The Log Cabin, an original part of the Walmarthon Estate located on the island in the middle of the three campus ponds, was demolished on Dec. 14 after 30 years of ongoing debate.
Without warning, an e-mail was sent to students on Dec. 7 announcing the University’s plans to demolish the cabin, which was built in 1915. A week later, backhoes ripped the cabin apart, removing the University’s beloved landmark.
Due to unsafe conditions, such as deteriorating wood and bug infestation, the Log Cabin has been officially out of commission since 1979. There have been numerous attempts to save the log cabin since, but none have been enough to prevent the historic “playhouse” from being inevitably torn down.
“People would ask us to give them time and let them do it and we would never hear from them again,” Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham said.
Groups from Eastern and the outside community tried to either restore the cabin to its former glory or preserve it for its historical value. However, the extent of damage to the structure and foundations of the building and the cabin’s location along a floodplain the benefits of each plan never outweighed the cots.
“We are a tuition-driven school,” Brigham said. “It would not be worth it to raise tuition.”
Keeping the cabin would have cost more money–about $1.5 million–to renovate and refurbish the building than to demolish it.
Some students have expressed a slight emptiness at walking past the cabin’s footprint, as if a part of Eastern’s legacy had been taken away. But the new space is providing an area for a garden to be planted that will include some of the stones recycled from the cabin’s chimney.
On Earth Day, Eastern plans to have a cleanup event where student, faculty and staff volunteers will rid the area of unwanted weeds and poison ivy, preparing it for new indigenous plants.
In addition to the new “green space,” there will be a commemorative metal plaque installed, honoring the cabin
Brigham compared the Log Cabin to a favorite pair of old jeans: You may try to patch them up, but there also comes a time for them to be put away.
“I was very sad watching it come down,” she said. “When I was a student, I had class there.”
Unfortunately, the Log Cabin never made it to its 100th birthday, but Eastern plans to use its former site for aesthetic value and the betterment of the environment.