The Linden Cabin at Portage Countryside Park last spring. The cabin is currently disassembled and in storage. The Kankakee Valley Historical Societyplans to reassemble and restore it this year at the Collier Lodge historic site. | Post-Tribune photo
For more on Linden Cabin, go to www.kankakeevalleyhistoricalsociety.org/Linden%20Cabin.htm.
To volunteer to help with restoration of the cabin, contact John or Mary Hodson at 766-2302, or email@example.com.
Updated: April 1, 2014 9:53AM
Plans are taking shape for reassembling and restoring the Linden Cabin at the site of Collier Lodge along the Kankakee River, with the hope of having the project completed in time for the Kankakee Valley Historical Society’s annual Aukiki River Festival the third weekend in August.
“Right now, it’s disassembled and we’re storing it in a trailer at the Collier Lodge site,” said John Hodson, founder and president of the historical society.
In 2007, the cabin moved from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to Countryside Park in Portage, but funds couldn’t be raised to renovate the structure. The historical society acquired the cabin last spring, with volunteers taking it apart and moving it into storage.
The 15-by-25 cabin is named for Scandinavian settler Peter Linden, who purchased property in 1880 from the daughter of Joseph Bailly, one of the region’s first settlers.
About 60 percent of the cabin’s original timbers remain, though in the 1910s or 1920s, a wall was cut out for an addition, “so we lost a wall right there,” Hodson said, adding a tree fell against the cabin while it was in the national lakeshore.
With help, Hodson dug out felled oak trees from his property to replace the timbers. Some of those trees are almost 3 feet in diameter, he said.
Some of the timbers were cut during a steam engine show at the Lake County Fairgrounds, and Hodson may have access to a sawmill through Buckley Homestead and the Lake County Parks Department to cut more of the timbers.
He’s also had contact with the Wabash and Erie Canal Society in Delphi on their efforts to restore a cabin there. They also have offered equipment, as well as an invitation to take a look at what they’ve done.
“This thing’s really taken off,” he said.
Once the ground thaws, posts can be put in place for the cabin’s foundation. Because of archaeological concerns at the site, which also has hosted artifact digs, any soil removed for the posts will be bagged and sifted.
“We are trying to be the least intrusive on this property,” he said.
Restoring the cabin could cost $495,000, but Hodson hopes that with donated labor and materials, the price will be a fraction of that.
The cabin fits nicely with the Collier Lodge historic site, Hodson said; the land parcel is on the National Historic Register.
Once restored, the cabin could have an assortment of uses, including serving as an interpretation center, a visitor center, a gift shop for the historical society, or a museum.