Cabin remodeling under way

The historic landmark has been dismantled and will be relocated and rebuilt log by log.
Wednesday, June 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:52 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Columbia’s historic Pop Collins Cabin is getting a face-lift and a new home, and it is doing a bit of traveling in the process.

As part of the Department of Parks and Recreation’s master plan for the Stephens Lake Park area, the cabin has been dismantled. It is in the process of being restored before being moved to Nifong Park.

“Nifong Park has all of the city’s historic buildings,” said Mike Snyder, senior parks planner at the Parks Management Center. “Once the cabin is relocated there, it will have much better supervision because a caretaker lives on-site to look after the historic buildings.”

The city contracted Trillium Dell Timberworks, a company based in Knoxville, Ill., to restore the cabin, which was built in 1818.

Travis Miller, a carpenter with Trillium Dell Timberworks, said that the company’s owners, Rick and Laura Collins, are originally from the Columbia area. They were interested in returning to do some work.

To save money on the project, the city provided labor and equipment during the deconstruction of the cabin, Snyder said. It took a team of workers from Trillium Dell Timberworks and the Parks and Recreation Department about three and a half days to deconstruct the cabin.

All of the logs were graded to determine if they were in need of repair, and those that needed repair were sent to Illinois. The remaining timbers are being stored by the city.

“We individually inspected each of the timbers, and it was about 50/50 with the good and bad logs,” Miller said. “Luckily, we were able to take the roof and the floor out in one piece, but the lowest logs at the bottom of the cabin were pretty far gone. The bottom always rots first.”

The restoration team will recut the logs that are beyond repair and stain them to “look as old as possible,” Miller said. Realistically, each log would take a few hours of work.

“Of course, we will match the new logs to the old ones as close as we can,” Miller said. “But after a year or two outside, once we put the cabin back together you won’t be able to tell the difference.”

The Pop Collins Cabin was originally built in 1818 by Captain David Gordon as a temporary home while he built the Gordon Manor. The cabin’s namesake, Enoch Arthur “Pop” Collins, first restored the cabin in 1935.

The cabin will be reassembled in the fall behind the Walters-Boone County Historical Museum at Nifong Park. It will be open to the public on special occasions.

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