Friday, June 26, 2009

Best histories of Olympia, Part 2 (the ones you can read online)

Where the Potholes Are on scribd. This is a personal history Mary Ann Bigelow, and a great one at that. The best part about this book is that it covers in personal detail the portion between about 1920 through 1960s.

There are a lot of well written passages, this is the one that most attracted me:
How does the strangeness wear away and turn into a kind of pride?
Although Bigelow was talking about a much different Olympia, I think this is how newcomers who become long-time residents end up feeling. That Olympia is weird to them at first, but the weird things end up becoming what they're most proud of, in part, because they start to understand the weird things.

Another thing worth noting here is that within a few pages Bigelow talks about how important the train station was in Olympia, and then a few pages later, that Olympia has always needed (and still did need) a railway.

I'll take credit (or blame) for putting this one online. I know you can buy it at the Bigelow house as a fundraiser, but since it isn't in copyright, never was copyrighted and was paid for partly by the city, I felt o.k. scanning and posting it.

Plus, if you want to support the Bigelow house, please, please, please donate.

"The Life of Isaac Stevens (Part 1 and Part 2)" on Google Books. This isn't so much about Olympia, but it includes much of the most researched portions of Olympia's history, the early years around the Indian Wars.

I include it here mostly because if you try to find an original version, good luck. Either you'll pay through the nose or you just won't find one. These online editions are invaluable.

Early History of Thurston County on Google Books. I can't say I've actually read this one, butit appears to be in the same vein as "Where the Potholes Are," a regional history with personal bent.

What I can certainly say about it, is that it provided with me an extremly valuable piece of historic information, the exact location of Gov. Issac Stevens' original office, where he worked in the first year or so after arriving in Olympia.

1 comment:

Mark Derricott said...

Great post, Emmett. Thanks for the insight. I read Where the Potholes Are recently as well. It's fun and as you said, personal. A rewarding read for any fan of Olympia.

I visited the Bigelow House museum a couple of weeks ago. The tour, whose guide personally knew many Bigelow family members, was marvelous.

I must reiterate your call for donations because the house desperately needs help and Olympia desperately needs to maintain its connection to the past.