Drawn by the enchanting forests of Pennsylvania, Robert Sutherland MacBeth immigrated to Western Pennsylvania from his birthplace in Canada in the late 1800s. He found work at the A. W. Cook and Sons Lumber Company Store in Cooksburg, where he later married and had children as one does. Robert passed away in 1923, leaving his Cooksburg property to be divided among his children.
In 1927, efforts to preserve some of the last remaining old growth forest were rewarded when the state purchased land from A. W. Cook and Sons to create the Pennsylvania State Forest. Robert's firstborn son, George Robert MacBeth (b. 1902), along with his wife Mary, and his siblings John and Frances, took notice of the influx visitors enjoying the forest. With $500 saved up, George and Mary built the MacBeth's General Store in 1929. After spending all of their savings to erect the building, they had little funds left to purchase inventory. Instead, they held dances on the weekends throughout the winter to stay afloat.
Robert Sutherland MacBeth at Cook Lumber Company store in Cooksburg
Come spring, they began construction on fourteen river cabins, starting with what is now Cabin #14. Around this time, the Great Depression hit and the Civilian Conservation Corps formed a camp upriver. The CCC is responsible for many of the trails, roads, shelters, and cabins in Cook Forest State Park today. In the late 1930s, George and Mary MacBeth added a gift shop, dining area, and kitchen to the general store. They also continued to add a row of larger cabins as funds permitted.
In 1946, George's son Jack MacBeth (b. 1925) returned to Cooksburg from his time in the military. He married Nellie McKinley from Clarion and later had James (Jim) MacBeth, and two more children in the following years. Cabin #25 was constructed in 1951, and Jack's family resided there for a time. Cabin #26 was completed in 1954.
1965 rolled around when Jim MacBeth met his wife. The couple married in '67 and spent their first winter together in Cabin #1. During that time, a raccoon and skunk got into a scuffle under the cabin, resulting in quite a smelly honeymoon period. They had their first son Michael MacBeth a few years after, and later their second son Matthew followed. In 1981, Jim purchased Cabin #28 from close family who had built some cabins around the same time as George MacBeth.
In the 1990s, Jim and his mother Nellie decided to close the dining room after 60 years, as the maintenance was requiring more effort than they could provide. During this time, Michael attended college, got married, and had his first child, Alicia, in 1998. Jim retired in 2001, leaving the business in the hands of Michael who had his second child, Kyle the following year. Michael spent the next several years remodeling the general store, the House, the Suite, and several of the cabins. In 2018, MacBeth's partnered with Laurel Mountain Winery to bring their great selection of wines to the forest as Cook Forest Wines.
Construction of Cabin #26
Michael MacBeth is the 4th generation MacBeth to run the business. He helped run the general store and cabins as a teenager and returned to Cooksburg as a young adult when he realized he did not want the city life for his family. Mike is active in all aspects of the business, whether it's cabin maintenance, cleaning, scooping ice cream, or simply visiting with guests.
Nancy is our gift shop specialist. She is in charge of all the clothing and gift items in the store. Nancy always seems to know exactly what is in stock and where it's located. The only thing that distracts her from her mission is a cute dog being walked past the store.
Mary has worked for MacBeth's Cabins for over 20 years. She is our Cabin reservation specialist and has a knack for remembering returning families. The phrase most commonly spoken by customers happens to be "Is Mary there?"
Ryan has worked as a member of the cabin crew for nearly ten years. He's done just about everything from fixing appliances to wrangling fat raccoons. If something needs fixed, he's your guy.
Big Boy and Mama are in charge of pest control management. You may see them making their rounds in the early mornings or late evenings.
Linda is the leading lady of the cleaning crew. She and her girls work hard to keep all of our units clean. This is an especially challenging feat on weekends when we may have over 15 check-ins in an afternoon.
Rocky...well everyone already knows Rocky.
We wouldn't be here without you!