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

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross