Comprised of more than 440 primary properties, the South Capitol Neighborhood Historic District was listed on the National Register of History Places in 1991.
While 23 homes pre-date the turn of the century, the majority of homes were built between 1900 and 1929, coinciding with the construction of the capitol buildings nearby. Some homes were moved from the capitol grounds into the neighborhood.
While several of Olympia’s finest homes are in the district, the vast majority of homes are modest, built and lived in by the many employees of state government. The compactness of the district, its closeness to the state capitol, and the architectural character of the homes (which represent all the important late 19th and early 20th century styles) combine to create a complete residential urban landscape from the early part of this century, including parks, churches, a school, and mature street landscaping.
The majority of the plats were established between 1889 (the year of statehood) and the turn of the century, a period of growth that followed Olympia’s selection in 1889 as the permanent capital of Washington. Even so, this part of town was considered remote until well after the turn of the century.
One of the important attributes of the neighborhood is that examples of almost all of the architectural forms of the period are represented in the district.
We are fortunate that the South Capitol Neighborhood Historic District has so beautifully retained its historic character. More than 70 percent of the properties here are classified as “contributing to the historic character of the district.” A preponderance of intact architectural examples and heavily landscaped lots along tree-shaded streets with sidewalks makes a walk in Capitol South Neighborhood as much a pleasure now as it has been for the past 100 years. No other historic Olympia neighborhood retains the same degree of architectural coherence and physical integrity.
In 1991, the entire neighborhood was designated a National Register Historic District.
To learn more about the history of the neighborhood and of Olympia itself, visit www.olympiahistory.org.