Thorp Motors Building (north end)/first Masonic meeting place/Washington Hotel

Location: 222 Capitol Way N
Transportation; Local Register

New England Hotel in background, 1913, , courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
Thorp Motors building today (portion) (2014), photo by Deb Ross

In the early days of American settlement of Olympia, all commercial establishments were located north of 3rd Avenue (now State Street), to take advantage of its proximity to Budd Inlet. Silas Galliher established the Washington Hotel at the southeast corner of what is now Capitol Way and Olympia Avenue. Here in 1853, the story has it, a disheveled Isaac Stevens arrived and was initially turned away as the proprietor awaited the arrival of the new territorial governor (Stevens himself). The hotel changed hands several times. By 1913, when the above photograph was taken, it was called the New England Hotel. The group standing in front of the hotel are laying a plaque to commemorate the site of the first territorial legislature, held in the adjacent Parker and Colter store. 

On the north side of this building, a plaque commemorates the location of the first assembly of Masons, in 1851.

The large building currently occupying this space as well as the location of Parker and Colter was the home of Thorp Motors, erected in 1945. Many automotive-associated building occupied, and continue to occupy, this industrialized area of Olympia, carrying on the area’s long transportation-related history. The building is now home to several businesses and is on the local heritage register.

Links:

Olympia Heritage inventory (Thorp Motors building)

Olympia Heritage inventory sheet, Masonic plaque

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): 1943.42.1402 (1902 photograph by Asahel Curtis); laying of commemorative plaque in 1913: 2013.0.216

Olympia Heritage Commission 222 Capitol Register Application and Statement of Significance

Article, Sapp, Olympia 100 Years Ago; Article, Georgiana Blankenship, Old Olympia Landmarks

1879 Bird’s Eye View of Olympia, showing the proximity of this site to the waterfront on three sides. The hotel is the two story structure with balconies at the corner of Second and Main (Olympia Avenue and Capitol Way)

For more information on the James , Parker, Colter, and Sylvester families, see the Residents section of this website.

 

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