Paul Gausman has worked his whole life in the building trades. A few years ago, he embarked on a new venture, building a tepee on his property.
“Aaron Gausman, 23, my grandson, was interested in Indians when he was little. He drew bow and arrows and buffaloes, and he gave me the idea,” the Batesville resident reveals. “I was always interested in Indians, too. I always read about them.”
As the U.S. Army veteran was clearing out paths in his woods, “I saw a level spot and thought it would be a nice place to build a wigwam.” Through this experience and research, he realized what he was really thinking of was a tepee. “A wigwam is a permanent dwelling place. A tepee was used when Indians went on a hunting trip or took distant travels. They made their poles and had their canvas. When they moved, the horses would pull the poles.
“Aaron got on the Internet and got the information, the plans and where to buy the canvas.
“We got all the poles, cut and skinned them .... My grandson helped cut them and bring them up to the barn.” The 85-year-old’s sons, Scott, Andy and Tony, also helped. “They built a platform to set the tepee on. I had the idea, but they did the work.
“The poles on the back side of the tepee stand straighter up, but the ones on the front have more of a lean to them. The reason is you get more room in back when you’re standing up.”
A firepit or campfire area was built in the center of the structure. Flaps on the canvas can be closed when it rains, and “when you build a fire, you open the flaps, and the smoke goes out.”
He says, “Where the tepee stands, I planted walnut trees (years ago) and now they’re 30-40 feet tall. I’m still planting and adding” to the landscape, which includes transplanting ferns and planting flowers along the trails.