The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update


October 1, 2013

Vic Cook's hopes for sustainability live on at Sue's Cabin

MECHANICSBURG — Pieces of Vic Cook’s dream to live free in a self-sustaining home can still be found in a rustic cabin near Mechanicsburg.

Cook was the inventive genius who built the “Giant,” a solar-powered, self-contained home along the wooded banks of Fall Creek in Pendleton. He didn’t pay a utility bill for 30 years and proudly offered tours of his hard-to-reach home. An inventor and musician, he died of a stroke in 2010 at the age of 67.

Now, some of his mementos — and most of his eco-philosophy — have been transplanted 10 miles away to the home of Sue Blakely, one of Cook’s longtime friends. Her not-for-profit, Earthship Corp., which she runs with Cook’s son, Lee, is dedicated to Vic Cook’s art and science.

As she walks through her cabin, she is constantly reminded of Cook, who helped her build the house. There are awards for Cook’s initiatives, a copy of a record album Cook made in the 1960s, and a Henry David Thoreau quote hanging on the wall. And when sunlight hits a clear, hand-sized globe, it sparkles across a photo of Cook playing his guitar.

“Every day there’s just something involving him,” Blakely said. “The guitars that Vic played are out here, too.”

An inflatable pool under the porch was installed by Cook to collect water from rain barrels; the water is filtered for indoor use.

Lee Cook added, “I see a lot of my dad here. ... He made it so she could come here and live, and then, dang it, he’s gone. I miss him every day. It’s very easy to think of the Giant when you’re here.”

To demonstrate the value of a natural lifestyle, Blakely is offering public tours of Sue’s Cabin and the 10-acre wooded site along Mechanicsburg Road.

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