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The Fabyan Cabin /Guard Station back in its heyday and now. The cabin is being renovated later this month by volunteers. (COURTESY)

Volunteers to restore historic Fabyan Cabin

BRETTON WOODS — Volunteers are being sought to both save and make history later this month as the White Mountain National Forest team up with HistoriCorps to restore the Fabyan Cabin/Guard Station.

Built in 1923 for the modest sum of $75, the Fabyan Cabin was one of 13 similar structures in the WMNF that were designed to provide year-round bases for personnel to manage and protect the forest. As the U.S. Forest Service increasingly used motor vehicles to convey workers around the forest, however, the cabins gradually lost their relevance.

Last used in the early 1960s, the Fabyan Cabin is the oldest structure built by the forest service in the WMNF and, according to Colorado-based HistoriCorps, one of the oldest guard stations in the eastern United States.

An organization that “saves and sustains historic places for public benefit,” HistoriCorps said that since 2009 it has worked in 14 states to preserve more than 135 historic buildings and structures.

Although the WMNF said the Fabyan Cabin has “weathered well,” repairs are needed to its foundation, door and windows, and they will be done, under the auspices of HistoriCorps, in three sessions: July 7-11, July 14-18 and July 21-25. Volunteers will camp on-site.

Information about the Fabyan Cabin and how to register as a volunteer is available at historicorps.org/fabyan-guard-station.

Built by Forest Supervisor Clifford L. Graham, the Fabyan Cabin, said David Govatski in an article on the White Mountain History.org website, was made from native red spruce logs.

“The walls were chinked with oakum and fitted with scribed wood slats between the logs,” wrote Govatski. “The one-room log cabin is 16 ft. by 20 ft. in size, had two bunks and was heated by a wood cookstove. Water came from an unnamed stream out behind the cabin and there was a rustic outhouse nearby that still remains. A horse corral and barn were on the opposite side of the Cherry Mountain Road.”

Govatski described the Fabyan Cabin as “an outstanding example of a modest but well-crafted structure showing the skills of early Forest Service personnel. The close association of Governor Sherman Adams with this location is another important aspect of its history.”

HistoriCorps called the cabin “a sentinel to the early history of the forest service, helping us imagine how the first forest guards once lived,” and adding that Graham’s grandson, Gregory Graham Hood, is an avid snowmobiler who visits the Fabyan Cabin several times a year and is extremely proud of his late grandfather’s handiwork.

Morgan Pratte, a HistoriCorps volunteer, said rehabbing the cabin is important because its history is not widely known.

“When one thinks about federally-protected wilderness in terms of preservation, it is usually the conservation of the natural landscape that comes to mind,” said Pratte. “I believe that preservation of the built landscape is also important because it gives visitors a tangible view of how the history of the U.S. Forest Service has progressed throughout the years.”

jkoziol@newstote.com


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