“a rustic cabin getaway”
The property where Whistlin’ Jack Lodge is located today began as a substantial portion of Cliffdell and the Davidson Parkway (this ‘parkway’ runs through the center of the unincorporated township of Cliffdell, Washington via the present highway route).In the 1920s, this private land was used as a retreat center for a consortium of privately owned and operated Yakima Valley banks. The twelve-acre property and individual retreat facility (Wapato Lodge) sold to Charles (Charley) and Mildred Rogers of Sunnyside, Washington. In turn, they built and named the original lodge and four rental cabins. The Rogers family opened for business in the spring of 1931 and a mountain resort along one-quarter mile of the north bank of the Naches River was established. Whistlin’ Jack Lodge sold to O.E. Erickson, owner of the Cabana Lodge in Yakima, Washington, after World War II and “O.E.” operated (with managers) until, my parents, William (Bill) B. and Helen I. (Knapp) Williams purchased the business in February, 1957.I used the term ‘my parents’ when actually it was “our” parents. There were two brothers older than me – the eldest, Bill (22 years old), was finishing his commitment to the United States Army and engaged to marry Laurel Brown of Yakima, Washington. My middle brother (and boyhood hero) Keith would graduate from Yakima High School (A.C. Davis) later that spring and continue his education at Central Washington College, in Ellensburg, Washington.By 1957, Whistlin’ Jack Lodge was struggling mightily. The small Inn-like resort’s requirements were two-fold; Copious amounts of TLC and as well, dedication (to that task) would be necessary. Both would require grit and tenacity, hinged to a clear vision of which, my Mom and Dad were perfectly suited to administer. Their goals were simple. Maintain and continue to build Whistlin’ Jack Lodge through the strengths God provided them for such an adventure. Honesty and integrity were the principle strengths my parents brought to Washington from Southern Iowa twenty-six years earlier. There was also one more item…imagination. Combined, these three ingredients set the foundation for our family’s success that continues today.
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