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Olympia in the 1970s Through Fascinating Photos

Olympia had become one of the country’s fastest-growing areas by the end of the 1970s. The city’s growth can largely be attributed to shopping malls, agriculture, and the oyster industry.

Evergreen State College debuted in April 1972 on 1,000 acres in Cooper Point with original architecture and innovative teaching strategies. While Olympia was one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States in 1977, much of the development was suburban. This was due to shopping malls taking away commerce that was once concentrated Downtown. Olympia and Tumwater grew into one metropolitan area despite their political differences. In the 1990s, Downtown was revitalized with a historic preservation program that identified significant properties and provided incentives for rehabilitating old properties. The Thurston County Courthouse, Old Olympia Firehouse, and Olympia City Hall have been renovated and are in use.

Below are some stunning photos that will take you back to the 1970s Olympia.

#1 O’Brien Building, 1970s

O'Brien Building, 1970s

The building was finished in 1940 and designed by Joseph Wohleb.

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#2 Percival Mansion, Olympia, 1905

Percival Mansion, Olympia, 1905

Includes Governor Mead on the porch, with family members Rollie, Wendell and William Damon Mead on lawn. A dog is also visible.

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#3 Research room at the Washington State Archives, 1979

Research room at the Washington State Archives, 1979

State Archivist Sid McAlpin is seated at left, and Deputy State Archivist David Owens is seated at right.

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#4 Bayview Thriftway, Olympia, 1972

Bayview Thriftway, Olympia, 1972

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#5 Christmas Island, Olympia, 1970s

Christmas Island, Olympia, 1970s

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#6 Transportation Building at 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, Olympia, 1973

Transportation Building at 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, Olympia, 1973

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#7 Abortion rights activists boarding chartered bus in University District to attend a rally in Olympia, 1970

Abortion rights activists boarding chartered bus in University District to attend a rally in Olympia, 1970

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#8 Clock tower and Library Building at Evergreen State College, Olympia, 1972

Clock tower and Library Building at Evergreen State College, Olympia, 1972

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#9 Demonstrators holding signs at abortion rights rally in Olympia, 1970

Demonstrators holding signs at abortion rights rally in Olympia, 1970

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#10 Dr. A. Frans Koome speaking in the Washington State Capitol rotunda during abortion rights rally in Olympia, 1970

Dr. A. Frans Koome speaking in the Washington State Capitol rotunda during abortion rights rally in Olympia, 1970

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#11 Drift nets in Nisqually River offshore of Frank’s Landing, Olympia, 1970

Drift nets in Nisqually River offshore of Frank's Landing, Olympia, 1970

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#12 Evergreen State College campus, Olympia, 1972

Evergreen State College campus, Olympia, 1972

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#13 Evergreen State College Library exterior detail, Olympia, Washington, 1975

Evergreen State College Library exterior detail, Olympia, Washington, 1975

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#14 Northern Pacific Burlington Northern railroad station, Olympia, 1973

Northern Pacific Burlington Northern railroad station, Olympia, 1973

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#15 Railroad station, East Olympia, 1974

Railroad station, East Olympia, 1974

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#16 Fair Day, May 18, 1975

Fair Day, May 18, 1975

An outdoor art display table at the State Capital Museum, Olympia, WA, Thurston County on Fair Day, an event held at the museum in 1975. The display is set up on portable folding display stands. In front of it is a table. A woman dressed in white parka and white slacks sits at the table. The back entrance to the museum is in the background, as is a large cedar tree.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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