Woodloch donates cabin to ScoutsWoodloch Pines Resort has donated a historic cabin on their property to the Boys Scouts of America. The log cabin was used by one of the Scouts’ founders in the first half of the 20th Century.
Woodloch Pines Resort has donated a historic cabin on their property to the Boys Scouts of America. The log cabin was used by one of the Scouts’ founders in the first half of the 20th Century.
The Northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA) Council of the Boy Scouts of America has plans to move it to the Goose Pond Boy Scout Reservation about 12 or 15 miles away, in Paupack Township.
The cabin was built at the direction of Daniel Carter Beard in 1926 and was part of his Boy Scout camp which operated until 1940. It was built along Lake Teedyuskung.
Robert Kiesendahl, an owner of Woodloch Pines, stated that the cabin has been owned by Woodloch since the property was purchased in 1958 by the Kiesendahl family for the resort. He said that Woodloch at one time used it for storage but has wanted to donate it to the Boy Scouts to preserve the heritage.
He said that Woodloch has no immediate plans for the site. People interested in scouting have stopped by and snapped pictures, but Woodloch hasn’t opened it for the public. It sits in an area used for resort maintenance and isn’t easily accessible.
At Goose Pond, said Robert Gibbons, the cabin will have new life serving scouts, as well as be preserved as a heritage site for anyone interested in the Boy Scouts. Gibbons is on the Executive Board with the NEPA Council, and chairs the committee for the cabin project.
He stated that Woodloch first approached the NEPA Council in 2002 but at that the Scouting officials weren’t ready with a plan to have it moved or raise the needed funds. John Iona, who lives near the resort and has a son in Troop 1 Honesdale, suggested that Woodloch make the offer again.
It took most of the previous year studying the idea and planning, including how they would have it moved, where they would put it, what they wanted to do with it and how they would raise the money. The entire board at the NEPA Council was behind it, Gibbons said.
Gibbons stated that to disassemble the cabin and reconstruct it on a new foundation, will cost nearly $200,000. An application was made to the Lackawanna Valley Heritage Authority (LVHA), and a grant was approved for $10,000. This has allowed the Scouts to get started. The project is being sponsored in part by the LVHA with the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the National Park Service.
A contractor from New Jersey that specializes in moving cabins was selected. The Dan Beard cabin is basically 30 x 30 feet with a wrap-around porch, four small rooms in the back and a stone fireplace. All of this needs to be painstakingly taken apart, keeping track of each piece so that it goes together just right.
As Gibbons explained, these old logs were hewn the old-fashioned way, by ax; no two logs are cut exactly the same. American chestnut was used, from local trees. The fireplace stones also have to be numbered and mapped, and taken apart rock by rock.
Scouts and adult volunteers have already been at work, starting to prepare the cabin for the contractor. Mortar has to be removed from between the logs. Gibbons said that the cabin has been deteriorating and will need a new roof, as well as some other pieces.
Gibbons said they have a “fantastic” group of volunteers on the committee. Scouter Debi Stewart, who lives only about two miles from the cabin, has been researching the life of Dan Beard and his camp.
A site at Goose Pond has been picked out. The plan is to utilize the cabin for their summer camp Pathway program, where boys new to Scouting learn the basics of self-reliance, said Gibbons. They also plan to put in bunks and open it for winter camping. Period furnishing will be sought.
Part of the cost includes installing heating, plumbing and modern wiring.
Goose Pond Boy Scout Reservation, which opened in 1920, caters to troops from across the NEPA Council in Wayne, Pike, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties, and part of Luzerne County. Troops also attend from Boy Scout councils in New York State and New England, and others areas of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The reservation covers 507 acres.
NEPA Council anticipates that the Dan Beard cabin will become an attraction for Scouts and former Scouts who may want to visit Goose Pond. They intend in some way to present information about its significance to Scouting history.
Gibbons explained that the contractor is able to do his work most economically in the winter months. The contractor expects to take apart the cabin an dmove the pieces in Februray 2011. Then, next winter- in February or March 2012, they anticipate the contractor will be reassembling the cabin at Goose Pond. In the meantime, the Boy Scouts will be raising funds and the new site will be prepared. Sometime in the spring of 2012, Gibbons anticipated, the cabin will be dedicated.
Fund-raising will be done to help cover the balance of the costs, and grants will be sought from a variety of sources. Gibbons commented that he knew this may take some time and may be a challenge given the economy, but he thought it was feasible.
In about two weeks, the NEPA Council web site will have a link to a web site dedicated to the Dan Beard Cabin Project. From there, donations can be made directly on-line.
Anyone interested in assisting may also send a check to NEPA Council of The Boys Scouts of America, 1 Bob Mellow Drive, Moosic, PA 18507-1776, with “Dan Beard Cabin” indicated in the memo line.
After the Boy Scout camp closed, the cabin was used as an antique shop for a time, and as a tavern.
How it began
Daniel Carter Beard (1850-1941) and his brother came down from New York State and built a summer home on a lake in Lackawaxen Township. It was here that in 1905, Beard organized a group called the Sons of Daniel Boone, a predecessor to the Boy Scouts. Another man with a heart for helping boys was Ernest Thompson Seton, who organized a group called Woodcrafting Indians. Together, in 1910, they merged their groups and formed the Boy Scouts of America.
Beard was 60 years of age when the Boy Scouts started. Gibbons said he was much lived by the boys, and was called, “Uncle Dan.” A visionary, Beard acted at a time when more and more boys were floundering, growing up in cities bas the nation was becoming less rural and more industrial.
In 1912, Beard worked with the Culver Military Academy in Indiana creating their summer camp program named Woodcraft Camp, which was for boys under the age of 14, who were not eligible for the Naval program. By 1915 Beard's family life necessitated him to remain closer to home and the decision was made to create his own outdoor camp.
In 1916, Beard bought up land for a Boy Scout camp, which he called the Dan Beard Outdoor School for Boys. It was open to both Boy Scouts and non- Boy Scouts. One of his young campers was Howard Hughes, who would become a recluse billionaire.
Ten years later, Beard had the cabin built that would become his camp headquarters and meeting room, and today, a treasured relic of the Boy Scout legacy.
“He wanted to make life better for kids,” Gibbons said of Dan Beard.
NEPA Council, Boy Scouts of America
Daniel Carter Beard profile...
Born June 21, 1850 in Cincinnati, Ohio
• Early career as an engineer and surveyor
• Attended art school in New York City, where he befriended Ernest Thompson Seton in 1883
• Illustrated several books for Mark Twain and other authors
• Wrote magazine columns
• Founded Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905 based on American frontier traditions
• Merged with Seton’s Woodcrafting Indians in 1910 to form Boy Scouts of America
• Became one of the first National Scout Commissioners and served 30 years’
• Became an Eagle Scout, Feb. 15, 1915
Died June 11, 1941 at the age of 90, at his home in Suffern, NY
Dan Beard has been memorialized across the nation. Mt. Beard, next to Mt. McKinley, is named for him. Daniel Carter Beard Bridge carries 1-471 across the Ohio River. A life-size statue of Beard stands in Covington, KY. Nearby is his boyhood home, which is a National Historic Landmark. There is a school in Flushing, NY named after him. Various Boy Scout councils, troops and reservations incorporate his name. Locally, the Dan Beard District of the Northeast Pennsylvania Council, Boy Scouts of America, including Boy Scout troops within Wayne, Pike and Lackawanna counties.