A burgeoning Girl Scout program at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Community – and the church’s 1995 purchase of the lot on the corner of Wakefield Drive and Brinkman Street for additional parking – made way for “The Cottage,” where generations of local Girl Scouts have gathered.
And now the need for more parking to accommodate the 2,100 parish families at St. Rose has brought its end as a meeting space.
St. Rose Director of Advancement and Communications Emily Garcia said it is looking at having the cottage moved if possible, and the hope is to have it emptied by the end of August.
“St. Rose of Lima has always had a need for more parking,” Garcia said. “Our plan will be to expand the number of spaces in that lot.”
She said the building has been unused since the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston closed meeting spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Prior to the pandemic it was actively being used by the Girl Scouts, and we are working with them on new options for meeting spaces once we are allowed to again host meetings of ministries and groups on our campus,” Garcia said.
Garcia likens it to the situation of Boy Scout Troop 40, whose original meeting space at the back of the church’s property was demolished last year to make room for the new Education Building.
“Troop 40 have since moved to the East Hall for their meetings,” Garcia said. “The Girl Scouts are a little different as each troop is much smaller than our Troop 40, and may not need space as large as the East Hall for meetings. Logistics of this are still in discussion, but St. Rose will continue to support our Girl and Boy Scout Troops.”
According to a Girl Scout history, the small two-bedroom house was originally built in the early 1940s by Odell and Anna V. Gowan. They raised their family there and when they moved to a larger home, it was purchased by a Plumbers’ Union Local for use as a meeting place. This organization then sold it to St. Rose, which later presented the house to the Girl Scouts.
It was Stefanie Peterson who is credited with naming the house when she said it looked like “a little cottage.”
To renovate the building to the “cozy meeting space” it would become, Dennis and Kay Alexander spearheaded a successful golf tournament which provided necessary funding. Donations from parishioners and members of the community also helped.
There were work days for girls and their families to haul trash, replace siding, paint and clean. Older Girl Scouts stenciled the ivy and holly borders in all the rooms.
Rosa Murphy has fond memories of the cottage as her daughter Mireille is now bridging to be an adult.
“So many memories made at this little cottage,” Murphy said. “Every badge, every patch, every star, every award has a story. A story of service, friendship and sisterhood.”
Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council CEO Mary Vitek said the organization is thankful to the St. Rose Catholic Community for supporting Girl Scouts.
“More than ever, girls need a safe place to grow and develop leadership and life skills that will benefit them for life,” Vitek said. “This would not be possible without support from our community, like St. Rose Catholic Church, and our volunteers who are paying it forward to the next generation of female leaders.”