Olympia honors 7 with Heritage Awards


At Tuesday's Olympia City Council meeting, the Heritage Commission honored seven individuals, places, and local organizations that have contributed to the community's heritage.

Recipients of this year's awards were presented with bricks dug from the streets of downtown Olympia, which were previously paved with bricks. The bricks have been engraved with the city seal and the name of the honoree.


In a meeting held Wednesday, April 26, 2023, the Olympia Community Livability and Public Safety Committee approved the six nominations for the 2023 Heritage Award.
In a meeting held Wednesday, April 26, 2023, the Olympia Community Livability and Public Safety Committee approved the six nominations for the 2023 …

Klaumbush House Rehabilitation

Heritage Commission Holly Davis presented the first award to Klaumbush House Rehabilitation and its owner Hilary Haselton.

Davis said Haselton rehabilitated the historic house while preserving its important characteristics. Built in 1905, the house was listed in the Olympia Heritage Register.

Blacks in Thurston County

Dr. Thelma Jackson was awarded for Blacks in Thurston County, which tells the experiences of blacks during tumultuous times from 1950 to 1975. 

"Through interviewing residents in Thurston County and sharing their personal stories and experiences, brings humanity and perspective to an important piece of our shared history," Davis said.

Jackson thanked the commission for the award. " has been well received by the community. We are working to ensure we are preserving the history of Thurston County and the experiences of the black and contribution to that effort."

Jackson was also honored last week by the city of Lacey as the recipient of the Ken Balsley Historian of the Year Award.

KGY Radio

KGY Radio, according to Davis, is an outstanding example of mid-century architecture. She said the building owners had done an exceptional job maintaining the important piece of architecture for 63 years while retaining and preserving its historic character.

KGY's General Manager, Nick Kerry, accepted the award on behalf of his family.

James Maeda

Another recipient of the Heritage Award was James Maeda. He is a local collector of Olympia music-related history.

Davis said Maeda has an extensive collection of memorabilia, such as posters, records, images, and other material unavailable elsewhere.

Rainy Day Records

In honor of its 50th year in business, Davis said Rainy Day Records had provided a gathering place for those with a shared music interest. Since 1973, it has remained a staple for music enthusiasts in the city.

KAOS Radio

The next honoree was KAOS Radio, also founded in 1973.

Davis said the radio station has been championing local independent musicians for 50 years.

"It was integral to the punk and indie music scene of the 1980s and 90s. Residents from that time might recall broadcasting newly-formed band Nirvana and or Kurt Cobain's solo acoustic," she said.

Joe Baque

Joe Baque was not an Olympia native but became the mainstay of the stage in the city by showcasing his talent for the piano.

Baque passed away in 2022 at the age of 100.

The Olympia City Council proclaimed May 2023 as Olympia Heritage Month.
The Olympia City Council proclaimed May 2023 as Olympia Heritage Month.


The city council signed a proclamation designating May 2023 as Olympia Heritage Month to provide an opportunity to appreciate the city's rich history, highlight the positive impact of historic places, and recognize significant events, people, projects, and places that contribute to historic preservation in the community.

Olympia adopted an ordinance for Historic Preservation on May 17, 1983.

"Adopting this ordinance honored that Olympia has its important history: the recognition, enhancement, and continued use of properties with historical significance to the City of Olympia," stated the proclamation. It added that historic assets are an integral part of Olympia's heritage, education, and economic base.

Within those 40 years, Capitol Campus, Rogers Street, and Olympic Avenue Historic Districts, and over 150 individual historic properties have been listed in the Olympia Heritage Register. The South Capitol and Downtown Historic Districts and 40 individual historic properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


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