When it became known in the spring of 1953 that “Slim” Baker, the dedicated and well-loved conservation officer, was fatally ill, there was spontaneous sentiment on all sides to do something for him as he had always done much for others.
Slim was an avid sportsman, vitally interested in hunting and fishing, and was a firm believer in the wise use of natural resources. His particular interest, though, was in young people. Slim had spent his life teaching conservation and had always dreamed of an outdoor area that could be used by the whole community as a kind of school of outdoor living.
Slim’s many friends, aware of his illness, began to work to make his dream a reality. A group of Bristol residents met early in 1953 to discuss the possibilities for carrying this out. The idea was brought to the attention of Reba Follansbee Hipson, whose father Herbert had always spoken of donating a beautiful 125-acre tract of land around Little Round Top to the Town of Bristol, but without knowing who would want it or for what purpose.
A non-profit corporation, the Slim Baker Fund for Outdoor Living, was formed. Mrs. Hipson volunteered to donate the 125 acres to the group. The members felt that to insure permanence of the arrangement, the Bristol Federated Church should hold the deed to the property, with the understanding that it would be leased to the Directors of the Slim Baker Fund as long as the intent of the original idea was carried out.
In late 1954, a site was cleared for the construction of a rustic lodge. Work on the lodge began during 1955 and it was completed in the spring of 1956. Also in 1956, an adjacent ten-acre field was purchased by the Fund and added to the original acreage. This property provided good access to the lodge, as well as offering some level terrain for campsites. A trail was cut to the summit of Little Round Top.
Beginning in 1960, the area of the Little Round Top summit now known as Inspiration Point was developed as a memorial to Dean Stephens by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Waldo Stephens. Dean had spent all his summers in the Bristol community while he was growing up and loved the area deeply. He died in 1958 at the age of 28 in an airplane crash. Inspiration Point offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Pemigewasset Valley and much of eastern New Hampshire beyond.
Over the years, many organizations have used the property and its facilities. A summer day camp under the direction of the Bristol Community Center has used the area and lodge during the summer months. Family groups have held picnics and reunions there. Scouts from the surrounding communities have enjoyed the area for meetings and campouts. Many school classes have enjoyed nature walks. A great many have enjoyed the pleasure of hiking to Inspiration Point.