• 43°

A link to the past

As a young Dave Lucas sat playing with Lincoln Logs, he had a vision.

It was a persistent dream, one that would stick with him well into his adult life as an instructor at Ohio University Southern.

Lucas wanted his own log cabin.

The first wooden cottage he built on his property in Hamilton Township was close, but it wasn't a true log cabin. Even the large home he constructed three years later didn't calm his craving.

Then, as he surveyed his land, he was struck by inspiration.

"I had spied this little flat up here, this little seat overlooking this creek, and I thought 'This would be a perfect place to build a log cabin,'" Lucas said.

Pre-fabricated log cabins have become all the rage lately, but that wasn't enough to satisfy Lucas' inner 4-year-old. He wanted an authentic experience, as similar as it could be to constructing a cabin in the 1830s, within reason, of course.

"I wanted to do it the way the old guys did it," Lucas said. "Of course, I didn't have any mules, so I had to drag my logs up here with my tractor. But everywhere we could implement the old tools, we did."

The "we" Lucas talks about is the Boy Scout troop that he leads.

The scouts have been with Lucas through every step of the construction, which due to the antiquated methods used, took about 4 years.

Both Jacob Roark and Zach Jenkins have been senior patrol leaders of Troop 106 at times. They've seen the project go from a simple drawing that Lucas created to the fully realized cabin that was presented at Friday night's open cabin ceremony.

They both admit that the project required a lot more sweat than they anticipated.

"I've learned about woodwork, design," Roark said, before adding with a grin, "… and a good work ethic."

Despite the 4-year effort, Jenkins said it was all worth it once he stepped through the completed cabin's doors.

"The memory that I'll always have with me was when it was completely finished, and the new floor was on and all the linseed oil was on, just the sweet aroma that met your nose, and just how beautiful that was," Jenkins said.

The scouts will have plenty of opportunities to make new memories as they use the cabin for their regular meetings.

But Lucas also wants to use the cabin to educate, to give the next generation what Jenkins and Roark now have - a much larger version of his Lincoln Log vision.

"Every young person needs a good childhood memory which provides kind of a guiding light for the path they walk," Lucas said. "Children who are abused, or don't have good childhood memories, they grow up sad and broken-hearted."

"We're trying to provide young people with a scent of the past, a taste of the past, a feel of the past, because if you don't know where you came from, you don't know where you're going."