Ancient Log Home Reborn as Teacher

By Eric Olson

October 23, 2012 Updated Oct 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM EDT

LIGONIER, Indiana -Stones Trace just south of Ligonier is a great spot, site of the historic stones tavern built along an Indian trail in 1839. The site too of a collection of historic buildings that tell the story of the men and women who built this country. And come next spring, there will be an addition to that collection of structures that have so much to teach us.

It may look like a stack of junk wood but these are old growth hand hewn timbers that make up the Gramling log cabin, a fixture in northern DeKalb County built in 1850. We first came across the Gramling cabin 12 years ago with Colleen Huddleson, then doing a survey of historic county structures for Historic Landmarks Foundation. From before the Civil War up to the 1970’s someone in the Gramling family occupied this home, built when DeKalb County was still wolf inhabited wilderness.

“Basically had one large room that was the function for everything of everyday living,” says local economic development official John Bry, “from eating, bathing sleeping cooking.”

John Bry’s part of a group that dismantled the cabin this year, rescuing it from collapse, and is reassembling it on the grounds of Stones Trace. Once complete the cabin will help teach local school kids and others about how this land was tamed and what it took to tame it. John Bry is an economic developer. He says preserving this history makes our area more attractive to business.

“It adds to the prosperity to the attractiveness of our area in terms of investment and attracting talent attracting people who want to live, work and play here,” Bry says. “If we lost that culture if we erase those historic buildings like the Gramling cabin from the landscape then we’ve lost ourselves we’ve lost our identity we’ve lost our whole story and we’ve lost that attractiveness and uniqueness and we need that in order to be competitive as a region.”

When the Gramling cabin is reassembled next spring it will tell the story of an Indiana wilderness family who helped clear the forests and drain the swamps, suffering hardship that we might enjoy the lives we live today. The least we can do…is remember. Eric Olson reporting, out in Your Country.

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