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Recently gutted by a fire that authorities believe to be arson, the Lincoln Heritage House in Elizabethtown's Freeman Lake Park may be rebuilt with as much salvaged material from the original structure as possible.
“I want to try to get a cabin back up there if at all possible,” City Councilman Tim Walker said.
Salvagers have pulled from the rubble a few iron pots that had been around the fireplace, Walker said. Some of the cabin’s contents dated back to the early 1800s.
As for the wood, a rebuilt Heritage House could include a few logs from the original structure, Walker said.
Abraham Lincoln’s father, Thomas, helped build part of the cabin in 1805 for pioneer Hardin Thomas. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
An inventory of what was inside had been taken long before the fire, said Susan McCrobie, spokeswoman for the Hardin County History Museum. The museum is involved in the recovery effort.
Also, Hardin County Educational and Community Television filmed a video of the cabin’s interior before the blaze, McCrobie said. A copy was made for the city.
These records could allow the cabin to be put back the way it was — as close as possible, at least.
The cabin and its contents were insured, Walker said. An inventory of items will be turned over to the insurer on Monday.
A suspect in the May 29 arson is in custody.
In another development, a Lincoln Heritage Trail event — which will feature a give-away of Abe items — was moved to a nearby structure.
The program, scheduled for Aug. 29 during the Heartland Festival, is now planned to be at the one-room Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln Memorial Cabin, which stands on a neighboring hillside. It’s a memorial to Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother.
That cabin is a part of Lincoln’s local legacy and is situated in the park, so it can draw Heartland Festival visitors.
“That was our next best option,” McCrobie said.