This is Margaret. Ten years ago, Margaret was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic neurological disorder. When she’s not at work, Margaret is at home, quite often napping. She cooks and gardens but doesn’t have energy for much else. Margaret is currently experiencing what is called a fibro flare. These are caused by triggers such as weather changes, allergies, over-stimulation, not sleeping well, travel, socializing, over-extending herself, eating certain foods. The list is lengthy. Being in a flare means her memories and thoughts are fuzzier than usual. Her pain is at higher levels. She needs more sleep, quiet and calm. Fibro flares can last anywhere from hours to months. Fortunately, Margaret also has some good days.
project 3/take 1
MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE
Then & Now
Beginning in 1945, there was a period of extraordinary economic growth in America, which produced an appetite for progressive design. This included sculptural biomorphic shapes, simple lines, geometric patterning and atomic starbursts. At the time, it was referred to as contemporary. In the late 1990s, with our affinity for earlier times, we began to refer to it as mid-century modern. The following images are of mid-century modern architecture in Olympia, Washington, as it was and as it is now.
Capitol Lake Restrooms : Intersection of Water St & Legion Way : Architect, George Ekvall : 1963
This was originally a bath house and restroom on the shores of Capitol Lake which was, at that time, a popular swimming spot. The building was a focus of a police campaign against gay men in the 1970s and early ‘80s, culminating in the arrest of a state legislator, director of a social service organization, and the president of Olympia Brewing Company.
While the bath house has been closed for some time, the public restrooms are still open.
Capitol Savings & Loan :
222 5th Ave E
: Architect, Sibold & Nesland : 1963
The business was founded in 1906 and had several downtown locations before this building was erected. It is described as being one of the most intact post World War II buildings in Olympia. Making a bold modern statement, the building is a floating glass box framed by metal and brick.
Today, the building still houses Olympia Federal Savings & Loan.
Door carved by Walter Graham
Golden Gavel Motor Motel
: 909 Capitol Way S
: Architect, Dawley Brothers : 1958
At the time of its construction, Capitol Way was still part of the main west coast highway, US Route 99. Motels, hotels, restaurants, and other automotive businesses lined the street, which was often congested. The Golden Gavel is a classic 1950s-era motor hotel design, the only one remaining near downtown.
Today, the Golden Gavel is an apartment building.
KGY Radio Station : 1240 Washington St NE :
Architect, Robert Wohleb : 1960
KGY became a radio station in Olympia in 1922.Original broadcasts were from a log cabin shack on the campus of St. Martin’s College. In 1960, KGY moved to their present site on the southern point of Budd Inlet.
KGY continues to broadcast on 95.3 FM.
Capital Savings & Loan
: 222 5th Ave E
: Architect, Sibold & Nesland :
Inspired by the futuristic pavilions at the 1962 World's Fair Century 21 Exposition in Seattle, Capital Savings & Loan brought a unique architectural style to downtown Olympia. The rear of the building, which forms a half-circle, is delineated by a projecting second floor supported by graceful arches. Upon entry into the bank, patrons were originally welcomed by a small bridge which was flanked by pools of water.
The building now houses a dance bar.
Capitol Center Apartments :
1517 Capitol Way S :
Architect, Fred Rogers : 1949
The Capitol Center Apartments brought a new modern form of architecture to the growing city of Olympia immediately after World War II. The poured concrete building used steel framing that allowed for a banding of uninterrupted windows that wrap around the front and sides of the U-shaped building.
The building is now known as Capitol Terrace Apartment Homes.
: 1015 W 4th Ave :
Architect, G. Stacey Bennett : 1966
The Medical Arts Building was commissioned in 1962 by doctors E.V. Olson and William Bigelow. The building was adjacent to St. Peter’s Hospital and housed a variety of medical practitioners, including a pharmacy. The doctors hired the local architect to produce a modern, yet practical building whose beauty and utility continue remarkably intact over fifty years later.
The building now houses various medical practitioners, as well as a hair salon.
Metropolitan Life Insurance : 1006 4th Ave NE : Architect, Kenneth Ripley : 1958
Obscured today by a metal parapet wall, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company building originally had a distinct low profile design which highlighted large full-width beams holding up the flat roof. The building served as home to Metropolitan Life Insurance Company until the late 1970s.
It is now home to Crain’s Office Supply.
Pritchard Library : 415 15th Ave SW
: Architect, Paul Thiry : 1959
The Joel Pritchard building was the first and only structure erected specifically to house the Washington State Library collection. It was constructed with a design by noted architect Paul Thiry, who also designed the buildings at the Century 21 Seattle World’s Fair held in 1962. Thiry received a national award of excellence from the American Institute of Architects for the building in 1963. The building was renamed in the late 1970s to honor legislator and civil rights leader Joel Pritchard.
The building’s status is precarious. Although it was added to the State Heritage Register in 2015, its future is uncertain. In 2001, following the earthquake, the building sustained major damage, and it was decided to move the collection to a leased building in Tumwater. Currently the building houses a few legislative offices. The organization Docomomo, dedicated to preserving important mid-Century buildings, lists this building as endangered, due to possible plans that would hide or destroy some of the buildings original features.
Mosaic by James FitzGerald
*ADDENDUM: When encouraged to do more with my photography to shed a light on these old buildings, I moved forward, attempting to photograph them at night in order to show a different way of seeing them. I failed because, as I finally realized, my heart wasn't in it. I had chosen this subject because it was readily available, unlike people with whom it is necessary to work out scheduling and, often, much more. But I'm not an architectural photographer. I am a people photographer. I love people. I love to photograph people. So, in the end, I went back to a subject who has my heart completely and with whom I already have a wonderful working relationship: My partner Margaret Culbertson. I re-visited the earlier theme of intimacy and shot more photographs of Margaret, highlighting the daily challenges of living with a chronic disease, in this case Fibromyalgia.
project 3 redux
Ten years ago, Margaret was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic neurological disorder. She had, for most of her life, been a vibrant, active, social being. Now, when she’s not at work, Margaret is at home, quite often sleeping. Margaret is currently experiencing what is called a fibro flare. These are caused by triggers such as weather changes, allergies, over-stimulation, not sleeping well, travel, socializing, over-extending herself, eating certain foods. The list is lengthy. Being in a flare also means her memories and thoughts are fuzzier than usual, her pain is at higher levels, and she needs more sleep, quiet and calm. Flares can last anywhere from hours to months.
It is necessary for Margaret to manage her illness every day, flare or not. Ways in which she does this is to make and eat gluten-free foods, relax in a hot bath of Epsom salts, meditate, stretch, gently exercise, read up on ways to keep symptoms at bay, take her medications and always get a good night’s sleep.
Medications, both allopathic and naturopathic
Just some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia; the blue marks are ones Margaret has experienced
Rest is essential. Sleep disturbances are among the most common symptoms.
Making gluten-free flour. When gluten is consumed by those who are sensitive, the immune system responds by attacking the small intestine. This affects the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients.
Today, my mind feels swampy, murky. It’s thick, like Jello. There are so many limitations; it makes my life boring.
Massaging her legs with CBD (hemp) oil, which Margaret makes herself
Gentle stretches and exercises can temporarily ease pain caused by Fibromyalgia
Getting out and working in the garden always raises Margaret's spirits
The silver lining is that having this condition forced me to slow down, allowing me to appreciate the intense beauty of the world around me.
There are good days - and good times within bad days
Thank you, Margaret, my love.
I want to thank my Documentary Photography faculty, Steve Davis, and my classmates for their encouragement and honest critique. It was a pleasure sharing this experience with you.