Local Historians Add 400th Location to “Where Are We” Website

olympia history


Submitted by Deborah Ross for Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum

olympia historyHave you been walking downtown and wondered about some of the magnificent older buildings there?  Did an architectural detail catch your eye? Do you want to know more about that house on your block with the bronze historical marker? Have you thought about what might once have occupied the vacant lot you drive by every day? Chances are you can find answers on “Where Are We?” This week, the creators of “Where Are We?” will add our 400th location!

“Where Are We?” is a feature of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum website, the third largest history-related website in Washington State. Each location featured in Where Are We? has its own webpage, then-and-now images, a description of the location and its historical importance, and links to other websites with more information.

There are several ways to access Where Are We?, including searching by name, taking a directed “stroll” through its pages, and accessing an Interactive Map that shows all of the locations in Where Are We? with clickable links.

olympia historyThe Interactive Map allows users to zoom in and out, move around, and search by theme. For example, if you are interested in the history of Olympia’s religious institutions, you can turn on that theme to see all of the historic and current churches, synagogues, missions, and manses included in “Where Are We?”

Other themes include registered historic locations and neighborhoods, transportation, women’s history, diversity, schools, popular culture, architect Joseph Wohleb, and mid-Century modern architecture.

There is even an app associated with the Interactive Map. If you have a smart phone, you can access the app and, by turning on your location feature, you can be guided to historic sites near you.

In 2013, my husband Brian Hovis and I received the prestigious Heritage Award from the City of Olympia for the creation of “Where Are We?” This is the first and only time that a website has won this award.

To visit “Where Are We?” directly, link to http://olympiahistory.org/wp/map-welcome/.


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