CRESTON, Iowa — Cracked and crumbling, a cabin in Creston’s McKinley Park faces destruction from the city’s parks and recreation board. Local Girl Scout groups aren’t just fighting to save a building, they are fighting to save a century of memories.
“The rotary club built it out of telephone poles taken down from in town,” said Audrey Wright, who serves as the Union County Girl Scout service unit manager. “That’s their history. This is Creston’s history,” said Wright.
Until the pandemic hit, Union County Girl Scouts like Makenzi Martwick had been using the cabin for summer camp and activities in McKinley Park since it’s construction in 1925. “I can share the memories of just everything I’ve done here. I’m able to show the younger Girl Scouts the ways that we’ve done it,” said Martwick, an 11th grade student at Creston High School.
Now, the nearly century-old cabin is showing its age, and if it isn’t fixed up by the spring, Wright says it faces demolition. “The city says the water main is clay, so for us to have water back in here we’d have to redo them,” Wright said.
After sitting empty for a few years, daylight now creeps through crumbling walls and snow is piling up inside. “It’s very emotional to have to reach out and say, ‘hey, we haven’t failed but we are falling really hard,'” said Wright. But she doesn’t see total disrepair; she sees revitalization. “Yeah, we have problems, but there are memories behind every crack,” she said.
The threat of demolition was enough for scouts like Betty Wright to create the Save the Girl Scout Cabin at McKinley Park Facebook page hoping for donations. “It makes me very grateful that there are people that actually care about the cabin,” said Betty, a 5th grade student at Creston Elementary School.
Names carved into the cabin over the last nine decades serve as a time capsule. Betty said, “Pretty heartbreaking because how many people have been in here and then they’d lose what they had been in.”
These walls may be weary, but just like the old telephone poles that used to connect the community, this building is a lifeline between the past, present and future. “It’s every girl. Every woman that is out here in Creston and Council Bluffs. Anybody that has had any interaction here,” said Wright.
The next step for the Union County Girl Scouts is to meet with the parks and recreation board at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18. You can help with the fundraiser by donating money to @crestongirlscoutcabin.