Lodging in the Early Years
A Saturday evening audience of approximately thirty guests gathered at the Stehekin Pastry Company to learn about early lodges established in the Stehekin Valley. Patty Wilsey and her husband, John, put the lodging program together and will share it with valley visitors several more times this summer.
Guests were reminded of the extraordinary imagination, labor and tenacity it took to construct and maintain the valley's historical lodging on homestead land. Today valley visitors are served by a new era of food and lodging choices. Just as in the early years of Stehekin's lodging history, contemporary services are fueled by the same extraordinary imagination, labor that inspired early valley residents. Today's private lodging exists on Stehekin's few remaining acres of private property.
Next Saturday evening's presentation: "Stehekin's Heritage: A Gift Worth Saving" by Liz & Tom Courtney
Rainbow Lodge (site of Stehekin's New School)
Who would have thought that the school’s basketball court, where we have so much fun today, used to be the location of Stehekin’s Rainbow Lodge? It was here that Lydia George, her sister Althea Rice and nephew Donald Rice operated the lodge along with handyman, Jamie Jamison. The Rainbow Lodge started as a boarding house in 1911 for miners, hikers and Stehekin visitors. The lodge was closed in 1946.
Lydia George was the owner of the Rainbow Lodge. She was born in 1872 in Iowa. Lydia lived in Stehekin as early as 1905 when she worked for Henry Buckner as a telephone operator. At the time, a telephone line strung to Horseshoe Basin. It must sound very strange that they had a telephone line that went to Horseshoe Basin in 1905 and that there is none now.
In the winter of 1909-1910, Lydia George cooked for a crew of thirty miners in the Horseshoe Basin mine. In March of 1910 Lydia and her brother hiked out of the mine. It took them two days on snowshoes. When they reached the valley Lydia’s brother left on the mail boat and was never heard from again.Lydia had a different idea.
Lydia decided that she wanted to work for herself so she bought eleven acres of land from Bill Buzzard. Lydia then hired Henry Buckner to build a six room house in 1911. The house became Rainbow Lodge, a boarding house for miners, fishermen, teachers and children.
In 1922, Lydia George went into partnership with Harry W “Jamie” Jamison. Jamie was a handyman, carpenter, gardener and a tour bus driver. He provided maintenance for the lodge and built private guest cabins for Lydia. He also drove a bus that brought visitors to Rainbow Falls and then went to the Rainbow Lodge for lunch.
Lunch consisted of mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, roast beef, sliced tomatoes and cold slaw. Most of the food came from the lodge’s garden. The lodge’s cows provided fresh milk and butter. The lodge also had a telescope that visitors could look through that was sighted in on McGregor. Lydia would call the operator of the small forest service fire lookout on top of McGregor and he would come out and wave. Today this would be impossible. You would not be able to look up at McGregor from today’s basketball court because there have been so much forest growth since the early to mid 1900s. After lunch, Jamie would take those guests not staying at the lodge back down to the landing and boat going down the lake. …The lodge was operated from 1911 to 1946…
Forty years later you can get off the boat, get on the Rainbow Falls tour bus and drive to Rainbow Falls. You would then stop at the bakery and then head to the boat.
This is showing the similarity between the 1910-1946 and the twenty first century.