A Unique Gift Opportunity

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Looking for a very special present?  Do you love nature, and Cleveland Metroparks?  How about capping off the Cleveland Metroparks 100th Anniversary year with a book called Lodge Spirit?  Give one to yourself/your family, and give one to your friends who also love nature and Cleveland Metroparks, and are dedicated to nature appreciation in America. One chapter of the book covers the history of Cleveland Metroparks

Lodge Spirit was written by a man who spent periods of his childhood living at Look About Lodge.  Read about how this happened.  He then spent much of his adult career writing in various capacities.  The book has been well reviewed by essentially all who read it, including a half dozen with Masters’ Degrees.

See pictures of the four totems that used to be mounted on the east porch roof, and the gargoyles that used to project from the south upper porch support beams, and learn who created them.  Learn about why the Science Club was allowed to build the second Look About Lodge where it is, and what activities went on there in the 1940s and 1950s.

Come to the Lodge on Sunday, December 10th, this year for the Science Club’s annual Christmas tea and open house, an event that has been held at the Lodge every December since 1938. See the interior of the Lodge, and buy one or more copies of Lodge Spirit.  (The more you buy, the bigger discount you get, and the more friends or family you make happy!)

Don’t Miss The Last Big Events of the Year

Saturday, November 5th is the last regular meeting of the Cleveland Natural Science Club for 2016.  It will be held at Look About Lodge.  For the program, which starts at 7:30 and is open to the public, members will present their favorite show and tell about Club activities and Look About Lodge. Come and learn about some of the Club’s activities since its founding in 1924.

But better yet, start your holiday season out by coming to the Cleveland Natural Science Club’s Christmas Tea.  It’s a tradition that has been going on for at least 78 years.   This year the tea will be held on Sunday, December 11th from 2:00 to 4:00.  You’ll get finger foods, sweets, and punch.

I expect to be there, so you can buy an autographed copy of Lodge Spirit for your coffee table to have out over the holidays.  And if you buy additional copies for gifts, you get discounts on the additional copies.

The Lodge’s history is covered in words and pictures in the second half of the book.  The first half covers the history of nature appreciation in America, including short bios on six of America’s early naturalists.

Those who have read it say it’s an interesting insight into an important part of Greater Cleveland’s history.


A Big Year For The National Parks

As you know, the sub-title of this book is: “A Brief History Of Nature Appreciation In America”.  In the chapters dealing with nature appreciation, which comprise half of the book, the history of the national parks in America is covered. Yellowstone, the nation’s first national park, achieved that status in 1872 when the National Parks Act was passed.

But it wasn’t until 1916, some 44 years later, that congress got around to establishing the National Parks Service to manage the parks.  So in 2016, the National Parks Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary, with a variety of special programs.

A list of Cuyahoga Valley  National Park special events can be fund at: http://ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/News/Cuyahoga_Valley_National_Park_Celebrates_100th_Ann_110.aspx.

For a brief description on how this country’s national parks were started, and what was unique about  the concept, get yourself a copy of Lodge Spirit.  You may order it on this website, or get a copy from Fireside Books in Chagrin Falls, The Chagrin Falls Historical Society, or the Bedford Historical Society.


Don’t be Surprised

People are surprised when I tell them today’s Look About Lodge is the second Look About Lodge.  If you’ll read the book, you’ll learn how the Cleveland Natural Science Club got their first Look About Lodge, and how the first Lodge lead to the second.

And while you’re about it, remember the big media splashes about Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River burning.  That was a non-story.  The book will tell you why.

And did you ever hear of the Washburn-Landford-Doane Expidation that first explored Yellowstone and initiated the national park system?  The book tells you about that as well, while debunking a myth about how the parks were originated.

There’s a lot to learn in this book, and most who have read it are impressed.  Don’t remain ignorant.  This book belongs on your coffee table!

Lodge Spirit: The History of Look About Lodge, and of nature appreciation in America

Look About Lodge

Front door and east porch.

look about lodge

Building’s East Side

It is about 100 feet by 40 feet.  It is totally dedicated to nature education.  It is called Look About Lodge.  (No record of why they came up with that name.)


Look About Lodge

The building is a significant part of Northeast Ohio’s history.  Built by the Cleveland Natural Science Club from 309 American chestnut logs, Look About Lodge was completed and dedicated on June 5, 1938.  2013 was its 75th anniversary year.  It is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.


It houses educational programs about nature, and entertainment programs.  It adds a unique rustic atmosphere to the programs it houses.  The building makes each program more meaningful – and memorable!


The Book

A 176 page book with 71 pictures has been written about this unique building’s history.   In coffee table format, it includes pictures from 1936 and 1937 of the Lodge being built.   The book is titled Lodge Spirit,  and contains chapters that provide A Brief History of Nature Appreciation in America.  It also contains the only currently available written history of Cleveland Metroparks.  The retail price is $24.95.

The book answers a number of intriguing  questions about Look About Lodge and about the history of nature appreciation in America.  For specific examples, go to the Lodge Spirit Contents section of this website.

As a coffee table book with numerous photographs, this book makes an excellent gift.  Think how someone who was impressed by Look About Lodge when they visited  for a program or entertainment would appreciate knowing more about this unique building.  Give a copy for a birthday, graduation, Valentines Day or Easter.  Buy a copy for yourself, plus one for a friend or relative – and save 20% on the second one!

 The Author

RMK-photo1The author is Ralph M. Kneale, Jr., whose career includes extensive writing experience.  During the 1940s, Ralph and his parents would spend a week or two during the summer and weekends during the spring and fall living at Look About Lodge.  As Science Club members, they functioned as a host family to keep the Lodge open to the public.  It was living in this rustic and educational atmosphere that helped Ralph develop his life-long love of nature.

