Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"The Log Cabin" in Innsbrook Missouri





Our family has had a place in Innsbrook, about 50 miles west of St Louis Missouri, for over 38 years. We have participated in the changes through the years as the community evolved from a group of A-frames around some lakes with a central farmhouse and stables, to Innsbrook Estates with permanent homes, to Innsbrook Resort and Conference Center with tennis courts and a golf course, and finally to the incorporated Village of Innsbrook. There are now over one hundred lakes and over 2,000 acres of forest and meadows. South of Lake Alpine, the largest lake, was an abandoned log cabin in a state of great neglect and disrepair. Part of the building had fallen in and its windows and doorways had been knocked out. The hillside pre-Civil war homestead site also included a stone barn, a smokehouse, a chicken coop, and a 'leaning' red barn,  all in various stages of advanced collapse. 

Local and community residents committed to a restoration of this 'insignificant' homestead and the Innsbrook Historical Society was born. Since the spring of 2010 volunteers have been working to restore the "Log Cabin" as it is now called. The 2 acre plot was purchased from the Innsbrook Corporation for a dollar and passionate restoration of the cabin has occurred each Wednesday and Thursday mornings since. There have been more than 70 people working on the site over the years. The cabin, believed to date from the 1840's, is built in the dogtrot style with two rooms on the first floor bisected by a central hallway. There is a steep stairway accessible from the front porch leading to two upstairs rooms. 

The entire cabin was lifted up to replace some rotted logs. It was stripped to the bare log walls and the remaining chinking was removed. Removing the previous chinking allowed for electrification. This required digging a ditch to the cabin to bring in electric lines from a quarter mile away. For the first time ever the cabin had electricity. The front porch had foundered and required a new stone foundation. Volunteer amateur stone masons learned new skills and the final result is exceptional. In this 2012 photo my wife Jan and I are standing on the new porch before the roof was replaced.



Inside the cabin the floors have been produced from nearby walnut trees that were taken to a local saw mill. There have been multiple chinking parties with resulting walls that are weather tight. 


The front gallery of the cabin is the obvious center of outside social activities at the cabin. The Society  has been presenting Sunday afternoon concerts in series called "A Little Porch  Music'.  The hilly area in front of the cabin has been leveled to allow for comfortable seating. Here is an image of a recent concert. Note that the leaves have not appeared on the trees.


This concert featured Kim and Reggie Harris presenting "Songs of Hope and Freedom".

The 'Log Cabin" was dedicated last fall and the restoration continues. There is a natural lure to a 150 year old pre-Civil war homestead cabin. The Society envisions a permanent "pocket park" for relaxation, social activities, learning, and remembrance. With the Log Cabin as the core element future plans include a refurbished smoke house and a pavillion covering the remnants of the original stone barn. Watching dreams come to reality is an exceptional privilege.

The Innsbrook Log Cabin is open to the public and is located within the Innsbrook Resort, a gated community. To visit the cabin contact Innsbrook Historical Society President
John Welter at johnwelter33@gmail.com. To follow restoration efforts visit www.innsbrookhistoricalsociety.org.





--
Cleopatra Cutler

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