Holden Village Chalets and Sauna

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    Holden Village Calendar - Erwin Weber - 1967

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When I returned to Holden in 1977, the village pastor, Paul K. Hanson, said that it is difficult to imagine a town in the United States which has no telephone, television, no pollution of air or water, no traffic jams or parking problems - indeed which cannot even be reached by automobile. But one such place does exist, and it belongs to the Lutheran Church. As a matter of fact, the entire town has as its purpose Christian celebration, spiritual renewal and the proclamation of the Gospel.

Holden Village has no church building - and doesn't want one. Worship is not separated from the other events of the village life and takes place at various locations and times throughout the day. Large worship services are held in the Village Center with people gathering around an altar fashioned from rough-hewn timbers. The Village Center also includes a snack bar, coffee house, ping pong room, four-lane bowling alley and four-table pool room - all remnants of the mining days. In all 23 buildings are part of Holden, including 13 chalet type homes used for faculty and staff, six two-story lodges where most of the guests reside and two saunas. The rustic alpine architectural style seems very appropriate to the setting in this part of the Cascades, sometimes called the "Switzerland of America."

In 1967, my sketch of the sauna was also selected for the Holden Village calendar. In the foreground is the entrance to one of the two saunas (one for men and one for women) operated by the village. Behind it are the chalets occupied by the faculty and the staff at Holden Village. I gave the original pen and ink sketch with a watercolor wash to the Holden Village Art Collection.