he former Crossland Zoo is about to join the Ivy League — or at least house buildings formerly associated with it.
The Crossett City Council voted Monday to have the former Yale Camp buildings from outside the city moved onto the zoo property. The move will be done in partnership with Weyerhaeuser and Crossett Economic Development.
Built in 1946, the eight bunkhouses, shower house and dining cabin of the Yale Camp served as an extension of Yale University’s forestry program. Student study groups stayed in the cabins to study forestry in the south each summer until 1966. It later served as a Girl Scout camp.
The buildings are still in good shape, Mayor Crystal Marshall said, and Weyerhaeuser — which owns the property on which they sit — is willing to move them for the city. The company’s offer to move the buildings amounts to a $70,000 donation toward the project.
“We have a really unique historic relic (with these cabins),” Marshall said.
“We would all like to see those better utilized for our community.”
Joe Felsman with Weyerhaeuser said that the buildings represent not only a significant piece of history for Crossett, but for the timber industry as a whole.
“Students came from as far as Australia, Africa, students from all over the wold have been at this camp and studied forestry in the south,” he said. “I feel like the city, with that site at Lucas Pond, can put a much better use to those buildings than we can out there.”
Along with Weyerhaeuser’s assistance in moving the cabins, Crossett Economic Development has agreed to pay for foundation work that will be needed on the main cabin as part of the move, Marshall said. CED’s contribution will be approximately $9,500.
“The windows would need a little repairing but those eight cabins are in great shape,” she said. “The main cabin still has a fireplace with a ‘Y’ for Yale, and a kitchen that is in really good condition.”
Once the cabins are moved onto the Crossland Zoo property, the city will be able to arrange them so that they are similarly situated to how they were on the Weyerhaeuser property, but they will be near the bathrooms and could be used for scouting retreats, family reunions or even possibly a wedding venue, Marshall said.
“The fencing in that area offers safety, and Lucas Pond is one of the most beautiful sites we have in Crossett,” she said.
Crossett Councilman Cary Carter — who ultimately offered up the motion the council approved to accept the buildings — said the preservation aspect of the move was important.
“We are actually saving old buildings from the community when so many of them are being torn down,” he said.