Following are historical records of this week in 1859, including excerpts from the Pioneer & Democrat newspaper.
Faster traveling: “Mr. James Haworth, president of the California Stage Company, is prepared to enter into contract with the government to run a daily Overland Mail between Sacramento and St. Louis for $1,000,000 per year, and would have the schedule time placed at 14 days. Mr. H. asserts that he would make the trip in 12 days oftener than 14, and would contract to run a horse express between these two points, carrying letters by weight, and make the time regularly in six days between the two cities.” The stage company had the most mail contracts with the U.S. government before 1860.
Short-lived practice: Usal Graham Warbass, a physician and surgeon, decided to call Olympia home. “At the solicitation of numerous friends and acquaintances, I have determined to locate permanently in Olympia and resume the practice of my profession in all its branches. Particular attention will be paid to all surgical operations and diseases of a private nature. Office at the Pacific House, corner of Main and Third (now Capital Way and State Street), where patients from a distance can be supplied with comfortable rooms.”
Warbass was born in New Jersey in 1822 and came to Washington in 1854, settling in Olympia late in 1858. He served as surgeon in the Indian Wars of 1855-56 and served as a representative in the Legislature and territorial treasurer. His practice here was short-lived; he died four years later.
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Stay at the Washington: Silas Galliher, the proprietor of the Washington Hotel at Main and Second streets (now Capital Way and Olympia Avenue), touted his establishment in the Pioneer & Democrat.
“The proprietor has recently erected a two-story building as a part of the Washington Hotel. It is 20 by 60 feet, which he is enabled to provide the traveling public with a larger number of capacious, comfortable and excellently ventilated apartments. The hotel contains twenty-five private rooms – six of which are large drawing rooms, or parlors. A good stable is attached to this establishment, which will be amply supplied with forage for the accommodation of animals of the traveling public.”
The Washington Hotel originally was a log building, built by Edmund Sylvester, Olympia’s founder. After the building burned, Sylvester built a two-story wood-frame building with a balcony extending around the second story. It was chosen as the site of the Territorial Ball for Gov. Isaac Stevens. The hotel was a favorite site for many of Olympia’s extravaganzas. The Pioneer & Democrat wrote, “We will not be many years behind our Portland contemporaries in having a regular built theater of our own to blow about,” using the Washington Hotel as proof.
South Sound historian Roger Easton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This marks the 45th installment in a yearlong series looking back at life in newly incorporated Olympia 150 years ago this week. The Olympian has teamed up with South Sound historian Roger Easton on this feature celebrating the city’s 150th birthday, relying on newspaper articles from the Pioneer & Democrat, town council minutes and other historical records.