Volunteers have been working together to build a new community cabin at the Owl Creek Reservoir. Despite being a new transplant at the reservoir, the modest cabin has seen thousands of guests in its historic lifetime.
Project organizer Ben Turrano said the wood cabin once belonged to Camp Brainerd campground in Stroudsburg. Many Tamaqua area residents, to include Turrano and TamaquaArea.com editor Andrew Leibenguth, have attended Camp Brainerd by way of various local youth church groups or outings.
Turano said his friend Colin Wharton did the initial footwork to purchase the cabin following several letters of appeal and planning to Lehigh Presbytery.
The 16X16 foot cabin was the last of five boys cabins left standing following the sale of the 62-year old campground last year. Despite fires on consecutive years in the early 1960s that destroyed multiple buildings at the campground, hard work and determinations enabled the camp to survive and flourish through the years… Until recently. Last year, the campground was sold and Camp Brainerd partnered with Kirkwood Camp. The new combined camp, located at 127 Kirkwood Road in Stroudsburg, is now called Camp Kirkwood-Brainerd. According to the Camp Brainerd Facebook page, there will be a Kirkwood Camp Dedication on October 18, 2015. Click HERE to view the flyer.
Turrano, who served 4 years as a camper and one year as a counselor, said he heard about the camp closing and, along with some other friends, decided to purchase the cabin. After talking with members of the Owl Creek Reservoir Commission about the project, the commission agreed to accept the donation and allow it to be placed just east of the Lower Owl Creek Pavilion.
In addition to purchasing it, Turrano orchestrated the disassembly, transportation, reassembly, and repairs of the cabin.
Turrano stated his high appreciation to others for their continued dedication towards the project. They were the Tamaqua Borough, Owl Creek Reservoir Commission, Tom’s Autobody and Marine, Jim Henninger of First Presbyterian Church of Allentown, Judy & Ryan Linggold & family of Emmaus, Colin Wharton of Chesterfield VA, Clayton Griffith of Harrisburg, and Steve Donald of Bethlehem, Jeff Letterhouse, Camrin Miller, Kevin and Alex Steigerwalt, Rob Fisher, Tom Coggiano, and numerous others.
“I am also especially grateful to Lehigh Presbytery, who graciously accepted the plan and proposal to buy, salvage and share the cabin with others,” said Turrano.
Turrano said the main goal for the rest of 2015 is to put a new roof on the cabin and make it water tight. Next year, volunteers will come together again to take care of the rest of the work needed to the cabin.
Anyone who has attended Camp Brainerd, or anyone wanting to help with the new cabin, is encouraged to contact Turrano via phone at 570-656-5991 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ben.turrano.3. Donations can also be given via a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/Cabin-1-project.
They hope to open the cabin to the public via reservations some time next year.