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Suffragist spirit: Governor’s Mansion Tours in January to include history lesson

Olympia

This January, a new twist will be added to the popular Governor Mansion’s tours: Visitors will have an opportunity to meet the famous suffragist May Arkwright Hutton. Or at least someone portraying her.

Hutton, who was from Spokane, spoke at the Governor’s Mansion housewarming party in January 1909 as the debate around women’s suffrage swirled. The mansion had been completed just the year prior.

Tour-goers will meet Hutton at the end of their tour of the ballroom, where they will hear her story during special “Suffragist Trail Tours” on Jan. 2 and Jan. 9. Tours will be held at 1 p.m., 1:20 p.m., 1:40 p.m. and 2 p.m. All visitors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Virginia McCarthy, a spokesperson for the nonprofit Governor’s Mansion Foundation, said the tours fit with the foundation’s goals. “Part of the mission statement of the foundation is to tell the history. This (May Arkwright Hutton) is our state’s history,” she told The Olympian.

Shanna Stevenson, a local historian who now serves as secretary for the Governor’s Mansion Foundation, will portray Hutton.

The 1908 Mansion, which is Georgian-style, is the oldest building on Olympia’s Capitol Campus and is situated on the bluff overlooking Capitol Lake, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

Reservations for the tours must be made at least 24 hours in advance, and can be done so online at the state Department of Enterprise Services website. For more information, call 360-902-8880.

Logan Stanley: 360-754-5433, @LSscribe
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