The final push to help Yeomalt cabin


I learned about Yeomalt cabin when the park district announced about three years ago that it would dismantle and haul away it’s rotting frame.

I wrote a story about it and soon got a call from local whirlwind Jerry Elfendahl. With his fiery passion for Bainbridge history, it was a rare week after the story came out that Jerry didn’t barrel past the newspaper’s receptionists, creep up behind me and begin barking into my ear (sometimes while I was on the phone) about the latest Yeomalt-related emergency.

Jerry applied that same enthusiasm to raising money and rallying volunteers to save the cabin. And it’s worked. Jerry and the rest of Team Yeomalt are within striking distance of raising the final $13,000 they need to bring new life to a cabin that’s hosted American soldiers, Russian sailors and generations of camp song-singing islanders.

See my story about the latest fundraising push below.

Final push to save Yeomalt cabin
By Tristan Baurick

Restorationists working to save a Depression-era log cabin are making a last leap toward their fundraising finish line this week.

“With a few more checks in the mail we’ll be ready to roll,” said local historian Jerry Elfendahl, who helped found Team Yeomalt to save the 73-year-old cabin at Camp Yeomalt Park.

After three years of fundraising, the cabin’s supporters are within $13,000 of the $193,000 they need to shore up the cabin’s sagging walls, replace its foundation and stabilize its stone chimney.

A professional house mover and a log building restorationist from Oregon are ready for the work to begin, said Elfendahl.

“They’re standing by and just treading water,” he said. “They’re in-demand so they can’t wait around much longer.”

With the weather clearing up, Team Yeomalt also wants to take advantage of the prime construction season.

Set among a stand of trees north of Wing Point, the cabin was built by the U.S. Works Progress Administration between 1935 and 1937. The U.S. Army and Russian merchant marines used the cabin during World War II. Briefly used as an artillery base after the war, the building is best remembered as a camp for generations of Boy Scouts.

Neglect and disrepair allowed the cabin’s roof to crumble and portions of its log walls to disintegrate from rot and insects. The Bainbridge park district’s announcement three years ago that it would remove the cabin spurred Elfendahl and other into action.
Their efforts recently earned the cabin recognition on the National Park Service’s Register of Historic Places.

Once the cabin’s foundation and exterior are repaired, Team Yeomalt plan to begin work on a second phase. Estimated to cost $70,000, the second phase includes interior fixes, upgrading a nearby classroom and construction of access ramps for people with disabilities.

Donations to Yeomalt Cabin Fund can be sent to the Bainbridge Island Park Foundation, P.O. Box 10010, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. For more information, call (206) 842-4164.