The Tututni (Tu Tu’ Tunne) Native Americans of the Rogue were the first inhabitants to settle the area. The name of the lodge was inspired by “the people of the place by the river” – a rough translation of the Tututni encampment where the lodge now stands.
Welcoming guests to the first dinner, Tu Tu’ Tun opened in June 1970. Built as a dream come true on a winding stretch of the Rogue by Ralph and Pauline Priestly and Herm and Jerrine Ellingson, the lodge was unique to the locale from the beginning.
During the early 70’s Dirk Van Zante came to help his step-dad Ralph and Uncle Herm run the business after his mother’s passing. In 1980 Dirk and his vivacious wife, Laurie, bought the lodge from his family. Spanning thirty years of innkeeping, the Van Zantes nurtured Tu Tu’ Tun to its present status. The original structure described many ways – Frank Lloyd Wright inspired or Mission style revisited with a touch of Asian – wears well over forty years later. The wonderful Northwest textures are everywhere in the cedar beams, fir wainscoting, slate hearths and river rock fireplaces. Even the grass cloth walls evoke a modern take on the plant weavings of the Tututni. Add the comfortable tactile treats of wool, linen and down to the restful décor for a blend that seeks to soothe and pamper all who stay here.
In 2009 the Van Zantes sold the lodge to long time family friend Kyle Ringer. Raised in the area and working for the Van Zantes for several years, Kyle continues their engaging innkeeping style. Maintaining the Tu Tu’ Tun tradition of greeting everyone by name, he appreciates the spirit that seems built-in to the lodge. His own elegant touches and attention to detail are evident in the constant upkeep and revitalization. Kyle’s own vision is being added to the dreamers before him.
A warm welcome is assured as guests are invited to become a part of “the people of the place by the river”.