Save the Ox Yoke Lodge at Ohme Gardens

The Ox Lodge at Ohme Gardens has a serious lean to it – so serious that visitors are no longer permitted inside the unique, 80-year-old structure for fear it might collapse.

But there is a movement afoot to restore the Ox Lodge so that visitors may once again enjoy this historic log building with its cedar-bark siding and the natural stone fireplace hand-built by Herman and Ruth Ohme themselves not long after the Gardens were founded in 1929.

Ox Yoke Lodge was the first structure built by Herman Ohme in Ohme Gardens in the 1930’s. Now the Ox is more than 80 years old.

This rustic shelter was built with old forested logs from the Cascade Mountains and the ceiling, roof and siding was all covered with cedar bark.

Inside materials included all native sourced stone (from the riverbeds along the Columbia River). Herman had the vision and hand selected the stone pillars and the massive flagstone pieces for the hearth fireplace. All the rustic log furniture was hand hewn.

For generations the Ox housed many picnics and family functions for locals and visitors alike from far and wide.

Hanging from the center roof pitch on the exterior, is a large ox yoke. This feature gave the shelter its name and provided a prominent viewing feature.

Restoration experts in the field have been advising the Ohme staff on how best to proceed with the restoration and protection of this historic building. These experts include the State Historical Architect with the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, Board Members from Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Engineers from Pacific Engineering and an Architect from MJ Neal Associates.

This month, the engineering team from Pacific Engineering will be making recommendations on the added structural supports necessary for the shelter to withstand this year’s snow load. In the spring of 2019, we plan on beginning the restoration process that will both protect and have the Ox accessible to visitors at Ohme Gardens again.  We hope to have the completion of this restoration work coincide with our 90th Anniversary celebrations.

Your help is needed and appreciated to restore and preserve the Ox Lodge for generations to come. Please consider making your donation today. Donations may be made online at ohmegardens.org or by mail to: Ohme Gardens, Attn: Save the OX!, 3327 Ohme Road, Wenatchee, WA 98801

The Gardens are open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. between April 15 and October 15. Admission is free for children 5 and younger.

For more information contact:
Nena Howell, Ohme Gardens Director
(509) 668-4166
nena.howell@ohmegardens.org

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