Rehabbed tool shed will replace former Peterson Prairie Cabin

Staff reportJuly 21, 2013 

The public can learn about the effort to prepare a historic tool house that will be used to replace a cabin in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that burned down last September.

Through a Passport-in-Time project, forest staffers are rehabilitating the historic Willard Tool House to prepare it for the move to the location where the Peterson Prairie Cabin once stood.

On Sept. 10, 2012, the historic cabin, which was built in 1926, burned to the ground.

The cabin had been available to rent and could accommodate six guests. The 18-foot by 24-foot rustic cabin had a bedroom with a double bed, a small kitchen area and living room with two futon couches and a fireplace/wood stove insert. The cabin was popular with hikers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and huckleberry pickers.

After the fire, Forest Service officials and community partners agreed to look for a replacement structure. After a some searching, it was decided the nearby Willard Tool House would be transported to and installed at the cabin’s former location.

The Tool House was built in 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, part of a seven-structure complex that formed the Willard Work Center, a former Forest Service ranger station facility. The building is an example of the corps’ “rustic style” architecture.

“Saving a historical building that was scheduled to be demolished and placing it in the rental program will allow the public once again to enjoy a cabin at the Peterson Prairie site,” former Mount Adams district ranger Nancy Ryke said in a news release.

The project budget is $75,000, including the structure relocation, foundation construction and finish carpentry. So far, one third of the total has been raised, including non-appropriated funds and donations raised through the Mount Adams Institute.

People interested in the project can learn more during a program Friday through July 28. Forest staffers will be on hand from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Lower Columbia Fish Health Center, 201 Oklahoma Road, Willard. They will talk about the historic structure, the history of the area and visitors can witness the first phase of the project.

For more information, contact Chris Donnermeyer at the Mount Adams Ranger Station at 509-395-3421. You can donate to the project through mtadamsinstitute.com.

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