History

A History of the Site

Between the years 1869, when the first bridge connecting Olympia’s Downtown to it’s West Side was built, and 1997, when Rowland Lumber Company was demolished, the history reports of what went on at the Harrison and Division corner, are vague. Local residents put the year that Rowland was built, at 1926. The Lumber business operated until the early 1980’s when it finally shut it’s doors.  A local business, The Treasure Chest, set up shop in the building until approximately 1985, when once and for all the building was abandoned.

Check out that white wash on the Rowland Building in 1939

Check out that white wash on the Rowland Building in 1939

The front of the building at Harrison and Division Streets

The front of the building at Harrison and Division Streets

This photo shows the back of Rowland with part of the yard and the alley.

This photo shows the back of Rowland with part of the yard and the alley.

In 1997 the building caught fire but burned out quickly on it’s own.  The dismal appearance of the huge lumber building, caused the City of Olympia to help fund it’s demolition, in September of 1997.

Soon after that, the property was purchased by a local Olympia resident, who for the next 16 years, made several attempts to sell the property commercially. Once to a gas station chain, and then to a convenience store developer. Both attempts were fraught with opposition from the community both North and South Westside.  The local residents were firmly against the further commercialization of their neighborhood. The last development deal that was attempted, was abandoned in mid November 2012, and the property was again for sale.  The vacant corner lot was purchased once and for all, on December 3, 2012.

The new owner and a growing number of West Side neighbors, are offering to this community, the possibility that this corner be turned into a neighborhood space. This busy corner could be a place for local residents to meet, relax, visit and eat lunch, play checkers, and shop for local crafts and produce.

This is the vision of The West Central Park (WCP) Project. Ongoing meetings with both city officials and concerned neighbors are allowing for a slow, phased, development of a new neighborhood space. The WCP welcomes commentary, and participation from the community and the city on all levels of this project’s development.

Check back for additional historical updates as they become available.

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