03 May 2016

Hiram Lyon Cabin, c. 1846




I get pretty regular calls from concerned individuals asking "what are you going to do about ____" fill in about any historic building.  That occurred early in 2016 concerning a log cabin that I have had my eye on ever since it was partially uncovered by the owner in the late 1990s.  I went with another preservation professional to take a look at the cabin that the owner now wants to remove.

From some preliminary research, it looks like the cabin dates to 1846, and was built by Hiram Lyon, who with two other gentlemen petitioned to have West Township cut off from Center Township.  Lyon, himself, became the first trustee.  A saw mill was operating in the area beginning in 1840, which could have provided the floors, doors, and the framing for the gables/roof as was noted in a brief characterization of the mill that it provided such mill work used in "crude cabins of the pioneers".  The cabin is one-and-a-half stories with two rooms over two rooms, though this division may have been made during c. 1880, as trim work and doors in the cabin would suggest.


We found one organization that was interested in taking it, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.  I've always felt that with the extensive amount of state wetlands in our area, we should have a nature center of sorts for wildlife viewing and interpretation.  This cabin would be perfect.  Better yet, the bulk of the acreage of the Lyon property is now owned by the DNR.  But alas, again, IDNR would not permit a structure to be moved onto its property due to origin of funding.

There are other locations that this cabin could be relocated and used to tell the pioneer story of West Township, in the home of its first trustee, for future generations.  Does anyone have $30k for its relocation and restoration?

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