The fully restored and rehabilitated Carpenter Shop on the historic Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association (SITPA) Site just outside of downtown McCall is now open to the public and available for rent as a meeting space and venue.
The ceremonial ribbon cutting was attended by Idaho’s First Lady Teresa Soulen Little, SITPA Chief Fire Warden Paul Wagner, McCall Mayor Bob Giles, and representatives from the Historic Preservation Commission, Central Idaho Historical Museum, and the Idaho Heritage Trust. The festivities included a presentation on the important history and legacy of SITPA and its founder, Harry Shellworth, by McCall resident and esteemed author of Points of Prominence: Fire lookouts of the Payette National Forest Richard Holm Jr.
The Carpenter Shop was one of the first buildings erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937. It was integral in the construction of fire wagons, tools, and fire lookouts that were used to protect the natural beauty and resources of the area from forest fires. The site remained active through the 1980s and has since been converted into an interactive interpretive site by the Central Idaho Historical Museum. The eight-building complex is located on Lake Street, with the old Fire Warden’s House serving as the main museum building.
In 2019, the roof of the Carpenter Shop was in danger of collapsing. Idaho Heritage Trust board member and President of the Central Idaho Historic Museum Walt Sledzieski spearheaded the restoration of the shop, performing much of the restoration himself with funding from an Idaho Heritage Trust grant. Instead of simply restoring the building to be an historic artifact, Walt wanted the Carpenter Shop to fill a need for the McCall community as well. “The importance of these buildings is not just for the past, but the future as well. These buildings can provide tremendous value to the community going forward,” Walt says. Now, the shop is outfitted with period appropriate tables, seating for up to 50 people, and audio/visual equipment to accommodate all sorts of meetings, lectures, performances, and workshops.
If you would like to inquire about renting this idyllic space for your next event, you can reach out through cihmuseum.org. For more information on the Idaho Heritage Trust, this project in particular, and other work we support throughout the state, please visit idahoheritagetrust.org.