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Article on the front page of the 12/12/14 Ludington Daily News, written by Steve Begnoche.


The crew that reassembled the Boulee Cottage, one log at a time, at Historic White Pine Village won the 2014 Mason County Historical Society Volunteer of the Year award presented Thursday night during the society’s annual meeting at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts. From left are crew members Jim Evans, Larry Scherer, Rick Putansu, Dean Smith and Ned Nordine. The cabin remains to be chinked and Scherer, crew leader, is asking for help from anyone who knows about log cabin chinking.


Mason County Historical Society Honors Volunteers 

A piece of Hamlin Lake and Mason County history was rebuilt and preserved at Historic White Pine Village this summer in the form of a more than 100 year old log cabin, the Boullee cottage, from Indian Pete Bayou.

Thursday night the Mason County Historical Society presented the crew that reassembled the log cabin with the 2014 Volunteers of the Year. The crew includes Larry Scherer, Jim Evans, Rick Putansu, Dean Smith and Ned Nordine.

In 2012, Scherer, Putansu and Bruce Boulee, took apart the cottage made with pine, cedar, beech and birch logs, tagging each log so as to know where it fit in the cabin. The logs were piled at the village until reconstruction began this year. Rotten logs were replaced during the reconstruction. Scherer, chairperson of building and grounds and project manager for the cabin project, estimates 90 percent of the logs in the reconstructed 19 by 19 foot cabin are from the original cabin.

As old as the cottage is, the old birch logs still had the bark on them," he said. When first built, logs from whatever trees were on site were used in the cabin. The bark remains on some of the original birch logs in the unheated cabin that records show was being rented in 1906.

"It's completed with the exception of chinking," Scherer said. He asks that anyone familiar with chinking - filling the space between logs - consider helping or providing guidance by contacting MCHS.

In spring, the Hamlin Lake Preservation Society will put in exhibits helping tell the story of resorts and early vacationers in Mason County, an important facet of the county's history, Scherer said.

The cabin was placed on a cement slab this time to help preserve it and the crew used 12-inch landscape spikes to make sure the logs stay in place. Originally, smaller spikes were toe-nailed in the end of logs, but essentially nothing held the logs in place other than being stacked appropriately.

"They just sat there," Scherer explained. That's why one would see old log structures slumping, he said. Once one of the logs starts giving away, others slip and the structure slumps.

Using the landscape spikes adds a measure of safety that's important since the cabin will be open to the public.

"This was all an experiment type of deal," Scherer said of the reconstruction project by what he referred to as "the motley crew." "We amazed ourselves." He said it is difficult to estimate hours spent because the crew worked differing hours.

"Everything went relatively smooth. We worked hand in hand with Pere Marquette Township and Terry Wahr (building inspector). "We kept him in the loop so we wouldn't have any problems." The crew got along well, Scherer said.

"We had a circus doing that," he said of the reconstruction. "It was actually a lot of fun." For Scherer, it will be the second year in a row being honored. He was the MCHS Volunteer of the Year for 2013 and he shares in the 2014 honor with the crew.

"That was kind of nice they decided to do that for the crew," he said. "We had a lot of hours in. They got involved because it looked like a good project. The guys really deserved it." He credited Nordine, also a previous Volunteer of the Year winner, with the idea of doing something for the Hamlin Township Sesquicentennial in 2011.

Subsequent talks with the Hamlin Lake Preservation Society and Hamlin Township Supervisor Nancy Vandervest led to the cottage project for which the township gave $1,000.

"It was fun," Nordine said of helping with the reconstruction. "It's something I'll never get to do again, build a log cabin." "It's a good legacy, too," Scherer said of the cabin. "What would be better than to show something from the resort era of the early vacationing people and the resorts on Hamlin Lake?"


The Boulee cottage before it was moved.



  Hamlin Lake Preservation Society, PO Box 178, Ludington, MI 49431