Historic Preservation

NEW!  Architectural Survey of Olympia's Mid-Century Homes

Starting in October 2014, Olympia will see its first major survey of historic homes in decades. The goal of the research is to identify buildings of historical significance to the community. This survey will focus on houses built between 1945 and 1965 in four neighborhoods:


  • Southwest Neighborhood's northwest corner
  • Carlyon/North Neighborhood's west end
  • Cain Road Neighborhood's Forest Hills area
  • Bigelow Highlands and Upper Eastside Neighborhoods on both sides of Fir Street

Click here for a map of the area that are identified to be surveyed: Survey of Olympia's Mid-Century Homes

To learn more, come to a project kick-off meeting on Thursday, October 9, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at Lee Creighton Justice Center (former City Hall), 900 Plum Street SE.

The Heritage Commission periodically initiates professional surveys of Olympia's properties that are 50 years old or older to gather information on our community's historic places. Over 2,500 buildings have turned 50 since the last survey was completed in the 1990s. This new survey will focus on 400 houses built between 1945 and 1965. This information will help Heritage Commissioners and the City's Historic Preservation Officer work with members of the public who live in these properties and want to add their homes to the Heritage Register or form a historic district.

This survey is funded in large part by a grant from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

Our consultants will visit each of the four neighborhoods and photograph the exterior of the homes built between 1945 and 1965. All work will be conducted from public sidewalks and streets; the consultants will not enter private property unless invited by the resident. Fieldwork for the project will begin October 6th. In addition, project staff will meet with interested community members and do research in archives to learn more about the development of these neighborhoods. We anticipate that the research will be completed this fall.

Come learn more about the project from Olympia Heritage Commissioners, the City's Historic Preservation Officer, and project consultants - Peter Meijer Architect - at a community meeting being held:

  • October 9, 2014
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Lee Creighton Justice Center (former City Hall), 900 Plum Street SE

Members of the four neighborhoods to be surveyed are encouraged to bring photos and stories about their homes and their community to help build a picture of these historic places.

Historic OlympiaMallory House, Then and Now

Olympia's history is all around you! Our historic downtown storefronts, neighborhoods that have been home to familes for over 100 years, and shorelines long used by Coastal Salish tribes all tell the stories of the people and events that shaped our City.

View a complete listing of Olympia's Historic Properties

Step back in time! Use the guides below to take a walking tour of one of Olympia's great historic neighborhoods and time periods.

Printed Walking Tour Guides are available at Olympia City Hall (2nd Floor), 601 4th Avenue E or Request a mailed copy: Heritage Commission, 360.753.8314, cpdinfo@ci.olympia.wa.us  Guides are also available at the Visitor and Convention Bureau, 203 Sid Snyder Ave SW.

Historic Property Owners

Rehabilitating a local historic homeMaking Improvements

If you own a building on the national, state or local Heritage Register, or live within a historic district you are required to meet with the Olympia Heritage Commission or the City Preservation Officer before obtaining a building permit for alterations to the exterior of the property.

Download the Alteration Review Application

At the meeting, Committee members will discuss the proposed project in an effort to protect the integrity of the property while attempting to respond to the applicant's needs. Committee members then make a recommendation to the building official for approval or denial of the building permit.

As part of the review, staff and committee members will take a visual survey of the property, or in some cases make a formal visit. Please be aware that proposed demolition of historic properties may require a more extensive review.

In reviewing projects, the Committee considers the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and various City Codes governing preservation, primarily 18.12.090 - Heritage Register - Alteration and Construction and Design Guidelines.

For information please contact the historic preservation officer at 360.753.8031 or by email at msadlier@ci.olympia.wa.us

Not sure if you own a historic property? Start by Researching the History of your Home. You may also Learn About and Apply For inclusion in the historic registry.

Tax Incentive for Historic Rehabilitation

Did you know? There is a Local Tax Incentive Program designed to encourage the preservation of historic resources. You can save on property taxes for 10 years! Learn more...


Contact Michelle Sadlier, 360.753.8031 or msadlier@ci.olympia.wa.us