Drace Park Cabin preservation supported by the community
By: Molly James
Local residents and historical aficionados have raised approximately $13,500 for the preservation, removal and storage of an historic log cabin. Built in 1854, the cabin was the site of the first U.S. Post Office for the region then known as New Alsace, known today as Town & Country.
Until its recent deconstruction, the cabin had been preserved inside a more modern home located at 13348 Conway Road. Through the years, owners of the cabin added onto the home, creating an eclectic mix of old and new.
The home, with cabin intact, was put on the market in the summer of 2012, and Carrie Mueller, whose mother was then the owner of the property, told West Newsmagazine that she hoped a buyer would come along who would preserve the house, the log cabin and a smokehouse also on the property. Ultimately, however, the cabin was the only building on the property to be preserved – donated to the city by Brent and Emily Spicuzza, the property’s current owners.
Although the cabin was donated, $12,000 was needed for its deconstruction by Monterey Custom Homes.
Alderman Skip Mange (Ward 1), said the Town & Country Historical Society was instrumental in the process of protecting and conserving this historical cabin, noting that so far all of the costs for removal and storage have come from private donations.
“We were fortunate to have a broad group of contributors,” said Mange, who serves as president of the Historical Society.
Mange also rallied support from his fellow Board members.
At its March 11 meeting, the Board of Alderman agreed to execute a contract with Loomis Associates, Inc., to prepare a base site plan at Drace Park, assist in a public forum and prepare the final schematic site plan for the cabin’s reconstruction.
Currently in storage at Drace Park, the cabin is slated to be rebuilt as soon as grants have been procured.
Mange said the Historical Society will apply for grants in September 2013 to fully fund the costs of the rebuilding process. Mange anticipates construction in early 2014.
Although the date for the public forum has yet to be finalized, Mange anticipates a date in late April or early May and hopes to see a crowd of local residents gathered at Longview Farm in Town & Country for the discussion of the site plans.
One such plan includes the creative use of the stones from the old foundation, which will not be used in the rebuild, but instead could be used as decorative pieces around the park. Two local garden clubs are interested in planting 1850s era gardens in the park.
The public discussion will also focus on preservation efforts of the Kropp Cabin and Estill Cabin, the two cabins currently located within Drace Park.
Drace Park is located just east of I-270, south of Clayton Road. In addition to its historical cabins, amenities include a pavilion, playground, walking trails, native prairie areas and public restrooms.
Individuals interested in the Historical Society or assisting with the log cabin project are encouraged to visit the Society’s website (tandchs.org) or contact Mange at email@example.com.