Historic log cabin moved from Hannibal to Peculiar for vacation home

Monday, June 25, 2007 | 2:06 p.m. CDT; updated 7:15 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

HANNIBAL — A historic log cabin in rural northeast Missouri has been disassembled and transported across the state where a couple will rebuild it as their vacation home.

Lonnie and Don Peters of Peculiar bought the 1850s log cabin from Gary Damron, who grew up in it and now lives in a new home on the same property south of Hannibal.

Damron didn’t want the two-story log cabin in his yard, but he didn’t want to destroy it either.

Damron saw the Peters’ ad in the Missouri Ruralist magazine, explaining they were looking for a log cabin to rebuild and move into. The couple live in an 1892 farmstead.

Damron had lived in the log cabin with his parents and four siblings since 1950. He eventually bought the property, where he built a new home next to the log cabin. He said the log cabin served as a relay station where a toll was collected for use of the old Hannibal to Paris plank road. It also was an inn for travelers.

The Damron family made several changes to the log cabin when they owned it. They added indoor plumbing, built an indoor kitchen and replaced wooden floors with concrete.

As the log cabin was disassembled last week, and before a semitrailer left to transport the 180 logs across the state to western Missouri, people stopped by to share their memories of it.

Among them was Butch Miller who said he and his siblings waited for the school bus in the cabin’s outdoor summer kitchen. Because he was the youngest, he had to watch for the bus.

The Peters say they enjoy buying and restoring old homes but have never moved one.

“We both like history and the old homes,” Lonnie Peters said. “It always bugs me to see an old farmstead just rotting away.”

Don Peters, who works in the animal health field, labeled each of the cabin’s 180 logs with a dog rabies tag or a cow tag so nothing would get lost.

Logs — the heaviest weighing 750 pounds — were loaded by crane onto a semitrailer for travel to Peculiar where it will be made into their vacation, or future retirement, home.

The couple had not intended to buy such a large log cabin, which has a chimney at both ends and a dog trot, or open space, in the center.

“It was not what we were looking for, but it is beautiful,” Don Peters said. “I’m glad we could save it.”

The couple plans to maintain the cabin’s authenticity as they rebuild it.

“Our goal is when you walk in the cabin you will think you walked into it when it was first built in the 1850s.”

Anyone with information or photos of the cabin is asked to call the Ralls County Historic Society.

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