Sunday, June 12, 2022

Exploring the Capitol (Olympia, Washington)

Washington State (from netstate)
Olympia and Capitol Lake (Hasselblad XPan camera, 45mm lens, Fuji Reala film)

Olympia is the capitol of Washington State. The city is nicely situated at the south end of Puget Sound about one hour southwest of Seattle (or 2 or more hours during rush hours - which last much of the day). Olympia is a nice little city with a population of about 55,000, but that increases to around 270,000 if you include nearby Lacy and Tumwater. Olympia was only incorporated as a town in 1859, making it a relatively new city (compared to where I have lived in the past). 

4th Avenue, view east

The downtown is reasonably well-preserved and active. But it did not strike me as especially dynamic despite being the state capitol. It definitely has a less frenetic pace than Seattle or Tacoma. In the business district, most buildings appear to have tenants, and I saw bars, restaurants, banks, coffee shops, and theaters. Some of the downtown has the look of Old American City, a place that may have enjoyed a more golden era decades ago. 

Railroad bridge over Capitol Lake (35mm ƒ/2 Summicron lens) 

The rail network through the city is a bit complicated. This bridge crosses Capitol Lake (see the aerial panorama above).

7th Avenue Tunnel from Columbia St. SW (50mm Summicron, ƒ/4.0½)

After the rail line crosses Capitol Lake, it turns north and then turns east through the 7th Avenue Tunnel. I met a homeless man emerging from the dark and he said people regularly walk through it (hmmm, not me). A few years ago, a homeless fellow was struck by a train and lost an arm.

7th Avenue Tunnel from Jefferson Street (90mm ƒ/4 Elmar lens, 1/125 ƒ/4.0½)
7th Avenue (50mm Summicron lens)

 It took some looking around to find urban decay topics, but I found some.


When I asked the homeless fellow where the railroad tunnel emerged, he said near the black house. I did not know what he was talking about until I saw this old house coated with black paint. 

Jefferson Street view north (90mm ƒ/4 Elmar lens, 1/125 ƒ/5.6)

The tracks run down Jefferson Street to the Port of Olympia. I thought they were unused until one evening, I heard the familiar clanging and horn of a locomotive. 

Lumber pier, Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (90mm Elmar, 1/250 ƒ/8.0)

The Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is northeast of downtown. The pier once served Weyerhaeuser Timber Company's rail cars bringing lumber from the south. Formerly known as the South Bay Log Dump, cranes loaded timber onto barges, which then took the wood to mills in Everett. Today, the pier supports colonies of yuma myotis and little brown myotis bats. They forage as far as Capitol Lake and eat tons of insects every night. 

No coffee today, 3525 Shinckle Road

This ends our short tour of Olympia. Type "Olympia" in the search box to see older articles.

The black and white photographs are from Fuji Acros film exposed at EI=80 in a Leica M2 camera. Northeast Photographic in Bath, Maine developed the film, and I scanned it with a Plustek 7600i film scanner. The aerial panorama is from 2004, when I spent a few months in Seattle on a work project at Willapa Bay. A friend flew me over Olympia and to the coast.

1 comment:

Suzassippi said...

You mentioned grit a time or two before--you really captured the "grittiness" of this city.