Rader Cabin
187 Funny Valentine Lane
Lopez Island, WA 98261

Phone or Email for Reservation

Barbara Rader
16524 35th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98155

The History of the Rader Cabin

The Rader property has an interesting history. My father, Melvin Rader, taught philosophy at the University of Washington. Just after World War II, he taught an evening course on the philosophical issues related to the resolution of world problems. The students in the class were veterans who were attending college on the GI Bill. After each class, everyone would go out to drink beer and continue with lively discussions. One of the students died from alcoholism because he couldn't recover from his war experiences. He owned a large tract of land on Lopez Island. Since he had no heirs, he divided the land up among the members of the World Problems class on the condition that they meet regularly and solve the world's problems.

The land that my father was given was vacant until 1967. My parents, Melvin and Virginia Rader, decided to put a greenhouse on the land. This was my mother's enthusiasm based on a picture she saw in a magazine. They drove down to the factory in Portland, OR and paid cash for the greenhouse. My father had a change of mind so they cancelled the order the next day. The owner of the factory had been on his way to a doctor's appointment when they placed the order. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died a few weeks later. The cancellation of my parent's order was not relayed to the workers in the company who put together the parts in a kit. The order and the refund request was on hold for another year.

In 1968, I was trying to finish my last quarters at the University of California, Berkeley. I was also in the middle of a divorce and I was caring for my six year old son, Scott. My mother came down that spring to help me. She had planned a short visit but stayed much longer. My father decided incorrectly that she was leaving the marriage because of anger over the cancellation of the greenhouse. My mother was totally surprised but was glad that the greenhouse would be built on the island. At the same time, my father was approached by an architectual student who was desperately in need of money for medical care of his ailing wife. My father contracted with him to build a more conventional cabin. These cabins because the his and her cabins.

The her cabin was not strong enough to withstand the weight of a heavy snowfall. The cabin fell down once and was rebuilt. The second time that it fell down was after the death of my father. I had just built a geodesic dome in Seattle from a kit built by the Oregon Dome Company. My mother decided that a dome entirely made of transparent glass or plastic would be stronger and more beautiful. I couldn't find a company that would make a kit with these specifications. I decided to build a dome that was exactly half the size of my Seattle dome. My son, Mel, and his wife, Cat, spent the summer on Lopez Island building this structure and a new deck for my mother. I came up most weekends to help with the building. At the time they were just getting acquainted so this mammoth building project was a make or break challenge to the continuation of their relationship. The dome was built with a conversation pit from the previous greenhouse. The structure is beautiful but unfortunately it leaks and I am afraid it may suffer the malady of the previous greenhouse. This is one of the repair jobs that needs to be done.

After the death of my mother, the ownership of the dome has been transferred to a Limited Liability Company with shares distributed to me and my three siblings.