Most Olympians don’t know the name Butler Cove. If they know the area at all, it’s usually as “that spot over by golf course” or “that neat little neighborhood off Cooper Point Road.”
Butler Cove, however, has quite a bit of history packed into its small space. It’s a beautiful place that emanates calm, contemplative energy.
In 1854 it was the site of the murder of a Queen Charlotte Islands Indian and the probably revenge-murder of Colonel Ebey that resulted. For a time it was also an important center of commerce. In the 1870s it was the site of a long wharf constructed on the properties of the French and Brown families. The road leading to Butler Cove, by the way, is French Road.
Well, that wharf got people going to Butler Cove (then called Butler's Cove), and those people quickly decided that it was a great spot for some picnicking and clambaking (clambakes were apparently a very big thing in early Olympia). That made Butler Cove, for a time, one of the favorite recreation spots in Olympia.
Not Top Dog Anymore
According to the Olympia Historical Society, the spot fell out of favor after automobiles became readily available and the steam ships became less popular. After that, it became a neighborhood, as it remains today.
Recently I found an interesting news article related to that transformation from recreational spot to residential.
The article announces that the Butler Cove Land Company will be selling properties at Butler Cove for $125 each, which could optionally be paid with just $10 down and then $5 a month until paid in full. $125 would be about $3,700 in 2021 dollars.
The sales were to be done in rooms 13 and 14 at "Woodruff Block," which I assume to be the Labor Temple where the Brotherhood now is.
For me, it’s kind of surreal finding this. 1893, in my mind, is ancient history. For whatever reason, I never imagine it having newspapers. I especially never would have guessed that the papers would have survived to be digitally today.
So, there’s your Historical Northwest News Nugget for you.
Happy nomaddig, friends.