If you were traveling to Mount Rainier and were looking for fine dining, Ohop Bob was the stop.
The restaurant was built around 1914 for the Tacoma Automobile Club.
C.C. Josselyn and his wife purchased it in 1917 and ran it for over 40 years. The floors were selected grain old growth yellow fir and in the dining room hung a large Joseph Barnes painting of the mountain, valued at $1,000 (around $13,500 today).
There was one meal served — friend chicken — and it was prepared when you arrived, along with salad and potatoes. The Josselyns were particular about the food preparation, and women who were teenage waitresses during the restaurant’s run, will tell you similar stories.
Sharon (Guske) Aguilar recalls making the salads, “After VERY carefully pulling the lettuce apart into perfect little cups, it was placed upside down on a towel, drained, then put into big dishtowel lined dishpans, covered over with a damp cloth and put into the fridge to become very crisp (a very handy thing to know for dinner parties).
“All chicken and baking powder biscuits were cooked and baked fresh for each order. People didn’t mind the wait. The flavor was special.
“One of my first tasks on the job was cutting the shortening into the flour for the biscuits. Mrs. Josselyn gave me a big dishpan measured with flour and shortening and two table knives. At 15 years of age . . . I learned a lot.
The view from the balcony was spectacular and visitors could see mountain standing tall over the valley. Sharon had a little different memory of the balconies — cleaning them with mops. “You COULD NOT have any streaks on the gray painted floor of that balcony.”
This brochure is an early one because a second story was put on in around 1922, making it also a hotel for travelers.
I have a personal connection to the place, my aunt, Rosemarie (Mettler) Van Cleve, worked there and would yodel from the balcony to my grandpa — who had a dairy across the valley — when it was time to come pick her up. Also, my folks, Louie and Kathy Mettler, had their wedding reception there in 1961.
Unfortunately, the establishment burned in a few years later in 1965. Rosemarie says you could see the glow of the fire from Eatonville.
** Interesting note. At the bottom of the first panel it reads “Ohop Bob Inn was designed after the famous home of ex-President Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, Virginia. Similar? You be the judge.
Photos courtesy of Linda Lewis.
Click on images to enlarge.