Cabin History

The Camp Headquarters Cabin and Dan Beards Outdoor School
Lackawaxen Township, Pike County, PA

Wildlands and Dan BeardPreserving this cabin, this piece of history has significant meaning not only to the early beginnings of the Boy Scouts of American, but to Daniel Carter Beard and his association with the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. His original summer home, Wildlands, burned down in 1961. The other buildings of the Dan Beard Outdoor School for Boys no longer exist or have been moved. That makes this Kiva style log cabin the last remaining part of Beard's Outdoor School. Relocating and keeping the cabin in the NEPA region is important to preserving not only this history but it is also a tribute to a beloved founder of the BSA, Dan Beard himself.

In 1887, Daniel Carter Beard and his brother James first purchased property on Lake Teedyuskung in Lackawaxen Twp, Pike County, PA. The property was eventually deeded in full to Dan Beard. He built a log cabin in 1887 known as Wildlands as a summer home. In 1916 The Dan Beard Outdoor School for Boys was incorporated and the summer camp program began to take shape.

Dan Beard met Abner McPheters at an outdoor conference and designs for an additional log cabin on his property in Lackawaxen Twp, were formulated. Abner McPheters was a outdoor guide, lumber operations manager, and cabin builder from Maine. A deal was struck and McPheters came from Maine with five loggers (two are known at this time as Little Joe and Elmer) to construct the Kiva style cabin in 1926. The cabin was built on the East side of Welcome Lake Road which is now owned by Woodloch Pines. The purpose of building a Kiva style cabin is that it is well suited to be used as a large assembly room. This Camp Headquarters cabin was designed for that purpose. It is a 28' x 30' rectangular log building with walls reaching to the steeply pitched roof. Joists were placed during the construction (see photo) on the top of wall girders in a N-S orientation to accommodate a hanging room known as the Orioles Nest, which was placed at right angles in a East West direction.

This nest was constructed to float on the rafters so as not to take away from the rooms spacious appearance. The floor of the second level is locked into place by a king post that runs from the roof’s ridgepole to the second floor joist and held in place by wooden pegs. It was effective in reducing vibration and springing of the floor. Stairs were built on the NW side of the room leading to the Orioles Nest. The loft is surrounded with a “U” shaped balcony referred to as a “Romeo and Juliet” balcony.

An extension with a lean-to style roof is located on the east side of the cabin and contains 4 small rooms to be used as bedrooms and offices. The desire was to maintain focus on the cabins’ use as an assembly room. A porch extends from the NW side and continues to the South side of the cabin. A stone fireplace with a puncheon mantel was constructed on the east side of the assembly room. To build it, they first constructed a open face wooden box to be used as a form for laying the stones. Once the stones were laid and chimney finished, a fire was set burning the wooden form from the fireplace.

The front door of the cabin was referred to as a “Fort Pitt” door. It was constructed by using small tree trunks with one side flattened (puncheons.) Each puncheon was attached together to make 2 panels. A frame was constructed and the panels attached to each side. These panel seams were offset and covered on the insides sealing the seams to reduce air seepage. The outside panel overlapped the frame to complete the seal when the door was closed. One of the Maine Loggers, Little Joe, forged the metal hinges in Hawley at a blacksmith shop and hand carved the latches and handles for the door.