Newspaper Archive of
The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
July 11, 2012     The Adams County Record
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July 11, 2012

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The Adams County Record Wednesday, July 11, 2012 Page 13 Continued from front page park became a virtual junk yard where few people wanted to spend time. County Commissioners were finally able to evict the caretaker in 2010, and a slow and sporadic process of bringing the park back into shape sputtered along. Last year Meadows Valley dida Community Review, collecting ideas and information to find a positive direction for the community. One of the projects deemed to be desirable was restoring Packer John Park. Three volunteers Stepped forward to accomplish the task. Jean Schultz and Fred Erland live next to the park, and Janice Butner joined them in the effort. Over the past few months the trio have put in some long days -- refurbishing picnic tables, making or refinishing signs, procuring supplies, hauling garbage and much more. A fresh coat of paint now makes the entrance sign and the toilets look new. A Short History of Packer John Cabin The toilets were a big undertaking in themselves. This spring, Fred Erland explained, the vaults under them were full and frozen solid. After the mess thawed, he had the vaults pumped out and then he pressure- washed the structures inside and out. Fred and a partner built a new handicap-accessible toilet. There are no garbage cans at the park. The volunteers decided they would ask people who use the park to pack their own garbage out when they leave -- a "pack it in / pack it out" approach that has been used in more remote camping areas. Last week, county workers spread road-mix gravel on the roadways, and will soon lay it in parking areas and the 17 camping spots. Schultz, Butner and Erland would like to see the cabin after which the park is named rebuilt. The logs are badly rotted, and two winters ago, a tree fell on it, partially collapsing the roof. An adjacent landowner has offered to rebuild the cabin in exchange for a right of way through the park to his property. This idea is on hold at the moment. In the meantime, three dedicated people work for nothing but their own satisfaction and pride in the knowledge that they are developing a bright spot in a community that has endured its share of dark economic clouds. The big sign at the entrance to Packer John Park looks brand new, thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers. The water from the well behind (and left of) the sign has now been tested and approved for drinking. The one-roomed log building was erected in 1862 by John Welsh (known to fame as Packer John) to store merchandise that he was transporting from Lewiston to the Boise Basin gold camps. For decades it was known as the "Goose Creek Cabin;' "Goose Creek House" or the "Mountain House:' It was used as a meeting place for two early territorial conventions in 1863 and '64 because it was close to halfway between the territory's two population centers: Lewiston and Boise. By 1879, the cabin was already described as being "in ruins." John Irick, who owned the property in 1909, donated the cabin and ten acres to the State Historical Society. The state contributed $500 to rebuild the cabin. A newspaper of the time said, "The cabin was in good shape, although in the process of recon- struction it emerged with a new design quite different from the original" State records say "the cabin [was] taken down and rebuilt, new logs put in place of those that were - decaying and a new floor and a new roof:' A 1945 history of the area described a second restoration of the cabin in 1943: "The cabin was taken down, all decayed logs removed and replaced, with roof logs and a new covering of tamarack shakes put on. The floor was re-laid--two half windows put in, a quaint old door of pioneer architecture hung at the entrance with the peculiar long handmade wooden hinges of the first settlers who executed carpenter work with the ax and draw-shave. The proverbial latchstring provides the means of opening and locking the door and the whole made as near as may be a replica of the original. The stones of which the old fireplace was built were used in restoring the heating plant and the cabin made good for another fifty years" The Idaho legislature made the place a state park on March 6, 1951. In 1992 the state deeded the park to the Adams County Historical Society "by and through the Adams County Board of County Coml-nissioners." The total, deeded acreage is 16.47 acres, including a 15-foot wide strip all the way to Highway 55 for the entrance road. THOMASON FUNEK L HOME & CREMATORY F~nily Owned a~d Operated . Burial Services - Pre-pl rming Optiom - Cremation rvices - Monuments 221 E, Court St Weise,, ID 83672 (2O8) 414-1234 wv~e.~per-Thom~ota.eom ~. 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