Olympia Then & Now: Part II


As usual, my apologies for your 56k bandwidth, this is a photo-heavy post. Also many thanks to the various online archives I have plundered for your enjoyment. Very special thanks to the Olympia Historical Society, http://olympiahistory.org/, where many of these photos were originally curated and posted, also thanks to http://www.jonesphotocollection.com/, and http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/ for making these photos available for us. 

Let's start with a round of "name the familiar building." Try to guess before you scroll. No cheating!






















Olympia Then & Now

This essay is photo heavy, so pardon the bandwidth. Most photos link to hi-res versions. 

The photos have been pulled from various online sources and the “now” pictures are from Google Maps Street View and Google Earth. 

Thanks to http://www.jonesphotocollection.com/, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/, and http://olympiahistory.org/

I have tried by best to find the current locations, but I may be wrong in a few instances. 


1. Olympia in 1894. 

I had this photo labelled 1848 but I am pretty sure that is wrong based on the inscription. 

It is not easy to tell, but you can see how much the shoreline has grown. 




2. Olympia in 1948

I believe this photo was taken with the next few that follow it. You can see Little Hollywood and I am pretty sure that is the Oyster House




The Crazy Bi-Level Buses of The North Coast Lines

note - this is a very photo-heavy essay, so please forgive the bandwidth. most images link to higher resolution versions.

I have been doing research based pretty heavily in the 20’s and 30’s as of late, and recently I stumbled across this very low-resolution photo of our local Bus Depot, in about 1920something.

no larger resolution available

You can barely see, but poking out of the garage are two very unique buses, of a style that was apparently only produced here in the Pacific Northwest. 

Before we get into the nitty gritty of cool buses (yes buses are cool), I want to take a second to tell you about the state of the road system in the United States in this era. Check out this photo from 1912:

Capitol Theater - 1994 / 2011

Here is a photo I found (it might have been from an old olyblog post...) of the theater in 1994:


And a photo I took in 2011:


You can click either for a larger version - the second one is high res.

As for discussion - I really appreciate the work that has gone into the building and the changes from the past two decades or so. 

For the record my photo is anti-copyright so take it if you like it. All respect to the original poster of the 1994 image. 

1867 - Puget Sound Area

Another absurdly huge resolution map - this time from the U. S. Coast Survey of 1867, of Washington Territory. 

Here is a small version of it:


HERE is a link to the image full sized, about 4000 x 6000 [warning, 4 mb file]

Being a Steamboat area resident I find the lack of the island so named interesting. Is the island artificial or merely missing from this map? Comments encouraged and appreciated!

1890, 1903, 1948

Presented below for your enjoyment are three maps of Olympia (well, two maps and an engraving) dating from the years in the title. 

These maps are very large resolution, so in order to save your bandwidth and browser here are descriptions with direct links (using imgur.com, it is an ad free image host) rather than inline images. 

1890 - Whitham and Page's Map of Olympia - [warning huge resolution]

This map is a hoot because it shows old Tumwater where there is currently the I-5 corridor. Also Ward's Homestead makes North, South and Middle St make more sense in terms of naming conventions.


1903 - Prof Edw Lange's Engraving - [warning huge resolution]

This engraving is pretty well known I think, I believe a copy of it is hanging downtown in the Spar, and I am sure I have seen it other places. Noteworthy for all of the insets showing various scenes and locations around Oly. 


1948 - Map of the Deschutes River Basin Project - [warning absurdly huge resolution]

This is probably my favorite of these three because it shows how radically different things could have been. If you notice this map shows plans to fill in the small pond/lagoon west of what is now the Deschutes parkway and other strange alterations to the lake. Finally make sure you check out the sweet diagram of the old port in the lower right of the image. 

The three maps can be accessed together in an album at this link.


The Olympia Oyster House c 1959

I saw a much smaller resolution version of this image, and after a little bit of internet sleuthdom I located this slightly larger version.


Source says it is from 1959. 

Author Event: A Refreshing Political Success Story in Olympia

The Decade our American Democracy worked -- right here in Olympia. 

The authors of the new book, Politics of the Possible, Mary Ellen McCaffree and Anne McNamee Corbett will be at Orca Books on 4th Steet on February 29th. Join them for a presentation, reading and lively discussion.

Date: February 29th, 2012

Time: 7:00pm 

Location: Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E

Given our current political environment, the new book, Politics of the Possible by Mary Ellen McCaffree and Anne McNamee Corbett offers a timely and refreshing approach to today’s often frustrating governmental process. Budgets, deficits, wrangling political parties, and special interests that increasingly press (and achieve) their demands in disregard of the public’s general welfare – all find antidotes in this lively political history. Politics of the Possible reminds us how our government is supposed to work. It’s a living example of an effective decade of governing when our elected leaders moved beyond partisanship and focused on problem-solving for the people.

By retracing McCaffree’s’ path inside the gears of governing during Washington state’s most productive and legendary decade, Politics of the Possible charts the overhaul of our state during the 1960’s, culminating in a stunning 1970 special legislative session that capped a sweeping program of progressive, bi-partisan reforms. 

For more information or to purchase a book, please visit: www.politicsofthepossible.com. Questions can be directed to me, Alison McCaffree, the author's granddaughter and marketing manager at info@politicsofthepossible.com.


Free Skool Olympia's February Calendar out now!

The newly revived and under new (no)management Free Skool Olympia has come out with its February calendar of classes!

Free Skool Olympia is an autonomous, all ages, egalitarian, volunteer-run collective which works to offer a wide range of workshops, classes, trainings, and skill shares freely to the community. The Free Skool offers a direct challenge to educational, economic, and social systems that oppress and divide our communities by providing vibrant alternatives to those systems and safe places for them to thrive so that we may begin to imagine and build a truly free world.

This month features classes on:

  • Algebra
  • Art and Activism
  • Book Binding
  • Computer Security
  •  Freestyle Rap
  • Haiku & Asian Poetry
  • History
  •  Knot Tying & Climbing
  • Media
  •  Musical Saw Playing
  •  Mycology
  •  Peace Psychology
  • Really Really Safe Sex
  • Self Defense
  • Sign Language
  • Stick 'N' Poke Tattoos

As well as a Black History Reading Group, White Privilege Reading Group, film showings, a Stitch 'N' Knit circle, and a Theatre of the Oppressed troupe!

All classes are absolutely free. The whole month's calendar, which includes descriptions, times, and locations is attached to this post!

Child care will be provided at classes on request. If you have child care or accessibility needs, contact the facilitator of the class you'd like to attend.

To find out more about the Free Skool, you can come to our general meetings every Sunday, 2:00pm at Media Island (816 Adams St. SE) or find us on Facebook. To contact us, e-mail olyfreeskool (at) riseup (dot) net

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