A piece of Caledonia history is being resurrected at Linwood Park on Five Mile Road just east of Highway 38.
A login cabin, which was deconstructed and moved from a property on Highway 31, is now being put back together in Linwood Park. Last year the Village Board relinquished the control, maintenance and operation of Linwood Park to the Caledonia Historical Society.
Now, a historical campus is taking shape and includes a one-room schoolhouse, a train depot, a caboose, and a log cabin. Plans are also underway to add a museum on the property this spring.
The story behind how the Historical Society came to acquire the log cabin is unique.
Al and Patty Ruud, who own about 40 acres on Highway 31 just south of Four Mile Road, wanted a house, two-car garage, and pole barn knocked down. They had planned to donate the house to the Caledonia Fire Department for fire training; but when officials with the fire department came to inspect the house, they told Ruud that the house had been built around a log cabin.
“We know these were German settlers that built it because we found a hole that had been stuffed with German newspapers from the 1830s and 1840s,” said Royse Myers, a member of the Caledonia Historical Society. “Those newspapers have been preserved and are now in Leroy Schmidt’s house (also, a member of the Historical Society).”
Ruud asked if the Caledonia Historical Society wanted the building.
“And we, of course, said ‘Yes,’” Myers said.
Ruud paid for moving building. A few thousand dollars was leftover from the project and they wanted to use that money to pay for rebuilding the cabin. But members of the Historical Society quickly learned the project would cost more than that.
“So we got a quote from two contractors and Ruud paid for the project,” Myers said.
The Caledonia Historical Society hired Country Craftsman, in Burlington, and John Longo, a local mason, to rebuild the log cabin. A foundation, chimney and fireplace – which aren’t original to the cabin – are also being built. They hope to have the log cabin project done this spring and then they’ll move on to building the museum, Myers said.
“The museum will have two displays, an Amish Buggy repair shop and a blacksmith shop,” Myers said. “By the time September 15, 2012 rolls around we plan to have all of this done, just in time for our Caledonia Homecoming.”
They’ll also include those German newspapers in the museum.