A two-story log cabin at Lost Lake RV park near the Nisqually Indian Reservation has been added to the Thurston County Historic Register.
The 28 feet by 16 feet cabin, owned by an investment group that operates the resort, is believed to have been built nearly 100 years ago, Thurston County spokeswoman Stacy Klein said.
“It first turned up in an assessor’s report in the 1940s, and it was old then,” she said. “They believe it was actually built in the late 1910s or early 20s.”
Terri Mohr, who lives at the upscale private RV park and helps manage its sales, said the cabin hasn’t been lived in for quite some time. The building overlooks the spring-fed lake and fishing dock at the heavily wooded resort.
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Sometimes resort residents use the cabin for private parties, but most of the time folks stop in to drop off books they’re no longer reading, or borrow books that someone else has donated, she said.
“We’ve always just called it the library,” Mohr said. “You’ll see people all summer out here reading books, and writing books.”
Mohr said she’s thrilled that the cabin was added to the register by the Thurston County Historic Commission. She said she contacted the county a few months ago after learning that someone with the resort’s homeowners association was planning to demolish the cabin, which is in need of some major maintenance work, and replace it with a gazebo. The resort’s owners supported the idea of preserving the cabin, and the person who wanted to demolish it is no longer with the homeowners association, Mohr said.
By getting it listed on the historic register, the resort’s owners and the homeowners association can now apply for federal grants to take care of some of the restoration projects that are needed, including replacement of the cabin’s chinking, roof and foundation, Mohr said.
The property has changed owners several times, so there’s not a lot of readily known history on the structure, she said.
Mohr said she believes it was built from cedar logs. It features a steep roof, a narrow staircase, six-pane windows that open to the side and logs that are interlocked at the corners, known as the saddle notch.
“County researchers discovered evidence that the property was settled by pioneers at the time of the McAllister Party in the 1850s,” stated a news release from Thurston County about the cabin’s historic register listing. “An article from the front page of Tacoma’s The Daily Ledger in August 1896 gives a reference to the settlement’s storied past — a skirmish with Native Americans while trying to build an earlier cabin. The then-owner from 1896 claimed to have found skeletal remains from the fight that he reburied as homage to the lost life.”
In a Thurston County Historic Commission staff report, Patt O’Neil with the WSU Thurston County Extension Office and Resource Stewardship Department noted that the cabin has been “well-preserved, and with the exception of the sky-lights in the roof, has remained true to the original flavor of design.”
Lost Lake resident Jim Abel said he enjoys spending time at the cabin, which features a massive stone chimney and a covered front porch.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “It feels comfortable and cozy. I would love to see a fire in the fireplace.”