The Capitol grounds in Olympia are truly marvelous. In a book funded by the Capitol Furnishings Preservation Committee Cathleen Norman takes us on a brief journey on the history of the beautiful Washington State Capitol. Like other books about state capitols this one provides a great balance of history, lore, and historic photographs of the massive buildings as they were being constructed.
EXPLORING WASHINGTON’S MAJESTIC STATE CAPITOL
By Cathleen M. Norman
64 pp. Washington State Capitol Furnishings Preserva $12
Olympia was the territorial capitol of Washington from the beginning. Like many other early capital cities, the legislature met in various local establishments while waiting for a proper capital to be built. Prior to the construction of the current majestic Capitol overlooking Capitol Lake, the old capitol building (which still stands) served as the house of legislature for decades.
In addition to detailing the construction of the main building, the book provides some insights into some of the surrounding buildings, landscapes, and sculptures. Of course there is also quite a bit of discussion regarding the furniture itself which makes sense given the sponsors of the book.
One thing that is unsurprisingly missing from this recollection is a discussion on the state of the miserable trees held up by steel beams in the front of the capitol grounds.
Massive renovation, seismic retrofitting, and modernization projects have been conducted over the years. The climate in Olympia can’t be good for the stone that the building is made out of. As you can see in the cover image of this post the weather has not been good to the exterior of the building. I suspect that like Trenton and Frankfort the next time I see this building it will be surrounded by scaffolding in yet another round of renovations.