Cabin restoration delayed

June 21, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

by MIKE CRUPI / staff photographer


Burns Cabin restoration

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Eighteen months ago, Terry Pelton dismantled Burns Cabin, one of Waynesboro's oldest and most historic buildings.

Pelton, a restoration craftsman, submitted the only bid to rebuild the cabin - $14,000 to $19,000. He said he would do it by hand with 18th-century technology using a broad ax and an adz.

Local schoolchildren raised $4,000 for the project and turned it over to the Waynesboro Beneficial Fund Association, a local philanthropic group organized in 1912. The association gave Pelton $12,000 to begin work, said member Robert Davis.


Pelton said unforeseen problems have delayed the work.

"I found it to be beyond what I thought it would be. Some of the logs looked fine on the inside, but when I took the siding off, they were rotted. You don't always know what's there until you tear it apart," he said.

Pelton said he originally thought he would only have to replace six or seven logs. Now, he said, most need to be replaced.

So far the only visible progress on the 18-by-24-foot cabin is a new foundation that Davis said the association paid for and a few logs that Pelton has installed.

Davis said association members are discouraged with Pelton's lack of progress. He said he told Pelton Friday that the association wants him to start working on the restoration and not stop until it's complete or give the $12,000 back.

The cabin was built around 1780 by John Burns, a local sawmill owner and blacksmith, as a school for his 11 children. It was a church in later years and was last used as a residence in the early 20th century.

The cabin sits atop a hill overlooking the tollgate building that houses offices for the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce at 323 E. Main St.

Carol Ann Henicle, a second-grade teacher at Hooverville Elementary School, was a leader in the student fund drive. She too said she is discouraged with Pelton's progress.

Henicle said the cabin, when finished, will be used by the schools for special projects. Shop students will make benches for use inside and home-economics students will make curtains.

"This is a school-wide project, but the schools can't use it until it's rebuilt," she said.

Davis said Friday that Pelton promises to have it finished by the end of the summer.

Pelton has brought enough replacement logs to the site to complete the project. He also needs to find floorboards, he said.

"I feel responsible for the building. I have no choice now but to finish it. The money is gone," he said.

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