Seven years ago, a hand-hewn pioneer log cabin was discovered inside another residence near St. John Neumann Catholic Church, in Marlinton. Upon further inspection, members of the Pocahontas County Historic Landmarks Commission found that the cabin was built by Squire Hugh McGlaughlin in 1850 and is known as the oldest existing house in Marlinton.
The Landmarks Commission rallied together to raise funds for preservation and restoration of the cabin, including the risky move of the cabin to its present location near the Marlinton Depot. Volunteers worked tirelessly to move the cabin, log-by-log, and carefully reconstruct the original cabin in preparation for new construction.
Through fundraising and generous donations, the Landmarks Commission has been the working on the cabin, which was missing a wall and stairs to the second floor and missing modern conveniences like electricity and indoor plumbing, as well.
Last week, Landmarks Commission member Dennis Driscoll took a look around the cabin to see the progress of the construction. He explained that some building materials had been found stored in the freight car parked behind the Depot.
“It had been leftover for years,” Driscoll said. “We don’t know what it was from but there was enough to do that wall, this wall and that one over there. I asked [mayor Joe Smith] if the town needed it and he said, ‘no, we want to get rid of that.’ I said, ‘we’ll take every bit of that that we can.’”
When it came to completing the cabin, the focus was making it whole again, not replicating the way it was.
“Ninety percent of it is original,” Driscoll said. “You would never replicate the way it looked, but you can come fairly close. You can’t find materials like that anymore, so you’ve got to do what we’re doing.”
The cabin was in such good shape considering its age, partially because it was inside another house. While it was modified and parts were removed, the structure was still sound.
“This house sat inside of another house, and when they built around it, they put doors in and stuff like that to be able to move around,” Driscoll said. “They cut the logs up and when they took it down, those logs were lost because you could not do anything with them. The whole front is just framed as we frame now and they put all the rest of this together with all the logs.”
The cabin is coming together nicely with wiring for electricity and the addition of a bathroom. Downstairs, along with the bathroom, is a wide open space with a fireplace and stairs leading to the second floor – one large open room with its own fireplace.
Construction continues as contractors Colt Zendik, Ezra Cedarleaf and Andrew Must – a descendent of McGlaughlin – are in the process of finishing the stairwell and steps leading to the front and back doors.
“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, these stairs will be finished and there will be railings around up top,” Driscoll said. “A load of lumber went from Cramer [Lumber Company] down to Renick Mill, and they’re going to turn it into one by twelve tongue and groove, and then we’ll have the floor here done.”
As the project draws closer to completion, Driscoll is looking forward to seeing what business or businesses will call the cabin home.
“We will use it for something,” he said. “We have no idea yet what. I have been approached by a couple of people about being able to use it. I’d love to have a lawyer say ‘I’d love to have my office in there,’ and we would do a few others things just so we could have an office in here all year, because you’ve got to put heat in. Somebody might want to use it seasonally. I’ve had some mention – it’s right on the trail. What could you use this for? A rest stop, have souvenirs, a juice bar. That type of thing. We just have to wait and see.”
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org