Scouts’ honor Beloved log cabin, built by Boy Scouts in 1927, cannot be saved

By on January 25, 2012

By: STEPHEN SEEBER Record Express Staff, Staff Writer



Photo by Stephen Seeber
The Lititz Springs Park Board has decided the Boy Scout Cabin, which has watched over the park since 1927, cannot be saved. Demolition is set for March 12.Photo by Stephen Seeber
The Lititz Springs Park Board has decided the Boy Scout Cabin, which has watched over the park since 1927, cannot be saved. Demolition is set for March 12.

"A very difficult decision has been reached by the Lititz Springs Park Board of Trustees," wrote Ron Reedy, park board president, in a Jan. 3 e-mail to the Record Express.

Last week, it was confirmed that the old Boy Scout cabin that has looked over the springs since 1927 would be demolished and replaced with a picnic pavilion.

The well known structure, which has been used solely for storage for several decades, is in such a state of disrepair that the board deemed it unsalvageable, or at least cost-prohibitive to do so.

For many years, local Scout troops held their meetings and ceremonies in the rustic post; and it even served as a locker room for the Warwick football team, and a changing room for Queen of Candles contestants during the Fourth of July.

So, when it goes, many fond memories will go with it. Demolition is slated for March 12.

"I came through there the other day and I almost had a tear in my eye because it’s been sitting there for so long," said Stephen Palkovic, co-chair of the park’s Log Cabin Committee, "but we have to do what’s best for the community. To try to rebuild it would be very costly. I think the majority of people will understand."

In its place, the park will construct a $22,000 "Boy Scout Pavilion" that will generate income for the park as a rentable picnic facility. And while the pavilion will honor the local Scouting tradition, a significant portion of the cost will be covered through a donation from the Douglas Shertzer Scholarship Fund, and a plaque will be placed at the pavilion as a memorial to Lititz’s former police chief.

Some elements of the existing cabin will be saved and incorporated into the new structure, most notably the stone fireplace. The doors, shutters and some of the wood will also be used for other projects.

Palkovic, who has been volunteering for the park in some capacity for the past 40 years, said his committee spent nearly two years studying the options.

"We kept looking at it, and we brought contractors in to look at it, and they would not render a bid (for renovation)," he said. "It was a tough decision, but we’ll get a lot of use out of it as a pavilion because it’s got a nice view up there on top of the hill."

"The committee wrestled with the thought of repairing or replacing this age-old structure that currently only serves as a storage unit," added Don Krushinski, cabin committee co-chair. "After taking a hard look at the bellied roof, bulging rear wall and seriously deteriorating logs, the unanimous decision was made to add a much-needed pavilion in its location. Hopefully, the community will embrace and appreciate the new log cabin pavilion."

The iconic cabin, which has capped the head-end basin of Lititz Springs Park for 84 years, was built by Lititz Boy Scout Troops 2 and 3, which met in the Moravian Church. From 1942 until the early ’60s, it served as a staging area for the Queen of Candles pageant. It also served as the half-time locker room for the Lititz High football team during the 1940s and ’50s. Lititz Explorer Post 342 restored the cabin and constructed an addition in 1960, and it continued to be used by Scouts until the 1970s, when troops started holding meetings at community churches.

Today, the cabin serves as a storage facility for the park’s Fourth of July displays and the Christmas nativity scene that is displayed at the town square each year.

Prior to demolition, the park is planning to host one last ceremonial Scout meeting at the cabin, tentatively scheduled for March 3.

Reedy, who is also a park historian, is among the many who will be sad to see the cabin go.

"To us old-timers, it has meaning and it’s an icon of the park," he said. "It’s always visible; it sits on top of the hill. It’s always been there, since 1927, so it’s a historical piece."

He also understands that demolition is the only feasible option.

"As a historian, I’ve come to the realization that the board has no choice but to address the issue, which the board has done. It’s been well thought out." More SCOUT CABIN, page A16