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Palmer Park’s Log Cabin to Receive $400K Restoration from the City

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The cabin will become a community and event center

The city of Detroit announced Friday that it will spend $400,000 to stabilize and restore the Log Cabin in Palmer Park, which was closed by the city in 1979 and fell into great disrepair. The cabin will serve as a community center in the park, offering educational programming, as well as serving as a backdrop for weddings and other events.

The $400,000 in work will include abatement and clean-up work inside the cabin, as well as replacement of rotted logs, foundation repairs, complete roof replacement, and more. The City has hired KEO & Associates, a Detroit-based minority-owned business, as contractor.

According to the People for Palmer Park, the stabilization will be finished this fall. The work by the city will include:

"new cedar shingle roof with new weatherproofing, felts and spacers;

cedar ridge capping and repair concrete roof vent;

removal of loose bark and treatment of existing bark with wood preservative;

demolition of existing sidewalks and planters and adding new positive grade and sidewalks;

excavate perimeter of cabin, with new concrete underpinnings to 42" depth;

repair existing brick grade beams and install new French drainage system;

rebuild porch canopy and rebuild back wall; add new back entry door; environmental remediation to remove all animal feces in the walls and ceilings; and some site restoration."

The People for Palmer Park are also raising money to restore stained glass windows in the cabin (more on this below). According to PFPP, "there is still a lot of work to be done including: restoring the chimneys; fixing and refinishing all interior woodwork, floors, doors, stairway; fixing historic pocket doors; interior plaster and painting; rebuilding the historic kitchen; and much more. There are no lighting fixtures, no electricity, and no running water or heat."

The cabin dates to 1887, and was the summer home for Sen. Thomas W. Palmer and his wife, Lizzie Merrill Palmer. Sen. Palmer was one of Detroit’s most distinguished citizens in the 19th Century, and gave the cabin and the 140 acres of land it sits on to the City of Detroit in 1893.

The Log Cabin sits along Lake Frances, just north of Merrill Plaisance and Third Street.

It served as a visitor center and museum at the park for decadesn. It was closed by the City in 1979 and fell into considerable disrepair. The volunteers of People for Palmer Park have been working the past several years to clean and fix up the cabin to get it reopened for the public.

Here’s a look at some historical photos of the Log Cabin, courtesy of People for Palmer Park.

And a few more recent pics:

People for Palmer Park will be holding fundraisers later in the summer to help with renovations, including a "Light Up the Cabin" Party at the Frank Lloyd Wright Turkel home on August 28. Funds raised will restore the stained-leaded glass windows of the home, which are original to the cabin, but in a very distressed and endangered condition — cracked, disintegrating, rotting, missing multiple panes, lead and wood falling apart, etc. More info can be found here.