year, not its 10th.  I’d always assumed that filing the Articles
of Incorporation with the Secretary of State’s office marked the most significant
date, not considering all the hard work it had taken to get to that point.  And, given the caliber of all those involved
in OHS’ conception and gestation, it’s not at all surprising that the process
was most impressively organized and carried out meticulously.  Many of those dedicated community volunteers
are still active in local historic preservation; a few are no longer with
us.  We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

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Neuffer, Paul and Catherine House

Location: 510 O’Farrell St SE
Local register

A vintage photograph has not been located; if you have one to share, please contact us  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaul and Catherine Neuffer house today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

This home, built about 1922, was one of the first residences built in the new Wildwood subdivision, which was platted that year by J.T. Otis, a local real estate developer and businessman. It is in the Craftsman/bungalow style popular at the time, distinguished for its cobblestone fireplace and features. It is on the local register.  The house was built for Paul C. Neuffer and his wife, Catherine. Paul was the adopted son of Paul H. Neuffer, who owned Neuffer Jewelers. Paul H’s home, the Neuffer House, in the South Capitol neighborhood, is also on the local register. Paul, Jr. was one of the so-called “doorstep babies” who appeared on citizens’ thresholds in the late 1800s.

Olympia Heritage inventory

PCTV/TCTV video on Bigelow Highlands neighborhood, recounting Doorstep Baby phenomenon












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New Caldonia building

Location: 116 5th Avenue
Downtown National Historic District

Proffitt’s Department Store, 1970, Susan Parish Collection, Washington State Archives New Caldonia building today (2017) photograph by Deb Ross

According to its owner, the building now called the New Caldonia building was the site of the Caledonia Hotel in the 1870s. By 1914 it was the home of a hardware store, and a Sanborn map still shows that a hardware store was at that site in the 1920s. It was remodeled or rebuilt in 1941 to become part of the Proffitt’s store chain. It has been remodeled at least twice since that time and now houses a variety of small stores. The building is located in the National Downtown Olympia historic district, but is listed as non-contributing.

Additional links (note that the Downtown National Historic District incorrectly place the Ray Theatre at the site of this building):

Washington State Historical Society (enter catalog number in Collections Search box), C1986.43.0.269

Downtown National Historic District















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Raymond House

Location: 1130 East Bay Drive NE

raymond_1939Raymond House, 1939, Thurston County Assessor, Southwest Regional Archives ???????????????????????????????Raymond House today (2015) photograph by Deb Ross

Perched on a bluff overlooking Budd Inlet, the Raymond House was built in 1922 by George Raymond, a contractor, to serve as his own residence. The stucco facade of this bungalow is relatively unusual for Olympia, earning it a place in the city’s inventory of important structures.

Additional sources:

Olympia Heritage inventory














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Ray Theatre/Timberland Bank

Location: 423 Washington St SE
Downtown National Historic District, Popular Culture

raytheaterRay Theatre, 1914,  Robert Esterly photo courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Timberland BankTimberland Bank building today (2012) photograph from Timberland Bank website

In about 1914, the Zabel family, who owned several theaters downtown, built the Ray Theatre here, pictured at above left, at the corner of Fifth and Washington. In this same year, Robert Esterly took the picture as part of his series featuring Olympia businesses and their owners. The theater later boasted a Wurlitzer organ, as did others owned by the same family. This theater was closed when the Capitol Theatre was built nearby.

Adjacent to the theater was the B&M Cigar Store, pictured in the link below. 

This location is now the Timberland Bank, formerly Capitol  Savings and Loan. According to the Thurston County assessor, this is the same building as the Ray Theatre, although it clearly has lost most of its elements. The fixed canopies along Washington and Fifth Avenue are a nod to the original design and the overall architectural themes of downtown Olympia. The building is located in the Downtown National Historic District, but the building itself is not considered to be contributing to the district’s historic flavor. However, long-time employees at the bank confirm that above the dropped ceiling there are still remnants of cinema wall decorations. 

According to historian Bernice Sapp, the property at northern side of this building on Washington Street was the home of pioneer Jacob Ott and family, and on the southern side was the home of the Tilleys (see Tilley Stable site).

Additional links (note that both the Cinema Treasures and Downtown National Historic District incorrectly place the Ray Theatre at the site of the current New Caldonia building):

Cinema Treasures: Ray Theatre

Downtown National Historic District

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 2010.149.4.1; 2010.149.7.1

Sapp, Olympia 100 years ago

Thank you to bank employee Jacquie for memories of cinema decorations above dropped ceiling















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Wildwood building

Location: 2822 Capitol Way SE
mid-Century modern, Wohleb, Transportation

wildwood 1950Wildwood Building, 1950, advertisement in Olympia Centennial Souvenir program,  Southwest Regional Archives OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWildwood Building today (2013) photo by Deb Ross

The Wildwood Building (also known as the G.C. Valley Shopping Center) was the first shopping center built in Olympia, in 1938. The building was designed for owner G.C. Valley by Olympia architect Joseph Wohleb, as he transitioned from his signature Mission style into his later Art Moderne style. In this he was reflecting the changing tastes in American architecture at the cusp of the mid-Century modern style.

The Wildwood Building was located at the edge of the Wildwood Park subdivision that had been platted just a few year before. In locating a shopping center here — with a grocery store, pharmacy, and flower shop — G.C. Valley astutely anticipated the desire of families to shop in their own “suburban” neighborhoods, rather than relying on downtown markets. This may have been particularly true during the Depression years, when automobile use declined from the 1920s, only to rebound after World War II.

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box, C1986.43.0.269

Olympia Heritage inventory

mid-Century modern context statement












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Wiman/Jackson House

Location: 313 Quince St SE
Local register

We have not located a vintage photograph of this home.If you have one to share, please contact us.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWiman/Jackson House today (2014) photo by Deb Ross

The Wiman/Jackson House was built before 1887 in what is now known as the Bigelow neighborhood on Olympia’s east side. (Thurston County assessor records provide an 1890 construction date, but a city directory shows Samuel P. Wiman living here in 1887.) Samuel P. Wiman was an early pioneer logger in Olympia. This home is in a simple pioneer style but contains decorative elements, as do many homes of a similar date in this neighborhood. The home is just outside the boundaries of the Olympia Avenue Local Historic District. It is on the local register. Verner E. Jackson lived in this home for many years.

Olympia Heritage Inventory










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