The Opportunity

The story of this special part of Northeast Ohio’s natural history is now available to the general public in a unique coffee table book.  Each year, well over 17,000 people visit the Lodge for a variety of educational programs and entertainment.  If this has included you, you’ll want your own copy of this unique book.  If you have not been a Lodge visitor, you’ll still be fascinated with the interesting story behind this special part of Northeast Ohio’s history.

And of course, you’ll want to visit  the Lodge as soon as possible.  It is currently open to the public on Sundays in May through September from 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM.  Come in and look around.  Meditate in a natural setting.  Or, attend a scheduled program.  To determine what programs are available, go to the website www.clevelandmetroparks.com, select Events Calendar, and go to Look About Lodge.

The Cleveland Natural Science Club, which built Look About Lodge, still meets at the Lodge on the first Saturday of the month from January through November.    An educational program on the natural sciences is presented at their meeting at 7:30 PM.  These programs are open to the public.  The subjects are listed on the Club’s website at www.clevelandnaturalscienceclub.org.



What’s In The Book?


You’ll learn that 19 students from the Education College of Western Reserve Unive30-LodgeConstr-roof-framingrsity, and their professor, started a nature club in 1924.  Then, you’ll discover how their desire for a clubhouse led to today’s Look About Lodge.  And, you’ll find out what the Lodge was used for in its early days, and why.


Nature Appreciation

You’ll also learn what presumably motivated these students to teach the natural sciences, and why they were so interested in the subject.  And you will discover what brought about the nature appreciation movement in America.  Then, you’ll find out how the nature appreciation concept has changed over the years.

You will discover how John Bartram became America’s first famous natural scientist and how he gained his reputation.

You will find out why John Audubon  came to the United States, why he had to re-draw all his outstanding wildlife illustrations, and how he became world famous.

You’ll also learn how John Burroughs became a writer, and how he used a little shack in the woods to gain inspiration, write inspiring nature essays, and to entertain a number of famous people.

The book reveals how John Muir got to the United States, and what life-changing experience caused him to pursue a life promoting nature appreciation.

You’ll also learn what brought Ernest Thompson Seton to America, and what prompted him to change from wolf bounty hunter into an ardent nature conservationist.

And then, you will discover what led Theodore Roosevelt to become a nature lover, and how he used one piece of legislation to preserve thousands of acres  of wilderness.

But what TR, and successive presidents after him, have accomplished in natural resource set-asides is all being threatened.  For more information, and to help, go to https://secure.wilderness.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2605

Look About Lodge

Then, of course, you will learn how today’s Look About Lodge came to be, how it was financed and built, and see pictures of its construction in the 1930s.  And, you will learn many interesting facts about the building.

Then, you will discover how the early Science Club members contributed to nature education in Northeast Ohio.

For more details, go to the Lodge Spirit Contents page of this website.

After reading this fascinating book, you will be better prepared to argue for and promote nature appreciation and conservation.




Lodge Spirit Makes An Excellent Gift

Lodge Spirit is in coffee table format.  That is, it has numerous photos and drawings, which makes it good for displaying on a coffee table.  Look About Lodge is an important part of Northeast Ohio’s history.  It has broad interest, because over 17,000 people visit the Lodge every year.  Yet few of them know its history.

Give Lodge Spirit as a gift, to yourself and/or to someone else!   Think how much someone who has been to the Lodge for an educational or entertainment program would appreciate knowing more about the building.  Display it on your coffee table.   Visitors can pick it up and quickly learn plus see the history of this unique building.

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The book contains the history of both Look About Lodges, which is an important part of Northeast Ohio’s history.  It also contains a brief history of nature appreciation in America.  In fact, half the book is devoted to this subject.  Lodge Spirit is an excellent reference book for Northeast Ohio history buffs.

If you buy one for yourself and one for a friend or relative, you get 20% off the second copy.  What a wonderful gift that would be!

Other Books On Nature Appreciation

Since Look About Lodge is a relatively narrow interest subject, we have added other books on nature appreciation to this site. These books will give you perspective on how to promote nature appreciation.


You may order these books from this site by clicking on the link.  You will be taken to the seller’s website where ordering  information will be found.


We will add books on nature appreciation, or a subject closely related to it, to this site as we find them.  If you find a good book on the subject, please let us know.

The Cleveland Natural Science Club

When you read Lodge Spirit, you will learn that Look About Lodge was built by the Cleveland Natural Science Club.  The book describes how the Club was formed by students from the Education College of Western Reserve University and their professor in 1924.   Throughout its 90 year history, the Club has been dedicated to nature appreciation, nature education, and nature conservation.


The Science Club operated and maintained Look About Lodge for the first 55 years of the Lodge’s history.  By that time the Club’s membership had changed and the building needed costly repairs.  In 1993, Cleveland Metroparks took over operation of the building, using it as a unique nature education and interpretation center.


Monthly Meetings

The Cleveland Natural Science Club still holds its monthly meetings in the Lodge.  In January, 2014 the Club moved its monthly meeting to the first Saturday of the month.   Each meeting includes a guest speaker presenting a subject related to nature and conservation.   The presentations are at 7:30 PM and the public is invited.


The subject of each meeting’s presentation is listed on the Club’s website at: www.clevelandnaturalscienceclub.org.  Other programs given at Look About Lodge are listed in the Emerald Necklace, the monthly publication of  Cleveland Metroparks.  You can also find them on the park system’s website at www.clevelandmetroparks.com.  Once on the website, select Events Calendar, and go to Look About Lodge.


The Cleveland Natural Science Club welcomes new members interested in nature.  The only requirement is being over 18 years old and having an interest in the natural sciences.


For more information on the Cleveland Natural Science Club, or to apply for membership, go to www.clevelandnaturalscienceclub.org, or order the book Lodge Spirit from this website.