BOSTON TWP.: More than 100,000 Boy Scouts have marched in front of the H. Karl Butler Memorial since 1932 at a camp on rolling hills in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
This week, 15 union apprentices worked to restore the monument, believed to have been made from quarried sandstone from Camp Manatoc itself or the nearby village of Peninsula.
The historic memorial, erected starting in late 1931, was dedicated in 1932 at the camp that was created from land that Butler, an Akron industrialist and philanthropist, bequeathed to the Boy Scouts.
Apprentices with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC) were taking part in classes through the Northern Ohio Regional Training Center for the Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council of the IUBAC in Hudson.
M. Flory Fernandez, the apprentice coordinator for the union’s training center in Hudson, said that Chris Bergdorf visited his office last fall and asked if the organization performed charitable work.
Bergdorf is camp ranger/properties superintendent at Camp Manatoc, which is run by the Great Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Fernandez said yes, and soon he and Jeff Garnett, from a sister training center in Batavia, Ohio, visited the camp to look at the 83-year-old Butler memorial.
They agreed to use the apprentice program for labor in exchange for the work experience.
The 15 apprentices in the four-year program — it leads to journeyman status in the union — worked at the site several days this week. They removed and replaced deteriorating mortar from the walls of the monument and repaired its steps.
Garnett said the group would return in the fall to make more repairs, then come back sometime in the next year or so for maintenance.
Apprentices who worked on the Manatoc project came from several locals of the union in Northeast Ohio and all work for various companies when they are not involved in the training program, Fernandez said.
The National Park Service placed the memorial on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
“It is an icon of the camp,” said Bergdorf, whose late father, Wesley Bergdorf, was involved in scouting for 72 year in Akron and West Virginia. He said the value of the donated labor and material probably will exceed $20,000.
“It looks great,” he said as progress continued Wednesday morning.
On a plaque at the memorial are inscribed these words:
“That dauntless spirit of our fellow member H. Karl Butler who founded Camp Manatoc shall forever inspire the youth of this community to high ideals and citizenship, this memorial is presented by the Lions Club. Akron, Ohio. 1931.”
Chase Owens, 28, a second-year apprentice from Mogadore, used a 4-inch axle grinder to remove deteriorated mortar from the sandstone on the vertical walls of the memorial.
“That will seal the joints so the water doesn’t get in as much,” Owens said as new mortar was prepared.
First-year apprentice, Malik Alim, 42, of Garfield Heights, said the memorial will spruce up beautifully.
“It is going to look like it was just built,” he said.
Rick Misanko, a longtime scout and a member of the Properties Committee of Great Trail Council, is glad the union and apprentices decided to make such an important donation to the camp and its memorial.
“It can last another 100 years,” he said.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or email@example.com.