Following are excerpts from the Oct. 7, 1859, edition of the Pioneer & Democrat newspaper that served South Sound.
Higher learning: “We take pleasure in announcing to the citizens of Olympia and vicinity, that the Puget Sound Wesleyan Institute, now under supervision and instruction of Rev. B.C. Lippencott and Lady, is in a flourishing condition, and bids fair to become what its projectors and friend’s desire.”
At a recent board of trustees meeting, it was resolved to prepare the institute building to house students by the next term.
“Thus, the house which has been so long slumbering upon its foundation, will soon be reared, and another will be added to the public buildings of Olympia.”
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This building still stands, in two pieces at the southwest corner of Adams Street and Union Avenue. It originally was two blocks west on the other side of the street. Before it was moved, it was cut into two buildings, and the spire was removed. It has also been used as Union Academy and an early Thurston County Courthouse. Some think it’s the oldest public building in the state.
Border dispute: The Vancouver Island Colony Colonist complained of “another outrage” and said, “nothing short of the entire removal of every soldier from the Island (San Juan) should be insisted on.” The United States posted revenue laws in that strait and warned that property or vessels landing would be seized and confiscated if people didn’t obey the law. “A party, (British) whose name we have not learned, landed 500 gallons of liquor there. The vessel was confiscated, and the party fined $500 and a year’s imprisonment.”
Garden feat: “A lot of big pumpkins may at any time be seen in the beautiful garden of Mr. Evans” (probably Elwood Evans, a prominent Olympia attorney). “They are a fine looking vegetable, and will probably weigh 125 pounds each, and still growing.”
South Sound historian Roger Easton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This marks the 37th 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.