intricate detail in décor and charming character draw gazes not only out of admiration but out of curiosity too. The Captain Calvin and Pamela Hale house at 902 Tullis Street in Northeast Olympia has that effect and is an endearing example of Queen Anne architecture. Though a small cottage, the Hales were residents with big hearts and big involvement in Olympia. Pamela has left her mark as an activist for women’s rights, women in education and women in leadership. Calvin has left behind the track record of a diversely involved citizen and public representative in a new territory.

Their residence sits on what was a 320-acre land claim made by Hale. Its portion now is a residential lot among the northeast neighborhood not far from the historical Bigelow House Museum. Facing west, it is a one and a half story, wood frame, Queen Anne style cottage. Its features have earned it National Register of Historic Places status, as well as earned listings on the Washington Heritage Register and the Olympia Heritage Register.

The label of Queen Anne comes from the style created and promoted by Richard Norman Shaw, a British architect who was inspired by a mix of Tudor, pre-Georgian and medieval styles. Visually, the Queen Anne style is exciting and makes for great conversation on strolls through historical neighborhoods. It has been described as eclectic as it pulls in many attributes and displays them ornately, all together.

-Pamela-Case-Hale-first-woman-superintendent-Thurston-County-schools-Olympia history
Pamela Case Hale. Photo courtesy: C1961.1185.11, Washington State Historical, Tacoma

The modest-sized Hale cottage, built in 1882, has corbelled caps on its stone chimney. The roof is a low hip, edged with detailed trim just beneath the roofline. The gables are decorated with small fish scale and diamond patterned shingles. The color pattern is made up of mossy green siding with rich maroon and vibrant white alternating in the trim work. The porch posts are chamfered with the smooth cutaway that transforms the standard post. Ornate brackets fill in between the posts and the upper trim. The front door has a Charles Eastlake style and a filigreed doorknob. Original newel posts top the steps, and the whole dwelling rests atop a brick foundation. Inside, the ceilings are 10 feet high, and the floors are made of tongue and groove fir. Two built-in China cabinets and a bay window seat enrich the dining room. Though some renovations have been made, efforts have been deliberate to maintain the architectural style.

Original owner Captain Calvin Hale and his first wife Waitstill Look came to Olympia from Maine. He made the long boat trip around the southern tip of South America in 1851 with his wife and three children. He brought with him the experience of a previous appointment to the Maine state legislature. He was appointed trustee of the first Olympia school and served a term as a district court judge. Among the few pioneer families to have settled in Olympia, he established a reputation and was appointed to the Monticello Convention.

Captain Calvin Hale. Photo courtesy: C1952.1068.10.38.3, Washington State Historical, Tacoma

From that point forward, Hale continued to be active in the development of the very new Washington Territory.  When the gears of the new government started moving, Hale had a seat in the first territorial legislature’s house of representatives in 1854. He was there for the first bill introduced that established a law code commission and was a member of the legislative education committee. In 1857 he became coroner and joined the Democratic Party. Additional appointments also involved community development such as one to the University of Washington Board of Regents. More locally in 1868, he was the Olympia city trustee. And, in a combination of civic mindedness and perhaps entrepreneurship, he started the Washington Water and Pipe Manufacturing Company that put down the first water system in Olympia.

Hale’s first wife, Waitstill, died in 1870, leaving him a widower. He married Pamela Case in 1872. She was from Massachusetts and a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, trained to be a teacher. After arriving in Olympia, she arranged for a girls school at the courthouse, acting as both teacher and principal. She then went on to teach at Union Academy. In 1881 she was appointed to the territorial board of education and by 1882 was the first woman elected to the Thurston County superintendent of schools. Pamela was widowed in 1887 when Captain Hale died. She continued to further her leadership activities as a founding member of the Olympia Women’s Club and a lay minister with the Unitarian Church. She was also a founder and first president of the Olympia Ladies Relief Society. As a business member in town, she was in control of the local gasworks company, assisted in raising money for the Olympia Hotel and later built a city block of apartments and stores, the Hale block.

The preserved Hale house represents the people behind early, foundational efforts for Olympia, for Thurston County and, in the long run, for the state of Washington. Next time you stroll along Tullis Street, or the streets of other historical properties, let your eyes scan the building for the details that show character. Consider the people who lived in these homes and the lives they lived.

Inside the Hale house, the ceilings are 10 feet high, and the floors are made of tongue and groove fir. Two built-in China cabinets and a bay window seat enrich the dining room. Photo courtesy: Paul Ingman
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