Wilder and White watercolor, 1912
Secretary Reed and other Olympia notables and townspeople are celebrating the centennial of Wilder & White winning the nationwide design contest for Washington’s much-praised Capitol group. They bid everyone welcome.
Walter Wilder and Harry White were young, little-known New York architects when they won the competition 100 years ago today, submitting an audacious and grand plan for a Capitol Group that includes the Capitol (Legislative Building), Temple of Justice, and other building clustered on a site with views of the waterfront, mountains and downtown. The design was greatly enhanced by landscape by the legendary Olmsted Brothers.
The Temple of Justice, a gorgeous building that houses the State Supreme Court and Law Library, was first to be constructed, starting in 1912. The Insurance Building was next, followed by the Capitol (1922-1928), and the buildings that now house House and Senate hearing rooms and offices. The Governor’s Mansion and the Newhouse office building were not part of the design.
Secretary Reed, who first went to work on the Campus back in 1966, 45 years ago when the Capitol was then just 38 years old, said the Capitol Group is renowned as one of America’s finest.
“It’s a place where all three branches of our state government are headquartered and where significant decisions are made that affect the lives of all Washingtonians.
“It’s also a place where the public gathers, to watch the Legislature and the Supreme Court, to attend rallies and concerts, to play and picnic on the grand lawn, to experience some of Olmsted landscape and the beautiful views, and even to get married! It is a true people space, and I’m glad we are pausing to honor the spectacular design that Walter Wilder and Harry White provided us. What a legacy.”
The Office of Secretary of State and Department of General Administration are co-hosting centennial activities beginning Wednesday with a special program outdoors near the Temple of Justice 5:30 p.m. All are invited. It’s free.
Other activities are planned, culminating in a Sunday festival day from 2-6 p.m. Included are special tours of the Capitol, the Olmsted-designed grounds, and the Temple of Justice. The Secretary of State’s Office on the second floor will be open for a 7-minute video of archival images of the buildings being constructed. Gov. Gregoire, Treasurer McIntire and Lt. Gov. Owen also have special historic displays. Kids activites are planned, food is available, and you can bring a picnic and attend a special free concert by the Olympia Symphony at 5 p.m.
This is your invitation!