History of the Mineral Lake Lodge
Mineral Lake Lodge was originally built in 1906 as a Hunting Lodge known as the Mineral Lake Inn, and according to local lore, Teddy Roosevelt stayed here in the mid-1910’s. The three-story cedar log lodge was constructed in 1906 by Scandinavian residents of the Mineral area who were experience Old-World Craftsmen. Herman and August Ahstrand and Johann Carlson built the Inn for a wealthy young investor from the east by the name of Gilfellin. He was the son of an Englishman who manufactured one of the earliest radios made, Gilfellin radios.
It initially served as a high-brow Wilderness Retreat for the fiscal elite of Seattle and Tacoma. In the winters, guests such as hunters and sportsmen stayed, and in the summers stressed-out executives lounged in the Lake’s mineral-rich waters. The Tacoma and Eastern Railroads made two stops daily to the town of Elbe, 3 miles away, where horse and rig would then haul the vacationing guests to their final destination over Mineral Hill to the Inn. In the 1920’s, it operated for a few years as a Sanatorium for the “alcoholic, epileptic, and mildly insane”, then as a Gambling Hall for all the local lumberjacks and millworkers to go to for entertainment. The Weyerhaeuser Timber Company owned it for a time until the late 1920’s when it was purchased by L.T. Murray and the West Fork Logging Company as a Political/Business Retreat. During the turbulent 1940’s, The Lodge hosted many dignitaries from Washington State, including former Governor Arthur Langley, State Land Commissioner Jack Taylor, and U.S. Senator Harry Cain. The Inn closed during the depression, and Mr. Murray installed caretaker families to live in it until he sold it in the mid-1980’s. For a short time, it was a restaurant, then was turned into a Bed-and-Breakfast that opened in November 2004.
It was first named as a historical landmark by the Lewis County Historical Society, and then by the Washington State Historical Society. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the Department of the Interior in 1974.
Books on the history of Mt Rainier and the Mineral Lake Lodge
The Enterprising Mister Murray, by Margaret Elley Felt
Historical Photos of the Lodge
(click on an image for more information or to view the gallery as a slide show)