Otherwise known as Elbe Evangelische Lutherische Kirche, the Little White Church sits next to the railroad tracks in the village of Elbe, Washington.
I had passed the kirche before. A couple weeks ago I decided to stop and photograph the bright white building in the morning light. But it wasn’t open then. This time, I vowed to stop if I saw that the church door was open. I approached Elbe and looked over to see that the church door was indeed open. I quickly pulled over and parked.
And, as luck would have it, a gentleman in red suspenders was doing some painting around the doorway. A real Norman Rockwell scene.
The folks who originally settled in the area were immigrants from the Elbe River area near Hamburg, Germany. Locals built the church, which stands 46 feet high at the steeple. The bell is from a locomotive.
As I was ending my visit, I noticed a narrow rope hanging from the ceiling near the door, and a small handwritten note nearby that read “Ring the bell.”
What?? I can ring the bell?! I can ring a church bell! That would be something. So I asked the painter, just to make sure, and he encouraged me to do so. I gave a gentle pull and the bell gave a modest clang. That made my day.
It can make yours too. If you are driving to Mount Rainier National Park, toward the Nisqually entrance, you’ll go right through Elbe.