How the Museum became what it is today, all started with an idea about 70 years ago. In 1949, when the new Scoutmaster, Bob Bassford, and committeeman Mr. Adius, discussed the idea of a “scout hut”. However, their idea for a place for our troop to meet, passed with the passing of Mr. Adius.

Initially, the town of Rochelle Park let us use a single car, wood framed garage behind the old municipal building off of Rochelle Avenue that they were hardly using. We would use this building to store our tents, tipi poles, trail chefs and other camping needs. The only issue with this garage is that it was too small to fit our tipi poles in correctly, so in 1973, I had Assistant Scoutmaster Doug Bransema draft a design to make the garage twice the size, so that the tipi poles would fit properly. When I brought this design to the building inspector, I was told that ‘if the design was to be approved, we would need a frost-free foundation.’ The original section of the new design would have been built on the old cinder blocks foundation, so there was no way we could have a frost-free foundation on the whole building unless we moved the building. So we decided to look for other options.

Assistant Scoutmaster Jon Losche, Assistant Scoutmaster Jim Daubner, Committeeman Chris Gaul, Assistant Scoutmaster Bill Stevens, Assistant Scoutmaster Frank Diraimondo, and myself began to build a cabin in Wappingers Falls, New York in Duchess County Park. As we progressed with the construction of the cabin, the New York County Commissioners added new requirements for the cabins in the area, including the restriction of camping to March through September. Seeing as we wanted to use this cabin for winter camping, it was no longer an option.

We started construction on a new building in 1998. In place of the cabin we decided to take the plans for the expanded garage and flip them around. I had AT&T support me in joining the Rochelle Park Rotary Club and I convinced them to build the original building. The committee would meet downstairs and the troop would store their tents above. ORR Electric did the service line, and Assistant Scoutmaster Joe Lyons of Maywood did our internal wiring. Jon Losche completed the firewall with stones he and I collected from Franklin Lakes. While we were doing that, Committeeman Bob DeNuto, Assistant Scoutmaster Dan Bruel, and Committee Chairman George Dittus finished the roof.

Our initial plan was to create a log cabin however we did not meet the requirements for a building like that. We decided instead to put in kingpost supports, one large garage door (instead of two), and no lolly columns. I redesigned the building around these changes and several others and installed a power board with 2 circuits to each wall.

  • Ed Quinn, Museum Curator