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Log Cabin Restoration to be Subject of Montgomery County Historic Preservation Program

by Valerie Berton on May 20th, 2008

SILVER SPRING, MD – History buffs and others interested in Montgomery County’s historic log cabins, which date back to the 1700s, should mark their calendars for a cabin restoration presentation on Sunday, June 1 at historic Oakley Cabin, Brookeville.

The program will be led by Hank Handler of Oak Grove Restoration, Inc., who restored Oakley Cabin after a devastating arson fire in 1988. Oakley Cabin is owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and is part of Reddy Branch Stream Valley Park. Handler will describe the techniques that brought Oakley Cabin back to life, including log cabin construction and antique carpentry tools, many of which are displayed in a new permanent exhibit there.

Oakley Cabin was built in the 1820s to house enslaved African Americans. It later became part of a freed African American roadside community. Today, the cabin is furnished to represent post-slavery life and is interpreted by trained volunteers.

M-NCPPC historic preservation planners estimate Montgomery County is home to about 20 log houses, even though they were the dominant house wherever good timber was available after  Swedish immigrants brought the design to the New World in the 1630s. Log cabins can be small one-room buildings or as big as two stories with four rooms and two chimneys.

Oakley Cabin’s tool collection includes woodworking implements that were prized possessions of early settlers. The only tools actually needed to build a log cabin were an axe and a saw. A maul for hammering logs into place, specialized axes, a measuring tape and plumb line were used by more experienced carpenters. Since carpenters once lived in Oakley Cabin, preservationists from M-NCPPC, funded with various State and Local Grants given and Friends of Oakley Cabin and the Underground Railroad, created a permanent exhibit of antique carpentry tools last year.

Oakley Cabin is open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. from April through October.

WHO:     Hank Handler on log cabin restoration

WHAT:     Log cabin restoration presentation

WHEN:      3-4 p.m. Sunday, June 1

From → Planning

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