The Boys of Spoklie Hall
On this date in 1922, the Ward County Independent informed readers that the Boy Scouts were in winter quarters at Spoklie Hall, a camp west of Minot on the Mouse River. The camp was a generous donation from the Spoklie family. Ole Spoklie was one of the earliest pioneers in the Minot area. He arrived in 1882 with his wife, three children, and a yoke of oxen. He built the cabin the following year. After nineteen years at that location, Spoklie relocated to a ranch seventeen miles south of Minot. He and his son Alf decided the Boy Scouts could make good use of the old family homestead.
The first outing for the scouts came the previous July when ten boys and the scoutmaster spent the weekend there. They decided to name the camp Spoklie Hall in honor of the old pioneer and his family. The cabin had been unoccupied for many years. The boys immediately pitched in to make repairs on the two-story structure, using a mix of clay and grass to plaster the cracks on the outside of the cabin. A local businessman donated a bag of plaster for the inside cracks. By September they had added a screened-in porch.
There was flat ground for a baseball diamond with enough additional room for a horseshoe pitch. The possibilities for activities seemed endless. The river offered fishing, swimming, and boating. The scouts quickly planned a space for outdoor cooking.
Over the summer, the Boy Scouts collected donations to use for the camp. Several people offered camp cots that the scouts placed on the second floor, which served as the dormitory. Oser Webb gave them an old building that they took apart to use for lumber. Mr. and Mrs. Truax provided a large range that served not only for cooking but for heating the cabin as well. The mines around Burlington donated coal.
The scouts enjoyed no shortage of activities even during the winter. They continued repairs on the cabin, hunted rabbits, went on hikes, and cooked over a camp stove. They also went ice skating and sledding. The camp became a permanent year-‘round location.
Dakota Datebook by Carole Butcher
Ward County Independent. “Troop 3, Boy Scouts, Secure Use of the Spoklie Cabin.” 20 July 1922. Minot ND. Page 2.
Ward County Independent. “Boy Scout Activities.” 28 September 1922. Minot ND. Page 10.
Ward County Independent. “Boy Scouts in Winter Quarters.” 27 November 1922. Minot ND. Page 1.