Protect the Past: Historic Cabin

By Jackie Runion

The Marietta Times

jrunion@mariettatimes.com

GRANDVIEW TWP.-Someone taking a stroll around the area of Jackson Run Road in Grandview Township might stumble upon a 162-year-old log cabin- that is until about a month from now when the cabin will come down completely.

But any fan of local history or architecture need not worry too much, as the cabin that represents a story of German immigrants of the 1800s will soon be moved and rebuilt just a short distance away on Ohio 26 in Newport.

The rare 18-by-32 feet 19th century cabin that sits a few miles north of New Matamoras is being preserved within its original structure and integrity while modern restoration work will allow it to be a home again.

“It was occupied by families until 1999, and when the last couple moved out because of their age, the son inherited it and never lived there,” said John Miller, president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. “Now, they’ve stripped everything off of it and left it down to the hand-hewn logs.”

In 1849, a group of German immigrants arrived in the area and immediately began building a barn on the site while the family lived out of a covered wagon.

“They would have valued the animals more,” Miller said.

Once security of their livestock was settled, Johannes Sangmeister went to work designing and building the two-story log cabin that features rare dove-tail shaped wood joints, hand-hewn beams and a foundation that would allow the cabin to last nearly two centuries.

“It’s quite elaborate, and it would have taken a lot of time,” Miller said.

Today, New Matamoras resident Sam Howard is the current owner of the cabin, and is in the process of stripping it down so that the structure can be deconstructed and rebuilt.

“It will all be rebuilt along State Route 26, and it’ll be a dream home,” Howard said. “You can’t duplicate the charm of it, and you can’t get any better than this.”

That dream home will be the retirement home of Newport resident Dean Booth, who plans to put an addition on the cabin and add a fireplace once it is moved to his 90-acre farm property.

“I’ve always had a lot of interest in these, and my grandfather’s house is an old log house from the 1840s that isn’t too far from this one,” Booth said. “We’re really looking forward to re-assembling it this summer.”

Within about a month, Howard said, he will have the cabin stripped down so that a crew can go about the process of moving it.

“You number the logs like a puzzle, take them all and put them back the way they were, and any bad logs that are rotted will be replaced,” he said.

The roof, from years of being burnt by the sun, will be scrapped and replaced, but the walls and ceiling beams will be sand-blasted clean and kept.

The cabin, which is still accompanied by the enormous barn, also relatively untouched, and an old spring house that still runs water, is evidence of a difficult and time-consuming project, as the cabin sits on a hill that would have created an even bigger obstacle.

“It’s all virgin timber made from wood in this area, and they would have drug all those 2x4s here and used whatever they had to build this,” Howard said. “It’s built just like Lincoln Logs, and the weight locks it all together.”

The original chimney from a potbelly stove still clings to the house, and evidence of the lime white-washed walls is still present despite peeling from age.

“It would have lightened the room and kept the weather out,” Howard said.

Howard purchased the home last summer and has been working on it since until it can be turned over. In addition to the Sangmeister cabin, he is currently working on a similar cabin that is nearly completely restored, and said the Sangmeister cabin should have a similar appearance once complete.

Sangmeister, who was born in 1822 and died in 1886, is buried just around the corner in Kollman German Methodist Cemetery.