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Bigelow House Museum

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  Listing last updated on 19 May 2013.
918 Glass Ave NE
Olympia, Washington 98506
United States
USDA Zone: 8b
The Bigelow House Museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the early history of Olympia and Washington Territory. It is the oldest residence in Olympia, Washington, and one of the earliest still standing in the Pacific Northwest.

Pioneer lawyer and Territorial Legislator Daniel R. Bigelow and his schoolteacher wife Ann Elizabeth White built Bigelow House in the 1850s. The Bigelows were pivotal figures in early Washington history and the struggle for women’s rights and public education.

The house is a rare surviving example of the Carpenter Gothic style architecture popular in rural America during the mid-1800s and is still surrounded by more than an acre of the family’s original land claim. The home displays original documents, artifacts, and furnishings representing 150 years of the family’s participation in important causes on the community, state and national levels.

The Bigelows planted roses, and the garden still holds a number of roses dating from the turn of the 20th Century. We believe that it is the oldest intact rose collection in Olympia; these are the original roses planted by the Bigelows, not replantings of historic cultivars. Many of these roses have not been identified but a few have been named. All are repeat bloomers and appear to primarily be teas, chinas, and early hybrid teas.

Members of the Olympia Rose Society prune, weed, fertilize, and deadhead the roses in spring and summer. The super-warm microclimate, in a south facing garden just a block uphill from Puget Sound, eliminates any need for winterizing. Deer, however, are a major pest.
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