One of the places we found on our Idaho solar eclipse vacation was the cabin built by Johnny Sack located at Big Springs. The cabin was located only a few miles from the house we were staying at in Island Park, ID. There is parking for the cabin at the Big Springs campground off of Highway 20. There are signs that will get you to the campground. There is an easy path to walk from the parking lot to the cabin.
Johnny Sack was an immigrant from Germany in the late 1800s. He and his brother ended up in Idaho because they wanted to work with cattle. Sack had been a cabinet maker and worked for Studebaker making wagons. The skills learned in those occupations would help him build his cabin.
In 1929, Sack leased land from the Forest Service for $4.15 a year. Three years later he would build start to build his cabin on this land. It took him about 3 years to build the cabin, because he built it entirely by hand. He even built the furniture that is in the cabin.
After his death in 1957, the cabin passed to his sisters. In 1963, his sisters sold the cabin to the Kipp family who used it as a summer home for some years. There were originally other cabins located near by that people used for summer homes, though Johnny lived in his cabin year round. The forest service decided they had made a mistake in allowing those cabins to be built since the ground underneath is volcanic. Apparently, there is no way to create proper drainage in this area. Thankfully, the Kipp family was able to get the cabin turned into an historical site. This is truly a beautiful building and it would be a shame if it had been torn down.
Johnny in particular did beautiful work using the bark of the trees as decoration. In the pictures below, you will be able to see how that bark is used.
The cabin is located next to Big Springs. Johnny built a water mill at the spring that he used for electrical power.
The spring is constantly streaming water, in fact, it pumps out 120 million gallons of water a day. What a perfect place to put a water mill.
The spring itself is also incredibly beautiful. There are many animals that make it their home. We saw trout, muskrat, and ducks on our trip.
This is a great location to spend a few hours if you are in the area. We went here in the morning, and then drove up Sawtell Peak later in the day, so it is possible to do this will visiting other locations in the area. I would highly recommend checking this spot out if you are in the area.