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Free history lecture series begins July 23 on the Capitol Campus


Learn about local history and its connection to state and national events during a series of upcoming lunch and learn lectures on the Capitol Campus. 

The events, which are sponsored by the Capitol Visitor Services Volunteer Program, will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Columbia Room of the Legislative (Capitol) Building. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring their lunch for the events. 

Here are the dates and topics: 

July 23: “Women in Washington State Government,” presented by educator and tour guide Norma Gorham. 

Learn the captivating stories of the women who broke down barriers and forever reshaped the history of Washington state government. From the non-conventional and colorful administration of Washington’s first woman governor, Dixy Lee Ray, to the election of suffragist Nena Croake to the House of Representatives, the women of Washington state government left their historical mark in ways that continue to impact us today. 

Former Gov. Dixy Lee Ray

(Photo of Dixy Lee Ray is courtesy of Washington State Archives.)

Aug. 6: “Art in the Legislative Building” by Terry Lombardo, retired local high school English, drama and mythology teacher, and volunteer Capitol tour guide.

Learn about the compelling history of artwork in Washington State’s Legislative Building. Since the building’s completion in 1928, artwork of various types had been envisioned for its interior.

How closely did this vision match those of the original architects? What were some of the controversies surrounding specific pieces of artwork and who were the major players that proposed, selected, rejected and installed the artwork?

Join us for a fascinating look into this little known chapter of the Capitol Building’s history.

Carved bronze doors on the Legislative Building with a school, farmers, a tall ship and other Northwest scenes.

Aug. 29: “A Tumwater Treasure Hunt,” presented by Don Trosper, Public History Manager for the Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s local history program. 

This talk will cover many topics such as early Tumwater business and political leaders, famous visitors to Tumwater, early fish ladder construction on the Deschutes, some Schmidt family memories, the building of the Carlyon (Totem Pole) bridge, and unique stories regarding a local saloon keeper getting into a fight with the streetcar conductor and the one-legged scam artist whose scheme was thwarted by Frank Kenney of the Olympia Brewery.

An ox pulling a wagon with two men in Tumwater.     

Don will present a collection of historical treasures he has discovered while pursuing his interest in local history. The lecture will include pictures and newspaper articles from Tumwater’s past, and the stories that accompany them.

A historic photo of a trolley and people on bicycles in Tumwater.

(Tumwater photos are courtesy of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation.) 

For more information on the lecture series, call Capitol Visitor Services at (360) 902-8880. 

View a complete list of upcoming permitted campus events.