Location: 420 Capitol Way S
Local Register, National Downtown Historical District, Wohleb
|Talcott’s Jewelers, 1964, Thurston County Assessor’s photograph from Southwest Regional Archives|
Talcott’s building today (2011), photo by Deborah Ross
Charles Talcott came west with his father in 1872 and immediately opened a small jewelry store, housed in a wooden building. His brothers Grant and George Noyes joined him when they finished school (they were both students at Olympia Collegiate Institute). The building was one of the victims of the disastrous 1882 fire which destroyed most of the block bounded by Capitol Way, 4th Avenue, Washington Street, and 5th Avenue. At that time, Bertha Eugley’s millinery was also located in this building, one of the many locations of her store. The Talcotts immediately rebuilt one of the first brick buildings in the city. Their wares changed over time, starting with just jewelry and then branching out into umbrellas, bicycles, and housewares, according to whatever the latest craze was. They also installed a public drinking fountain using the water from an artesian well in their basement (which, according to local lore, still exists). The upstairs offices were used by legislators and lobbyists, as were the second stories of many of the buildings on this block, while the legislature met in the Old State Capitol Building.
The building was remodeled by Joseph Wohleb after the 1949 earthquake, and the family continued to operate the store for five generations. In 2003 Richard Noyes Talcott made the difficult decision to close the business. The building is now (2012) the home of a bicycle shop, an echo of the bicycles that the Talcotts once sold here.
Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C19188.8.131.52.6 (unscanned photo circa 1949); C2008.8.56 (interior view of store); C2008.5.45
For more information about the Talcott Brothers, see Residents section of this website. See also Luepke/Talcott House, George and Addie Talcott House, Talcott Apartments, and Talcott Commercial Buildings, all associated with the Talcott family.
For another location for the Bertha Eugley Millinery, see Hotel Olympian