various news agencies with this statement following the September 21, 2006
announcement of the
Executive Board's decision to demolish Finch Lodge.
The Save Finch Lodge group questions the Boy Scout Executive Boardís decision of Sept.21 which plans to replace National Register-eligible Finch Lodge at Camp Cowles with a new, look-alike dining hall. Our group believes it is tragic that the Executive Board proposes spending an estimated $200,000 more than a contemporary design on a misguided attempt at recreating history. Removing architectural elements from their original context and incorporating them into a facsimile building can do little more than create a false sense of history. Although it is in need of repair, the original lodge remains standing and is both structurally sound and historically significant. Renovation for seasonal use would cost far less than $200,000. Also, a new Cub Camp dining hall would be more conveniently located on a nearby site closer to North Shore Road. It makes no sense to spend precious donor dollars to demolish the oldest architect-designed, Boy Scout camp-lodge in the west. The members of savefinchlodge.com believe that the youth of the Inland Northwest would be much better served by an innovative new dining hall located more centrally in the proposed Cub Camp area plus a renovated Finch Lodge that would be available spring, summer and fall for various program activities.
Finch Lodge was designed for the Boy Scoutís Camp Cowles on Diamond Lake by noted architect Julius A. Zittel and was built in 1923. The rustic, craftsman style lodge features an interior balcony and two large stone fireplaces. The knotty pine that was added to the walls in the 1940ís has become a meaningful part of its historic fabric. The old-world, storybook atmosphere of its interior makes Finch Lodge a perfect fit with a Cub Camp.
Although historic preservation is not explicitly stated in the Inland Northwest Councilís mission statement, preservation embraces notions of conservation, tradition, integrity, heritage and history that are closely tied to Scouting. The Executive Boardís disregard of pro-preservation input from scores of Scouts, Scout Volunteers, Scout Parents, former Scouts, Diamond Lake Residents, The Pend Oreille County Historical society, The editor of the Whitman County Gazette, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Spokane Preservation Advocates, and Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation demonstrates that these well-intentioned men have become very out-of-touch with those they wish to serve.