Ernie Eder, left, with Tin Room Bar/Theater Owner Dan House in 2008. Photo by Scott Schaefer.

Ernie Eder, former owner of Olde Burien’s historic Hi-Line Tin Shop – now the Tin Room Bar & Theater – passed away on Saturday, Jan. 5.
Ernie, who retired several years ago, apparently passed peacefully of natural causes in his mid-80s.
The Hi-Line Tin Shop was started by Ernie’s father, John Eder, in 1930. Ernie took the family business over and ran it until retiring around 2004, when it was turned into the Tin Room Bar.
You can see evidence of Ernie and his work throughout the bar – including in the logo – with re-purposed templates inlayed into tables, along with historic signs, tools, and a sheet metal roller above the bar. Even the faces and names of Ernie and his wife Phyllis adorn the restroom doors.
“Ernie’s wife, Phyllis, was by his side throughout the changing times and together they weathered the advent of home improvement chain stores and mass produced products by concentrating on custom work,” reads a note on the Tin Room Bar’s website. “Not only was their work essential, but of great quality and craftsmanship.”
“I had meatloaf with Ernie about two weeks ago, and I told him that the real reason for the success of the Tin Room is because of all he did here,” Dan House, Tin Room Owner, told The B-Town Blog Sunday. “Ernie was a great man and a true local treasure, and he’ll be greatly missed by everyone.”
House adds that a memorial and celebration of Ernie’s life is planned at the Tin Room on Saturday, Jan. 26, starting at 2 p.m.. Ernie’s classic old Tin Shop truck will be on hand, and all are invited to share their thoughts.
There will also be a card at the bar available immediately for anyone to sign to share their thoughts and sympathies with Ernie’s family.

One interesting anecdote from Ernie’s Tin Shop days was when a Disney film called “White Fang” needed custom chimney stacks for shacks that they built for the set – but they needed them to be made and shipped within 24 hours. They called upon Ernie and he quickly rose to the task, fulfilling and shipping their order up to Alaska right on time.
Here’s another photo of Ernie, courtesy Greg Butler, who adds:

“Here’s a photo of him the night he met Ciscoe at the Tin Room. Not sure who was more tickled at meeting who…”

We had a chance to meet Ernie a few times, and we thoroughly enjoyed his company and sense of humor. We’d like to share our deepest sympathies with his family and friends, and add:

“Rest in Peace Ernie, and thanks for all you did for the community!”


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11 replies on “Hi-Line Tin Shop Owner Ernie Eder Passes Away; Tin Room Memorial Jan. 26”

  1. Ernie made my custom furnace bonnet when I remodeled my basement and retro fitted the new hat air furnace to the old duct work system which I retained. It was a convoluted thing I designed because I changed the location of the furnace too. Knowing Ernie to be a stickler, I measured everything very carefully. He made it and when I paid for it he said I’d done an excellent job of measuring and drawing. The bonnet fit perfectly. I mean it went right in with just one gentle pop. He told me it was the last bonnet he was going to make. I am very proud of that and that.
    The bonnet is available for viewing M-F 10 am-3 pm. There is a $25 admission fee. Call ahead for an appointment.
    Steve Chayer

  2. Hi-Line Tin Shop’s work is all throughout my old family home built in 1938-1941. In 2003 I had Ernie fashion a couple of short run heater ducts for me that were originally shaped vertically for reasons I don’t know. Ernie asked for exact drawings and measurements to make them go horizontal and be hidden within the ceiling joists.
    As Steve said above, the work fit perfectly and clicked in with a gentle pop.
    Ernie asked if I would like to buy the business, said he would teach me everything to carry on. We had a great chat, I enjoyed him and the stories. It was a blessing to meet him!

  3. Best wishes for the Eder family.My father grew up with Ernie,and my Grandparents where friends with John Eder since the 30,s! MY grandma and John still had dinner dates long after each of their spouces pasted! Lots of hi-line tin shop projects around my home! Rest in peace Ernie!

  4. Ernie had a great life and got to be here, along with the rest of us, to see his business so lovingly transformed into the Tin Room Bar. Dan did a great job of preserving the tin shop’s history, and making Ernie and Phyllis a lasting part of the bar’s inception. There are so many mementos of the Tin Shop’s history that can be re- discovered by looking around the bar,which will ensure a lasting legacy.

  5. We opened Emerald City Smoothie in 2000 and Ernie did all our custom tin work. I would have to make extra time when I needed something because his stories would keep me listening. He was a great community member, and will be missed dearly.

  6. My father worked with Ernie and father before he could even speak English after migrating from Germany. They became good friends and as each of there families grew we all spent time together at each others homes. I remember hanging out at the shop and playing in the back parking lot. The work that was done was interesting to me and when I was very young thought maybe I could work there when I got old enough. Thanks for the memories Ernie and thanks to this generation of owners who are preserving them for the community.

  7. Ernie married my cousin Phyllis in 1970 and immediately became a part of the family. His great sense of humor is what my dad, Uncle Bern to Ernie, loved. At the family picnics Ernie couldn’t wait to get to my dad to tell one of his off jokes because he knew Uncle Bern would love it. After my dad died, Ernie began telling me his jokes, even though I could laugh a good laugh at something off I know Ernie toned them down for me. Forever now with his beloved Phyllis. Sadly missed by his family. Thoughts and prayers to Brenda and Linda and the rest of his family.

    1. F.Y.I. –
      The rest of Ernie’s surviving family – Two older children from his 1st marriage , Theresa & John !!

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