Moorhead City Council's vote to move historic log cabin upsets Woodlawn neighborhoodThe Moorhead City Council voted 6-2 on Tuesday to move a historic log cabin several blocks from the edge of Woodlawn Park to Memorial Park.
By: Dave Olson, INFORUM
The Moorhead City Council voted 6-2 on Tuesday to move a historic log cabin several blocks from the edge of Woodlawn Park to Memorial Park.
Moments after the vote was taken, members of the Woodlawn Park Neighborhood Association walked out of the meeting, dejection obvious on their faces.
“They just ripped the heart out of our association,” said Gloria Weisgram, vice president of the group that formed to fight for keeping the cabin where it is.
“This is really a matter of values,” said Michael Carbone, association president.
Carbone said it appeared to him budget considerations trumped the wishes of residents of the neighborhood.
“It (the cabin) is the definitive geographical landmark of our neighborhood,” said Carbone, who told the council that the association had raised about $2,500 in pledges to put toward stabilizing the cabin’s foundation.
The expected $96,000 cost of moving the cabin will be covered by state funds.
Until recently, the city has said it might cost $25,000 in city funds to stabilize the stone foundation of the cabin, which has been damaged by years of flooding.
However, engineering consultants who recently examined the site told the city stabilizing the cabin does not appear feasible and an entirely new foundation is needed at a cost of about $142,000.
Council member Diane Wray Williams, who voted against moving the cabin at a council meeting last month, said Tuesday the increased cost of keeping the cabin in place “changed the ballgame.”
The earlier vote was 4-3 in favor of moving the structure, but the motion needed at least five votes to pass.
This time around, Williams voted to move the cabin and she was joined by Nancy Otto, Dan Hunt, Brenda Elmer, Mark Hintermeyer and Greg Lemke.
As they did in the earlier vote, Mark Altenburg and Luther Stueland voted “no” on Tuesday to moving the cabin.
After deciding the cabin issue, the council voted 7-1 to spend about $72,000 on improvements to Woodlawn Park, with Stueland the lone “no” vote.
The city is looking to resurface tennis and basketball courts at the park, as well as building a picnic shelter and other improvements.
The log cabin was built around 1860 as a stage coach stop near where the Fairmont building now sits in downtown Moorhead. That spot is not far from where the cabin’s new home will be in Memorial Park.
The cabin was abandoned not long after it was built, and in the late 1870s it was moved to 225 10th St. N.
In the 1930s, the cabin was torn down but the logs were saved.
The late Adolph Bowman, who helped establish Woodlawn Park, was instrumental in raising funds to move the cabin to the east edge of Woodlawn.
After the cabin’s dedication in 1934, Bowman, a city alderman, put the cabin in the care of the Moorhead Garden Club.
It was used for various cultural activities over the years, but it has sat unused since 2007, when engineers deemed the foundation unsafe.
Moorhead officials said the basement of the building floods when the river stage reaches between 35 and 36 feet.
There will be little risk of the cabin flooding at Memorial Park, officials said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555