Lansing's 1791 Log Cabin Ressurected

Friday, 22 May 2009 ImageAll of a sudden the North Log Cabin has gone from a pile of logs with an uncertain future to a whirlwind of activity.  Lansing Community Council President Ed LaVigne met with Town Councilman Bud Shattuck and McCarthy Building Companies' Pete Peters to talk about progress on getting the 1791 cabin restored.  The North cabin is the oldest log cabin in Tompkins and Cayuga Counties.

"We have money, we have material, we're focussed," LaVigne said.  "We've got June to raise the money, July to put it together, and August to celebrate."

LaVigne has attacked the project from a number of angles since he agreed to take it on last month.  He has worked with a local contractor to work out the details of reassembling the logs and to create the $17,703.86 budget.  He has distributed flyers that have raised $467 in individual donations so far.  One donor has contributed $1,000, and five businesses have agreed to donate $150 each in exchange for a mention in the Log Cabin section of the annual Lansing Harbor Festival program.

A chicken barbecue fundraiser is planned for June 19th, and LaVigne is working on a fundraiser dinner at Lansing United Methodist Church at some time in the near future.  Meanwhile he is approaching businesses and local Lions, Moose, and Elks clubs to help sponsor the project, and says he hopes to be able to raise all of the money before July.

Meanwhile he has already obtained replacement logs for some that have rotted to the point where they need to be replaced.  The matching hemlock logs are already cut and ready to be picked up.  Money could be saved if volunteers can be found to dip the cedar shake shingles that will cover the roof.

Information about the cabin, how to be involved and how to donate is at , along with notice of meetings and other fundraisers, a history of the cabin, and pictures.  Research about the cabin is also being posted on the site, as well as a letter Frank North wrote to the Lansing Star in April.

CabinTimeline3-2009 The letter tells about how North's family has been embedded in American history since before the Revolutionary War.  The family migrated from Lansing, New York to Michigan where they named their community Lansing, after their home here.  "When the fate of the cabin is being decided, please place the cabin and its history in the broader context of the history of our country and the men and women pioneers who first came to the colonies, who fought for our liberty and freedom from Great Britain, who fought time and again to preserve our nation and whose ancestors can point to a simple, 200-year-old structure and tell a proud story of who we are as Americans," North wrote.

The full text of the letter will be placed on the back of the fundraising flyer that is printed to try to raise more interest in the project.  "I think that's the kind of thing that changes peoples' attitudes about it," Shattuck says.  "Sometimes it's just another project you're raising money for and they don't really understand.  But when they see a personal part of the history -- this isn't just us talking about history, but it's a person who is related to the Norths who has that sustained history and has that passion even from afar."

The one unknown is the site the cabin will be reassembled on.  Town officials favor a site at the entrance to Salt Point near a parking lot that would provide ready access.  The Town of Lansing has a 25 year lease to manage Salt Point for the New york State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), but DEC officials have denied the Town permission to put the cabin there.  While Town officials pursue the matter higher up in the DEC hierarchy, Lansing Park Superintendent Steve Colt says that finding an alternative site in Myers Park will not be a problem, and deciding on a site will not hold up the project.

If LaVigne can raise the money in June, he plans to complete the construction in July leaving plenty of time to finish it before Lansing Harbor Festival on July 15.  He says there will be more opportunities for fund raising, and for volunteers to help restore the interior, provide signage, plantings, raising money for furniture, and signage.  While nothing has been finalized he envisions hay rides from a central point at the festival to the cabin, to raise awareness and funds, and to celebrate this unique, tangible piece of Lansing history.