by Steven Gilbert | September 7th, 2012
(Images courtesy of Washington State Archives)
Do you know how many Capitol Buildings we have had over the course of Washington’s history?
Three: There was a two-story wood frame building completed during Washington’s territorial years, another that was simply the old Thurston County Courthouse (and is now the home of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction), and of course the beautiful Legislative Building where the House and Senate meet today. The Territorial Legislature started meeting in the first Capitol in 1854 and later at the courthouse in 1905.
When it became apparent that the Thurston County Courthouse was too small to house all agencies of state government, construction began on our current state Capitol Building. It took more than 16 years to build and was finished in 1928. The timing couldn’t have been better because five months after the old courthouse had become mostly vacant, it caught on fire in an accident that caused $100,000 in damage.
This Saturday is the anniversary of the 1928 Capitol fire whose origin is still unknown to this day. A picture of the fire and its aftermath are displayed side by side up above. The photos are the second installment in our September Archives treasures contest.
One more Archives treasure will be featured this month before we ask you and others to choose your favorite in an online poll.