By: Verna (Cook) Weatherly
Today it is called the Fireside Inn, but in 1947-48 it was called "The Lodge."
I was a young girl, about 11 - 12, when my family and I had dinner in the basement of "The Lodge." Johnny and Eloise Wallace and their little girl, Mikey, about one year old, were from Fresno, California. They contacted our father in Bates when first coming to the area and became close friends. Johnny and Eloise visited often with us over about a two or three year period. I believe in the beginning they had planned to build a ski or hunting lodge on the west side of Dixie Summit.
I remember they worked for a couple of years on the project. I believe they may have had backers at first. On one of the many days we drove to the location for the lodge, the entire one-story log structure had been completed. The bark had been removed from the heavy logs leaving the outer surface ivory white. The sun of the clear blue sky reflected off the new snow and filled the huge room with a radiant light.
There were no partitions added to the main floor at this time. We walked to the stairway in the right corner along the back wall and descended the stairs. The basement was fixed with partitions of white sheets from bedrooms, so I don't remember if it was a full basement. Eloise made a lovely meal of venison with all the trimmings.
We visited many times and Johnny did not say too much about what happened, but the lodge was never completely finished upstairs by him. By that there was never any business conducted, nor did anyone ever live or work upstairs. On one of our visits we did discover Johnny had put fur deerskin lining on the seat of the outhouse.
I was in "The Lodge" a few times after that visit. I attended a dance with a good friend a few years later.
In 1967, my father wanted to move to Long Beach and work with his brother, Milton Busby. I have photos of him and Johnny fishing on a river close to Fresno during that time.
I suspect something went wrong with the financing, and Johnny and Eloise had to return to California. They had worked tirelessly to obtain the logs and construct the lovely building.