New homeowners happy to be part of tour of historic homes

Two weeks ago, the Crawford family moved into their dream house.

Sunday, they’ll open it up to the public as part of the Olympia Historical Society’s annual Holiday Tour of Historic Homes, a fundraiser for the society and the Bigelow House Museum.

“I am so blessed, and that means there’s a responsibility to share,” Monica Crawford said Monday.

The 2  1/2-story Meyer House, on East Bay Drive, has an expansive view of Budd Inlet, the Olympics and the state Capitol. Its columned façade, of concrete blocks made to resemble stone, is something to see as well.

The house is one of nine properties on the tour and one of five listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It’s a special experience for tour-goers to see such important historic resources,” said Shanna Stevenson of the historical society.

The Meyer house, a craftsman built in the early 20th century, has served as a sanatorium, a boarding house and a bed-and-breakfast. Monica and D.J. Crawford also plan to rent rooms and rent the property for events, as well as living there. Monica, a life coach, also plans to offer leadership retreats there.

“When I walked into this house, I thought, ‘It’s for everybody,’ ” Monica said. “It’s a great place for gathering and family.”

There’s certainly plenty of room. The house has six bedrooms and five baths, and thanks to its history, there are sinks in most of the bedrooms. One has a claw-foot tub under the windows.

The Crawfords, who previously lived in Summit Lake, had been looking for a new home for two years, and when they found this one, it seemed to be destiny.

It had everything they wanted: a three-bay garage for D.J. and a water feature — a small waterfall trickling down rocks in the backyard — and a water view for Monica.

It also has hardwood floors throughout, beautiful woodwork, an artesian well, a huge porch, and balconies on the second and third floor. There’s a tunnel that leads from the basement to East Bay Drive.

Despite all of that, the Crawfords hesitated at first because the house was just too big for the couple and daughter Paris, 16 and a junior at Capital High School. Son Jake is a freshman at San Diego State University.

“I was like, ‘There’s no way I want to take this on,’ ” Monica said. “I originally wanted to downsize. I woke up the next morning thinking, ‘It’s what we make this house into.’

“Community and connection are so important right now. If I can have that in my home and bring people together, what a gift for everybody.”

“With a historical house, you take care of it for a while,” D.J. said. “You just occupy it. You keep it nice for the next person.”

That’s how they wound up agreeing — before they’d even moved in — to open their new home for the tour. Monday, there were still some unpacked boxes sitting around along with holiday decorations.

“A great opportunity fell in our lap,” Monica said. “I just feel like it’s meant to be.”

Holiday Tour of Historic Homes

What: The annual tour showcases historically significant properties and raises money for the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

When: Noon-4 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Bigelow House, 918 Glass Ave. NE, Olympia; Woman’s Club of Olympia, 1002 S. Washington St. SE, Olympia; and seven other historically significant properties.

Tickets: $20. Available Sunday at Bigelow House and the Woman’s Club. In advance at olympiahistory.org; Drees, 524 Washington St. SE, Olympia; Olympia Federal Savings, 421 Capitol Way S., Olympia, and 4310 Sixth Ave. SE, Lacey; and Thompson Furniture, 5407 Capitol Blvd., Tumwater.

Also on the tour: See a list of the featured homes at olympiahistory.org/2016-holiday-tour-of-homes.

Information: olympiahistory.org.