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Open house offers first look at Olalla Bay Landing

Posted on July 7th, 2022 By:

Olalla celebrated a new community gathering space and museum July 2-3, as Gregg and Claudia Olsen hosted an open house at Olalla Bay Landing.

The Olsens purchased the waterfront building and the nearby grocery store in 2021 and are slowly bringing “beautiful downtown Olalla” back to life, 2022-style.

Claudia, Gregg and Marta Olsen, owners of Olalla Bay Store and Olalla Bay Landing.

The building the Olsens have renovated and dubbed The Landing was Olalla’s post office for decades. More recently, it served as a storage shed for Al’s Store.

The Olsens have transformed it from a dark, drafty storeroom into a bright, welcoming space on the Olalla waterfront. It includes shiny yellow tables and chairs, a tiny stage and a breathtaking view of Colvos Passage and Mount Rainier.

It’s available for use by any group that wants a place to gather. There’s no charge for small groups to use the space, Gregg Olsen said, but anyone who wants it for a money-making venture will pay a fee.

Olalla Bay Landing offers a much-needed meeting space in the South Kitsap County community.

Starvation Heights

Gregg Olsen is an inveterate collector. His collection of Olalla memorabilia is now on display in The Landing’s little museum.

Starvation Heights, the sanitarium of Dr. Linda Hazzard, fills one side of the museum. Authorities accused Hazzard of starving at least a dozen people to death in the early 20th century.

The actual sanitarium was located a few miles from The Landing. Olsen’s best-selling book “Starvation Heights” chronicles Hazzard’s gruesome story.

Museum items include the bathtub used for autopsies and stairs that led to treatment rooms. Washington State Patrol mugshots of Linda Hazzard and her husband, Samuel, hang on the wall.

The museum includes the bathtub and ironing board Hazzard used to perform autopsies. Scalpels and other surgical instruments used by Hazzard are on display in a glass case. A copy of her self-published book, “Fasting for the Cure of Disease,” joins them.

Against the wall is a section of the staircase that led to the treatment rooms in Hazzard’s Institute of Natural Therapeutics. Black-and-white photos of Hazzard and her husband, Samuel, hang nearby.

Olalla Bay Landing museum

Ephemera of early Olalla life fills the other section of the museum. Artifacts include farm tools, fruit boxes and assorted jars and cans found in old barns. An old saw used by loggers who cleared the farm land and photos of workers in the strawberry fields are displayed.

The Olalla Bay Landing museum includes items from the store’s and the community’s history.

The history of the nearby store, most recently known as Al’s of Olalla, also figures prominently in the museum.

Photos of previous owners — Al Robbecke and his son John, and Charles Nelson, who owned the store before Al — decorate the walls. Visitors can inspect an oak hand cart used by the store’s first owners. Jars, tins, calendars, a service bell and other odds-and-ends are also displayed.

In another section of the building, Olsen has re-installed many of the mailboxes from the old post office. Locals who want to collect their mail from that location can rent them.

The new patio at Olalla Bay Landing offers stunning views.

Along the water side of The Landing, chairs sit on a small covered deck. A larger patio with additional chairs is next to the store.

The store itself, now called Olalla Bay Market, is still being renovated. Olsen hopes to have it open this fall.