The town of George, Washington is only 23 miles from Ephrata, but it’s in Ephrata where you’ll find a direct link to our country’s first president.
Inside an old house now used for special gatherings, a rich history reaching all the way back through history.
Mike Scellick bought the Nat Washington Inn, named after the former state senator. He bought the house from Nat’s young sons, Nat and Tom, just over two years ago and has spent thousand of dollars restoring it.
“We had no idea that anybody would have an interest in the house, because it was my dad’s house,” said Tom Washington. “I can’t believe he’s done all the things he’s done. It’s just amazing.”
Even more amazing after it was revealed that George Washington, our country’s first president, is Senator Nat Washington’s fifth great-uncle.
A picture of George Washington’s nephew Bushrod now hangs in the Smithsonian, but for decades it hung in the inn where Bushrod moved his family from West Virginia.
“They came out to be orchardists,” said Scellick, “They read about all these apples out here.”
The family first arrived in Spokane before eventually homesteading right where Grand Coulee Dam now sits.
Bushrod’s son Nathaniel was the first president of the Grand Coulee Dam Administration. In 1920 he traveled to San Francisco to lobby for it’s construction and met future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
And throughout all of this, the Washington family preserved artifacts from as far back as 1662.
“It was all brought out from West Virginia and it was kept in a little corner in a lock and key that Nat Washington had,” Scellick said.
Among the artifacts, pieces of George Washington’s coffin. His gunter scale and his compass were also kept safe in the Ephrata home. Dozens of items like these were sold for thousands at a heritage auction two years ago, but the history remains with the house.
“There’s still, I feel, ten more years of pulling things out and discovering all the rich history of this house and having the time and then sharing it with the community. Sharing it with everybody,” Scellick said.
Tom Washington was flooded with emotion the first time he saw the new version of his old house for the first time.
“It was an amazing experience. I just can’t describe what it has meant to our family, what Mike has done,” he said.
And to Mike, preserving a family’s legacy that goes all the way back to the father of our country is what’s most important.
“It’s not a responsibility, it’s just in my heart and it will always be there.”