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“Archives treasures” item #2: Capitol construction ?>

“Archives treasures” item #2: Capitol construction


(Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)

On Tuesday, we began our new blog series that highlights some of the many incredible documents, images, maps and other historical goodies that our State Archives possesses.

The first “contestant” in this month’s Archives treasures poll was the boxing license application that Muhammad Ali submitted under his former name, Cassius Clay.

The second “contestant” is one of the many photos showing the construction of the Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus. The photo of the building, minus the dome, was taken sometime between 1922 and 1927. It’s part of the State Archives’ Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990.

Watch for the third Archives treasure to be showcased Thursday and then choose your favorite starting on Friday.

(We originally ran the blog series in 2012. Due to its popularity, we’re bringing them back for an encore performance!)

Bye, Holiday Tree ?>

Bye, Holiday Tree

As Blood Sweat & Tears once sang, what goes up must come down.

That was the case with this year’s Holiday Kids’ Tree, which was removed by DES workers Monday morning after the 25-foot Noble fir stood tall in the Legislative Building rotunda the past four weeks.

2014 Capitol Christmas Tree removed

(Photo courtesy of Patrick McDonald)

But where is the building? ?>

But where is the building?


(Photo courtesy Washington State Archives)

We found this old photo in the State Archives that shows construction on the north side of the Legislative Building in September 1923. At this point, only the steps and first floor were visible. The building was completed in 1928. The photo below shows the north side of Washington’s Capitol today. With its tall dome and grand appearance, the Legislative Building is a prominent sight from Capitol Lake and the Olympia waterfront.


(Photo courtesy Patrick McDonald)

12th Man lets loose at Seahawks’ homestate Capitol ?>

12th Man lets loose at Seahawks’ homestate Capitol


(Photo courtesy of Benjamin Helle)

Although hundreds of thousands of  fans converged on Downtown Seattle and CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field Wednesday for the parade honoring the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win over the Broncos, many fans around the Capitol couldn’t go north because they work for the Legislature, which is in the middle of its 60-day session. But that didn’t stop a large contingent of the 12th Man from gathering on the north steps of the Legislative Building to cheer loudly for 30 seconds at the oh-so-appropriate time of 12:12 p.m. , the designated time to yell as directed by this proclamation from Gov. Inslee.


(Photo courtesy of Gracelin Moore)

Foggy dome, sunny dome ?>

Foggy dome, sunny dome

Foggy dome photo

The dry weather the past week or two in Olympia has resulted in foggy mornings and sunny afternoons around the Capitol Campus. Not even the dome of the Legislative Building is immune to the fog, but it sure stands out once the sun arrives.

Sunny dome photo


Found in Digital Archives: 1960 photo of Capitol by night ?>

Found in Digital Archives: 1960 photo of Capitol by night

Capitol & Tivoli Fountain at night

This year’s legislative session has reached the stage when the House and Senate members are spending many hours daily, and sometimes into the night, debating and voting on bills that survived the recent committee cutoffs.

Friday is the deadline for policy bills to emerge from the budget committees of the originating house. March 13 is the last day for the House and Senate to vote on bills and other measures originating from the house of origin. After that, they’ll look at bills passed by the other chamber.  The 105-day session is scheduled to end April 28.

In honor of this time of session, this photo in the State Digital Archives shows the Legislative Building illuminated at night, with the Tivoli Fountain lit up in the foreground. The fountain was completed in 1953 and modeled after a fountain built during the Renaissance and located in the Italian town of Tivoli. The photo is found in the Digital Archives’ Collections series, and is located under General Subjects Photograph Collection, 1845-2005.

Snow at the Capitol! ?>

Snow at the Capitol!

Snow in Oly New Year's Eve 2012 003

It might not exactly qualify as Snowmageddon. It even might not be sticking enough to make a snowball. But it’s snowing at the Capitol.

The wintry white flakes started falling from the sky after 10 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, more than enough snow to terrify “First Snowflake Freakout Lady” from one of those funny PEMCO ”Northwest Profile” radio ads.

Whether it lasts until Tuesday’s arrival of 2013 remains to be seen.

Blue day for blue spruces next to Capitol ?>

Blue day for blue spruces next to Capitol

(Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)

Like sentries silently standing guard for decades, they’ve flanked the north stairs leading up to the Legislative Building, mostly unnoticed by the employees and tourists walking past them.

But the two blue spruces on the north side of the Capitol soon will be no more, victims of last January’s ice storm that wiped out so many trees in the Puget Sound region.

The Department of Enterprise Services announced that a contractor on Saturday will remove the two trees that were damaged by the winter storm. A recent DES Campus Update provides the details:

On May 5, a contractor hired by the state will be grinding 23 tree stumps, remnants of the storm, and remove two storm-damaged Blue Spruce trees that flank the north stairs of the Legislative Building. The spruce trees were planted in 1964 in honor of Earl S. Coe, former Secretary of State (1948-1957), who died that year.

Enterprise Services’ Landscape Restoration Master Plan calls for the replacement of the spruce trees with White fir (Abies Concolor), which will grow to a similar size and shape, and an understory planting of dogwood trees. The firs will be planted in the next two weeks.

Our State Archives staff found this old photo (above) from 1964 showing Governor Rosellini planting the blue spruce outside the Office of Secretary of State near the building’s northwest corner. A very recent photo (below) shows the weather-beaten blue spruce outside the Governor’s Office near the northeast corner.

Vote for your fave “Archives treasure” ?>

Vote for your fave “Archives treasure”

Nowadays, we have opinion polls on everything from presidential candidates to Lady Gaga’s wild attire. Not wanting to miss the poll train, we’re offering you a chance to sound off on some of our State Archives’ many interesting documents, collections, photos and other historical nuggets.

Starting this month, we’re featuring various “Archives treasures.” Over the past week, we’ve showcased three of these treasures for viewing. The first “contestant” is the state boxing license applications submitted by heavyweight legends Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The second is one of the photos showing the construction of the Legislative Building. And the third is the territorial seal created in the 1850s.

Now it’s up to you. Please vote for your Archives treasure below. We’ll leave our poll open until 3 p.m. this Friday and then we’ll announce the winner later that afternoon, assuming we don’t have another power outage like last week!

#1 Boxing legends’ license applications#2 Legislative Building construction photos  #3 Territorial seal

What is your favorite Archives treasure?

  • Territorial seal (38%)
  • Boxing legends’ license applications (33%)
  • Legislative Building construction photos (29%)

Total Voters: 91

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Olympia celebrates Capitol Group design centennial ?>

Olympia celebrates Capitol Group design centennial

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!