Paul Wills, February 2017
In the summer of 1959, at the annual Camp Trinity Community Bar-B-Que there was a barn raising. The barn raising was not to build a new barn, but to add on to the existing camp kitchen. Two of my sisters, Fran and Rosie Wills worked in the kitchen that summer and I worked on the Ranch helping where I could. I worked mostly with an older Ranch hand and we did a lot of cement and rock work.
The poles for the kitchen addition were already peeled and stockpiled close by before the day of the Bar-B-Que. The poles were laid out on the Eating Platform floor in the position where they were to be erected. On the day of the Bar-B-Que, the old-timers (all men) from Hyampom trimmed, notched, and put up the pole structure that is still in place today. The structure built that day is the part toward the end of the Eating Platform where you go out to the Sunday Morning Breakfast grills. It extends from the end of the kitchen by the Ranch Crew table (table #16) to the big outside rock fireplace. This includes the salad bar area also.
I remember Chuck Flynn and Mutt Lehman – both Hyampom old-timers – doing most of the notching and trimming of the poles. I remember Chuck Flynn working up high, driving bolts through holes and tightening them up to hold everything together. Billy Garret worked down below, laying out the next set of poles to go up. The whole pole structure went up in one morning to afternoon. Little did I know at the time that years later in 1974, Billy Garrett would help me survey the spot for the suspension bridge we would build across the river by the Swim Hole.
Grover Gates had a lot to do with organizing and gathering all the materials and having everything on site to do the job. Bill Burcham, who was married to Grover’s sister Beryl, worked on the Ranch and helped with this project also.
The structure still stands and provides shade and shelter in the summer, and storage for vehicles and tables in the winter. In the winter of 1968, we had three feet of snow at camp and many building and roofs in the city of Redding collapsed – but not ours! So much for traditional structural engineering. The Eating Platform roof remains a tribute to the basic organic engineering of the Hyampom old-timers.