AKA: Olympia Carnegie Library, Olympia, WA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Blackwell and Baker, Architects (firm); Wohleb, Joseph, Architect (firm); Frank Lidstone Baker (architect); James Eustace Blackwell (architect); Joseph Henry Wohleb (architect)

Dates: constructed 1914

3 stories, total floor area: 9,815 sq. ft.

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620 Franklin Street SE
Olympia, WA 98501-1359

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Associated architects Blackwell and Baker of Seattle and Joseph Wohleb of Olympia produced an unusual design for Olympia's community Carnegie Library. Unlike most small Carnegie libraries of the 1910s, which were rectangular blocks elevated on high foundations with entry gained in the center of the long dimension, the Olympia building had an L-shaped plan set on high foundations. Visitors entered the building through a central projecting section placed at the junction of the perpindicular wings. The main entry projected from this central section. Library users climbed a short but grand stairway, and entered the library through a trabeated entryway sited diagonally to both wings. Doric columns supported the entryway's stone entablature bearing the words "Public Library." The upper portion of the exterior was covered in buff brick with slightly variegated tones, while the tall foundations were clad in dark brown brick. A flat roof covered the library.

Building History

Olympia architect Joseph H. Wohleb (1887-1958) designed this Carnegie Corporation financed library with the Seattle architectural firm of Blackwell and Baker. (Blackwell and Baker existed only for a short time, between 1910-1914, so this Carnegie Library had to date to that time.) It is likely that Blackwell and Baker designed the building with Wohleb providing last-minute design decisions and site superintendence. Carnegie provided approximately $25,000 for its construction; this money was given with the expectation that the City of Olympia would purchase a suitable lot and provide ongoing funding for the library's staffing, collection and building maintenance.

John Senner owned the building until 04/27.2007, when he sold it to Carnegie Partners TIC; Carnegie Partners, in turn, sold it to Daniel T. and Lori J. Durr on 12/18/2012.

Building Notes

The Olympia Carnegie Library, in recent years rented out to a church, stood on a 14,400-square-foot, (0.33-acre) parcel. It contained 9.815 square feet, with 4,103 feet on its first floor, 2,040 on the second, and 3,672 on the third.

PCAD id: 18409