A slice of Bavaria in North Bend
March 5, 2009
By Laura Geggel
A family of wooden gnomes points the way to Edelweiss-Chalet, Alpine Paintings and Woodcarvings in North Bend.
Just opposite Cascade Golf Course, Adi and Eva Hienzsch have built a home, workshop and art showroom decorated with Adi’s carvings and paintings rivaling any European artisan.
The Hienzsch’s moved to North Bend in 1967, and their story before and after their emigration is one for the history books.
In 1924, Adi was born in Garmisch, a town in Southern Germany next to the Bavarian Alps. He started oil painting at age 13 after suffering a fall in a skiing accident. Next to the Alps, Adi painted the mountain’s craggy, snow-topped peaks and the cerulean lakes lapping in the valleys below. He painted houses and grassy fields filled with grazing cows.
“I just loved to do it,” Adi said. “Our neighbor’s house in Garmisch was an old house. It was the first house I painted.”
He learned how to carve as a young adult, and earned an income carving souvenirs for a local business. At age 16, he put his skiing skills to use and worked with a mountain rescue group in the Alps. During World War II, Adi was drafted into the German Army and was later captured by Russian troops. He spent four years in a Russian prison camp, before his release at age 25.
With the war over, Adi began working in a hardware store. He met Eva on the way to a skiing race. They will celebrate their 60th anniversary of meeting each other later this year.
“We met, and a week later we were going steady,” said Eva, who was 17 at the time.
Adi later worked for the border police in the Bavarian Alps. He enjoyed painting the mountains, but only pursued art on the side.
“He carved once in awhile,” Eva said. “When I had a birthday, he painted for me.”
The duo also skied as much as they could. Adi won the German police ski championships 10 times. His father was a tailor, but Adi wanted to be more active.
“I saw my dad sitting all of the time and I said, ‘this is not my thing,’” Adi said.
After Adi and Eva married, they decided to seek life in America. Eva’s sister, who was living in the Seattle-area, sponsored them for their 1963 move. They found their North Bend house and remodeled its horse barn into a studio for Adi to concentrate on his artwork.
Finding themselves once again by a mountain range, Adi took to the slopes, teaching skiing lessons as he and Eva raised their son and daughter.
“Snoqualmie Pass is real similar to the Bavarian Alps,” Adi said.
“The mountains there and the mountains here are very similar,” Eva agreed, noting both Bavarian Germany and Seattle are on the 48th parallel and share like climates.
The Hienzschs opened a retail store in North Bend in the late 1960s and sold Adi’s crafts on Pier 70 for four years in the 1970s. Now, the couple sells all of his artwork at 14410 436th Ave. S.E. in North Bend. To learn more, call 888-0490.
Many of Adi’s paintings range from $200 to $500 and his carvings cost $50 and up.
The couple has only returned to Germany three times in 40 years. Yet, they surround themselves with Adi’s paintings of Germany. On the walls of their sitting room, Adi painted a window, complete with sill and curtains, of the mountain and lake view the couple would have experienced had they stayed in Garmisch.
In Germany, the Hienzschs enjoyed hiking and skiing, and the Pacific Northwest’s landscape has allowed them to continue their sport. As a younger man, Adi would mountain bike, paraglide, windsurf and even skydive.
“He had such a good time,” Eva said. “He was yodeling and singing on the way down.”
She, however, remained below.
“I like to have my feet on the ground,” Eva said.
Reach reporter Laura Geggel at 392-6434 .221 or email@example.com.