A personal history of a Fourth Avenue building

TumwaterSeptember 8, 2013 

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.

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service