History of the Bunkhouse
The Bunkhouse, built in 1908, was located in the booming town of National, three miles South of Ashford. Originally, the building was home to local loggers and mill workers. You can still see grooves in the soft, fir floor made by their caulk boots. After all the timber in the valley was cut and there were no more logs for the mill to saw, the town of National faded away.
In the 1960's, many of the buildings in National were relocated. The Bunkhouse was cut into several pieces and brought to its current location. Over the past twenty years the building was home to several different businesses, including a veterinary clinic, a grocery store and a thrift shop. As the years passed by, the building began to deteriorate. The entire building sagged and the original shake roof was covered in black plastic shredded from the wind.
In the Fall of 1991, Lou and Ingrid Whittaker bought the Bunkhouse and began to repair the damages from years of wet weather. Throughout the Winter, a crew of local people worked hard in poor weather conditions. Major renovations began by jacking up the entire building and pouring a new foundation. Then came a metal roof, which made interior renovation possible. During the winter of 1992, all new pluming and wiring was installed throughout the building.
In May of 1993, the building opened officially as a Bunkhouse, providing private rooms and shared accommodations for travelers. The front portion of the building became an espresso shop with historical climbing decor.
As the last town before Mount Rainier National Park, Ashford provides a perfect base camp for climbers attempting Rainier, which is why Lou Whittaker located his guide service [Rainier Mountaineering Inc.] in Ashford. The walls of the Cafe are lined with historic climbing equipment and photographs. Among the climbing memorabilia, are pieces of logging equpiment from the former logging town of National.