50+ Years Strong

Celebrating the Legacy of Thurston County's Oldest Family-Owned Real Estate Firm

Some family business history for your evening bedtime story of a young man entrepreneur:

Virgil Adams saved up $1500 to go to college after graduating Olympia High School, instead of continuing with his education he bought 40 acres with that money before joining the Navy.  After returning from the Navy Virgil logged his property making $5,000, raised some cattle for extra money, then lastly sold the land for $1600.  Thus started the love for real estate and development.

Virgil, Dad, Grandpa and all-around friend of so many in Thurston County and beyond, developed his first subdivision in 1953 at the age of 28 while working for the Olympia School Board.  Virgil worked for the Olympia school board for 15 years holding several titles.  One of his largest land acquisitions he facilitated while working on the school board was the site where Olympia High School now stands off North Street.  Virgil decided to quit this $10,200 a year job with the School Board (making the front page of the Olympian) and start his own real estate business full time.  He started Virgil Adams Real Estate in 1971 to sell lots in his new developments.

"Our Integrity is Your Security."

Virgil’s moto always was “Our Integrity is Your Security.”  Reputation meant everything to him and he wanted to surround himself with agents that held that same standard to the highest degree.  Dennis Adams, Virgil’s son, has carried on this same reputation.  Virgil and Dennis have not just hired agents over the years they have surrounded themselves with agents/brokers that they also consider family making the office an inviting work environment.

Virgil’s first subdivision was Forest Hills nestled off Eskridge Street and Cain Rd.  Everyone told him he would fail; it was so far out who would want to live out there was what he was told over and over…  The city was so excited for a development they brought all the utilities to him!  Virgil stated:

“I sold 11 lots in one day. They were even picking out lots after dark. I can tell you it was quite a thrill!”

Virgil and Dennis Adams worked closely with the county and cities within Thurston County to make neighborhoods one would have pride living in.  From parks within for residents to enjoy, to riding trails in Fox Hall, to being the only developer to sell wetlands to Thurston County so they could protect the Woodland Creek area the way they saw fit, he did it all creating a lifestyle development. 

At one point Virgil tried to warn the county to stop “peppering” the area with large lots when they were restricting him to 5 acre lots when most wanted 1 acre.  He warned them they would run out of room someday.  Look where we are now while trying to control urban sprawl.

Printed in The Olympian following Virgil's resignation
Forest Hills in Olympia, WA

Passing the Torch: 3 Generations of Family Ownership in Real Estate

In 1984 Virgil sold the business to his son Dennis, who is still the active broker.  After Virgil retired Dennis continued with sales and creating more local developments.  One of Dennis’s largest developments, that he and his father had purchased the land together, was McAllister Park/Gardens out in Lacey.  Virgil unfortunately passed away before Dennis broke ground.  Today if you visit this neighborhood you will see a memorial to Virgil in the entrance.  After Dennis completed this 325+ lot subdivision, where Mt. Rainier peers down, his final project was Burnaby Park off Cain Road. 

What’s next for Virgil Adams Real Estate?  Well sometime in the near future you will see Dennis handing the keys over to his daughter Tammy Adams who will officially be the 3rd generation.  Tammy grew up in the office along with her sister Trisha.  Many summers were spent following Virgil or Dennis around at upcoming developments, being put to work counting trees, measuring off areas, running lunch to Virgil in his bulldozers and running the family dogs.  The girls were present at Olympia Master Builders Street of Dreams events in their neighborhoods, open houses, and meeting buyers at a young age.  Tammy had been doing career reports since elementary school wanting to be in real estate someday to follow in her families footsteps.  Tammy was officially licensed as an agent in 2006 while living in California.  She returned home in 2010 to work alongside her father where her childhood dreams started to come true.

Born & Raised: Olympia

Thank you for letting us serve this wonderful community

The Best is Yet to Come

We look forward to being able to celebrate our 50th, technically 52 years, soon now that restrictions have been lifted for large gatherings.  We are honored to have been serving Thurston County and beyond for over 50 years and look forward to many more with you all.  Thank you for being a part of our story and our family!!


Three Generations

  • 1925
    Virgil Adams Child pictures

    Virgil Lee Adams was born on February 4th, 1925.

  • 1943
    Virgil Adams in the Navy 1943

    After graduating Olympia High School, Virgil Adams attended St. Martin’s University, and then joined the US Navy.

  • 1946
    Richfield 1946

    Virgil Adams first small business venture: Howell & Adams Richfield, which is now the Filling Station. Although, before Virgil went into the Navy, he sold his first car for timber property, igniting his entrepreneurial passion.

  • 1948
    Dennis Adams is born in 1948

    Dennis Lee Adams was born on July 11th, 1948.

  • 1959
    Olympia Highschool 1959

    Virgil orchestrated selling the old Olympia High School and the purchasing of the property that would become the OHS we all know and love today!

  • 1962
    Virgil Adams quits Olympia Schools Job

    Virgil quit his Olympia School District job, a high paying career at the time, to work for himself developing properties in Olympia!

  • 1962 – Virgil Completes first commercial project

    Virgil completed his first commercial project which involved the construction and leasing of the WA State Department of Employment Security building.

  • 1962 – Virgils First Development
    Forrest Hills Development in 1962

    Forrest Hills becomes Virgils first development with the help of his business partner Jim Dutton.

  • 1971

    The birth of Virgil Adams Real Estate Inc. The first office was a small office in the Evergreen Plaza Building where he met Ron Rants creating a multigenerational friendship!

  • 1976 – Remodeled Office
    Virgil Adams Real Estate gets a new office in 1976

    Purchased and remodeled the building that Virgil Adam’s Real Estate is in today!

  • 1976 – Dennis joins Virgil Adams Real Estate
    Dennis on site building houses in 1976

    After leaving his job in insurance, Dennis starts working for Virgil Adams with his dad.

  • 1978
    Tammy Adams as a girl with Virgil

    Tammy Adams was born

  • 1984
    Dennis Adams takes over Virgil Adams Real Estate in 1984

    After officially receiving his real estate license in 1981, Dennis takes over and becomes the second generation of Virgil Adams Real Estate Inc. All while Virgil starts Adams Construction and continues to build subdivisions in Thurston County.

  • 1992
    Virgil Adams Passes in 1992

    Virgil Lee Adams passed away.

  • 2012
    McAllister Park Dedicated to Virgil Adams

    McAllister Park was developed and Virgil Lee Adams was honored in memory with a plaque.