The city of Ste. Genevieve’s historic St. Mary’s Road, part of the coming Sainte Genevieve National Historical Park, will gain a new historic structure this year.
Kandye Mahurin, owner of Sassafras Creek Originals in the circa 1850 Will Brooks House at 311 St. Mary’s Road, received permission from the Ste. Genevieve Heritage Commission to reconstruct a log cabin from that same time period behind her building.
The cabin, which she said is known as the Telle-Frentzel House or the Telle-Frentzel Granary, currently sits just down the road from Mahurin’s residence in Perry County.
“It’s not every day that the opportunity to have a log cabin just kind of falls into your lap,” Mahurin said.
It did for her.
“There’s been a log cabin at the end of my road in Perry County for the last 15 years that we’ve been there that we’ve had out eye on,” Mahurin said, “and we were able to acquire the cabin.”
Mahurin said her son and his boss at a company in Vermont that dismantles and reconstructs historic barns and other wooden structures, are willing to disassemble, move and reassemble the cabin for her.
“He has worked with historic preservation,” she said of her son. “When he was going to school, he made the shingles for Jemima Boone’s home in St. Charles.”
The cabin dates to about the same time period as the Brooks House, around 1850.
“It would be completely historical,” Mahurin said. “Everything about it. It would have shake shingles, wood windows, it’s going to be chinked. It’s going to be a completely reconstructed log cabin from the same time period as the shop [structure], which is actually kind of cool.”
Commission member Lee Ann Waldvogel quickly focused on the one potential problem of the move: Whether the structure would be a legitimate part of the historic district if it were moved from elsewhere.
“The reason why I would like to build it is A, I don’t have a place to put it on any property that I have personally; B, my store does not have any kind of facilities, like a kitchen or a place to take a shower or whatever,” Mahurin said. “I’d like to have guest artists come and spend the night. This would give them accommodations. It would be used for demonstration purposes, that sort of thing. I’m just saying it’s going to be historically reconstructed; I’m not trying to say it’s Ste. Genevieve.”
“That’s kind of what I was wondering about,” Waldvogel said, “how it’s going to affect the historic district, since it’s Perry County, and this historic district is Ste. Genevieve. Would there be any issue with that?”
“There’s no issue from an ordinance standpoint,” community development coordinator David Bova said. “There’s no issue from a SHPO [State Historic Preservation Office] standpoint. The rest of it is up to this board,”
Commission member Martha Patterson suggested that while it would be outside the colonial era of vertical log structures that made the National Historic District and national park possible, the Brooks House and similar mid-19th-century I-House next to it aren’t either.
“Well, my thought is, it’s the same period as the [Brooks] house, the 1850s,” Patterson said. “They did not build vertical logs here then. So, it would be a time period that would fit in with the house.”
See complete story in the March 4 edition of the Herald.