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

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross