Ohop Bob was an upscale restaurant, banquet hall and motel, all wrapped up in one. Originally built by a cycle club, it was further developed in 1914 by the Washington Automotive Club for their two-day trips from Tacoma to Longmire. (Per Upper Nisqually Valley.)
It was open weekends and during the summer, and visitors had a spectacular view of Ohop Valley. And how could they not? The building was constructed on the hillside and suspended over the valley below.
“When you walked out on the balcony you could feel the building give a little,” says Rosemarie Van Cleve, who waitressed at Ohop Bob in her teens.
The place was famous for its chicken dinners — the only dinner they served.
Sally McKay, who also waitressed as a teenager in the 40s, says, “I remember peeling potatoes and slicing them thin. And when people came we would tell them it would be half an hour because we cooked everything fresh.”
Sharon (Guske) Aguilar, who waitressed a decade later said the meal never changed. “The were very particular. Even the lettuce leaves had to be just so.”
What did change was the hourly wage. Sally and Rosemarie made about 50 cents an hour, and Sharon made 75 cents.
For most of its years Ohop Bob was run by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Josselyn. They ran a tight ship and Sally recalls Mr. Joslyn as very staid and tall. “There was a small rose bush out back and he always wore a small bud in his lapel.”
However, all three recall Mrs. Josselyn’s cigarette dangling precariously from her lips while cooking chicken.
A lot happened at Ohop Bob over its 50+ years, and the waitresses remember fun times, like Rosemarie being asked to grab her accordion to entertain guests.
“Once when I was sweeping the front porch this guy came. He had a long beard and rode a bicycle,” says Sally. “His name was Pruner Carlson. He was kind of a strange guy who rode around and pruned trees. He wanted some food and I snuck some out to him. When I went back on the porch he had left me a start of a little plant. I thought that was so nice.”
Rosemarie recalls yodeling from the balcony to get home. The family dairy was on the other side of the valley. “Dad [Louie Metter Sr.] would know when I was done and listen for me.”
Up in Flames
In May 1965 the building burned. Arson was suspected. “You could see the glow in the sky from Eatonville,” says Rosemarie. “The old timbers must have gone up like kindling.”
But the memories remain.
Photo courtesy of Rich Williams.
Click on image to enlarge.