First Church is a Hotel

Groe Hotel — was located approximately where Center and Madison meet
Groe Hotel — was located approximately where Center and Madison meet

People started homesteading in Eatonville in the late 1800s, the first church wouldn’t be built for years. So where did people congregate on Sundays? The local hotel.

The first “public” religious services were held in 1892 at the Groe Hotel. [Owner Frank Groe was described as “a fat little man whose jokes and laugher lightened the wilderness,” making him in my opinion an ideal candidate to host church services.]

Services were later moved to the log schoolhouse. And when the Van Eaton Hall went up in 1895, services moved there. (Timber Town and Later)

This picture, courtesy of Pat Van Eaton, shows the Groe Hotel, along with Mrs. and Mrs. Frank Groe seated out front.

Click on image to enlarge.


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