A log cabin, believed to be part of the first pioneer settlement in Warren County, is to be rebuilt at Lebanon’s “culture corner.”
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has given the Warren County Historical Society permission to tear down an old house - within which the original hand-hewn logs were discovered — behind the Lebanon Correctional Institution.
Jenny Hildebrand, ODRC’S chief of construction, activation, maintenance & sustainability, gave the county historians permission to “resurrect and preserve” the cabin, part of Beedle’s Station, according to city documents.
The cabin is to be rebuilt in a city-owned lot through donations and in-kind contributions at the northwest corner of Broadway and South Street in Lebanon.
During a work session Tuesday, Lebanon City Council lent tentative support to the plan — provided it can be done without city funds.
“The formal agreement with project details will need to be prepared and presented to City Council for their consideration prior to the project moving forward,” Lebanon City Manager Scott Brunka said in an email after the meeting.
Historian Victoria Van Harlingen said it is being called the “culture corner” because the log cabin will share the block with the historical society museum and local library and face the historic train station across Broadway.
For the past four years, Van Harlingen said she had been in contact with state officials about the old cabin, apparently the last building still standing from the settlement established in the final years of the 1700s.
Recently, state officials showed heightened interest as the state moves to sell the land around prisons, prompting a search for a new location, Van Harlingen told the council.
“We’re anxious to get it moved. We want to get it moved before they put it up for sale,” she said during the meeting.
Beedle and his family settled on the land after coming to the area in the 1790s, according to historical records.
Before erecting cabins, the Beedles built a blockhouse, a fortified building into which the settlers could retreat when under attack.
“The Indians were terrible up this way,” historian John Zimkus said during the council meeting.
Beedle paid $250 for 640 acres and helped build the first Presbyterian church in the area, before part of his family joined the Union Village Shaker settlement in the early 1800’s, according to the historians.
“Beedle Station was the first permanent settlement in all of Warren County,” Zimkus said.
Beedle died around 1814 and most of the buildings disappeared.
The log cabin apparently survived in part because it was covered inside and out with modern building materials as the home site was improved.
“I am quite confident that cabin predates 1815 and in all likelihood was definitely one of the Beedles’,” Zimkus said.
Former Lebanon Mayor Jackson Hedges said he had been part of the process for four years.
“I didn’t know this still existed. It’s unbelievable,” he said during the council meeting.
“The state of Ohio was going to tear it down. It’s probably going to be our last opportunity to do something like this,” Hedges added.
On Sunday, supporters were meeting to discuss the process, from demolition on the prison site to rebuilding on the corner lot at Broadway and South Street.
The cabin could serve as a historical reference point, Van Harlingen said.
“I think the land use would be perfect for it,” Vice Mayor Mark Messer said.
Brunka said the city had no plans to use the lot, which has deed restrictions limiting development.
Van Harlingen indicated the cabin was to relocated on a cement foundation with a stone facing by the end of the year.
She said the process was expected to cost about $25,000 and indicated contractors and volunteers were on board.
“It all comes down to money,” she said in a phone interview.
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