In the 1950s, Olympians celebrated their 100th anniversary despite Mother Nature’s calamity. Since that time, Olympia has flourished as a radio and entertainment hub, owning a radio station, a television station, and two daily newspapers.
In 1953, the city had a population of nearly 17,000 people. In the 1950s, state government grew, and although Sylvester Park was spared a state parking garage, the capital campus moved east of Capitol Way, and several historic buildings were demolished. Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater were joined by Interstate-5, which reshaped travel and growth. And these photos show what Olympia looked like in the 1950s
Designed by local architect Joseph Wohleb, it has elements of modern Art Deco and of a classic Greek temple. Sandstone for the exterior was quarried locally at Tenino; interior corridors are lined with Alaskan marble, which matches the marble used in the halls of nearby State Capitol.
With the exception of one adult, this segment of the parade is all children. Two children are pulling a Radio Special wagon, upon which is mounted a "covered wagon" painted Olympia 1880 (sic), and Olympia or Bust. A small child is in the wagon. Behind the wagon are boys and girls in cowboy and pioneer costumes, with another similar covered wagon behind it. Following them are more children in period costumes and an adult in period costume. The adult's hat is flying off. Behind the participants are spectators.
This photograph features a float for Olympus Ice Cream. It is covered in a shiny material, with a shiny cabin mounted on it and two large ice cream cones. Two young women dressed in period costumes are on the float. Behind the float can be seen an ox team pulling a wagon. Spectators line the street. Over the street are hung banners, three with vertical stripes and a fourth reading Olympia Centennial.
The home is two stories with sashed windows on both levels and a bay window on one side. The front porch has been removed. The house is raised off the ground and workers are under the around the house preparatory to the move. In the foreground is a paved road. Wooden beams extend down the road. A man is on the roof, with a ladder extending down to the eave line. A line worker is on a utility pole cutting utility lines that would be interfering with the move. This manse was located on Franklin Street adjacent to the old First Presbyterian Church building. The new United Churches of Olympia building was erected that year.
photographic print mounted in oversized scrapbook, group of people (including men, women and children) witness the dedication of a large time capsule in celebration of the 100-year Washington Territorial Centennial, November 11, 1953. Chapin Foster speaks at the outdoor podium and Governor Arthur B. Langlie stands in the center next to the capsule. A shovel and fork lift are visible.