Location: 116 4th Ave W
Downtown National Historic District, Diversity: Chinese Heritage; Wohleb

Van Epps storeVan Epps store in 1880s, photograph courtesy of Washington State Historical Society ben mooreGreat Cuisine of India and Ben Moore’s restaurant today (2012), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross

The first block west on Fourth Avenue has always been an important part of the downtown commercial core. In the 1870s, Theodore C. Van Epps entered into partnership with Samuel Woodruff and Samuel’s stepfather A.J. Burr to open a book and stationery store at this site. He bought them out in 1881, and brought his son W. Arley into the business. In 1889 he sold it to Arley and opened a new real estate business.  Later on, W. A.  moved the stationery store to the  Pacific Building (current site of Archibald Sisters), and T.C. moved his to the  Union Block and then the Van Epps Building. T.C.’s daughter Iva Van Epps Satterlee was prominent in society and a supporter of local history.

In 1927, O.C. Weidner built the current building, based on a Joseph Wohleb design. He operated a saloon here, and Charles Kay operated a Chinese restaurant, the Nankin Cafe, in this building as well. It is currently (2014) a restaurant.

The building is located in the Olympia Downtown National Historic District.

Links to more information:

Washington State Historical Society (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box): C1950.3.52 (above photo); C1943.1006.23

Article: Chinese in Olympia, Restaurants (includes a photo of the Nankin Cafe)

Links to members of Van Epps and Kay families, Residents section of this website

Olympia Heritage inventory

Olympia Downtown Historic District

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross