In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit

What if we told you that there is a Hobbit House right here in Spokane? And even better that there are a bunch of Hobbit House story time videos recorded by residential main Hobbits Ryan Oelrich and Robert C. Thompson just ready for you to view on Facebook?

Well – it’s true. From mid-March to early May the main Hobbits would read a children’s book every weekday at noon. The live readings are on hold right now, but the videos are still ready to view.

Ryan said they most often pick books based on family favorites.

“But we have also had books donated to our little free Hobbit library, and pulled some from there,” Ryan said. The little free Hobbit library is just like any other free library, but it has sort of a hobbit flair.

Hobbits are of course fairytale figures from the universe of J.R.R. Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings. They reside in Middle Earth, in underground houses with round windows and doors. They easily live to be 100 years old and may be recognized by their bare (and somewhat hairy) feet and short stature. Famous Hobbits include Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee and Pippin Took.

But why oh why is there a Hobbit house in Spokane?

Ryan said he and Robert took a trip to New Zealand and visited Hobbiton – the set of the famous Lord of the Rings movies. They decided that a Hobbit House was just what their west Spokane neighborhood needed.

“I built the Spokane Hobbit House in 2018 after collecting items and materials for the project for more than a decade,” Ryan said. “I’ve always been a big Tolkien, Hobbit and reading fan in general, so I thought a Hobbit House would be a fun way to encourage reading and to build community.”

The Hobbit House and its little free library quickly became a local attraction – drawing hundreds of people one memorable Halloween. It features motion activated speakers that plays music and quotes from the Lord of the Rings movies.

But during these strange COVID-19 times, the Hobbit House’s main purpose is to serve as an imagination stimulator for its almost 2500 Facebook followers or as a short outing destination.

Ryan said he’s always found Hobbits quite inspirational.

“As it says on the sign out front, ‘Remember it was a Hobbit so very small who did big things & saved them all,’" Ryan said.

Learn more about the Spokane Hobbit House.

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