In the fall of 2018, a police officer from Hagerstown driving the wrong way down the road crashed his car into a small house on Jonathan Street. The crash led to the owner being displaced and the house condemned. As demolition crews began to tear down the structure, they discovered something surprising: old looking logs assembled in a v-cut construction. Subsequent research revealed that the structure was a wood cabin built from trees felled in the 1740s. Now, Preservation Maryland has finished an extensive project to preserve the historic cabin.
The log cabin was built in the 1830s of recycled logs and was owned by African American community members from the late 1800s on. With the help of community partners like the Western Maryland Community Development Corp., Preservation Maryland restored the house into a residential structure that will encourage more home ownership in the area. The preservation team tried to protect as much of the historic fabric of the house as possible and intentionally selected materials in areas where the historic fabric could not be saved. The house has also been fitted with new side that will protect the historic logs underneath from the elements.
According to the Herald-Mail, President and CEO of Preservation Maryland Nicholas Redding described the project as “21st century historic preservation at its best.”
“This project is important because it’s an opportunity to use a historic place to improve a community. We’re not just turning this into a museum or capturing it in amber,” Redding said.
Preservation Maryland plans to sell the house to an individual or family by the end of the year.