Situated in a serene surrounding on a hillside overlooking quiet Glen Cove is the Olde Glencove Hotel, established in 1896. Current owners Luciann and Larry Nadeau restored the historic building more than three decades ago, saving it from demolition.

Old Glencove Hotel owners Luciann and Larry Nadeau. Photo by Karina Whitmarsh

The land was owned by Capt. Winchester and later purchased by Nicholas Petersen with the dream of building a hotel to support his wife, Agnes, and daughter, Louise.

This grand old building was a huge undertaking at that time and was constructed by using “balloon framing” from the ground up; the trees cut had to be big enough for the lumber. It was the only Victorian structure in the area. The steamship “Messenger” (part of the Mosquito Fleet on which Capt. Winchester arrived) delivered all the lumber and building supplies. Luciann says, “Petersen himself made all the bricks used in construction and some remain to this day.”

Upon Petersen’s death, the hotel went to Louise. It continued as a hotel until its closure in 1930, when it became utilized as a private residence for Louise, her husband and two children. An additional building was built with seven bedrooms. Each had its own running water but no toilet other than a central one to accommodate all rooms.

In 1972, Luciann and Larry Nadeau purchased the property and decided to revive it by restoring it to a hotel and keeping the original architecture. Luciann recalls, “Our first guest was the (original) owner of O’Callahan’s.”

About 20 years ago, she and Larry changed it to a “bed and breakfast” consisting of one guest room and later a second one. Currently they have four: two upstairs and two in an attached addition.

The Olde Glencove served as a stopover for many salesmen and Tacoma weekenders who traveled by steamboat until the 1920s, when roads were being built on the peninsula.

The current owners have maintained the antique hotel by furnishing it in Victorian décor and antiques, which has been an ongoing task for 35 years. A variety of memorabilia is part of the décor, including an old-fashioned wood telephone with a March 1949 Peninsula phone book, published by Sound Telephone Co. and containing many familiar names of early residents.

Larry’s hobby is stained glass, so when he restored the main door window, he inserted a beautiful rose circle, leaving the original stained glass perimeter intact. One of the popular attractions is the gazebo they built several years ago for weddings. The gazebo is located by a quiet pond with fountain. A unique fairytale “secret garden” is also an addition to the grounds and can be viewed mostly from one of the guest rooms.

Nadeau says, “While most clients arrive by car, a few will travel by private boat and recently a couple arrived in a kayak. Guests usually stay from overnight to as long as five days.” The hotel has seen as many as 12 guests at a time, usually when a party arrives for a wedding.

On May 22, 1978, the Olde Glencove Hotel was entered into the National Register of Historic Places, making it a true part of local history due to its unique architecture. This grand old hotel had endured three family generations before the Nadeaus took it under their care. Luciann and Larry Nadeau plan to live at the property for the rest of their lives — or, as Luciann puts it, “until they carry me out feet first or God willing, the creek don’t rise.”

 

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