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Log cabin at fairgrounds gets a new wall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Volunteers will have rebuilt 3 of 4 walls

Photos by Tom Rivers – Volunteers work on removing a wall at a log cabin at the 4-H Fairgrounds. A new wooden wall will be built in a tongue and groove style.

KNOWLESVILLE – A team of volunteers are at the 4-H Fairgrounds today, chipping away mortar and removing sections of large logs in a 40-year-old cabin.

The Orleans County Sportsmen Federation has worked the past three years to save the cabin. Two of the four walls were torn out and replaced about three years ago after the wood had rotted. The west wall is now the group’s focus and it should be removed and replaced in time for the opening of the annual 4-H Fair, which starts July 21.

The Sportsmen Federation wants the site to be a showcase of local wildlife resources and conservation practices. But the group worried that the cabin, with many rotted logs, might become unsafe and unsightly.

The cabin was first completed in 1976 and is used for many hunter safety classes, and conservation programs. A new wall is at left while the wall at right will be removed with a new one to be erected by the opening of the fair.

“We want it to continue on,” said Mike Donahue, the group’s president and long-time member. He helped with the construction of the original cabin. “We don’t want the thing to fall into total disrepair and be an eyesore up here.”

The Federation has raised money to help replace the walls and also has received $5,000 in county dollars to bolster the site.

Legislature Chairman David Callard supported the county contribution. He also was at the site today, helping to remove mortar from the west wall.

“This log cabin gives a unique taste to the fairgrounds,” he said. “It serves a good purpose. It really is a living history.”

Bob Fox chips away mortar in the log cabin. He is one of several volunteers working on the project. David Callard is behind him.

The cabin was originally built with logs from Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area. They were sawed at Ed Egloff’s mill in Barre. The cabin was built from 1974 to 1976 mostly by members of the local conservation clubs. The idea for the cabin was proposed by Gene Tuohey, the local conservation officer at the time.

Donahue said many groups use the cabin, including the Sportsmen Federation, Soil and Water Conservation District, Orleans County Bluebird Society, the Clay Crushers and other conservation groups.

When the west wall is done that will give the cabin three new walls. Donahue said the front wall seems to be fine. The other walls had rotted logs. Donahue said the new logs are in a tongue and groove style that is more “weather tight” and should keep out water.

Mike Donahue, president of the Sportsmen Federation, shared these photos from the dedication program for the log cabin in 1976. Don Cook, who was an active local conservationist, took these photos.