- 9980 Water St. Ephraim, WI
The Hillside Inn has a long and rich history in Door County. Read below to learn more about the Inn’s beginnings, and how we got here today.
Excerpt from Ephraim Stories by Paul and Frances Burton:
Hillside Hotel: Still Going After All These Years Tucked into the side of the bluff and framed by Ephraim’s two churches above, the white-painted Hillside Hotel looks serenely out over Eagle Harbor. A long flight of wide steps leads up to a porch that runs the length of the building. Rocking chairs wait for sunset-watchers. Through the glass-fronted door one can see polished floors, comfortable chairs, and turn of the century decor. It could be 1910 or 1920, but it’s not—it’s 1999, and Hillside Hotel is still in operation. It wasn’t torn down in the name of “progress,” and it hasn’t been gutted and turned into condominiums or a motel. The historic building remains, and though now equipped with some modern amenities, it remains true to its origins. Guests still enjoy the welcoming parlor, second-floor rooms with a harbor view, and a hearty breakfast each morning. They treasure the experience of staying in a building that can trace its origins back to Reverend Andrew Iverson, founder of Ephraim.
The story of Hillside Hotel began in 1866 when Morton Olson, his wife, Maria, and their four-year-old son, Ole M., settled in Ephraim. They had come from Norway only a year previously, and after a short stay in Fish Creek moved to Ephraim, where Morton purchased a four-room log cabin from Reverend Iverson. It was just 13 years after Iverson and his small congregation had begun clearing land, but in those years their struggling settlement had grown into an established village. The cabin Morton purchased was situated on a large, hillside lot overlooking Eagle Harbor. Iverson had constructed it himself many years previously using locally cut logs. Before selling it to Morton, Iverson rented it to the Oneson family, parents of the first white child born in Ephraim.