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The Olympic Club Hotel is a historic hotel owned by McMenamins Pubs & Breweries in Centralia, Washington, United States. Built in 1908, it was originally known as the Oxford Hotel. After acquiring the property in 1997, McMenamins changed the name to reflect the new ownership. The hotel features 27 European-style guest rooms and a brewpub movie theater.
Notorious train robber Roy Gardner was re-captured at the then-Oxford Hotel after escaping federal custody in 1921.
Among hotels in Centralia, Washington, The Olympic Club Hotel’s legend looms large. Here you’ll find a historic building – filled with warm woods and period details – steeped in colorful tales of countless gamblers’ jackpots, revenuer raids, dark secrets deeply buried, and a famous bandit’s bravado. The Olympic Club Hotel has been a point of power, intrigue and contention since opening in 1908. Its name evokes heroic gods of ancient Herculean characters, the exploits of whom are now the stuff of modern legend.
Remarkably, the Olympic Club Hotel remains virtually unchanged from the time of its opulent remodel in 1913. Still much in evidence is the building’s blend of sophisticated finery and earthy extravagance. Its magnificent mahogany bar and leaded-glass canopies are as impressive as the colossal Round Oak wood stove, elegant women’s bathroom and mammoth porcelain urinals, (hey, they spared no expense in those bygone days!).
The hotel’s 27 guest rooms feature vintage furnishings, comfy chenille-covered beds and conveniently located private common bathrooms. You may hear the lonely, soulful sound of the trains from your room as they roll through Centralia – but if you’d prefer not to, earplugs are provided. Each room here is named for the colorful and worthy cast of characters who have left their mark on this place – the internationally notorious “gentleman train robber” Roy Gardner who was captured at the hotel back in 1921; Gertrude Howell, the hotel’s first female proprietor who also identified Gardner; and Jack Sciutto, the Oly Club’s original proprietor who was crowned “King of Bootleggers.”
As refined as the Olympic Club Hotel may have been portrayed, especially in its early years, the place has always possessed an element of the Old West with stories of train robbers and ladies of the evening who took up residency on the second floor. Known as a true “gentleman’s resort” the opulent furnishings of mahogany paneling, Tiffany-style lights, ceramic-tiled floors and Belgian crystal lured a good many of the area’s loggers, miners and railroad workers through the doors.
McMenamins has expanded upon the Olympic Club Hotel’s traditional definition of a workingman’s resort by welcoming the whole family to enjoy lodging, meals, movies, art, history, sport and special events. Throughout the Olympic Club historic photographs and extensive original artwork chronicle the building’s intriguing history.
McMenamins Olympic Club is filled with history and lore, and seems to be a location where the dead like to hang out with the living. Staff members have reported clocks changing the time in hotel rooms where no one has stayed, or alarms going off for no reason. One bartender recalls an ashtray flying across the room.
A recent guest at the hotel says he felt someone tap him on the shoulder while brushing his teeth. Many people have reported seeing a ghostly man sitting by the wood stove. What’s certain is there’s something spooky going on.
Candles mysteriously lit; rearranged chairs in basement; falling ax; music drowned out by mysterious tune; a man’s laughter has been hears echoing in the building. A ghost nicknamed ‘Elmer’ has been seen standing by the cast iron stove. It is thought that this ghost could be of Louis Galba who had rented a room at the hotel formerly on this site. The hotel burned in 1908, and Louis jumped to the ground from his second story room. He died a few months later of his injuries.
Our Investigation: Coming soon!
Be sure to check out the Photo Gallery below for some amazing photos. (Click on photo to enlarge)