In the beginning...

A first-hand account by Louis L. and Gladys Ortmayer, 1963 (edited for publication)

On the tenth of March, 1923, a district missionary conference was held in Livingston.  One of the items of business was the responsibility of locating a site near Yellowstone Park for the Epworth League Institute.  As I recall, Cecil L. Clifford was present, representing the state Epworth League.  On the second day the conference members were invited to the Pine Creek church for a noon luncheon, following which all who would were asked to go up to Grinnell Park, which had been suggested as a possible location for the institute.  Saddle horses and a three-seated buckboard, driven by Albert Allen, were the means of transportation. Although the ground was covered with two or three feet snow, the conference unanimously authorized the District Superintendent, Robert C. Edgington and a committee, to proceed with all the necessary arrangements to make Grinnell Park the location for the Yellowstone Park Epworth Institute.

With this authorization, Mr. Edgington went to work. He entered into an agreement with Mr. Allen to purchase 25 acres, the southeast corner, or a section, bounded by the national forest on the east.  The purchase price was $2500.00, but all Mr. Edgington had was his faith in the young people of the district.  Grinnell Park was a beautiful spot, but how to get to it?  Otto G. Ponath, pastor of the Pine Creek church, undertook to build a road up the hill which the highway department said was a $6000 job.  The people of Pine Creek and Livingston rallied to the task and by July first were able to drive, push and pull a Model T Ford up the hill and onto the camp ground.