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.
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.
With the final purchase of the land and formation of non-profit status, our organization and the surrounding community have transformed this space into a beloved neighborhood gathering place. As we all move forward, we remain committed to maintaining a walkable neighborhood and a resilient, connected community. We believe that having a beautiful space for the neighborhood to enjoy will enhance both the community and the economy surrounding it. And we wholeheartedly hope that YOU will join us in creating and sustaining this vital space for generations to come!