A project in the works before beginning the construction of historic Fort Lupton, a donation of an 1854 trapper’s cabin on the South Platte River is now complete, relocated north to the society’s historic park.
The cabin came to the society through the generosity of property owner Bob Kinney and some hard work by SPVHS members Jim Barrington and Bernie Kindahl.
According to the SPVHS, the one-room log cabin originally served as a trapper’s home and was used as a residence as late as the 1940s by Kinney’s aunts. The property the cabin sat on has springs with freshwater ponds where the family once raised trout for the Brown Palace.
Barrington and Kindahl, both retired educators with the society for just over a year now, took on the task of preparing the structure for the move to Fort Lupton. The two exposed the current foundation so it could be lifted up and removed the plaster, lathe and ceiling that were later additions.
“We have the cabin pretty well gutted out. It had a lot of plaster and lathe in it. It had a beautiful hardwood floor in it, probably from the Fifties, so we had to take the flooring out.”
Another consideration is the layout of the cabin itself, modified throughout more than a century, to return the structure to the original form and intent.
“We have taken it down to what we believe is more or less the original building,” Barrington said. “We did note, though, that the building was either added on to in the early years or there was a second log cabin incorporated into it.”
The plan was to keep the cabin and the adjoining structure intact and period correct, and build a new foundation on site to locate the cabin between the fort and the Donelson house.
“It kind of fits in the timeline there,” Barrington said. “ It’s quite a distance now between the Donelson house and the fort, so I think when people are walking back and forth it will be a real help to have something in between.”
Formerly located in Commerce City near where Highway 85 intersects Interstate 76, the cabin made the trip to Fort Lupton on the back of a semitrailer specially equipped to relocate fragile structures. It was a complex process requiring permits, landowner permissions and expertise on the part of the mover, who took advantage of the wee hours on a Saturday morning to reduce traffic obstacles. An update by Barrington for the SPVHS detailed the final journey.
“Dawn broke as the cabin began the journey to its new home. After snaking through fences and along driveways, the paved road was reached about 7 a.m.,” Barrington wrote. “Within 45 minutes, the final turn was made and the cabin was guided over its resting place. Timbers were laid down and the cabin was detached from the truck, thus completing ‘Phase Three,’ the move. “
“One more day at the original site of the cabin was spent in the final clean-up,” Barrington recounted. “ Remaining wood, bricks and concrete were removed and the area smoothed over and raked. Bill (Taylor) used his “crew” to debark the logs, which will be used to replace the logs deteriorated beyond saving.”
Likely opening for visitors in the spring of this year, the cabin adds yet another facet to the already impressive collection of pioneer artifacts and structures at the park.
“It’s a going to be a great addition, and it really fits in with the whole theme of the fort,” Barrington said.
Contact Staff Writer Gene Sears at email@example.com.