The history of a place is unique as a fingerprint. Every year, the Holiday Tour of Historic Homes showcases stunning examples of Olympia’s architectural and cultural history. And this year’s carries on that tradition. Held by The Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, the annual holiday tour has become a longstanding Olympia tradition. This year’s tour focuses on historic homes on Olympia’s Westside. The event takes place on Sunday, December 2 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The tour features seven properties in the West Olympia area, which are not only phenomenal examples of architectural style, but also represent important periods of Olympia’s history and demonstrate the values of Olympia’s past, present, and future.
The imprints of the past echo through these historic buildings, and help us understand how our community has shaped around them. The Sherwood Press, the Woman’s Club of Olympia, the Percival House and Westhillsyde each preserve unique women’s history of our area. The McIntyre House and St. Peter Hospital Chapel have become the Marie Bed and Breakfast and the Capitol House Apartments, demonstrating an evolution of hospitality and functionality over the years. Additionally, Westhillsyde, the Van Etten House and the McCleary-Robinson House demonstrate the value of justice to the area, with connections to at least four State Supreme Court justices.
The keystone of every Holiday Tour of Homes is the Bigelow House, one of the state’s oldest settler residences. It is owned by the non-profit Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. The house showcases original furnishings and has been restored to reflect Washington’s Territorial period, along with a later period dining room and kitchen. It began as the home of Daniel and Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow and continued to be the home of their descendants for well over a century before becoming a museum. During the tour, the Bigelow House will be adorned in special holiday décor and will host refreshments and musical performances on vintage instruments.
Preservation of historical homes doesn’t only show a glimpse of the past, it is an investment in the future. Architect Carl Elefante said, “The greenest building is the one that is already built.” As we continue to preserve and appreciate the historical legacy of homes and other buildings in the area, we show our commitment to a sustainable future for the generations of Olympians that follow us.
As a part of the community for over a century, OlyFed has not only watched it grow over the years, but been an integral part in that growth. Take a look at some of the original deeds for many of the homes in the area, and you will see Olympia Building and Loan—OlyFed’s original name—as the lender that made the building of that home possible. In fact, two of the first mortgages written in the South Sound were by OlyFed. Like the historic homes on the tour, OlyFed has been, and continues to be, an example and a part of Olympia’s values, past and future.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to stroll through a piece of Olympia’s past because the tour changes every year.
Tickets for the 2018 Holiday Tour of Historic Homes are $20, proceeds of the tour benefit the preservation and interpretation of Olympia’s historic Bigelow House and the Olympia Historical Society. Tickets can be purchased now at Drees, located at 524 Washington St SE, Childhood’s End Gallery at 222 4th Ave W, and Thompson Furniture at 5407 Capitol Blvd SE in Tumwater. Tickets may also be purchased at The Bigelow House at 918 Glass Avenue NE, or the Capitol House Apartments at 420 Sherman St SW on the day of the tour only.
List of Homes on Tour and Map
Sherwood Press, 811 5th Ave SW
- Van Etten House, 124 Foote St NW
- Westhillsyde, 726 Percival St SW
- McIntyre House (Marie Bed and Breakfast), 123 Cushing St NW
- McCleary-Robinson House, 101 Sherman St NW
- Percival House, 811 4th Ave W
- Old St Peter Hospital Chapel (Capitol House Apartments), 420 Sherman St SW
- Bigelow House, 918 Glass Avenue NE Olympia
- Woman’s Club of Olympia, 1002 Washington Street SE