It’s good to be prepared, but Harry Bennett was downright paranoid. Worried about an attack, Bennett, head of security at Ford Motor Company in the 1930s and ’40s, built a fortresslike lodge for himself on Lost Lake in northern Michigan. The lodge, bought in 1965 by the local BSA council, now serves as a space for teaching merit badges, storing equipment, and hosting tours for Scout units.
Visitors get an inside look at these fascinating features:
- A hidden room centrally located within the ventilation system, intended to let Bennett eavesdrop on others’ conversations.
- Walls designed to look like a log cabin but made of concrete for added protection.
- A moat with concealed, pointed posts that surrounds the facility (no alligators, though).
- Behind a moveable bookcase, a secret passageway that allowed Bennett to escape to the dock, where he could take a boat across Lost Lake to an airstrip and fly to safety.
- Steps of varying heights on the escape staircase, making tripping likely. Bennett practiced the pattern to gain an advantage.
And how did these security features perform during an invasion? We’ll never know, because the Bennett Lodge never was attacked.
Good thing, because that means the building is intact and ready for your unit to visit. For an added thrill, come in winter when Lost Lake freezes and becomes an ice-fishing paradise. Scouts and Scouters drill six- to eight-inch holes and snag northern pike, crappie, and bluegill.
Too cold for you? Summer at Lost Lake features five weeks of merit badge classes, climbing, and, of course, waterfront fun.
To learn more, visit: http://www.glcscouting.org/camping/llsr/index.html
Photo by John R. Fulton Jr.