WOODBURN, Indiana (21Alive)-You’ve probably driven by it for years along old US 24 near Woodburn, sitting at the edge of the Wabash and Erie Canal as it has for more than 150 years. You’re looking at a history lesson from the earliest days of the state of Indiana, a two story log home built on this spot by early settlers shortly after the Wabash and Erie Canal was built in the 1830’s….not only a log home but a commercial enterprise. This house served as a tavern, the only stopping off point for canal travelers between the Ohio state line and fort Wayne. Passengers would climb off the canal boat and walk the fifty yards to this house for refreshment.
“Grab something to eat grab a drink,” says historian Douglas Sagstetter. “Just take a break along the canal is what these people must have done.”
Sagstetter works with ARCH, the local historic preservation group. He dug out records from a historic structure survey from 1990 that described the tavern as it appeared then. Sagstetter says the building has deteriorated since..the roof has collapsed but most of the outside walls are standing. The second floor’s fallen in too revealing original horsehair plaster on the walls upstairs. Despite the damage this historic building could be saved…most of the old growth logs are still strong. But it would take vision, perseverance and money. We’re not sure who owns the building but we hope that someday, before it’s too late…this little home’s contribution to settlement and civilization will be recognized and preserved, so others might know what happened here when bears still roamed this land. Eric Olson, out in 21 Country.
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