Our History | Tuscarora Inn + Conference Center
Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center was founded in 1972 and has grown from a small facility with a few rooms to one that serves more than 20,000 guests annually. From a weekend getaway to your Church and Corporate Retreats, turn to Tuscarora as your venue of choice.
The History Behind Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center
Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center was founded in 1972 and has grown from a small facility with only a few rooms to a year-round conference center with over 100 private rooms and additional dormitory space for 128. We currently serve over 20,000 guests per year that attend the conference center for one of its sponsored retreats or with their church.
The conference center came to be when the Eastern District of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren decided to look for a permanent spot to hold their summer Bible Camps. Up to that point, the district had been renting other facilities to host their camps. In 1971, the search team came across Tuscarora Inn, a resort that had been in business for almost 50 years. The price of $425,000 seemed to be unattainable for the group, but they moved ahead in faith. In September of 1971, almost 600 people came to listen to the proposal. That day, bonds were purchased and all of the quarter acre lots that now make up the Tuscarora Village were sold. Enough cash was raised for the down-payment and the previous owners, the Dolson family, agreed to hold the mortgage.
Over the years, the Lord has truly blessed the ministry of Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center. New hotel facilities have been built over those years, with the quality improving with each addition. In the early days, meetings were held in a tent until a multi-purpose building was built in 1975 by Olav B. Olsen. In 2003 construction was completed on our 700 seat, theater-style auditorium, The Senum-Thompson Center. This facility is named after two charter board members who were significantly involved in the earliest days of the ministry. Reidar Senum and Rev. Ted Thompson were instrumental in the development of the conference center from the early days to where it is today.
Tuscarora has also been blessed with committed staff leadership, many have served at the conference center for decades. The previous director of the conference center, Herb Jacobsen, served for 30 years.
In addition to the main conference center facility and the “Tuscarora Village”, the “Mt. Bethel Lutheran Brethren Church” was founded in 1980 on the grounds of the conference center. The church grew to serve the broader community and moved into its own building in 1988. Today, the church is a vital ministry to the Mount Bethel area and continues to complement the ministry of the conference center.
In 2000, the Tuscarora Resource Center facility (now referred to as "The Pines") was given to the Conference Center as an extension of its current ministry. Previously used for a counseling ministry to pastors and missionaries, this beautiful facility is currently being used as a “small version” of the main retreat center serving groups of up to 50 people who travel 1 ½ miles to the main campus for their meals and recreation.