Walking Tour – #6 The Epworth Hotel and Beach

Now, walk under the bridge, through the parking lot, and on to the grassy area in front of the Epworth Hotel. There you will find Marker #6. 

The Hotel opened on July 18, 1894,  just in time for the very first two-and-a-half-week season of “The Epworth Training  Assembly.” The 80 rooms were spread across three floors and the whole building was wired for electricity. Originally there was a wing on the north side of the lawn behind the hotel, with another wing added to the south side in 1901. The first-floor dining room and kitchen were in between the wings until they moved to the Pavilion in 1927 to make way for 10 more guest rooms to keep up with demand. The hotel operated until 1975, at which time the two wings were torn down and the core became the gathering place it is today. The picture above shows the original stairway—it remains remarkably unchanged. 

During its long history, the Hotel has served as the site for countless community activities: It has housed a library, a beauty shop, a historical museum, a gift shop, Fireside programs, a coffee bar, mailboxes, an apartment for visiting ministers, and of course rooms for the hundreds of guests who vacationed there before the hotel officially closed.

One of the big draws for the early hotel guests was the sandy beach right outside the front door. Over the years, there have been decades when it was wide enough for swing sets, volleyball courts, and a basketball court. At other times, it has been a narrow strip with a steep slope leading down to a seawall. But always, Sunday Vespers has had a view of the lake and the spectacular sunsets that are a highlight of so many Epworth memories.