History of the Cabin

Dietrich Cabin as it appears today. The cabin is located in City Park in Ottawa, Kansas.

Dietrich Cabin as it appears today. The cabin is located in City Park in Ottawa, Kansas.

After selecting a site for their home southwest of the present-day town of Princeton, Jacob and Catherine Dietrich built a cabin in 1857. However, the cabin and most of their belongings were destroyed in a prairie fire one year later.

In 1859, they built a second cabin on the same site, which stood on a hill with a wide view and was located hear the Humboldt Trail. The cabin was about 18′ by 20′ and built of hand-hewn native walnut, with the corners dovetailed and double morticed. The walnut rafters are unusual in that they are cut on a slant, being much wider at the eaves than at the peak. An 8′ porch completed the cabin. This porch became a haven for the travelers who stopped for food and shelter from storms and were allowed to sleep there.

This is the view the Dietrichs would have seen form the front porch of their cabin at its original location.

This is the view the Dietrichs would have seen form the front porch of their cabin at its original location.

Over the years, the Dietrich cabin was used as a farm house and was made larger by the addition of several rooms. The entire structure was covered with siding, which preserved the logs against the weather. It was eventually abandoned as a dwelling and repurposed as a hay barn.

After the cabin was abandoned by the family, it was repurposed as a hay barn. This is how the cabin appeared before it was moved to City Park and restored.

After the cabin was abandoned by the family, it was repurposed as a hay barn. This is how the cabin appeared before it was moved to City Park and restored.

In 1959, Mrs. Elise Gault, a granddaughter of the Dietrichs, gave the cabin to the Franklin County Historical Society.

Elsie Gault is shown with a stone with the date 1867 carved into it. The stone was originally part of the springhouse near the cabin and is currently displayed in the cabin.

Elsie Gault is shown with a stone with the date 1867 carved into it. The stone was originally part of the springhouse and is currently displayed in the cabin.

T.J. Bivins of Wellsville moved the cabin from its original site to City Park, where it stands today. The cabin was restored during 1960 and 1961 and became a focal point of Franklin County’s celebration of the Kansas Centennial in 1961.

T.J. Bivins of Wellsville coordinated moving the cabin from its original site to City Park in Ottawa.

T.J. Bivins of Wellsville coordinated moving the cabin from its original site to City Park in Ottawa.

In 2013, the cabin underwent additional restoration. Tim Wilson of Gilman City, Missouri, and his three sons replaced several rotted exterior logs. They also replaced the inappropriate chinking used in the original restoration.

The Wilsons apply new chinking to the cabin walls.

The Wilsons apply new chinking to the cabin walls.

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