Monday, October 16, 2000

Work revives pioneer history

By Anna Guido
Enquirer Contributor

        LIBERTY TWP. — When it comes to rebuilding historic log cabins, experience doesn't always count.

        Butler County MetroParks director Mike Muska can tell you all about that.

        “In certain respects, you're playing it by ear when you put the logs back in place,” he said. “These logs are hand-hewn so there's going to have to be some adjustments made in the process. You just don't know what you're going to have to do until you actually do it.”

        Mr. Muska has overseen reconstruction of several historic log cabins during his tenure with the county park system. Last month, his crews and inmates from the county jail built the cinder-block foundation for Gregory Creek Log Cabin at William F. and Cora Dudley Memorial Woods on Hankins Road.

        The cabin reconstruction project is MetroParks' eighth and a joint venture with Friends of Liberty Parks and Recreation.

        Gregory Creek Log Cabin was disassembled last year from its original site on Bob Neiderman's farm on LeSourdsville-West Chester Road. Built in the late 1700s, it will be rebuilt, restored and somewhat modernized for public display and use at William F. and Cora Dudley Memorial Woods.

        Until demolition started last year, Gregory Creek Log Cabin looked nothing like a log home. At least two additions were made to the single-room, single-story structure over the years. Before it was taken apart, it resembled a two-story farmhouse. It had two floors and several rooms, including a kitchen and bathroom. The actual log cabin was the inner shell of one of the two front living rooms.

        MetroParks has committed one day a week to work on the log cabin, weather permitting. FLPR is in charge of fund raising for the project, but also is recruiting volunteers. There is no estimated date of completion.

        “This is one of those building projects where there can be a lot of ifs and question marks because of the nature of its construction,” Mr. Muska said.

        The project cost has been estimated at $77,000, which includes labor and materials. FLPR already has obtained $11,000 through grants and donations.

        “We're about $3,000 under budget because of donated materials we didn't expect,” FLPR president Chris Matacic said.

        To make a donation, call Mrs. Matacic at 779-2659. To volunteer, call Frank Peters at 894-0132. Volunteers are being sought to help gather field and creek stones for the cabin's chimney and walkway.


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