Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sam Houston Moved This Historic Cabin

The Item reports on the building that recently was transported 40 miles to take up permanent residence on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum grounds:
Bear Bend is the name given to the old hunting cabin which was moved from Montgomery County where it has resided in two separate locations since at least the 1840s.

Patrick Nolan, director of the museum, said the cabin is an impressive part of Sam Houston’s history. “In the 1840s and 1850s, Sam Houston would go bear hunting here...that’s the legend. We found a quote in a book that said there was a bend in the creek near the cabin and they would drive bears into that bend." The cabin’s construction is unlike any other period structure available for viewing on the museum grounds. "It’s a two-story double pen log cabin. There are four rooms in two segments to the building connected by a breezeway."

For moving purposes, the cabin’s roof, chimneys and porches were taken off and moved separately. Over the next few months, inmates from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will work to restore the cabin to its original form.

Originally, the cabin was located in Montgomery County near the Walker County line near a U-shaped bend in Atkins Creek. A couple named Carroll and Mae Tharp began collecting old structures and moving them onto a property they called “Fern Land.” This cabin was moved from its original site to Fern Land, along with two other cabins, a frame house and a blacksmith shop. The entire grouping was later donated to Sam Houston State University. All total, the property had buildings moved from Montgomery, Walker and Angelina counties.

“Over 40 years, they had developed these structures into a grouping in the woods that had a pioneer feel to it,” Nolan explained. “The university spent a number of years trying to figure out how to best deal with the issue (of the five buildings).

“It was 40 miles away. There was no infrastructure on the grounds and no parking,” he added. “To make it publicly available would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A number of people in the city of Montgomery began working a deal where the university would lease the cabins to the people in Montgomery and they would be moved to a different site.”

In return for four of the buildings remaining in Montgomery County, the city of Montgomery paid to have “Bear Bend” moved to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

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