Monument, first brewery made news

The following are excerpts from the Sept. 23, 1859, edition of the Pioneer & Democrat newspaper:

The greater portion of the roof which covered the Washington Monument has been removed in order that the rigging may be placed in suitable order for the resumption of the work. Everything around the monument wears the signs of decay. The stones sent by the various states as contributions still remain open to the public, but in the erection of the monument they will contribute but little.”

Editor’s note: It seems odd that although the designing of the Monument began in 1832, and the foundation was begun in 1848, the writer could find no reference to why in 1859, only 11 years later, the structure was decaying. Nor could any contribution toward it be found given by Washington Territory.

“The van of the overland emigration for 1859, is now pouring in upon us. Mr. H.D. Morgan, formerly of this place, reached here with his family on Friday evening last, all in the enjoyment of perfect health, but looking a little worse for wear, as is usual with persons who have just concluded a six months journey, and traveled nearly 3,000 miles.

“The youngest son of Mr. Isaac Wood of this county, was most seriously injured by the premature explosion of a shotgun, on Monday last, whilst engaged in pigeon shooting. The shot passed into the wrist and came out at the elbow, making a ghastly looking wound. Boys should be careful in the use of firearms. They are dangerous instruments in the hands of even the most cautious.”

Isaac Wood opened Olympia’s first brewery in a small plant on Columbia Street, producing a cream lager that many of the locals considered the best they’d ever sipped. However, when the city and territory enacted taxes and keeping of records, he said “the hell with it” and went back to farming.

“The late rains must have resulted in immense injury to crops in this, as well as some of the adjoining counties. The rain of week before last had already caused much grain to sprout, and that of the present week we fear will wind up the farming operations of many a farmer the present year.”

Roger Easton is a South Sound historian and can be reached at rogereaston@comcast.net.

Sesquicentennial celebration

This marks the 35th weekly 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.