How did Fire Mountain get its name?
The Native American word "cultus" means "bad, useless, of little value." The Natives considered the mountain a bad useless place because of the eeriness of the Devil's Garden area and the long history of natural fires. These fires, started by lightning, smoldered on the mountain from time to time, occasionally breaking into major blazes to be seen for miles. The last major fire was in 1955. The fire wiped out the entire logging operation on the mountain. The scar of this fire can still be seen today.
In 1971 when the council obtained the property at the foot of the mountain a contest was held to find a suitable name for the new camp. Bob Overstreet was a Scouter in 1971, but in 1955 he was a fire fighter on Mount Cultus. He knew the history of the mountain and the Native American meaning of cultus. Putting these two together he suggested Fire Mountain.
Purchase of Fire Mountain
By Bob Freidenrich
Just before the purchase of our new property, Bruce Winston, our council executive, was promoted. As a result, our new executive would be even more important. The search committee reviewed the original list submitted, and the committee rejected all the candidates. Once again another list was submitted, and one of the names on the new list was Lloyd Knutson, an executive from the Columbia Pacific Council.
The search committee selected Lloyd "Knute," and this great Scouter was responsible for building our new camp. There are many in our council who are still active that remember the trials and tribulations that go with making farm land into a great Scout camp.
By Lloyd Knutson
I arrived in Everett officially on September 1, 1970. Within the first six days a $20,000, six month option on a large tract of ground expired. This was a depressing event to a lot of key Scouters.
Paul Berkbigler, staff Program Director, had been keenly involved in property acquisition. Somehow he heard about the "land" east of Mount Vernon. It was located "at the end of the road."
On the first Saturday in the month of September of 1970, Paul and I drove there - just to look. We chatted with a real Norwegian who later found to be Bjorn Swendsen. Following that trip I made many. Somehow it seemed that a camp belonged there. I even admit I could see water in a lake. Anyway, we discovered the land was owned by an investment group: tow loggers (Bjorn Swendsen and Elmer Erickson), Arne Lervick, Lee Hand of Twin City Food, and an Everett attorney by the name of Newell Smith. It was Bjorn and Elmer who had the ideas and big dreams.
Slowly we came to know them. My being Norwegian seemed important to them. they studied ol' Camp Sevenich. A possibility of a trade was broached.
Mr. Frank Rogers of the National Engineering Service was invited to review the property, and he came and made a favorable report. The Council officers and I met with Frank in Portland after an Area meeting. Again, a favorable and productive session.
It was now time to deal!
A special Board meeting was called in November.
The meeting was held in Mr. Duryee's board room. There was a lot of talk and deliberation. The deal of an even trade - no exchange of money - was made.