This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Field trip

The Jasper County Historical Society held their April meeting at Hershman's Cabin near Wheatfield.
The Hershman Log Cabin was pictured on a brochure from a few years ago titled "Guide to Historic Structures and Points of Interest in Jasper County." Here is the description from that brochure: "The Hersman Log Cabin, originally located on County Road 800 North in Walker Township, was built ca. 1870. Called "Pulaski Place" by the family, it is a single pen, rectangular constructed cabin that served as a residence until the 1950s. Visible log homes are a fading form of structure in the county. It is listed as notable in the Inventory and is included on the 2007 Most Endangered List. The cabin has recently been dismantled by the family for relocation and reconstruction at another site on family property." The picture in the brochure shows a structure without a roof.

The exact date of construction is not known but was about 1860, when the Hershman ancestors moved to the area. The Hershmans may have built it, or it may have been built by an earlier settler--any records that might tell the origins were probably lost in a court house fire in the 19th century. Though originally a log cabin, in its later years it had the logs covered both inside and out, so it would not have appeared as a log cabin.

Entering the cabin, we saw a fireplace with a welcoming fire--it was cold and windy on Tuesday. This fireplace was not original--the cabin did not have a fireplace. Rather it had a cook stove in one of the corners. The door that is next to the fireplace was originally a window and there were two doors where the fireplace is now. Why there were two doors is not known. The only parts of the structure that are original are the log walls. Over the fireplace is a picture of the Hershmans who lived in this cabin in the 1870s.
Since the cabin was inhabited until the 1950s, there are people, such as the current owner, who remember it before it was a ruin. It had an attic/second story, but only part of that has been restored as a loft. The planking for the roof is old wood from barns. None of the original windows or doors survived, but the owners have found old wavy glass for some of the panes.

The current owners have furnished the cabin with old items that they have found in yard sales, flea markets, on-line auctions, and antique stores. The members of the Historical Society who know this area where impressed with how well they had managed to furnish it in period pieces.

The cabin now has some electrical wiring but still lacks plumbing. Members of our group discussed whether they could live in this cabin and most said they probably could not without the plumbing. I suspect that on a cold winter night not even the long johns hanging on the wall and the layers of quilts on the bed would keep them warm.

Below is another corner of the inside.
The group that made the trip greatly enjoyed it and I suspect they will be looking for other possible field trips for future meetings.

Upcoming on the Society's calendar is their third(?) annual tea party on May 17 (reservations are required), a May 19th meeting with Kevin Kelley as speaker, their annual carry-in dinner on June 16 with Brian Capouch as speaker, and showing the Pioneer Village at the Fairgrounds on July 19, 21, and 23.


Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed I wasn't able to make the trip. Thank you for sharing photos.

Anonymous said...

It was just a spectacular step in to the past. The Hershmans have done a remarkable job putting the family home back together. As you see, the inside was decorated very appropriately with a roaring fire and red long johns and more.