An Olympia Original…

Rebecca Howard

Rebecca G. Howard, a face some recognize as a symbol of Olympia. This prominent black businesswoman was born a slave in 1829, married in 1843, and moved to Olympia in 1859. Along with her husband, she opened the Pacific Restaurant in 1860, providing quality food to travelers. By 1862, The Pacific Hotel and Restaurant provided lodgings to travelers with Ms. Howard as the proprietress. This good humored, sharp witted, generous woman earned respect in Olympia. Retiring from 1867-1870, she continued to build her wealth until reopening the Pacific Hotel and Restaurant. In 1870, the Washington Territory listed 221 tax payers on the Census. Aside from Rebecca Howard, with $50,000 in property, all were white men. Ms. Howard attended the St. John’s Episcopal Church, reflecting how the Olympia community perceived her generosity. Most importantly, Rebecca Howard supported an orphaned daughter of her former owner and she and her husband adopted an abused child, Frank A. Howard, who later inherited his family fortune. After her death in 1881 and her husbands in 1890, their property worth was in excess of $100,000. Rebecca Howard worked diligently towards her goals and established herself in the Olympia community as a respected figure.