The Farrell cabin, located in the newly energized Cloverdale Park, is completed with the exception of a future fireplace to be located in the west end of the cabin.
Old siding and years of accumulated "things" were discarded from the old cabin staring June 13. The foundation was set for the new cabin on July 21 when a fairly large force of visionary volunteers converged on the Cloverdale site to reconstruct the cabin.
What took Ronnie and Todd Cook of Cook Sawmill three and a half hours to delicately disassemble a sometimes reluctant cabin, took a group of strong backs, minds and Eric Hayman's hydraulic lift about three and a half hours to reassemble.
After Rob Schorer transported the logs two miles to the new site, the logs were spread over the park's parking lot where the cleaning and nail pulling continues even today.
Literally thousands of tacks had been driven into the logs to attach newspapers for insulation. Even though the local Scouts have made hundreds disappear, hundreds remain.
Looking at the small pile of logs lying on the parking lot, one wondered how such a little amount could form a home measuring 18 feet by 20 feet.
Over the three months of working with the 163-year-old logs, a reverence has developed for their history and the process of how they were transformed from complete trees to a section of a home. The five new logs that replaced the deteriorating logs required using an adz to give the new an old look.
This new adz work was done on already squared logs as opposed to round trees that required squaring. It was still difficult, dangerous and time-demanding work.
The ends of the new logs required precision cutting of dovetails. Again, the appreciation for those who had first done the work and the water-shedding design of the dovetail was felt so strongly that one considered it an honor to be able to prolong the existence of this piece of Putnam County history.
The logs became so personal to the workers that they wondered how the old logs would accept the new upstairs. In just the few months that new logs have been in place, the colors of the old and new are blending. They've been accepted.
And what of the old deteriorated logs? One will become a mantel, another a bench and the rest, though no purpose is yet known, will not become firewood.
"You don't destroy the soul of history, you preserve it," cabin preservationist Lee Stewart wrote.
The generosity of the businesses that provided needed material has been what we expected - great, Stewart said. It began with the Cooks who, on short notice and with a fast approaching deadline to get the cabin removed from its original site, carefully dismantled it. They loaded and unloaded the logs, driving off with the promise of more help if we needed it.
Next came Rob Schoer who, after transporting the logs, offered to dig the footers. Cash Concrete supplied the footer cement and later a couple of loads of sand for the chinking. With the delivery of the four huge, heavy loads of logs and boards by Glen Vickroy from Pike Sawmill in particular, as well as those from Cook, Hartman and Pingleton, one wondered if we would possibly need that much wood to do a roof, floor and porch.
The group finished up with only eight, long, wide ash boards which door maker Mike Hecko will later turn into a long, wide, heavy table. Almost Home has been supportive in supplying gift certificates to the major donors. Buzzi Unicem added the cement and lime to Cash's sand to create a mixture for chinking placed between the logs.
Hauk Pest Control has given the cabin a dugging and wood preserving spraying. The park board has gone with the idea of making the cabin a unique historical shelter house suitable for parties, weddings, meetings or weekend sleepovers.
It was updated with electricity by Haltom Electric. When the fireplace is completed, Don Walton will donate a gas log setup. None of all of the materials supplied would have become a cabin without the effort of several volunteers, in particular, Greg Garrison, Ted Hawkins, Ron Jones, Mike Hecko, and project director Lee Stewart.
Without the initial offering from Gary and Wilena Hankins to give the cabin to Putnam County Historic Preservation Society, the cabin could easily have gone the way of much of the county's history - only a memory.
PCHPS accomplished its goal, that of preserving a historic Putnam County building. Cloverdale now has a unique shelter house valued at a replaceable price of $80,000 for a cost of $300.
Three families: the Wood relatives with their 14 kids; the Swopes who had snow blow in on their baby's bed; and Elmer and Gladys Farrell, the cabin's last owners, will have, for years to come, tangible evidence of their past.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, at 9:30 a.m., there will be a short dedication ceremony. Many pictures will be available, as well as the Hankins, Swope and Wood families. Two buckets of wood chink will be available for the taking. Donations to the Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County will be gratefully accepted for future projects.