I read in a recent Olympian where a building on Fourth Avenue is being rebuilt after burning down. It was close to Ramblin Jacks. It saddened me when I went down to see the remains of the burned building.
That building went a long way in the history of my family. My grandfather, Hugh Jeffers, bought the original building in 1910. It was built on a fill and the neck of Puget Sound came up to the washroom’s back door. A plank driveway was built for the horse-drawn equipment to reach the building.
The water from the old-style washer was dumped in the Sound after being used. Horses delivered the washed clothes to the customers. He later put in a clothes-cleaning machine and a rug-cleaning room. The name was changed to Capitol Laundry and Cleaners. He also started a photography studio for his brother who died falling into a glacier. His nephew, Vibert Jeffers took it over.
The building had a 50-foot smokestack, which was demolished during the 1949 earthquake and was never rebuilt. In 1939, Hugh Jeffers sold the laundry to his daughter, Hazel, and son-in-law, Harland Meyer, before he retired to Hawaii to work at Hickam Field and later died in 1947.
The laundry holds many, many memories for me. I worked summers there while I was going to the original Olympia High School and also after I graduated. My dad sold the building in 1958 to Capitol Chevrolet, and the rest is history.