Cabin from 1854 finds new home at Cooper Lake Cultural Center
From Staff Reports

W. D. Moore Construction Company contractors Ladane Crouch (top left), Kelly Flint (top right) and W. D. Moore (bottom) do custom work Tuesday to reassemble the restored historical log cabin built in 1854, which has been moved to its new home at Cooper Lake Cultural Center.
Staff photo by Angela Pitts

July 27, 2005 -- Using broadaxes and other tools from the mid-19th century, three men and a boy are toiling in the July heat to give new life to a cabin where voters once filled out their ballots to elect Sam Houston governor of Texas.

The cabin was rebuilt more than a year ago in Commerce, where it had been originally erected in 1854. Recently, it was disassembled and trucked to its new home at the Cooper Lake Cultural Center, a gift from the Rhodes and Wilkins families, with an assist from Texas A&M University-Commerce and Dr. Rick Selvaggi of Commerce.

The tough little structure measures about 17 feet square. Cabin buffs see much to admire in the white oak sills -- foundation logs -- that run 1,800 pounds apiece and the intricately notched, dovetail joints that stitch the walls together at the corners.

W.D. Moore, craftsman in charge, has Kelly Flint, Ladane Crouch and Crouch's 11-year-old son, Richard, working with him. Richard is pretty much a fetcher, trotting back and forth to the truck to get Moore's museum-piece tools -- "go-devils," canthooks, drawknives, adzes and froes -- as needed.

When it's completed, perhaps around Labor Day, the cabin, originally built by Hunt County pioneer Jefferson Maynard for his bride, will become a permanent exhibit at the Cultural Center. The Houston election in which it served as a polling place was in 1857.

"It's a place full of history," said Karl Kerr, president of the South Sulphur Regional Development Association, sponsors of the Cultural Center. "We want to take good care of it, but we also want to give the public a chance to get to know it better."

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