OLYMPIA, Wash. -- History is alive and well in Olympia at the historic Bigelow House. It’s the oldest in Olympia and tells the story of Daniel and Elizabeth Bigelow, early pioneers who settled in Washington state.
Generations of the Bigelow family live here and now, history lives on as the home was turned into a museum, open to the public. Shanna Stevenson is a historian and board member with the Olympia Historical Society. She gave Q13 an exclusive one-on-one tour.
“It’s a really unique place,” Stevenson told Q13. “The architecture is unique, the interior decor is beautiful, and all these artifacts are important to understanding Washington and Olympia history.”
Daniel Bigelow was a lawyer and legislator and his wife, Elizabeth, a schoolteacher. Both were heavily involved in the community and issues like women’s suffrage, equal rights, and education.
The house even lays claim to a famous visitor, women’s rights pioneer Susan B. Anthony, who was in Washington to address the Legislature. The house has a chair that family says she used during her stay at the home. Anthony also wrote in her diary about meeting the Bigelow family for dinner.
The entire home is packed with original artifacts, like a time capsule showing us a glimpse of a much different world, including Daniel Bigelow’s spectacles, his diary, original furniture and even a Steinway piano that still plays.
“I think there are wonderful stories here,” Stevenson said. “We talk about women’s rights and equal rights and education, and people who came here who wanted to establish a community that was equal and to build Olympia. We used to call it history in a house, and that’s what a lot of people really enjoy about it.”
If you would like to arrange your own tour of the Bigelow house, visit Olympiahistory.org.