Gratiot County Historical Museum to restore log cabin

Linda Gittleman
Mount Pleasant Morning Sun

Ithaca — Once upon a time a man named Samuel Cook of Elba Township built a log cabin on the Bad River.

It’s believed he built that cabin in the late 1800s and it was later moved closer to a newly built road in the area.

By 1968 the little log cabin was set for destruction, but the Paul Schulz family saved it, moving it to their farm, said Linda Weburg, one of the curators along with John Kemler, of the Gratiot County Historical Museum.

That cabin has now been donated to the museum by the Schulz family in memory of Paul and Martha Schulz, according to the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun.

There are just a few snags. The 18-by-22-foot structure has to be moved and some restoration is needed, Weburg said.

“Besides being disassembled and reassembled, it needs a new roof, a loft and a fireplace in order to resume its former appearance,” she said.

She said a log cabin restorer has been hired to move it to a spot northeast of the museum’s barn, which sits behind the museum on Center Street in Ithaca.

That’s going to take some money. Weburg said they are hoping to raise $20,000 for the project.

Grants have been applied for and donations have been received, including one from the Gratiot County Community Foundation.

David and Virginia McMacken, recipients of the Friend of the Foundation award, donated their $500 award to the project, Weberg said. So far about $2,500 has been raised.

Once installed, the cabin will be ready for some furniture, she said.

“We are in need of primitive furniture for the log cabin,” she said. “Most of our artifacts are too new to look right. We may have to have some simple furniture made out of barn wood.”

Photos of other log cabins throughout the county are planned to be hung on the walls, she said.

“I don’t think it will be large enough for a party although there is a log cabin organization that holds special events where people visit other log cabins around the state,” she said. “We hope to participate in this eventually.”

The museum is also planning to stage historical re-enactments as well as provide programs for elementary students.

“Lisa Yoder, a fifth-grade teacher at Ithaca’s North Elementary, has some other ideas that will fit with the school’s curriculum,” Weburg added.

“Her students are helping with the fundraising by writing letters to local businesses asking for their support. The children are really excited about having the log cabin to visit as they visit our museum at least once a year.”

“Log cabins provided that ‘starter home’ for nearly every original Gratiot County resident,” she said. “Sadly, most are now only sheltered in our knowledge of the past.”